Freedom Of Religion

“There is a war going on for your mind;” a war being fought on battlefields and on billboards, in universities and Sunday schools, in blogs and boardrooms, capitol buildings and city parks….

FSMThanks for the find from Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing:

Justin Griffith, an atheist in the US military, tells the story of how he ended up with ATHEIST/FSM on his dogtags. It all started when he enlisted as an atheist, only to have his recruiter record his religion as “Baptist.” Even switching recruiters didn’t end up with the error corrected. At boot camp, recruits were only allowed one “holy book” from their stated religion, so he brought The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which became the most-loved book in camp, much-borrowed and re-read by the other recruits. Even his drill sergeant liked it. Kinda.

I’m really wondering if the goal now of the Republican Party is to get Barack Obama re-elected. Scott Collins reports in the LA Times:

Rick Santorum has not been a frequent presence on the Sunday morning chat shows during his Republican presidential campaign. But when he shows up, he really makes an impression.

On Sunday, the former Pennsylvania senator told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that a 1960 speech by John F. Kennedy to Baptist ministers in Houston made him want to “throw up.” In the speech, Kennedy, then running for president, tried to reassure critics that, as a Catholic, he would not take orders from the pope and that he believed in “absolute” separation of church and state.

Interesting article from Greta Christina on Alternet last year. How many people agree with the list? Let’s be clear. It’s not like it’s easy to be an atheist anywhere in the U.S….

Matt Stopera writes on BuzzFeed: After Christopher Hitchens passed away, the title of his book, God Is Not Great, started trending on Twitter. Here’s how some people, mostly “Christians,” reacted: [Click above…

Texas governor Rick “I-Have-A-Terrific-Haircut” Perry joins the race for the Republican nomination. Another conservative Christian candidate? What’s the difference between him and Michele Bachmann, aside from genitalia and Bachmann’s crazy-eyes? Arlette Saenz…

Via First Coast News:

Four years ago Sarah Phillips moved into her Sutton Lakes home and said she has never had a problem, until now. “We’ve had it out about a month. We haven’t had any complaints from the neighbors…, said Phillips.

Phillips has posted a Jesus sign in her yard and there was no reaction from anyone until she received a letter from the Sutton Lakes Homeowners Association telling her having it in her yard is a violation of the covenant. “It is basically telling us to remove the sign, under the bylaws,” she said. Phillips said she did sign the Covenant, Conditions and Restrictions, or CCR, but never agreed to allow the free exercise of her religion to be prohibited.

tallThis is my kind of “religious freedom” — an Austrian has won his legal battle to appear with his faith’s headgear — a colander — on his government ID. The BBC reports:

A self-confessed atheist, Niko Alm first applied for the license three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons. Mr Alm said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism.

After receiving his application the Austrian authorities had required him to obtain a doctor’s certificate that he was “psychologically fit” to drive.

Mr Alm’s pastafarian-style application for a driving licence was a response to the Austrian recognition of confessional headgear in official photographs. The licence took three years to come through and, according to Mr Alm, he was asked to submit to a medical interview to check on his mental fitness to drive but – straining credulity — his efforts have finally paid off.

Rick's GunMike Tolson writes in the Houston Chronicle:

A group that has already criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his involvement with a Christian prayer rally scheduled for Reliant Stadium next month went a step further Wednesday and filed a federal lawsuit in Houston to stop him from promoting it.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims Perry’s association with the “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a National in Crisis” breaches the separation of church and state.

The complaint, filed in the Southern District on behalf of five named individuals who live in Houston, notes the plaintiffs are “nonbelievers who support the free exercise of religion, but strongly oppose the governmental establishment and endorsement of religion ….”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Perry’s official involvement. A Perry spokesman said he won’t back away from the event.