The American Center for Law and Justice has sent out a legal letter supported by 81,500 Americans defending football team chaplains from the Freedom From Religion Foundation's claims that they're imposing their Christian beliefs on players. The ACLJ argued that if atheist professors are not considered to be posing an issue to students' rights, neither should sports chaplains.
"University students understand that they will be exposed to a variety of religious and nonreligious views on campus. Sports team chaplaincies pose no threat to the rights of university students to hold their own religious views, any more than does graduation prayer, or for that matter, a professor's avowed atheism," the conservative law group wrote in its letter.
"The Establishment Clause does not compel the expulsion of sports team chaplains who serve voluntarily to meet the spiritual needs of student athletes, any more than the Establishment Clause requires the razing of university chapels that exist to meet similar needs." more >>
Atheist author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has slammed a bill being debated by the Quebec Parliament in Canada that would make online "hate speech" against Islam illegal. Dawkins likened the bill to blasphemy laws, and described it as "blind and pathetic groveling to the Islamist lobby."
"Quebec Blasphemy Law. As ignominious as 'useful idiots' get. Blind and pathetic grovelling to the Islamist lobby," Dawkins said in a Twitter message on Monday.
The author cited a news story that was also reported by The Christian Post last month which described how the legislation, known as Bill 59, would grant Quebec Human Rights Commission powers to target Internet "hate speech," though the term is yet to be defined. more >>
After a statue of the Ten Commandments was officially approved to be erected on the grounds of the Arkansas state capitol last month, a Wisconsin-based group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation is demanding that a statue be erected representing atheism.
While the Ten Commandments commands Christians to honor "the Lord thy God," the FFRF statue would offer the opposite, "there are no gods."
"There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no Heaven or Hell. There is only our natural world," the statue would read, according to a letter sent to Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who signed the bill in April. more >>
Mark Richt, the head football coach at the University of Georgia, responded to an allegation made by the Freedom From Religion Foundation group that he and his brother-in-law Kevin "Chappy" Hynes, a chaplain for the team, force their Christian beliefs onto the football players.
"We're at a secular university, I understand that. I don't try to make anyone believe a certain way at all," The Telegraph quoted Richt as saying. "Anything that has to do with the spirit is strictly voluntary and never has any bearing on someone's availability to play at Georgia. It's always been that way."
FFRF has accused the coach of using his position to impose Christianity on the college team players and thereby violating church-state separation. "Some coaches think that students need to be Christian in order to be good people," FFRF stated in a report titled, Pray to Play, on coaches and chaplains who allegedly force their faith on players at U.S. public universities. more >>
Oklahoma's attorney general has decided to continue the effort to keep a Ten Commandments display on state Capitol grounds.
In a brief filed Thursday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt argued that a recent state Supreme Court decision against the display creates a climate of anti-religious hostility.
"Article II, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution, as interpreted by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and as applied to the Ten Commandments monument, now evinces such an extreme hostility to anything religious that it violates the Establishment Clause," reads the brief. more >>
A Georgia school district has launched an investigation into the mass baptism of a football coach and some of his players on the grounds of Villa Rica High School last month after a protest campaign was launched by the Freedom From Religion Foundation when video from the event was made public.
The video of the baptisms, which was shot by a staff member of First Baptist Villa Rica church and posted to YouTube, has since been removed but a copy is available in this Fox News report.
"We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!" the caption of the video read on YouTube before it was removed, according to 11 Alive. more >>