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Becket Fund: Moments ago, a Virginia district court heard arguments regarding the Navy’s decision not to admit secular atheists into its religious chaplaincy.
Religion Clause: The American Humanist Association announced yesterday that it has filed a lawsuit against a Texas school district on behalf of a former student challenging the school board’s invocation policy.
‘God Bless America’ morning announcement at Florida school deemed a ‘Constitutional violation’ by atheist group; student forced to drop phrase
The Christian Post: A legal law group representing atheist students in Florida has said that a daily morning announcement at Yulle High School which includes the statement “God bless America” is a constitutional violation. The school has, in turn, agreed make the student who added the phrase on his own accord to stop saying it.
The Christian Post: 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.”
Fox News: A Florida high school student was disciplined after a national atheist organization took offense when he concluded the morning announcements by saying “God Bless America.”
Christian Today: A humanist group in Greenville County, South Carolina is seeking summary judgment in its case against the use of prayers in public schools in the county.
The Becket Fund: Samantha Jones, a high school student in New Jersey, successfully protected the right of all her fellow students to continue reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety. After hearing Samantha and her family’s case for the words ‘one nation under God,’ a state judge has decided to dismiss the American Humanist Association’s latest effort to take “under God” out of the Pledge.
WYFF4: A lawsuit challenging Greenville County Schools’ use of prayer could skip trial and go straight to judgement.
One News Now: The founder of Liberty Counsel says public schools aren’t prohibited by law from using religious facilities for events, despite the argument being made by a humanist group in a South Carolina lawsuit.
Gainesville Times: A lawsuit has been filed against Hall County School District for promoting prayer and Christianity.
Huffington Post (AP): Attorneys offered contrasting interpretations of the Pledge of Allegiance during oral arguments Wednesday in a New Jersey family’s lawsuit claiming a school district is discriminating against their child’s atheist beliefs.
Atheist suit against SC school for hosting graduation in Christian chapel to be reheard in district court
The Christian Post: A lawsuit accusing a South Carolina public elementary school of proselytizing Christianity by hosting its fifth grade graduation ceremonies in a Christian chapel and encouraging student speakers to include prayer in graduation speeches, will be reheard in U.S. District Court after an appeals court remanded an earlier district court ruling that sided with the school district.
Christian News Network: A prominent atheist activist organization and a nationally-recognized humanist group are demanding that a Georgia school district remove two Scripture verses from a sculpture that sits outside of the field house of a local high school.
The Christian Post: The Air Force announced that it will no longer require airmen to include the phrase “so help me God” as a part of an enlistment or officer appointment oath.
Aleteia: The American Humanist Association (AHA) recently launched a national campaign to rally Americans against reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Christian News Network: A nationally-recognized humanist organization is threatening to sue military officials after an atheist airman stationed at an Air Force base in Nevada was told that he must accept ‘so help me God’ in the reenlistment oath or his application will not be accepted.
The Christian Post: The American Humanist Association announced Monday a “Don’t Say the Pledge” campaign, arguing that their recent AHA poll found a third of Americans support removing the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Deseret News: Atheists and non-believers are targeting military installations over religious accommodations and statements, advocacy groups and media sources report.
Christianity Today: Can an evangelical research firm poll fairly on matters of religion?
The Christian Post: A secular organization has released a poll which states that over a third of Americans support removing the phrase “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Christian Post: A Washington, D.C.-based atheist organization has sent a letter to a Mississippi school district expressing concern about a mandatory faculty event that featured a Christian pastor.
Christian News Network: Approximately 200 students at a Georgia high school and their parents gathered to pray on the football field Wednesday—with an even larger gathering on Thursday—in response to a letter from a national humanist organization that threatened possible legal action if the school’s coaches continue “promot[ing] Christianity.”
Huffington Post: A day after the American Humanist Association threatened to sue a Georgia school district for permitting coaches to use the football program to promote religious acts and messages, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) lashed out against “liberal atheist interest groups” Wednesday for “trying to bully” high schoolers.
The Christian Post: The American Humanist Association (AHA) is about to learn a very important lesson — folks around Gainesville, Georgia don’t take kindly to out-of-town atheists trying to bully their children.
Baltimore Sun: “A divided Carroll County board of commissioners voted Tuesday to no longer invoke Jesus Christ in prayers before government sessions, a measure one commissioner said ‘binds me to an act of disobedience against my Christian faith.’”
Religion Clause: “The American Humanist Association announced yesterday that it has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons seeking require an Oregon federal prison to recognize Humanism as an official religious assignment option.”
OneNewsNow: “If Mountain View Elementary had to hold ceremonies at its own school, students would be limited to three attendees who would sit in cramped chairs designed for small children, says Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp.”
Washington Post: “A group of Carroll County residents has asked a federal judge to find county commissioners in contempt and to fine them $30,000 for allowing explicit prayers to be said at government meetings. The residents and the American Humanist Association filed the request with a U.S. District Court in Maryland on Tuesday, a week after a judge from that court ordered the five-member commission to halt sectarian prayers while a case over the issue proceeds.” | AHA press release.
Baltimore Sun: “A day after a federal judge barred Carroll County commissioners from invoking Jesus Christ in their pre-meeting prayers, Commissioner Robin B. Frazier did just that — twice — saying she was willing to go to jail for her beliefs.”
Religion Clause: “In Hake v. Carroll County Maryland, (D MD, March 26, 2014), a Maryland federal district court granted a preliminary injunction barring Carroll County, Maryland commissioners opening their commission sessions with sectarian prayer.”
Charisma News: “‘America’s Founding Fathers regularly opened public ceremonies with prayer, and federal appeals courts have ruled that students can do the same at graduation ceremonies because the speech is the student’s, not the school’s,’ says legal counsel Matthew Sharp. ‘In America, we tolerate a diversity of opinions and beliefs, and that includes the views of elementary students chosen to speak at a graduation celebration.’”
Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that rebuts the claims of an atheist group that sued a South Carolina school district over one of its school’s 5th-grade graduation ceremonies and lost.
CBS LA: “A national atheist organization may have won the battle over a Lake Elsinore roadside memorial that features a cross erected by a mother in honor of her late son.”
RNS: “On Thursday (Feb. 27), U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson of California’s Central District ruled that a granite monument depicting a soldier kneeling in prayer before a cross lacked ‘a secular purpose’ and has ‘the unconstitutional effect’ of endorsing religion over nonreligion.”
Religion Clause: “A humanist organization and three individuals yesterday filed suit challenging the constitutionality of a 40-foot tall cross erected nearly 90 years ago as a memorial to those killed in World War I. The cross is located on a median between roadways in Bladensburg, Maryland.”
Todd Starnes at Charisma News: “‘Public schools should encourage students to participate in as many community service opportunities as possible,’ says ADF attorney Matt Sharp.”
Kathy Schiffer at Seasons of Grace (Patheos): “ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp said in the letter: ‘Public schools should encourage students to participate in as many community service opportunities as possible.’”
“Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Friday to Robbinsdale Area Schools after an atheist group complained about students participating in a community service project at a church to pack meals for needy families in Haiti.”
ConnectMidMissouri.com: Fayette Superintendent Tamara Kimball says district administrators haven’t considered ending the Friday morning sessions since the American Humanist Association filed a complaint in November. She says the district doesn’t believe it has done anything wrong by allowing the Fellowship of Christian Students to conduct the sessions.
One News Now: Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance Defending Freedom says the American Humanists’ allegation that the school cannot work with religious organizations is wrong. Tedesco, Jeremy (ADF)“What the American Humanist Association is basically saying is that schools have to exclude religious people, religious organizations, from all their programs,” he explains. “And that’s unconstitutional hostility toward religion, not neutrality.”
Secularists Still Trying To Bully Christmas From The Public Square | Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom
Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom: And, despite news stories you might have seen in which various Christian leaders try to downplay that conflict, the truth remains that any effort to bring out the real meaning of the season in the public square – and in particular, in our public schools – is being met with legal intimidation from those who most aggressively reject the Baby in the manger … and His message.
Matt Sharp appeared on the Zeb Bell Show to discuss attacks on Christmas including this one: Atheist group seeks to deny poor children Christmas gifts. | MP3 audio 16:23 mins
Joel Oster at Speak Up Movement: A South Carolina federal court ruled in favor of common sense and comfort when it decided that a fifth grade graduation ceremony can be held at a chapel of a nearby Christian university rather than the cramped “cafetorium” in the elementary school.
Charisma News: “Public schools should provide students with as many community service opportunities as possible and not engage in unconstitutional discrimination,” says senior legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “The American Humanist Association is incorrect that neutrality toward religion requires schools to discriminate against beneficial programs simply because they are run by Christians. That is not neutrality but targeted religious discrimination forbidden by the First Amendment.”
Alliance Defending Freedom sent East Point Academy a letter offering free legal assistance after an atheist group threatened to file a lawsuit against the school for including a community service project sponsored by a religious organization as one of the many programs its students may voluntarily participate in.
One News Now: The American Humanist Association is suing a public school teacher in Missouri because she prayed for an injured student, allegedly violating the Establishment Clause.
Fox Carolina: A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Greenville County Schools can continue to allow student-led prayer and can continue to hold school events in places of worship, at least for now. | ZZ: American Humanist Association v. Greenville County School Dist. | American Humanist Association press release: Case Challenging Prayers, Chapel Use For Public School Graduation Continues In South Carolina
The Argus Observer: Educators and parents, what the American Humanist Association did was the true unconstitutional act. “Schools shouldn’t have to think twice about whether they can celebrate Christmas,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “School districts can and should allow religious Christmas carols to be part of their school productions, and they can lawfully help impoverished children through community service projects such as Operation Christmas Child” (Bethany Monk, Legal Group to 13,000 School Districts: Christmas is Constitutional, 2013).
Fox News: The legal arm of the American Humanist Association filed a complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, claiming that prayer sessions held at Fayette High School violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which says the government may not establish an official religion.
Religion Clause Blog: The American Humanist Association yesterday announced the filing of a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a weekly Christian prayer session sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Students at Fayette, Missouri High School. The complaint (full text) in American Humanist Association v. Fayette R-III School Distrct, (WD MO, filed 11/20/2013) . . .
Religion Clause Blog: In American Humanist Association v. City of Lake Elsinore, (CD CA, July 16, 2013), a California federal district court held that the design of a monument to military veterans that was to be installed at the city of Lake Elsinore-owned Diamond Stadium likely violates the Establishment Clause.
The Raw Story: The American Humanist Association threatened to sue Missouri’s Fayette School District and several school officials on Wednesday for their alleged roles in holding morning religious ceremonies with students on school grounds every week for at least the last year.
Religion Clause Blog: The complaint (full text) in M.B. v. Rankin County School District, (SD MI, filed 4/24/2013) alleges that Northwest Rankin High School held mandatory assemblies for various grade levels, led by members of the Pinelake Baptist Church.
Sentinel and Enterprise: The state’s highest court has opened the floodgate of opinion by seeking outside briefs in a religious discrimination case against the Acton-Boxboro Regional School District by an atheist family that is challenging the use of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance . . . Listed in the court docket as filing briefs so far are: the Acton School System, John Doe (the atheist family that filed the lawsuit and wished to remain anonymous), the American Humanist Association, Daniel and Ingrid Joyce, the Knights of Columbus, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Massachusetts Family Institute.
Patheos: Listed in the court docket as having filed briefs so far are: the Acton School System, John Doe (the atheist family that filed the lawsuit and wishes to remain anonymous), American Humanist Association, Daniel and Ingrid Joyce, the Knights of Columbus, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Massachusetts Family Institute.
Lowell Sun: Listed in the court docket as having filed briefs so far are: the Acton School System, John Doe (the atheist family that filed the lawsuit and wishes to remain anonymous), American Humanist Association, Daniel and Ingrid Joyce, the Knights of Columbus, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Massachusetts Family Institute.
CNN: Todd Stiefel is far from a household name, and the odds he gets recognized on a street corner, even in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, are small . . . “What I am trying to accomplish is multifold, he told CNN. “I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights. We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists. That is something I really want to accomplish.”
WDTN.com: Humanist and secular groups have joined the side of an Ohio school board in a court battle over the firing of a public school science teacher who kept a Bible on his desk and was accused of preaching religious beliefs in class.
Stillwater Gazette: Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said that his group doesn’t think churches should serve as polling places unless absolutely necessary.
CNSNews: In what one Republican calls an “unprecedented” move, an atheist group is advising all newcomers to the U.S. House of Representatives to stay away from the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
Sentinel and Enterprise: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is gearing up to hear a court case that could permanently strike the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance recited by schoolchildren.
Religion Clause Blog: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week granted an application for direct appellate review of a trial court’s decision in Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, a case brought by an atheist-humanist family challenging the constitutionality of the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in Massachusetts school
Gazette.net: A complaint filed by an atheist group asking for the removal of Bladensburg’s Peace Cross — a longtime community fixture dedicated to Prince George’s County veterans — has stoked debate and opposition from officials and residents across the county.
KnoxNews.com: The Lenoir City School Board has ceased opening its meetings with a prayer in a response to secular organizations who allege that prayer at board meetings and other school functions violates the Constitution.
Fox News: The American Humanist Association, a national atheist organization, says that Jessica Ahlquist, 16, of Cranston High School West, stood up for her beliefs despite critics . . .
Religion Clause: “On June 18, thirty national organizations comprising the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination, sent a letter (full text) to the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee urging it to hold hearings on the current status of the Faith-Based Initiative.”
Baptist Press: “Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), told reporters outside the court building, ‘The decision is favorable as far as it goes, but the Supreme Court didn’t go far enough. The box needs to come off that cross…. [T]he ACLU and its allies should not be allowed to eradicate and demolish religious symbols that acknowledge our religious heritage, acknowledge the sacrifice of our military heroes, based on the fact that one person is offended by what he sees there.’”
Atheist Group Calls on Obama to Endorse ‘National Day of Reason’ Instead of ‘National Day of Prayer’
CNSNews: “An atheist group is calling on President Obama to ditch the National Day of Prayer and formally recognize its own ‘non-theist’ version called ‘The National Day of Reason.’”
Baptist Press: “The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Oct. 7 on the display of a cross in the middle of federal land but seemed to indicate it would not address whether the war memorial violated the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion . . . ‘I walked in thinking this was going to be predominantly a question of standing that was going to be addressed, but it seems that the court really was more focused on the minutiae of the posture’ of the case, said Shafer, senior legal counsel for ADF.”
The American Humanist Association: “Attorneys for the 255 individual and 19 organizational plaintiffs in Newdow v. Roberts filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today.”