UPDATE: 2:44 p.m. ET Feb. 16, 2015
Chad Killebrew, executive editor of The Dispatch, responded to criticsm stemming from its decision to publish Thomas' letter.
"The Dispatch publishes almost all letters to the editor that arrive. ... "Some folks would like me to censure letters and have a stricter threshold for what publishes," he said. "But I believe in allowing as many people to voice their opinions as possible, whether I personally agree with their position or not. I do my best to make sure their points are accurate and edit out anything I know is wrong. Sometimes a person will take a fact and then interpret it in a rather odd way, or they will use what I consider dubious sources to support their position. Those can be challenging to deal with." more >>
A school district in Florida is considering a complaint sent by a Washington, D.C.-based atheist organization regarding a high school's morning announcement including the phrase "God Bless America."
The legal arm of the American Humanist Association recently sent a letter of complaint to Nassau County School District and Yulee High School on behalf of two students who took issue with the phrase "God bless America" being used on the school intercom.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization known for labeling organizations opposed to same-sex marriage as "hate groups," announced Wednesday that they're finally removing Dr. Ben Carson from their "extremist files" list.
In the online statement, the SPLC offered an apology for having Carson on a list that also includes white supremacists, Neo-Confederates, and anti-Semites.
"This week, as we've come under intense criticism for doing so, we've reviewed our profile and have concluded that it did not meet our standards, so we have taken it down and apologize to Dr. Carson for having posted it," stated SPLC. more >>
"That '70s Show" star Danny Masterson has spoken out to defend Scientology against claims being made in the upcoming documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief."
Masterson described the film as "the documentary where they interviewed eight people who hate Scientology. Everything in Scientology is just based on logic." He then went on to note that the author of the book by the same name was published in the United States alone.
"When I looked into it, I noticed that he couldn't publish that book in Canada or the U.K. because the libel laws are so much stricter than ours. And so when I asked about it, they're like, 'Oh yeah, there's basically like 200 lies in the book and so in England and in Canada he couldn't even publish that book.' Anyone can say anything about anything. How true it is—I guess that's up to the reader," Masterson told Paper magazine. more >>
U.S. Army Chaplain Capt. Joseph "Joe" Lawhorn has been wrongly disciplined for offering spiritual guidance, including biblical references, during a suicide prevention meeting, said 24 senators and representatives in a letter.
"We are concerned that this disciplinary action violated First Amendment free speech protection that are undergirded by state reflected in the FY2013 and FY2014 NDAAs, along with the accompanying DoD regulations," states the letter from the senators, sent to Army Secretary John McHugh.
"In fulfilling his duties as chaplain, Captain Lawhorn shared both his personal struggle with depression as well as biblical references and materials in accordance with the views of his endorsing agency and complementary to personal convictions." more >>
The school board of Orange County, Florida voted on Tuesday to ban the distribution of Bibles and all other religious materials at its public schools in order to prevent The Satanic Temple organization from handing out Satanic coloring books to students.
WFTV reported that board members voted 7-1 to amend school policy and ban all religious materials. The move is in response to The Satanic Temple attempting to offer coloring books and fact sheets to students in the Fall of 2014, after another group, World Changers of Florida, had offered Bibles.
The Liberty Counsel, which is representing the Christian group, argued that the school blocking the distribution of religious material is unconstitutional, and it may decide to sue. more >>