An atheist was escorted out of a Florida city public meeting for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, prompting outcry from secular organizations.
John Thoreau remained seated for both the opening invocation and Pledge during a meeting of the Winter Garden City Commissioners last week.
Atheist author Richard Dawkins has further clarified his highly controversial recent comments that it would be "immoral" not to abort a baby with Down syndrome, by stating that if he had such a child, he would "love her dearly." He argued that this does not change the fact, however, that he believes aborting such a child would still be the right choice.
"I have not the slightest doubt that, if I had a Down child, I would love her dearly. If I believed in God, I'd probably thank God she wasn't aborted, and I would sincerely mean it and deeply feel it. But that is a judgment in hindsight, and it is totally compatible with a statement that, if offered a similar choice now, I would be in favor of abortion. Totally compatible with a belief that abortion would be the right decision, in circumstances where such a decision was available," the evolutionary biologist said in a message on his website.
He further argued that "the child that you now love is a person. You have grown to adore her every smile, her every facial expression, everything that makes her the individual personality that she is. The bundle of cells she once was had no personality at the time when she might have been aborted. There was nothing to love there at that time." more >>
An adopt-a-highway sign for an atheist group based in California was recently vandalized, the group claims, with an unknown party attaching a message on stickers that read: "God loves."
The Atheists of Butte County had a sign off of Highway 99 where someone recently placed the message "God Loves" right before their name. Photos of the vandalized signs can be found here.
George Gold, president of the Butte County group, said in a statement earlier this week that the vandalism "shows loud and clear just how necessary our group is." more >>
A Mississippi school district has agreed to stop having prayers and sermons at mandatory faculty convocations after an atheist group threatened to sue them.
The Washington, D.C.-based American Humanist Association announced that the Jackson Public School District had agreed to stop the religious practices.
JoAnne N. Shepherd, district counsel for the Jackson Public School District, responded to AHA via email that the convocation was meant to be "an inspirational and motivational event for employees returning to start the new school year." more >>
A New York town whose unofficial prayer policy was successfully defended before the U.S. Supreme Court has adopted a formal invocation policy for its monthly board meetings.
Town of Greece voted last week to adopt the formal policy, having had an informal policy wherein people could pray sectarian invocations before the beginning of the board's public meeting.
Brian Marianetti, attorney for Town of Greece, told The Christian Post that the invocation policy was approved by the board on Aug. 19 in response to the increased attention Greece got due to the controversy over its prayers. more >>
A Washington, D.C.-based atheist organization has sent a letter to a Mississippi school district expressing concern about a mandatory faculty event that featured a Christian pastor.
The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter Monday to the superintendent of Jackson Public School District.
Of specific concern for AHA was a mandatory teacher convocation held earlier this month that included a Christian pastor and several remarks the group dubbed "religious proselytization." more >>