Catholic Charities declared on Monday that it would not accept a $1,500 donation being offered by a Chicago restaurant because it mocks the communion wafer in a controversial burger on its menu called "Ghost."
On Oct. 1 Kuma's Corner located in the Avondale neighborhood in Chicago, Ill., began selling Ghost as a tribute to Swedish heavy metal band Ghost B.C.
"Okay Mortals, it's the first of the month and we are proud to announce the following: In the spirit of our undying reverence for the lord and all things holy, we give you the Ghost which we think is a fitting tribute to the supreme blasphemous activities carried out by the band itself," noted the restaurant in a post on its Facebook page. more >>
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee distributed a letter to 135 school superintendents throughout the state last week, telling them that school-sponsored prayer before football games is a violation of the Constitution's First Amendment that prohibits an endorsement of religion. In response to similar letters sent in the past, legal groups have countered the ACLU's claims by arguing that students have a constitutional right to free speech and religious expression.
"Our experience is that many public school administrators and educators struggle with how the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom apply to prayer during their school-sponsored events," Hedy Weinberg, the ACLU's executive director, said in an ACLU-Tennessee press release accompanying the letter.
"Our goal is to make sure that school systems statewide understand these First Amendment guarantees and commit to protecting religious freedom for all students, including athletes, and for their families who attend the games," Weinberg adds. The press release goes on to say that the ACLU, a nonprofit group, chose to send the letter to certain superintendents reading reports of prayer at football games. more >>
On July 23, a bipartisan majority of the House approved amendment 35 to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, effectively defunding square circles . . . er "atheist chaplains." The amendment codified current Department of Defense Policy under which chaplains must be certified by a religious organization whose primary function is to perform religious ministries, whose beliefs are sincerely held, and whose practices and rituals are not illegal or contrary to public policy. In other words, a chaplain is to be religious.
That chaplains are religious is not surprising, since Merriam-Webster's defines a military chaplain as "a priest or other . . . religious leader who performs religious services for a military group." That military chaplains believe in some outside being is not surprising: after all, the chaplaincy's motto is, Pro Deo et Patria (For God and Country).
What is surprising is that prominent humanists like Jason Heap would apply to be chaplains. more >>
Christian ministry pages on Facebook are being targeted for profane harassment, and Facebook is turning a blind eye. I believe it is time for those of us who use social media, especially Facebook, to send them a message.
Last year, I documented Facebook's glaring double standard when it came to allowing all kinds of obscene, Jesus-mocking Facebook pages (along with pages encouraging anti-Israel violence) while shutting down Christian pages that differed respectfully with homosexual activism (in this case, the page devoted to discussion of my book A Queer Thing Happened to America).
Thankfully, after bringing national attention to this issue and working with an internal contact at Facebook, the page was reactivated, with apologies from Facebook. (For the relevant stories, see here and here.) But the extremely offensive sites, replete with profane, Christ-defacing graphics and horrific anti-Jewish images, were not shut down, despite the clear standards articulated in Facebook's Community Guidelines. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear and decide several contentious cases, including matters related to public prayers at government meetings and states' right to restrict access to abortion, as it begins a new session on Monday after a summer break.
One of the cases, Town of Greece v. Galloway, deals with the question whether the public prayer held before a town meeting violates the First Amendment guarantee of separation of church and state.
The verdict in the case – oral arguments of which are scheduled for Nov. 6, according to Reuters – could greatly change the future of public religious expression in the nation. more >>
The mother of an 8-year-old girl is applauding her daughter's recent outspoken objection to a set of children's books that she described as "sexist." The girl's outrage at the contents of the books ultimately led them to be removed from shelves at a local bookstore in Berkeley, Calif.
Constance Cooper, a fantasy and science fiction writer, recently detailed the story of her daughter's "recognition of sexism" on her personal blog, constancecooper.com, writing of how the two were perusing the selection at the local Half Price Books store in Berkeley, Calif. when her daughter, KC, noticed something wrong.