Troy University, whose faith-based dorms have been the focus of an atheist group's complaints, is being criticized again after it was revealed that the site on which the dorms were built is being leased for $1 per year.
The lease agreement says the school will lease the nearly five acre site to the Troy University Foundation, a private, nonprofit fundraising arm of the college, for 25 years, AL.com reports. As part of the agreement the foundation had to construct the Newman Center-a 376-bed residence hall and 2,300-square foot "adoration chapel." The chapel area, which also includes an activity center and offices, is being used as a Catholic student ministry center and is being leased from the foundation by the Archdiocese of Mobile.
Andrew Seidel, a staff attorney for the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), wrote a letter to the university last month stating that establishing a dorm for Christians and other religious students is a violation of the First Amendment as well as state and federal fair housing laws. more >>
Alliance Defending Freedom and the Massachusetts Family Institute have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in response to a lawsuit from atheist students and parents who want to stop the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools – even though they are not required to participate.
"The Pledge of Allegiance shouldn't be banned merely because someone who is not even required to recite it feels offended," said MFI Executive Vice President Andrew Beckwith. "The Pledge unites Americans. The court should uphold the lower court's ruling and refuse to divide Americans by silencing a voluntary exercise of patriotism just because a few people don't like it."
Students and parents from the Acton - Boxborough Regional School District have expressed their objection to the Pledge, which includes the phrase "under God," even though they do not have to participate in it. A state court earlier ruled in favor of the district, arguing that the phrase serves as a clear "acknowledgment of the Founding Fathers political philosophy, and the historical and religious traditions of the United States," but the atheist parents and students have decided to appeal against the decision. more >>
A new spiritual biography of the great Christian scholar and author C. S. Lewis, released in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of his death, portrays a man utterly transformed by his conversion to Christianity – only in Jesus did this proud loner find friends, joy, and laughter.
"If you listen to the people who actually knew Lewis, his whole life is full of joy and laughter – after he became a Christian," Devin Brown, professor of English at Asbury University and author of A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis, told The Christian Post in a Wednesday interview. His major takeaway from 15 years of studying Lewis is that the Chronicles of Narnia author's gradual conversion fundamentally transformed his life from sorrow into joy.
"Before he became a Christian, he had one neighborhood boy who was his friend, but more of a pen pal, and his brother – he just liked being around with his books," Brown explained. The young Lewis was proud of being smarter than others, and that isolated him. Although the Oxford don was an atheist, he found the "hard reality of atoms and molecules" quite dull. more >>
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has opted to change course and allow for American Atheists President David Silverman to get the "ATHEIST" vanity plate for his car.
A spokeswoman from the press office of the NJMVC told The Christian Post that while she could not comment on "personal business" like the application the "issue has already been resolved."
"It was a mistake…it's been resolved," added the spokeswoman regarding the initial rejection of Silverman's request for the "ATHEIST" vanity plate. more >>
The American Atheists organization has issued a letter to the Mayor of Princeton, New Jersey, promising to file an injunction if the mayor goes ahead with plans to place a steel beam, taken from the site of the World Trade Center, on public property. The atheist group believes that a cross carved out on the side of the steel beam in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks would be "grossly offensive" and "alienate many people." Instead, the atheist group wants the beam placed in a designated "free speech zone," which would allow others to erect their own memorials related to atheism as well as other religious groups.
"While the intention to commemorate those who died at the World Trade Center is admirable and appropriate for a community, the use of such a singular religious image will be grossly offensive and alienating to many people," Bruce Afran, attorney for The American Atheists, wrote to Mayor Liz Lempert.
Afran added that the group expects an answer to its demands by Sept. 3. more >>
An atheist and former parolee should be awarded compensation by the state of California for forcing him back to jail after he refused to attend a religious-themed rehabilitation program for methamphetamine addiction, a federal appeals court ruled late last week.
Barry A. Hazle Jr., of Redding, Calif., was arrested in 2006 for methamphetamine possession and served jail time for one year. In 2007, his parole officer ordered him to take a 12-step rehabilitation course as part of his parole sentence. Hazle, an atheist, strongly objected to taking the course because it was "religiously-themed" and included acknowledgment of a higher power.
When he continued to complain about the course's structure, he was pulled from the rehabilitation program and sent back to prison for an additional three months. Hazle is reportedly a member of several secular groups in California, and at the time of his parole agreement, no secular-themed rehabilitation courses were available near his home in Shasta County, meaning the only courses available were those with "religious-themes." more >>