The Internal Revenue Service has reached a lawsuit settlement agreement with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, agreeing to investigate churches that violate a federal law that activist groups often cite in an attempt to silence them by threatening their tax-exempt status.
"This is a victory, and we're pleased with this development in which the IRS has proved to our satisfaction that it now has in place a protocol to enforce its own anti-electioneering provisions," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement last week, following which the Alliance Defending Freedom asked the IRS to release all documents related to it.
The lawsuit, Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Koskinen, accused the IRS of failing to investigate churches the way the atheist group would like. Despite the agreement, only a court has the jurisdiction to close down the case. more >>
An atheist group has convinced an Indiana school district to ban its teacher led-prayers in its local public schools.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the Vigo County School Corporation in Terre Haute in May, demanding that it halt the practice of allowing teachers to lead prayers in area public schools. The letter came after an anonymous parent contacted the atheist organization, saying that a teacher at the local Sarah Scott Middle School had led a prayer during a recent school banquet.
The letter demanded that the school district investigate the incident and provide an outline as to how it would educate its teachers and staff on the constitutional separation of church and state. more >>
A city in Michigan has become the subject of a lawsuit after refusing to allow an atheist to display a "reason station" at its city hall atrium.
Three groups filed the lawsuit on behalf of Douglas Marshall against the city of Warren and its mayor Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.
"When the government opens a forum for private speech, it must treat viewpoints equally, and it is strictly forbidden from favoring religious expression over non-religious speech," read the lawsuit's introductory statement. more >>
An atheist group is encouraging those opposed to the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling to crochet or knit rectangular pieces of fabric, meant to represent bricks, and send them into the organization's national office in Washington, D.C.
The Secular Coalition for America launched its "knit-a-brick" campaign earlier in July, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 decision that corporations may refuse to provide birth control insurance coverage to its employees based on strongly-held religious beliefs. The atheist group plans to collect the "bricks" built by its supporters and sew a giant "wall" to symbolize the Separation of Church and State that it believes has been violated by the recent Supreme Court ruling.
The atheist group said on its website that it started the "knit-a-brick" campaign earlier this month to "harness outrage" following the Supreme Court ruling, as well as "create a striking visual impact for lawmakers and speak directly to Hobby Lobby's consumer base with the Knit a Brick campaign." more >>
A bill introduced in the Ohio Legislature would allow for individuals of any religion, or none at all, to solemnize marriages in the state.
Known as Ohio House Bill 591, the proposed legislation would expand the range of people who can solemnize a marriage, including non-theists.
"Any other person or entity that wishes to solemnize marriages shall register with the secretary of state and the secretary of state shall issue a license authorizing the person or entity to solemnize marriages in this state," reads HB 591 in part. more >>
Dan Courtney, the atheist selected to deliver the invocation at Tuesday's town board meeting in Greece, New York, focused his brief speech on the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence.
Courtney, a mechanical engineer from Hamlin, requested to deliver the convocation in Greece shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the city in May, saying that sectarian prayers at town board meetings were constitutionally permissible, as long as board members didn't discriminate against other faiths.
While delivering his invocation, Courtney, a former president of the Free Thinkers of Upstate New York, focused his brief speech on the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence. more >>