As students prepared for their summer vacation in Boone County, Kentucky this week, they found two books waiting for them as they exited their school campuses: the Bible and The Young Atheist's Survival Guide, written by blogger Hemant Mehta.
The Boone County School System agreed to allow the Gideons International evangelical group and the Tri-State Freethinkers to distribute their books near the district's high school campuses, including Boone, Conner, Cooper, and Ryle schools this week. The religious and nonreligious materials could not be present on the campuses, so volunteers from both groups stationed themselves at the public area outside of the schools to pass out the literature, given explicit directions to only provide the literature to those who were interested.
"We cannot allow any groups like this within the schools because the federal court has ruled that unconstitutional," Barbara Brady, community relations coordinator for the school district, told Cincinnati.com. more >>
Boone County Schools students in Kentucky will see the distribution of both Gideon International Bibles and The Young Atheists Survival Guide book, after the Christian organization and a local atheist group were given permission to hand out literature.
Gideons International and the Tri-State Freethinkers group will reportedly offer Bibles and by Hemant Mehta's book on Tuesday, Fox 19 reported.
In a short email message to The Christian Post on Tuesday, Gideons Director of Communications Jeff Pack said: "From our standpoint, what work we do is through the school board and we follow whatever direction they give us. That¹s our standard practice." more >>
An atheist couple from Virginia is accusing a local court-appointed officiant of refusing to perform their wedding ceremony because of their lack of faith in God.
Tamar Courtney and Morgan Strong of Roanoke County recently contacted the nearby Franklin County courthouse for information on finding an officiant to oversee their wedding ceremony. Franklin County Judge William N. Alexander reportedly pointed the couple in the direction of two officiants, the first one being Bud Roth.
Courtney and Strong reportedly began the process of planning their wedding ceremony with Roth, until the officiant reportedly asked the couple about their religious denomination. When the couple responded that they were atheist, Roth reportedly opted out of performing the ceremony, saying that he could not marry them because they did not believe in God. more >>
The phrase "In God We Trust" used on U.S. currency does not violate the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled Wednesday to deny the request of atheist Rosalyn Newdow to have the phrase "In God We Trust" removed from all U.S. currency. Newdow, a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed her lawsuit against U.S. Congress in 2013, arguing that the religious phrase violated the U.S. Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
Newdow argued that the phrase "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency caused a substantial burden on atheists in the country because it forced them "to bear on their persons […] a statement that attributes to them personally a perceived falsehood that is the antithesis of the central tenet of their religious system." more >>
A humanist group recently accused a New York high school of violating the U.S. Constitution after it allegedly prohibited one of its students from opting out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance due to its reference to God.
In a letter to the Elmira City School District this week, the American Humanist Association argued that a teacher at Southside High School violated the constitutional rights of a student when she forbade the student from sitting down while the Pledge of Allegiance was recited in class. Additionally, the teacher reportedly told the student that not reciting the Pedge of Allegiance "is disrespectful to America and to military personnel."
The letter from the American Humanist Association suggests teachers at Southside High School be instructed not to persuade a student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance if they do not wish to do so. The letter also requests that students not be punished for opting out of the Pledge. The humanist association cites the Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, that granted students the right to opt out of the Pledge. more >>
An atheist group based in Omaha, Nebraska is accusing a local mayor of making "disturbing comments" when discussing a Memorial Day event and its possible violation of the separation of Church and State.
According to a press release from Omaha Atheists, La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig reportedly made the comments to a member of the atheist organization after a Sunday "Faith and Freedom Day" service meant to honor veterans and active duty military. The event, held ahead of Memorial Day, included a pancake breakfast and a service featuring Walter Hooker, associate pastor of Bellevue Christian Center.
La Vista resident and Omaha Atheists board member Robert Fuller claims in the press release that he approached Kindig at Sunday's event, handing him his business card and telling him he'd like to discuss, at another time, the possible separation of Church and State violations taking place at the "Faith and Freedom Day" event. more >>