Conversation with Sarah Jones of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. This conversation was in regards to a Nashville appearance. We talk religious upbringings and branching out, contemporary issues including Marriage Equality and Women’s Rights, and the stigmas that AU often faces.
Tag Archives | Separation of Church and State
A future in which the fanatical billionaire heads of our nation’s largest retail chains dictate what is taught in schools. Religion News Service reports:
… Read the rest
The Mustang, Okla., school board voted Monday to adopt the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum, an ambitious four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Bible developed by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green.
In September 2016, Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative, which is overseeing its development, hopes to place it in at least 100 high schools; by the following year, “thousands.”
If successful, Green, whose family’s wealth is estimated at upward of $3 billion, would galvanize the movement to teach the Bible academically in public schools, a movement born after the Supreme Court banned school-sanctioned devotion in the 1960s but whose steady progress in the last decades has been somewhat hampered.
The Green curriculum ”is like nothing we’ve seen before,” said Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and editor of a booklet sent out to all schools by the U.S.
Could offerings to the devil in the classroom help close the test score gap between the United States and other developed nations? From the Satanic Temple’s press release:
The Satanic Temple, a religious organization based in New York City, has declared May 15th as “Protect Children Day” with the mission of putting an end to corporal punishment and the use of isolation rooms in schools for Temple followers as well as for others who share their beliefs.
In addition to making a letter available to students, The Satanic Temple is also providing fact sheets on corporal punishment and solitary confinement, a Satanic-themed activity book, and FAQs so that students can understand their religious rights in school. “We want children to know that they are permitted to pray to Satan in school and that they can even share their religious beliefs with others in accordance with certain guidelines,” Greaves said.
Via Talking Points Memo, enabling parents to send their children to school without worry that they will be subjected to science:
… Read the rest
A Missouri lawmaker has proposed what ranks among the most anti-evolution legislation in recent years, which would require schools to notify parents if “the theory of evolution by natural selection” was being taught at their child’s school and give them the opportunity to opt out of the class.
The bill had its first public hearing Thursday after being introduced in late January. State Rep. Rick Brattin (R), who sponsored the bill, told a local TV station last week that teaching only evolution in school was “indoctrination.”
The bill is one of several anti-evolution proposals that have already appeared in statehouses across the country. But Brattin’s bill appears to be the only one, and perhaps the first, that would mandate parental notification that their children were being taught evolution in school.
Flower Mound, a Texas city of more than 60,000, believes it can fix the world’s problems by becoming a bible-based society. Via Fox News:
The mayor of a Texas city is raising some eyebrows after he officially declared 2014 the “year of the Bible.”
Tom Hayden, the mayor of Flower Mound, made the declaration at a city council meeting last month. Hayden says he had considered making the declaration for years because he wants his community to connect through the Bible, and finally decided to do so in 2014.
“The morality that helped build our country is based on the values that are found in the Bible. And as we look at problems, maybe we’re getting away from those values,” [said Hayden].
Hayden hopes to do so by encouraging all the residents of his town to read the entire Bible together in a year. Daily passages will be posted on a website called thebible2014.com, which was created by the Calvary Chapel of Flower Mound “as a connecting point to fulfill the Mayor’s vision.”
I am normally against displays of religion on public property, but I would be curious to see this come to fruition. The Florida Times-Union reports:
… Read the rest
The state Department of Management Services on Wednesday denied an attempt by “Satanists” to put up a display in the Florida Capitol, which currently showcases the Florida Prayer Network’s Christian Nativity scene, a Festivus pole made of beer cans, posters from atheists, and a crudely-made Flying Spaghetti Monster.
“The department’s position is that your proposed display is grossly offensive during the holiday season,” DMS Administrative Assistant Sherrie K. Routt emailed a group calling itself the Satanic Temple. The proposed display that bannered the phrase “Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple” atop a diorama of an angel falling into hell.
Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the temple, said in an email the group was “surprised and dismayed” by the rejection. However, before possibly challenging the decision, the temple is seeking clarification from DMS.
A Florida man has forced the state to display his homemade pillar of beer cans alongside a nativity scene at the state capitol, NBC 6 South Florida reports:
… Read the rest
A nearly 6-foot-tall pole made from emptied beer cans will be put up in the Florida Capitol this week as a not-so-subtle protest to the recent placement of a Christian nativity scene.
The homemade Festivus pole will be erected most likely on Wednesday in the same first-floor rotunda as a nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus Christ that was put up last week by the Florida Prayer Network. Festivus is a “holiday” created for the TV sitcom “Seinfeld”.
Chaz Stevens, a Deerfield Beach resident, applied to the state Department of Management Services to put the Festivus pole on display. Stevens said the intent of the Festivus pole is to make a political statement on the need for the separation of church and state.
The organization American Atheists had sued to have the Ten Commandments removed from the front of the county courthouse in Stark, Florida. But instead, in a historic turn of events, it was told that it could have its own monument. Via the Washington Post:
A group of atheists unveiled a monument to their nonbelief in God on Saturday to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County courthouse.
As a small group of protesters blasted Christian country music and waved “Honk for Jesus” signs, the atheists celebrated what they believe is the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States.
The 1,500-pound granite bench bears quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Madalyn Murray O’Hair. It also has a list of gruesome Old Testament punishments for violating the Ten Commandments, including death and stoning.
Does yoga belong in schools? Will this throw open the door to Hinduism, Buddhism, and the metaphysical infiltrating our classrooms? (I certainly hope so.) The Huffington Post reports:
In a closely watched lawsuit in the San Diego-area where a family had sued the Encinitas, Calif. school district for what it saw as government sponsorship of religion for its yoga classes, a judge ruled Monday that yoga has religious roots but is not religious the way it’s taught in the district. The family who sued in Monday’s case is Christian.
But the ruling will likely not settle the ongoing debate in over whether yoga, which has grown immensely in popularity, is most closely related to its religious roots in Hinduism, is a more general spiritual practice or is a non-religious and non-spiritual pursuit.
Patheos reports on the effort to make high school a little more cult-y:
… Read the rest
A group of Arizona politicians — all Republicans, of course — have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:
I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.
It’s bad enough the Republicans are demanding loyalty of the kind normally reserved for members of Congress and beyond. If this were to become a law, atheists would either not be allowed to graduate…or they would be forced to lie so they could graduate.