A federal appeals court in Indiana has ruled to allow humanists in the state to have their weddings officiated by a secular celebrant.
A three judge panel with the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that humanists should be allowed to have their weddings officiated by secularist celebrants, arguing that preventing them from doing so violated the First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. Previously, Indiana's law stated that marriages could only be performed by religious clergy or government officials, such as mayors and city clerks.
"This is a big step forward in recognizing the rights of nonreligious persons," Reba Boyd Wooden, executive director for the Center for Inquiry, a humanist group, said in a press release. "Now couples may have a Secular Celebrant who shares their world view solemnize their marriage." more >>
Just months after the New York town of Greece won a Supreme Court ruling permitting it to open its community meetings with sectarian prayer, an atheist is set to lead the invocation on Tuesday night.
Dan Courtney, whom the Associated Press identifies as a mechanical engineer and a member of the Atheist Community of Rochester, made his request to Greece leaders following the Supreme Court decision in May.
In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the highest court ruled 5 to 4 that Greece could select Christian ministers to offer explicitely Christian prayers before their town meetings. more >>
The American Atheists group announced that the world's first all-atheist TV channel will launch on July 29 through streaming service Roku, promising "superstition-free programming" for adults and children.
"The launch of Atheist TV is history in the making," American Atheists President David Silverman said in a press release on Wednesday.
"There are hundreds of TV channels dedicated to religious programming, but nothing like this has ever existed before for atheists, and yet the demand is overwhelming. For the first time, atheist video content—from firebrand speeches, to stand-up comedy, to documentaries, to real science-based educational programming, and more—is now available to atheists worldwide, on the air and all in one place. Atheist TV brings consistent, quality, superstition-free programming for children and adults, on the air and on-demand, right from your regular television. This is an idea whose time has come and we're celebrating." more >>
An atheist organization has sent a request to a Texas city asking to give an invocation at their next council meeting.
In response to the recent Supreme Court decision Town of Greece vs. Galloway, which ruled that town meetings could be opened with sectarian prayers, Metroplex Atheists Rowlett have asked the Rowlett City Council to give the invocation prayer at their next meeting. more >>
Did a state funded New Mexico museum pay for an anti-religion atheist event in February?
Those are the allegations that Evolution News and Views, a publication sponsored by the pro-Intelligent Design group, the Discovery Center, has made.
According to its report, emails between event organizers and local skeptic and atheist group leaders show that New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science "actively solicited 'pro-rational thinkers' from groups with names like 'the Humanist Society of New Mexico,' 'New Mexicans for Science & Reason,' and 'Freedom From Religion-Albuquerque,' as partners for its 2014 Darwin Days celebration." more >>
After reaching a lawsuit settlement, the Port Authority of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, has agreed to pay $20,000 plus $40,000 in legal fees to an atheist group that wanted to advertise one of its affiliates on local buses, but was banned from doing so.
According to federal court documents made public on Wednesday, the Port Authority of Allegheny agreed to pay the $60,000 the Washington, D.C.-based United Coalition of Reason. The atheist group had filed a U.S. district court lawsuit against the Port Authority last November, alleging the mass transit agency had violated the group's constitutional rights to free speech when they refused to carry bus advertisements that read: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." The advertisements were meant to promote the newly-founded Pittsburg Coalition of Reason.
In their lawsuit, the atheist group, with the help of the American Humanist Association's legal arm, argued that the Port Authority had violated their First Amendment rights to free speech by denying the bus advertisements. According to the Tribune Review, the Port Authority had cited its 1998 policy that prohibited noncommercial advertisements from being shown on its buses, but the plaintiffs argued that the bus had previously allowed advertisements for churches, public issue groups and hospitals soliciting volunteers. more >>