A state worker in Colorado has filed an official complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division claiming she was forced to attend a lunch-hour Bible study while working at the Department of Education.
Theresa Chavez claimed in the recent complaint that during her time working at the Colorado Department of Education's Office of Professional Services and Educator Licensure, she was required to attend the bi-weekly Bible study sessions held by her supervisor, Norma Lawanson. The meetings reportedly took place every Wednesday and Thursday and Chavez claims that when she told Lawanson she wanted to stop attending the studies, she was punished.
"She told her supervisor that she no longer wanted to attend the studies, and things just went downhill from there," Chavez's attorney, Jennifer Robinson, told the local Denver 9WTK News for their investigative report on the alleged incident. "The Bible studies were on state property, at work, during work hours [and] using state resources." more >>
Ohio lawmakers are proposing a new bill that if passed would further protect religious freedoms, including prayer and references to Jesus, in the state's public schools. The bill comes after multiple cases in which public schools were forced to remove Jesus portraits from their campuses or face legal action from atheist groups.
The bill, the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was introduced to the state legislature earlier this week by Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Tim Derickson (R-Oxford), who argued that the legislation would block further encroachment on religious expression in the state. The bill has over three dozen additional co-sponsors.
"God gave us our rights, not the government, not the neighbor, but God. Government is here to protect those rights," Rep. Patmon said of the bill, according to NBC 4 News. "How many of our students, how many of our schools need prayer? It's a disservice that we do when we don't allow it, when we don't encourage it." more >>
Three high school choirs in the Whitefish School District, located in Montana's Flathead Valley, have decided to go through with their holiday concert at a local church despite complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Dozens of student members of the Flathead, Glacier and Whitefish high school choirs performed their annual "Peace on Earth Community Christmas Celebration" at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kalispell Thursday. They will be performing a second time Friday evening. School officials decided to go through with the performance despite recent complaints from the ACLU and FFRF which argued the concert was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state due to public school involvement with church activity.
"We are concerned that public school students will be performing at a place of worship as part of an event that is expressly religious in nature," ACLU Public Policy Director Niki Zupanic wrote in a letter addressed to the principals of the three public schools on Tuesday, as reported by the Missoulian. "This situation poses serious constitutional concerns and demonstrates a lack of respect for the individual religious beliefs of the students involved." Both the ACLU and the FFRF requested that the schools end their participation in the concert. more >>
An elementary school in Texas has banned Christmas trees and the colors red and green at its upcoming "winter" party though a recently passed state law protects traditional holiday greetings and displays at public schools. The school's principal said in an email that she and the PTA chose to ban Christmas at the party to avoid "offending anyone."
The PTA group at Nichols Elementary School in Frisco, Texas, recently sent an email to parents regarding an upcoming "winter" party for students. The email listed three rules that each student had to abide by while attending the party: no references to Christmas or other religious holidays, no Christmas trees, no colors red or green, and no items that will stain the classroom carpet.
The rules listed in the email go against the "Merry Christmas Law" passed in the state in June. The law, co-authored by Republican Rep. Pat Fallon, who oversees the district where Nichols Elementary School is located, protects schools from having to censor religious references during the holiday season. more >>
A major atheist group unveiled its own nonreligious holiday monument at Florida's capitol building in response to the recent installment of a nativity scene.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is hanging a secular banner at the state's capitol building in Tallahassee. The banner is reportedly a spoof on the classic nativity scene of Jesus in the manger. Instead of Jesus, there is a Bill of Rights laid in a manger with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Statue of Liberty gazing admiringly at the slip of paper. The banner reads in part: "Let us also honor the birth of our Bill of Rights, which reminds us there can be no freedom OF religion without having freedom FROM religion in government."
The banner is being hung in response to a nativity scene recently erected at the state's capitol building by the private Florida Nativity Scene Committee. The Capitol building is open to any group that wants to put up a display for the holidays, as long as they are first approved by the Department of Management Services. Another group has already put up a giant menorah to recognize the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The displays are all privately funded, and they include a disclaimer nearby that asserts the state's government does not support any one religion. more >>
Yet another phenomenon with a long paper trail in Islamic history has just taken place, even as the Western "mainstream"-little acquainted with true history or reality-dismisses it as an aberration. Asia News has the details:
Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula [an ancient Christian community where Christians were earlier forced to convert to Islam or die]… "Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon [Dec. 2]. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious," Mgr Zenari said …. Neither the nuncio nor the Greek Orthodox Church know [the] reason behind the kidnapping.
The "reason behind the kidnapping"? Sexual abuse and rape certainly should not be discounted, as these have been the lot of thousands of women abducted by U.S.-sponsored "freedom fighters" in Syria. Indeed, a new report issued by the National Reconciliation Commission in Syria states that some 37,000 women have been raped since the war started. more >>