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 >>
A growing number of Christians, especially among the younger generations, are in jeopardy of being swallowed up by today's cultural norms and secular thinking, only to become unaffiliated to any church or denomination, says the author of The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated.
"We are living in a decisively post-Christian culture and I think it's taking its toll on existing evangelicals and the church in a way that is creating more and more nominal Christians on the way to 'nones' who self-described themselves as evangelicals earlier," author and pastor James Emery White, of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, said in a recent interview with Ed Stetzer, host of The Exchange.
The "nones" are described as the fastest-growing "religious group" of our day – one in five Americans identify themselves as having no religious affiliation. During the interview, Stetzer quoted one survey that showed 3 in 10 college age students are "nones." more >>
Most Americans would rather have a president who believes in God rather than one who doesn't. In a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Americans ranked atheism as the most negative trait that could be displayed by presidential candidates who plan to seek the White House in 2016.
Atheism was ranked the lowest on a list of 16 presidential traits where military service was ranked as the most appealing.
"Not believing in God and never having held elected office before are the most negatively viewed traits among those tested. Just over half (53 percent) say they would be less likely to vote for someone who does not believe in God, while only 5 percent say this would make them more likely to support a candidate," noted an overview of the study. more >>