Atheist Mom Gets Threats After School Cancels 'Bible Man' Visits

The Huffington Post | By Ed Mazza
An atheist mother in Tennessee says she's been getting threats on social media afterher complaint led to the cancellation of school visits by a preacher nicknamed "Bible Man."
Horace Turner, aka "Bible Man," had been visiting the Coalmont Elementary School in Altamont, Tennessee for years, where he would have "baby Jesus displays, sermons proclaiming that 'Jesus died on the cross for our sins,' bible readings, discussions about the meaning of bible stories, and distributions of religious literature," according to a complaint filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The district has put the "Bible Man" sessions on hold, with one administrator telling WRCB-TV in Chattanooga that he might come back as part of an after-school club activity rather than a school assembly.
But that has apparently angered some parents, and the mother who initiated the complaint told the station she has been getting threats on Facebook as a result. One included the words: "He was an outsider and against the Bible Man coming to our schools, so we threw him a house warming party," along with a picture of a burning home.

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Fox News Pundit Calls Pope Francis 'The Most Dangerous Person On The Planet' For Suggesting Climate Change Is Real

The Huffington Post | By Antonia Blumberg
Pope Francis's newly released papal letter on outlining the moral imperative of protecting the environment has upset some Catholics and conservatives who say the pontiff should stay out of the "political realm." But one conservative pundit went a step further by calling the pope "the most dangerous person on the planet."
Pope Francis earned such a title in Fox New pundit Greg Gutfeld's eyes for "seeking strange new respect" from his "adversaries" -- among whom, Gutfeld presumes, are liberals who might disagree with the pontiff's more conservative perspectives on gay marriage, women's ordination and contraception.
The pope opened the leaked draft of the encyclical by saying climate change is the Earth's way of protesting "irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God placed in her."

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The Atheist and the Nun

By Alicia MacManus – Huffington Post
Religion has never been my thing.
When I was nine, I was kicked out of CCD for defending gay rights. I vividly remember sitting outside the classroom leaning up against a hideous yellow wall waiting for my mom to pick me up. When she finally arrived with a big smile she said, "Mommy's proud of you. Don't tell these people though."
When I was 16, I got kicked out of my Christian Lifestyles class at my Catholic high school. (It had a great theater program so my parents took the risk that my older sister and I might end up Republican zealots and sent us there.) Once again, it was the gay issue and at least once a week I was asked to "go get a muffin."
While the gay issue was probably my biggest grievance with the church, I had plenty. Really, any organized religion. So I was dubious when my older sister came home from school and announced her favorite faculty member was an awesome nun named Sister Pat. Clearly, my sister had drunk the juice.

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Madison law bans religious discrimination ... against atheists

According to The Guardian, Wisconsin city's statute, enacted last month, is believed to be the first of its kind in the US: 'Religion was protected, so non-religion should be, too'
While conservatives in Indiana and Arkansas were explaining last month why their new religious objections laws weren't invitations to discriminate against gays, the leaders of Wisconsin's capital city were busy protecting the rights of another group: atheists.
In what is believed to be the first statute of its kind in the United States, Madison banned discrimination against the non-religious on 1 April , giving them the same protections afforded to people based on their race, sexual orientation and religion, among other reasons.
It's hardly surprising that such a statute would originate in Madison, an island of liberalism in a conservative-leaning state and the home of the Freedom fromReligion Foundation. But the ordinance's author, Anita Weier, said it didn't arise from an actual complaint about alleged discrimination based on a lack of religious faith.

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Americans’ confidence in religion hits a new low

By Cathy Lynn Grossman – Washington Post
Americans have less confidence in organized religion today than ever measured before — a sign that the church could be "losing its footing as a pillar of moral leadership in the nation's culture," a new Gallup survey finds.
"In the '80s the church and organized religion were the No. 1&?8243; in Gallup's annual look at confidence in institutions, said Lydia Saad, author of the report released Wednesday (June 17).
Confidence, she said, "is a value judgment on how the institution is perceived, a mark of the amount of respect it is due." A slight upsurge for Catholic confidence, for example, parallels the 2013 election and immense popularity of Pope Francis.
Overall, church/organized religion is now ranked in fourth place in the Gallup survey — behind the military, small business and the police — while still ahead of the medical system, Congress and the media, among 15 institutions measured.
"Almost all organizations are down but the picture for religion is particularly bleak," said Saad.

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Say It Loud: I’m an Atheist, and I’m Proud

New research finds perceived discrimination may lead people to intensify their identity as atheists.
By TOM JACOBS – Pacific Standard
When people feel ostracized, they often respond by identifying even more strongly with the aspect of their lives that has provoked their rejection. Think of the black power crusade of the 1960s, or the gay pride movement of recent decades.
Newly published research finds this dynamic this also applies to another much-maligned minority: atheists.
"Like people who belong to other marginalized groups, perceptions of discrimination predict poor psychological and physical well-being among atheists," write psychologist Michael Doane and sociologist Marta Elliott of the University of Nevada-Reno. "One way that atheists may cope with such discrimination is by further believing that being an atheist is important and central to their identity."
Belief can certainly give one strength to persevere; so, it seems, can unbelief.
Writing in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, they describe a study featuring 960 self-identified atheists. They responded to a long list of statements designed to measure their experience with personal discrimination, group discrimination, and their personal identification with atheism, along with their self-esteem, physical health, and satisfaction with life.

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Canadian Freedom of Religion Case

JURIST - In Loyola High School and John Zucci v. Attorney General of Quebec the Supreme Court of Canada addressed the issue of religious freedom in the context of teaching religion and ethics in a private Catholic school.
In 2008 Quebec introduced an Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program, which it made mandatory in public schools. The program is taught from a secular perspective and is intended to "develop three competencies among students: the ability to understand 'religious culture'...[t]he ability to reflect on ethical questions; and the ability to engage in dialogue."
The Minister of Education has the discretionary power to authorize equivalent courses in lieu of mandatory ones in private schools. Loyola High School applied for permission to replace the ERC curriculum with a course taught primarily from a Catholic perspective.

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The Non Conference 2015

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Are you an atheist or care about ideas, policies and institutions that affect non-believers? Then The Non-Conference is for you! 
The Non-Conference is Ontario's largest annual conference that is specifically geared for non-believers, non-theists, the "nones", atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, materialists, rationalists, secularists, pantheists, skeptics, empiricists, naturalists, friendly theists...well, you get the idea.
AAI's own Christine M. Shellska will be speaking at this conference on blasphemy laws (in the context of AAI's involvement in the Anti-Blasphemy Coalition), and AAI will have a table at this conference. 

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