Tag Archives | Freedom Of Religion

Atheist Girl In Rhode Island Faces Stream Of Death Threats

Jessica Ahlquist is a 16-year-old self-described nerd who has garnered nationwide attention after successfully suing to have a giant banner emblazoned with an official school prayer removed from the auditorium of her public high school in Cranston, Rhode Island. The response has demonstrated the limits of Christian love — she has basically become the villain of her entire city, with her state representative, Peter Palumbo, called Jessica an “evil little thing” on the radio, and a sample of the online outpouring of hatred from other Cranston residents can be seen on JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks:

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The Filthy Little Atheist … Founding Father

[Site editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]

Thomas PaineThe story of his life is richer and weirder than any fiction. Among his close friends were visionary poets such as William Blake as well as political icons like Benjamin Franklin. Napoleon slept with his books by his pillow, and told him statues of gold should be erected to him in every city in the universe (but the admiration was not reciprocated). Thomas Edison believed him to be one of the most brilliant minds in human history. Some of his writings rank among the greatest bestsellers of the 18th century. He participated in the two revolutions (the American and the French) that changed the political face of the modern world.

During the American Revolution, George Washington used his writings to inspire his troops to remember what they were fighting for, and even suggested that no other individual had done more for the cause of American independence.… Read the rest

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FBI Crime Maps Now ‘Pinpoint’ Average Muslims

Islamic Cultural Center Of New YorkSpencer Ackerman reports on WIRED’s Danger Room:

It started out as a crimefighting tool. But over the years, an FBI effort known as “geo-mapping” evolved into something more expansive — a method to track Muslim communities, without any suspicion of a crime being committed.

Last month, Danger Room revealed that the FBI was training its agents that religious Muslims tended to be “violent” and that Islamic charity is merely a “funding mechanism for combat.” In response, both the FBI and the Justice Department promised full reviews of their training materials. But the geo-mapping effort indicates that the FBI may have more than just a training problem: The suspicion of ordinary Muslims promoted in those lectures may be spilling over into its counterterrorism tactics.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union acquired some of the FBI geo-maps (.pdf), like the one pictured after the jump, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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Add Muslim College Students to the List The NYPD Has Spied On

NYPDJoe Coscarelli writes in New York Magazine’s Daily Intel:

The Associated Press’s series on NYPD spying continues today with the news that Muslim students at colleges in New York were investigated covertly by the secret NYPD and CIA program that also monitored community centers, government allies, and entire neighborhoods in the years after September 11. The new report places NYPD undercover officers at schools including Brooklyn College, Baruch, Hunter, City College, Queens College, La Guardia, and St. John’s, where they sought out student radicalization. But according to experts, their methods “may have broken a 19-year-old pact with the colleges and violated U.S. privacy laws, jeopardizing millions of dollars in federal research money and student aid.”

“The government, through the police department, is working privately to destroy the private lives of Muslim citizens,” said Moustafa Bayoumi, an English professor at Brooklyn College.

“We come to the room, we talk, we chill,” said one 20-year-old student of his Islamic Society group at school.

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In Alabama Town, Offenders Must Choose Between Church And Jail

10073914-large“It was agreed by all the [area] pastors that the crime problem [is due to] the erosion of family values and morals.” Crime problem solved. Via the Washington Post:

Jail or Jesus. These are the options that one Alabama town is giving its non-violent offenders.

The program is called Operation Restore Our Community, WKRG reports. Bay Minette citizens charged with a misdemeanor can choose spending a year’s worth of Sundays in a local church rather than paying a fine and sitting in the clink.

Town police chief Mike Rowland…told the Alabama Press-Register: “It was agreed by all the pastors that at the core of the crime problem was the erosion of family values and morals. We have children raising children and parents not instilling values in young people.”

The stark choice has civil libertarians asking whether the initiative could be seen as government-coerced religion, which is forbidden under American law.

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Texas Governor Rick Perry Joins Presidential Race

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 reports on ABC News:

After months of speculation and prodding by Republicans, Texas Governor Rick Perry has officially entered the 2012 race. His spokesman, Mark Miner confirmed that Perry is running for president.

Perry will deliver a speech at the RedState.com Gathering in Charleston, S.C. Saturday. The speech was originally billed as an address that would make clear his intentions regarding a run for the presidency, but now it has turned official.

The Texas Governor will swing through three key early states – South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa – this weekend. Following his speech in Charleston, he will meet with S.C. Republican officials before heading to a house party in Greenland, New Hampshire where he will meet with Granite State voters.

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Florida Homeowners Association Vs. Jesus (Sign)

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.
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Atheist Group Sues Over ‘Ground Zero Cross’ At 9/11 Memorial

Ground Zero CrossReports the Associated Press via the Wall Street Journal:

NEW YORK — The installation of a cross-shaped steel beam at the Sept. 11 memorial at ground zero is unconstitutional, a national atheist group argued in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, asking a judge to order it removed or request that other religions and nonreligious views be equally represented at the site.

The museum is a public institution and should not reflect a specific religion, said the American Atheists, a nonprofit group aimed at safeguarding separation of church and state that filed the civil lawsuit in Manhattan State Supreme Court.

The cross was found amid the wreckage from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by a construction worker who said he stumbled onto a miracle. It was moved to the ground zero site last weekend from a temporary post after a blessing by a Catholic priest and is to become part of the permanent collection of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.

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