A Wisconsin university has removed the Gideon Bibles from the guest rooms of one of its conference centers after an atheist group complained that keeping them in the rooms is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
An attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), the nation's largest group of atheists, agnostics and skeptics, sent a letter complaining about the Bibles to Ray Cross, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension, back in November.
The books, which were in the guest rooms of The Lowell Center on the UW-Extension campus in Madison, were placed there by The Gideons International. After reviewing FFRF's concerns, however, Cross replied in a letter stating that the Bibles would be removed from all guest rooms by Dec. 1, 2013. more >>
An atheist organization has taken up the cause of a Florida man who has complained for several years that the display of a Bible in one city council's chambers is a violation of the Constitution.
Randy Heine, the owner of Rockin Cards and Gifts in Pinellas Park, Fla., told The Christian Post he was "stonewalled" by city officials when he tried to have the Bible removed from the dais in the city council chambers back in 2005. He could not afford to take legal action against the city, he says, so his mission was put on hold.
In June 2013 he reached out to the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an organization that promotes the separation of church and state of which he is also a member, to share his concern. more >>
A veterans organization has called for a congressional hearing on certain activities at the Department of Veterans Affairs, alleging that the government entity is violating religious freedom.
The Louisiana-based group Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. sent a letter last week to Congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who chairs the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Written by retired Navy Commander and Executive Director of Military-Veterans Advocacy J. B. Wells, the letter says that "the curtailment of religious freedom is widespread within the Department." more >>
A police chief in Arkansas is refusing to remove a small white cross from the lawn of the local police department after an atheist group demanded he do so. The police chief has argued that residents do not find the cross offensive and therefore it will not be removed.
The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation contacted Jeremy Clark, police chief of the Searcy Police Department, asking that he remove the small wooden cross from the front lawn of the department, arguing that its presence is a violation of Separation of Church and State. The FFRF claims it was contacted by a local resident who feels too intimidated to directly request the police department remove the cross.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, told the local KARK-TV that her organization has asked Clark to remove the cross from the property on multiple occasions. Clark told the local media outlet that he doesn't plan to remove the cross just because an organization from another state has told him to. Clark also added that the cross was already there when he took his position as police chief in February 2013. more >>
The secular group Center For Inquiry says it has received much support after announcing its newest initiative to send "freethought" books to prisoners as an alternative to faith-based outreach.
CFI identified publishing companies Beacon Press and Pitchstone Publishing as among the first to show their support for the initiative, which was announced in December, and a number of authors have already sent their atheist-themed books to help out.
"Religious fundamentalism can leave people morally disempowered and psychologically traumatized. Outside of prison settings, former believers, sometimes called 'Reclaimers,' are finding each other –getting support and information that allows them to heal and to recognize that they don't have to depend on gods to make positive, life affirming choices. I believe that prisoners deserve the same opportunity," said Valerie Tarico, author of Trusting Doubt, who sent 20 copies of her book for the project. more >>
A New Jersey-based atheist organization has filed a lawsuit calling for the removal of a 2,000 pound Ten Commandments display from the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol in Oklahoma City.
American Atheists filed the suit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against the Oklahoma State Capitol Preservation Commission that placed the monument at the capitol in 2012.
"This action challenges the constitutionality, under federal law, of the state of Oklahoma's placement of a massive monument displaying an abridgement of a portion of religious text originating from a Hollywood movie director's rendition of one of many versions from the Bible," reads the suit in part. more >>