A major veterans' organization in Illinois has halted funding to a local park district after one of the park's atheist commissioners refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during board meetings, because the pledge includes the verse "One Nation, Under God."
Members of the Morton Grove Post 134 chapter of the American Legion, a nationwide veterans' association, recently announced that it would halt funding to the Morton Grove Park District because one of the park district's commissioners, Dan Ashta, refused to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings because he was an atheist. The Legion's chapter said that although it supports Ashta's right to not stand for the pledge, it ultimately does not accept it.
"On behalf of our post, it is with some regret that we fully respect the right of individuals to not stand during the pledge of allegiance," Joseph Lampert, Commander of Post 134, told Ashta at a board meeting two weeks ago. "All veterans have been willing to lose their lives for that right, and many have. With that being said, while we support that right, we do not accept it." more >>
A Texas student is threatening to sue his school district for suspending him after he tore up a bible on campus last week. The student is claiming he ripped up the bible as a form of protest because he was being "bullied" for being gay.
Isaiah Smith, an 18-year-old senior at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills, Texas, was expelled for three days last week after he brought his bible to school and began tearing up pages from the Book of Leviticus in front of students who he says had been taunting him about being gay, telling him he was going to hell for his sexual orientation.
"At my high school, some kids like to say that being gay is a sin and that you can't be gay and Christian," Smith said. "I wanted to bring my Bible to school and interpret the books of Leviticus and Romans, because they are often used to bully gay people," Smith told the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. more >>
The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether or not the sectarian prayers offered at a New York town's meetings are constitutional.
The highest court in the land will hear an appeal from a lower court decision regarding Greece, N.Y.'s practice of having explicitly Christian prayers open town meetings.
Known as Galloway v. Town of Greece, the lawsuit was filed by two residents of Greece who felt the sectarian prayers made them feel excluded from the public affairs of the town. more >>
A controversial 600-plus page manual used by the military to train its Equal Opportunity officers teaches that "healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian" men hold an unfair advantage over other races, and warns in great detail about a so-called "White Male Club."
"Simply put, a healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian male receives many unearned advantages of social privilege, whereas a black, homosexual, atheist female in poor health receives many unearned disadvantages of social privilege," reads a statement in the manual created by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).
The manual, which was obtained by Fox News, also instructs troops to "support the leadership of people of color. Do this consistently, but not uncritically," the manual states. more >>
The Associated Press' (AP) photography director attacked the Obama administration's policy of denying photo-journalists access to the president, comparing it to visual "propaganda."
The "President who campaigned on promise of most transparency has tightest control over access for PJs," tweeted photo-journalist Greg Kendall-Ball, whose twitter handle is @gregkb. Kendall-Ball was attending the AP Media Editor's national conference in Indianapolis, Ind., and he attributed this statement to Santiago Lyon, vice president of the AP and the wire service's director of photography, who spoke on Wednesday. Lyon (@slyon66) retweeted Kendall-Ball's tweet, apparently confirming its accuracy.
"White House official photos = visual press release," Kendall-Ball added, attributing both this statement and the follow-up question "Propaganda in America?" to Lyon. Lyon retweeted this as well. more >>
The Vatican news agency Fides reports today that two new mass graves containing a total of 30 bodies were found in Sadad, an ancient Christian town of some 15,000 people between Damascus and Homs, bringing to 45 the number of residents killed there by Islamist militias since October 21.
Surviving relatives and friends uncovered the graves after government forces recently recaptured the town from rebels. Those killed were reported by the local Syriac Orthodox metropolitan, who presided over 30 of their funerals this week, to be Christian civilians, including women and children. A list of their names was provided to the Catholic press. The Islamist rebel militias of Al Nusra Front and Daash were identified by eyewitnesses as responsible for this war crime.
The battle also resulted in the destruction and looting of the town, including its homes, hospitals, schools, government buildings and electrical, telephone, and water capabilities. St. Theodore's Syriac Orthodox Church and a number of the 4,000-year-old Assyrian town's 14 other churches and a monastery have been desecrated. more >>