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Author Topic: Prayer and Religion in Public Life  (Read 33418 times)
Beach Bum
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« Reply #275 on: November 04, 2013, 01:20:17 PM »

I have to assume that the American Atheists that raised the issue brought forth factual evidence concerning why the grief counseling by clergy doesn't help in these circumstances first before requesting evidence that is does, correct?    I also have to assume that the American Atheists also brought forth a throughly planned alternative for the volunteer clergy that causes no additional burden for the taxpayer whatsoever while improving the level of counseling?   Or if the alternative proposed did cause increased burden for taxpayers that definite justification for the alternative was presented?

I can't imagine that the group just capriciously raised the objection, immediately demanded some form of validating study and yet offered no initial support to back their objections while not providing a more efficient, improved alternative for the existing volunteer counseling.  

Is the American Atheist group that raised the objection highly experienced in grief counseling and crime prevention methods?  I have to assume that there was more behind the objection other than their own personal objections to theists in general.

Did the American Atheist group provide data that showed that victims that received counseling were unhappy with the guidance they received?   Did the American Atheists provide data that indicates that the grief counseling was only a thinly veiled attempt to convert victims to the clergy-counseler's particular brand of faith?  Did the American Atheists group provide any studies that indicated that post-incident the victims that received counseling from pastors had their quality of life diminished?  Again, I have to assume that the objections were grounded in some of these kinds of ideas and data before the objections were raised.  

If these preliminary conditions were met (and accompanied the initial objections) then demands for independent studies by the local government in support of the theists' volunteer efforts would seem reasonable.  If not the objections seem like good ole fashioned grandstanding, but really nothing more than prattle.

Oh I doubt they offered any evidence.  I think they are a funny group.  Organized and lobbying based on a belief in nothing. 
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« Reply #276 on: November 04, 2013, 01:21:03 PM »

Texas woman recognized for 80 consecutive years with church
Published November 04, 2013
Associated Press

CHIRENO, TEXAS –  An East Texas woman has been recognized for her 80-year unbroken membership in her church.

Lilly Stone joined the Chireno United Methodist Church in 1933, when she was 8 years old. The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches reports that Stone was recently awarded a plaque signed by the church's bishop and district superintendent honoring her longtime membership.

Stone says, "It was a shock. I really didn't know how long I had been a member. I didn't think about it."

Stone joined the church while living with her grandmother, whose house abutted the church's parsonage.

Stone celebrated her 88th birthday on Thursday.

Chireno is a town of about 400 people located about 200 miles southeast of Dallas.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/04/texas-woman-recognized-for-80-consecutive-years-with-church/?intcmp=latestnews
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« Reply #277 on: November 04, 2013, 04:32:46 PM »

Great story.

Fox News' Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower
Of all people surprised that I became an evangelical Christian, I'm the most surprised.
Kirsten Powers
posted 10/22/2013

Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I'd be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion—especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy. It was borrowed from my archaeologist father, who was so brilliant he taught himself to speak and read Russian. When I encountered doubt, I would fall back on the fact that he believed.

Leaning on my father's faith got me through high school. But by college it wasn't enough, especially because as I grew older he began to confide in me his own doubts. What little faith I had couldn't withstand this revelation. From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.

After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who, if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.

I sometimes hear Christians talk about how terrible life must be for atheists. But our lives were not terrible. Life actually seemed pretty wonderful, filled with opportunity and good conversation and privilege. I know now that it was not as wonderful as it could have been. But you don't know what you don't know. How could I have missed something I didn't think existed?

Very Open-Minded

To the extent that I encountered Christians, it was in the news cycle. And inevitably they were saying something about gay people or feminists. I didn't feel I was missing much. So when I began dating a man who was into Jesus, I was not looking for God. In fact, the week before I met him, a friend had asked me if I had any deal breakers in dating. My response: "Just nobody who is religious."

A few months into our relationship, my boyfriend called to say he had something important to talk to me about. I remember exactly where I was sitting in my West Village apartment when he said, "Do you believe Jesus is your Savior?" My stomach sank. I started to panic. Oh no, was my first thought. He's crazy.

When I answered no, he asked, "Do you think you could ever believe it?" He explained that he was at a point in life when he wanted to get married and felt that I could be that person, but he couldn't marry a non-Christian. I said I didn't want to mislead him—that I would never believe in Jesus.

Then he said the magic words for a liberal: "Do you think you could keep an open mind about it?" Well, of course. "I'm very open-minded!" Even though I wasn't at all. I derided Christians as anti-intellectual bigots who were too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world. I had found this man's church attendance an oddity to overlook, not a point in his favor.

As he talked, I grew conflicted. On the one hand, I was creeped out. On the other hand, I had enormous respect for him. He is smart, educated, and intellectually curious. I remember thinking, What if this is true, and I'm not even willing to consider it?

A few weeks later I went to church with him. I was so clueless about Christianity that I didn't know that some Presbyterians were evangelicals. So when we arrived at the Upper East Side service of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, I was shocked and repelled by what I saw. I was used to the high-church liturgy of my youth. We were meeting in an auditorium with a band playing what I later learned was "praise music." I thought, How am I going to tell him I can never come back?

But then the pastor preached. I was fascinated. I had never heard a pastor talk about the things he did. Tim Keller's sermon was intellectually rigorous, weaving in art and history and philosophy. I decided to come back to hear him again. Soon, hearing Keller speak on Sunday became the highlight of my week. I thought of it as just an interesting lecture—not really church. I just tolerated the rest of it in order to hear him. Any person who is familiar with Keller's preaching knows that he usually brings Jesus in at the end of the sermon to tie his points together. For the first few months, I left feeling frustrated: Why did he have to ruin a perfectly good talk with this Jesus nonsense?

Each week, Keller made the case for Christianity. He also made the case against atheism and agnosticism. He expertly exposed the intellectual weaknesses of a purely secular worldview. I came to realize that even if Christianity wasn't the real thing, neither was atheism.

I began to read the Bible. My boyfriend would pray with me for God to reveal himself to me. After about eight months of going to hear Keller, I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity. But I didn't feel any connection to God, and frankly, I was fine with that. I continued to think that people who talked of hearing from God or experiencing God were either delusional or lying. In my most generous moments, I allowed that they were just imagining things that made them feel good.

Then one night in 2006, on a trip to Taiwan, I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, "Here I am." It felt so real. I didn't know what to make of it. I called my boyfriend, but before I had time to tell him about it, he told me he had been praying the night before and felt we were supposed to break up. So we did. Honestly, while I was upset, I was more traumatized by Jesus visiting me.

Completely True

I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn't shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.
I didn't know what to do, so I spoke with writer Eric Metaxas, whom I had met through my boyfriend and who had talked with me quite a bit about God. "You need to be in a Bible study," he said. "And Kathy Keller's Bible study is the one you need to be in." I didn't like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn't understand. (It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.)

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don't remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I'll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, "It's true. It's completely true." The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

The horror of the prospect of being a devout Christian crept back in almost immediately. I spent the next few months doing my best to wrestle away from God. It was pointless. Everywhere I turned, there he was. Slowly there was less fear and more joy. The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.

Kirsten Powers is a contributor to USA Today and a columnist for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. She is a Democratic commentator at Fox News.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november/fox-news-highly-reluctant-jesus-follower-kirsten-powers.html?paging=off
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« Reply #278 on: November 06, 2013, 07:49:47 PM »

Supreme Court wrestling with prayer at NY town's meetings
Published November 06, 2013
Associated Press

The Supreme Court is wrestling with the appropriate role for religion in government in a case involving prayers at the start of a New York town's council meetings.

The justices engaged in a lively give-and-take Wednesday that highlighted the sensitive nature of offering religious invocations in public proceedings that don't appeal to everyone and of governments' efforts to police the practice.

The court is weighing a federal appeals court ruling that said the Rochester suburb of Greece, N.Y., violated the Constitution because nearly every prayer in an 11-year span was overtly Christian.

The tenor of the argument indicated the justices would not agree with the appellate ruling. But it was not clear what decision they might come to instead.

Justice Elena Kagan summed up the difficult task before the court when she noted that some people believe that "every time the court gets involved, things get worse instead of better."

Greece is being backed by the Obama administration and many social and religious conservative groups in arguing that the court settled this issue 30 years ago when it held that an opening prayer is part of the nation's fabric and not a violation of the First Amendment. Some of those groups want the court to go further and get rid of legal rules that tend to rein in religious expression in the public sphere.

On the other side are the two town residents who sued over the prayers and the liberal interest groups that support them. Greece residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens say they and others who attend the meetings are a captive audience and should not be subjected to sectarian prayers.

At its broadest, the outcome could extend well beyond prayer and also affect holiday displays, aid to religious schools, Ten Commandments markers and memorial crosses. More narrowly, the case could serve as a test of the viability of the decision in Marsh v. Chambers, the 1983 case that said prayer in the Nebraska Legislature did not violate the First Amendment's clause barring laws "respecting an establishment of religion," known as the Establishment Clause.

The potentially decisive vote in the case belongs to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who did not seem satisfied with arguments made by lawyers for Greece and the administration on one side and for the Greece residents on the other.

On the one hand, Kennedy said he did not like the thought that government officials or judges would examine the content of the prayers to make sure they are not sectarian. "That involves the state very heavily in the censorship of prayers," Kennedy said.

On the other hand, he objected to the reliance by the town and the administration on the decision in Marsh.

All the while, Justice Stephen Breyer was trying out potential outcomes that recognized both the tradition of prayer and the rights of religious minorities and non-believers. "If all that was left in the case were questions of making a good-faith effort to include others, would you object to doing it?" Breyer asked Thomas Hungar, the Washington, D.C., lawyer who is representing the town.

Hungar said he did not know, but asserted that the town already has engaged in the outreach Breyer described.

In Greece, every meeting was opened with a Christian-oriented invocation from 1999 through 2007, and again from January 2009 through June 2010. In 2008, after Galloway and Stephens complained, four of 12 meetings were opened by non-Christians, including a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess and the chairman of the local Baha'i congregation.

The two residents filed suit and a trial court ruled in the town's favor, finding that the town did not intentionally exclude non-Christians. It also said that the content of the prayer was not an issue because there was no desire to proselytize or demean other faiths.

But a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that even with the high court's 1983 ruling, the practice of having one Christian prayer after another amounted to the town's endorsement of Christianity.

A decision is expected by late June.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/06/supreme-court-wrestling-with-prayer-at-ny-town-meetings/
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« Reply #279 on: March 17, 2014, 08:13:19 PM »

Time to kick those paranoid religious extremists out of public schools.

Buddhist Student, Religious Liberty Prevail In Louisiana


 The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana have filed a federal lawsuit against a public school in Sabine Parish that harassed a non-Christian student and has a long history of proselytizing students and promoting religion. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two parents, Scott and Sharon Lane, and their three children, including their son, C.C., who is a Buddhist of Thai heritage.

According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, C.C enrolled in Negreet High School, which serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, earlier this year as a sixth-grader and quickly became the target of harassment by school staff. His science teacher, Rita Roark, repeatedly taught students that the Earth was created by God 6,000 years ago, that evolution is "impossible," and that the Bible is "100 percent true."

Roark also regularly features religious questions on her tests such as "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" When C.C. did not write in Roark's expected answer, "LORD," she belittled him in front of the rest of the class. While studying other religions, Roark has told students that Buddhism is "stupid."

When Plaintiffs objected, Sabine Parish Superintendent, Sara Ebarb, told them that "this is the Bible belt." She suggested that C.C. should "change" his faith or transfer to another district school 25 miles away where, in her words, "there are more Asians." Ultimately, C.L.'s parents did transfer him to another school to protect him, but school officials at that school also unconstitutionally promote religion.

Beyond Roark's classroom, the school also regularly incorporates official Christian prayer into class and school events. School officials display religious iconography through hallways and classrooms, including a large portrait of Jesus Christ, and an electronic marquee in front of the school scrolls Bible verses as students enter the building.

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an order prohibiting the school district from continuing to promote religion or disparage Plaintiffs' faith and to require the district to reimburse the Lanes for the cost of transporting C.C. to another school.

Status: Victory! On March 14, 2014 a federal district court entered an order requiring the school district to refrain from unconstitutionally promoting or denigrating religion. The court’s order also mandates in-service training for school staff regarding their obligations under the First Amendment.

https://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/lane-v-sabine-parish-school-board
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« Reply #280 on: May 05, 2014, 08:04:25 PM »

Supreme Court upholds prayer at government meetings
Richard Wolf, USA TODAY 6:57 p.m. EDT May 5, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday narrowly upheld the centuries-old tradition of offering prayers to open government meetings, even if the prayers are overwhelmingly Christian and citizens are encouraged to participate.

The 5-4 ruling, supported by the court's conservative justices and opposed by its liberals, was based in large part on the history of legislative prayer dating back to the Framers of the Constitution.

Defending a practice used by the town of Greece, N.Y., the majority ruled that opening local government meetings with sectarian prayers doesn't violate the Establishment Clause as long as no religion is advanced or disparaged, and residents aren't coerced.

The alternatives, the conservative justices said, would be worse: having government officials and courts "act as supervisors and censors of religious speech," or declaring all such prayers unconstitutional.

"As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, inaugural prayer, or the recitation of 'God save the United States and this honorable court' at the opening of this court's sessions," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the principal dissent for the court's liberal bloc, arguing that the intimate setting of local government meetings, the participation of average citizens and the dominance of Christian prayer-givers put the policy out of bounds.

"When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another," Kagan said. "And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines."

The long-awaited ruling came seven years after two women -- a Jew and an atheist -- took the town to court, and six months after oral arguments in November.

SEVEN YEARS IN COURT

The legal tussle began in 2007, following eight years of nothing but Christian prayers in the town of nearly 100,000 people outside Rochester. Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens took the board to federal court and won by contending that its prayers – often spiced with references to Jesus, Christ and the Holy Spirit – aligned the town with one religion.

Once the legal battle was joined, town officials canvassed widely for volunteer prayer-givers and added a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess and a member of the Baha'i faith to the mix.

The two women contended that the prayers in Greece were unconstitutional because they pressured those in attendance to participate. They noted that unlike federal and state government sessions, town board meetings are frequented by residents who must appear for everything from business permits to zoning changes.

While the court had upheld the practice of legislative prayer in the past, most recently in a 1983 case involving the Nebraska Legislature, the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway therefore presented the justices with a new twist: mostly Christian clergy delivering frequently sectarian prayers before an audience that often included average citizens with business to conduct.

In the end, five justices said those facts didn't make what the Greece Town Board did unconstitutional, while four others said they did.

"The First Amendment is not a majority rule, and government may not seek to define permissible categories of religious speech," Kennedy said. "Once it invites prayer into the public sphere, government must permit a prayer-giver to address his or her own God or gods as conscience dictates."

Not so, Kagan argued for the losing side. She said the town's prayers differed from those delivered to federal and state legislators about to undertake the people's business. In Greece, she said, sectarian prayers were delivered to "ordinary citizens" who might feel ostracized or vulnerable if they didn't participate.

"No one can fairly read the prayers from Greece's town meetings as anything other than explicitly Christian – constantly and exclusively so," Kagan said. "The prayers betray no understanding that the American community is today, as it long has been, a rich mosaic of religious faiths."

Instead of the existing policy, Kagan said the town board should follow the example of Congress' chaplains by giving clergy guidance about avoiding sectarian or divisive prayers.

But several justices were doubtful during oral arguments last year any prayer could satisfy everyone, leaving the court little option but to reiterate its support of legislative prayer or remove it entirely from government meetings – something they clearly did not want to do.

Justice Samuel Alito drove home that point in a separate concurrence Monday in which he called the liberals' dissent "quite niggling."

"Not only is there no historical support for the proposition that only generic prayer is allowed," Alito said, "but as our country has become more diverse, composing a prayer that is acceptable to all members of the community who hold religious beliefs has become harder and harder."

THREE DECADES OF CONTROVERSY

The court's 30-year-old precedent, Marsh v. Chambers, upheld the Nebraska Legislature's funding of a chaplain who delivered daily prayers. Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled then that such prayers were "part of the fabric of our society." The decision prohibited only those prayers that take sides by advancing or disparaging a particular religion.

Since Marsh, backers of more church-state separation had made modest gains. In 1984, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's "endorsement test" established that every government practice must be examined to determine whether it endorses one religion. In 1989, the court ruled that a Christmas crèche display on a courthouse staircase went too far by endorsing Christianity and brought forth O'Connor's "reasonable observer" test.

The current court agreed to consider the case following a federal appeals court's ruling against the town. Judge Guido Calabresi of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals had said its actions "virtually ensured a Christian viewpoint" and featured a "steady drumbeat of often specifically sectarian Christian prayers."

The case hinged on these words from the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That has come to be known as the Establishment Clause.

The Obama administration came down forcefully on the town's side – most notably because both houses of Congress have opened with prayers since 1789. But the prayers delivered there these days are far less sectarian than those heard in churches, temples and synagogues.

Most state legislatures open their sessions with a prayer, nearly half of them with guidelines. Many county legislatures open meetings with a prayer, according to an informal survey by the National Association of Counties. National data on prayer practices at the city, town and village levels do not exist.

The Supreme Court cracked down on prayer in schools in the 1960s, ruling against Bible readings, the Lord's Prayer or an official state prayer.

In Lemon v. Kurtzman, a 1971 case involving religion in legislation, the high court devised what became known as the "Lemon test." Government action, it said, should have a secular purpose, cannot advance or inhibit religion and must avoid too much government entanglement with religion.

Then came Marsh, in which the court gave a green light to legislative prayer that does not advance or disparage any faith.

Kennedy said Monday's decision follows in that spirit.

"The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce non-believers," he said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/05/supreme-court-government-prayer-new-york/4481969/
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« Reply #281 on: May 08, 2014, 03:02:09 PM »

Atheist group renews suit regarding school prayer in Rankin County schools

 The Associated Press By The Associated Press
on May 07, 2014 at 7:27 PM, updated May 07, 2014 at 7:31 PM


 JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A student supported by an atheist group says the Rankin County school district is still violating a ban on school prayer.

The senior at Northwest Rankin High School, represented by the American Humanist Association, filed a contempt motion Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson. The student says an April 17 districtwide honors program violated the district's November settlement of a lawsuit over Christian-themed assemblies at the school.

A district spokeswoman and a lawyer didn't respond to requests for comment.

In an affidavit, the student said the Rev. Rob Gill, pastor of St. Mark's United Methodist Church, gave an invocation at the honors program, meant to recognize all students in the district who scored above 22 on the ACT test.

The student said she felt pressured to participate in a prayer that she perceived as a reference to Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The student said Rankin County Superintendent Lynn Weathersby and other officials took part.

"As a result of the defendants' actions surrounding the prayer at the awards ceremony, I felt incredibly embarrassed, humiliated and frustrated," states the 17-year-old student, identified only as M.B. in the complaint.

The student said she was also forced to attend the original assembly at Northwest Rankin that sparked the lawsuit.

The association says the district agreed to bar official prayer during the school day, citing a policy Rankin County adopted in July 2013 that states in part that "school activities conducted during instructional hours should neither advance, endorse or inhibit any religion; should be primarily for secular purposes and should not obligate or coerce any person into participation in a religious activity."

Monica Miller, a lawyer for the association, said the assembly took place during school hours and is covered by the consent decree. Miller said the association contends that any official prayer at a student activity is an unconstitutional promotion of religion, citing U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

That same high court ruled last week that organized prayer before government meetings was permissible.

A 2013 state law tried to create a way for Mississippi public school students to pray at football games, graduations and other school functions. But because the prayer in question wasn't delivered by a student, the law doesn't appear to apply.

The association asks U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves to issue civil contempt fines of $1,000 apiece against the district and Northwest Rankin Principal Charles Frazier, giving the money to the student, and to threaten the district with a $20,000 fine for any future violation. The student also asked that Reeves make the district pay attorney fees. The association was awarded $15,000 in fees in the initial settlement.


http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2014/05/atheist_group_renews_suit_rega.html
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« Reply #282 on: May 12, 2014, 07:43:39 PM »

Another paranoid religious extremist.
He actually sounds a lot like some of the more pious posters here.


2nd-class status for nonChristians? A baby step toward theocracy

If supervisor Al Bedrosian has his way, only Christian prayers would be said to launch Roanoke County Board of Supervisors meetings.


By Dan Casey | The Roanoke Times

In the wake of Monday's 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing sectarian prayers as invocations during government meetings, Roanoke County Supervisor Al Bedrosian already is making some plans to change the county Board of Supervisors' nonsectarian prayer policy, though it's doubtful the board will go along.

If Bedrosian gets his way, only Christians could give the officials opening prayers. Jews, Hindus and followers of other faiths would be shut out, relegating them to second-class status.

Here are the juicy bits from a story by my colleagues Zach Crizer and Chase Purdy in today's paper:

"The freedom of religion doesn’t mean that every religion has to be heard,” said Bedrosian, who added that he is concerned about groups such as Wiccans and Satanists. “If we allow everything … where do you draw the line?”

. . . Bedrosian said he envisions a setup by which the supervisors would approve, individually, people from their districts to offer the opening prayer. That system would hold supervisors accountable to their districts, he added.

When asked if he would allow representatives from non-Christian faiths and non-faiths, including Jews, Muslims, atheists and others, the Hollins District supervisor said he likely would not.

. . .If a non-Christian wished to pray during a meeting under his idea for the prayer policy, Bedrosian said, he or she would be able to do so during the allotted time for citizen comment.

“I think America, pretty much from founding fathers on, I think we have to say more or less that we’re a Christian nation with Christian ideology,” Bedrosian said. “If we’re a Christian nation, then I would say that we need to move toward our Christian heritage.”

http://www.roanoke.com/news/columns_and_blogs/blogs/dan_casey/a-baby-step-toward-theocracy/article_bbe6a9fc-d51a-11e3-b520-0017a43b2370.html
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« Reply #283 on: May 19, 2014, 07:17:09 AM »

Oh I doubt they offered any evidence.  I think they are a funny group.  Organized and lobbying based on a belief in nothing. 

That would be the naive view of it. I think the broader view is an enchroachment on their lives by religious people and their beliefs. So they organized to stave off the infringement. Right wrong or indifferent, that's likely the catalyst for their organization
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« Reply #284 on: May 19, 2014, 11:37:11 AM »

That would be the naive view of it. I think the broader view is an enchroachment on their lives by religious people and their beliefs. So they organized to stave off the infringement. Right wrong or indifferent, that's likely the catalyst for their organization

So free grief counseling by priests and pastors offered to victims of violent crimes encroaches upon your life?  

Let's say your neighbor is raped and stabbed yet survives the attack and a reverend shows up at your neighbor's house or hospital to offer them guidance and counsel at no charge with no obligation whatsoever.  

How does that impact you?  

Short answer: It doesn't.

Oh, I'm sure there's some elaborate, "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", nonsense labyrinth of disjointed, anti-theist, political agendas that goes from your neighbor's crime (that doesn't involve you in anyway) back full circle and illogically adjacent to an utter violation of your civil liberties LOL.

I'm guessing the Salvation Army holiday bell ringers at Walmart are also destroying your personal freedoms LOL?  Those bastards!!!  
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« Reply #285 on: May 30, 2014, 09:11:42 AM »

So free grief counseling by priests and pastors offered to victims of violent crimes encroaches upon your life?  

Let's say your neighbor is raped and stabbed yet survives the attack and a reverend shows up at your neighbor's house or hospital to offer them guidance and counsel at no charge with no obligation whatsoever.  

How does that impact you?  

Short answer: It doesn't.

Oh, I'm sure there's some elaborate, "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", nonsense labyrinth of disjointed, anti-theist, political agendas that goes from your neighbor's crime (that doesn't involve you in anyway) back full circle and illogically adjacent to an utter violation of your civil liberties LOL.

I'm guessing the Salvation Army holiday bell ringers at Walmart are also destroying your personal freedoms LOL?  Those bastards!!!  

1. Nope but it violates seperation of Church and State. We have trained grief counselors that visit crime victims and they don't spread the word of any religion, they are trained, educated and certified counselors.

2. That is very nice of the reverend to do that, however when a government entity sends the reverend, that's where I have a problem. Again, there are real counselors available for such instances

3. Slippery slope, government shouldn't be in the business of providing spritual or religious counseling

4. I can answer for myself thank you
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« Reply #286 on: May 30, 2014, 09:38:55 AM »

1. Nope but it violates seperation of Church and State. We have trained grief counselors that visit crime victims and they don't spread the word of any religion, they are trained, educated and certified counselors.

2. That is very nice of the reverend to do that, however when a government entity sends the reverend, that's where I have a problem. Again, there are real counselors available for such instances

3. Slippery slope, government shouldn't be in the business of providing spritual or religious counseling

4. I can answer for myself thank you
Sorry, but a definite violation of church and state is specious and reaching.  

There is nothing unconstitutional about one person freely communicating their faith with another person.  There is something unconstitutional about a government telling a civilian that they can't do that....that's a violation of civil liberties.   Now, forcing someone to participate in a regular religious ceremony that is also unconstitutional.

Many force fit the slippery slope notion based upon their own agenda....it goes both ways.  Regardless, the victims in question are not civil authorities....they are individuals.  The term "state" does not automatically apply to the victim and the term "church" does not automatically apply to a pastor offering counseling.

Now, the presupposition tends to be that the reverend/pastor/priest is always sharing their faith in those moments.  Many "men of the cloth" have legitimate study and expertise in counseling that has nothing to do with the church, faith or theology.

So, in the future, if you happen to be the victim in an unforseen situation (I pray that isn't the case) and a priest comes to your home or hospital to offer counseling simply decline with a "no thank you".  Your rights and the priest's rights are both fully upheld.
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« Reply #287 on: May 30, 2014, 11:33:07 AM »

Sorry, but a definite violation of church and state is specious and reaching.  

There is nothing unconstitutional about one person freely communicating their faith with another person.  There is something unconstitutional about a government telling a civilian that they can't do that....that's a violation of civil liberties.   Now, forcing someone to participate in a regular religious ceremony that is also unconstitutional.

Many force fit the slippery slope notion based upon their own agenda....it goes both ways.  Regardless, the victims in question are not civil authorities....they are individuals.  The term "state" does not automatically apply to the victim and the term "church" does not automatically apply to a pastor offering counseling.

Now, the presupposition tends to be that the reverend/pastor/priest is always sharing their faith in those moments.  Many "men of the cloth" have legitimate study and expertise in counseling that has nothing to do with the church, faith or theology.

So, in the future, if you happen to be the victim in an unforseen situation (I pray that isn't the case) and a priest comes to your home or hospital to offer counseling simply decline with a "no thank you".  Your rights and the priest's rights are both fully upheld.

again, a priest happening to drop by verses a priest sent by the city of ________ is two different things...
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« Reply #288 on: May 30, 2014, 12:09:39 PM »

again, a priest happening to drop by verses a priest sent by the city of ________ is two different things...

I agree with you, but to my point these pastors/ministers/reverends/priests do have extensive experience and expertise in counseling.  Not all of course, but many.  The counseling service on behalf of the city can be completely unrelated to the church and not considered "church outreach".    Churches tie into other service organizations all the time and don't spread the gospel....they just perform the service.   

Again, the terms "church" and "state" are loosely assigned to different parties incorrectly.  A city government sending local church leadership who are skilled in counseling to assist victims of violent crimes at no charge to the victim or city is not a violation of anyone's civil liberties.   A secular, civil authority sending a local church to perform religious ceremonies of some sort would most likely violate the idea of separation of church and state.  Two separate entities can collaborate without violating people's civil liberties though. 
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« Reply #289 on: May 30, 2014, 02:02:19 PM »

I agree with you, but to my point these pastors/ministers/reverends/priests do have extensive experience and expertise in counseling.  Not all of course, but many.  The counseling service on behalf of the city can be completely unrelated to the church and not considered "church outreach".    Churches tie into other service organizations all the time and don't spread the gospel....they just perform the service.   

Again, the terms "church" and "state" are loosely assigned to different parties incorrectly.  A city government sending local church leadership who are skilled in counseling to assist victims of violent crimes at no charge to the victim or city is not a violation of anyone's civil liberties.   A secular, civil authority sending a local church to perform religious ceremonies of some sort would most likely violate the idea of separation of church and state.  Two separate entities can collaborate without violating people's civil liberties though. 

Montgomery Police Department Chaplain E. Baxter Morris said the program offers an “evangelistic advance,” and said it gives him an opportunity to “share a word from Christ” to victims, AL.com reported.
.
.
. I have a problem with that
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« Reply #290 on: June 05, 2014, 09:28:16 AM »

Nice.  And the paranoid anti-religous extremists meltdown.   Smiley

Missouri principal wows crowd, angers atheists with guarded 'God' references
By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published June 05, 2014
FoxNews.com

A Missouri high school principal who garnered thunderous applause and a starring role in a viral video for a commencement speech in which he repeatedly invoked God in ways to dodge First Amendment objections has atheists seeing red.

Lebanon High School Principal Kevin Lowery can be seen on a 3-minute YouTube clip reminding graduates that the nation’s motto of “In God We Trust” can be found on U.S. currency and in Francis Scott Key’s original version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Lowery also wryly noted during the May 23 commencement that even though “God is reflected in the very fabric” of the nation, it would be inappropriate to mention The Almighty at a secular ceremony.

“So while it would not be politically correct for us to have an official prayer this evening, I would like for us to have a moment of silence in honor of tonight’s graduates,” Lowery told students. “Thank you. And just in case you’re interested, during my moment of silence, I gave thanks to God for these great students, their parents, their teachers and for this community.”

“So while it would not be politically correct for us to have an official prayer this evening, I would like for us to have a moment of silence in honor of tonight’s graduates."
- Lebanon High School Principal Kevin Lowery
Thunderous applause followed Lowery’s statement and the video was closing in on 100,000 views.

"If you were "offended" by this..I'd have to ask you HOW you could be offended by someone praying for nothing but wonderful things for this student!" wrote one commenter. "He wasn't asking anyone to join a church, a religion or to leave one...he simply asked that they would be protected and blessed."

But dozens of others commenting on the video blasted Lowery, as did Dave Muscato, a spokesman for American Atheists.

“I find this extremely objectionable,” Muscato said. “I think it’s clear that Kevin Lowery violated the spirit of the First Amendment separations of religion and government. This was an underhanded and dishonorable way for him to forcibly inject his personal religious views onto his students and the others present and into his role as a government official.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation also voiced concerns on Lowery’s speech, characterizing it as a “serious constitutional violation” in a letter to Lebanon School District Superintendent Duane Widhalm. District officials, meanwhile, told FoxNews.com they had no comment on Lowery’s speech.

“It is well settled that public schools may not advance, prefer or promote religion,” the letter reads. “The Supreme Court has routinely struck down prayers at school-sponsored events, including public school graduations.”

Lowery did not return requests for comment. But the high school principal, who has more than 1,700 followers on Twitter, thanked his students for the “special” ceremony on the social media platform, where some students referenced Lowery’s speech.

“My favorite part of LHS graduation is when @KevinGLowery ‘doesn't pray’ for the graduates,” Aaron Stewart posted. “We are blessed to have such a faithful leader!”

Another student, Sadie Ashton Staver, said she would miss the “best principal” in America.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/04/missouri-principal-wows-crowd-angers-atheists-with-guarded-god-references/

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctwrBqcBcgM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctwrBqcBcgM</a>
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« Reply #291 on: June 05, 2014, 11:31:23 AM »

Montgomery Police Department Chaplain E. Baxter Morris said the program offers an “evangelistic advance,” and said it gives him an opportunity to “share a word from Christ” to victims, AL.com reported.
.
.
. I have a problem with that

Again that assumes that the "opportunity" is forced on the victim.  Every hospital chaplain I've ever seen (and I've seen several in action) always give the patient the option to pray or discuss matters of faith.  If the patient declines the chaplain moves on.....that simple.  

In the end you don't have anything to worry about because scripture clearly outlines that the world at large will adopt your position fully and people of faith will eventually have virtually no influence......the "sharing of the Christian faith" will be heavily ridiculed and mocked (way more than it is today) and believers will eventually lose their lives like never before in history.   Many believers will fall away from the faith when this begins in attempts to save their lives.  I believe we're on the precipice of this now.
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« Reply #292 on: June 05, 2014, 07:49:48 PM »

Montgomery Police Department Chaplain E. Baxter Morris said the program offers an “evangelistic advance,” and said it gives him an opportunity to “share a word from Christ” to victims, AL.com reported.
.
.
. I have a problem with that

Then if ever presented with such an offer, politely refuse it. Simple, huh?  I was asked in the hospital if I would care to have a chaplain visit me.  Asked, not forced.  Asked. I accepted and received visits from two of them.  We talked about a variety of subjects, not just faith.  Good people, good conversation.

Surely you don't have a problem with your just saying no, to them?  If they asked you if you wanted a meat dish for your meal, and you were a vegan, would you have a problem just saying "No thanks!  I'll have the veggie plate instead."  I hope not.

Don't look to be offended where no offence was intended. 
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« Reply #293 on: June 06, 2014, 09:26:23 AM »

My Fellow Americans:

Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt - June 6, 1944

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/
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« Reply #294 on: July 14, 2014, 12:36:15 PM »

School: We have a right to ban God
By Todd Starnes
Published July 11, 2014
FoxNews.com

A California school district says it will not apologize to a teenager who defied its orders and mentioned God in his graduation speech.

Attorneys representing the Brawley Union High School District have written a 10-page letter defending the school’s right not only to censor graduation speeches, but also to ban any speech that references God or Jesus.

“It is well established in the Ninth Circuit and California that a public school salutatorian has no constitutional right to lead a prayer or include sectarian or proselytizing content in his/her graduation speech,” reads a letter from the San Diego law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo.

Brooks Hamby was a victim of anti-Christian bigotry, and I hope Liberty Institute teaches the Brawley Union High School District a lesson it won’t forget.
Last month, 18-year-old Brooks Hamby made national headlines when he committed an act of civil disobedience by thanking Jesus in his salutatorian address. School administrators had redacted references to Jesus and the Christian faith in three previous versions of Hamby’s speech.

One administrator went so far as to redact every religious reference with a black marker – as if it were some sort of top-secret government document.

Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Hamby, has demanded that the school apologize for censoring the boy’s speech and that it guarantee future graduation speakers will not face censorship.

The school district, in the certified letter its attorneys sent to Liberty Institute, says that’s not going to happen. There will be no apology.

“The district was legally obligated to ensure prayers and other sectarian, proseltyzing content were omitted from Mr. Hamby’s speech,” the school’s attorneys wrote. “Censorship of the speech was necessary to avoid an Establishment Clause violation.”

In other words, the high-dollar attorneys are telling us the school district violated one constitutional amendment to avoid violating another.

The school district’s attorneys also said the California Constitution prohibits public school districts from endorsing religious speech at their graduation ceremonies.

“Mr. Hamby was not permitted to use his salutatory speech to lead his classmates in a sectarian prayer,” the attorneys wrote.

Instead, he was supposed to stand in front of his graduating class as a “representative example of the success of the school’s own educational mission,” the attorneys wrote, referencing a previous court case.

Are they trying to tell us the reason the district took offense was because Brooks Hamby thanks God for his success instead of the school district?

I spoke by telephone Thursday night with Hamby and his attorney, Jeremy Dys. Both were shocked by the tone, tenor and length of the school district’s retort.

“The school does not want to put this issue behind them,” Dys told me. “All options are on the table. Based on the amount of money it cost those attorneys to write that letter, I’d say the school district has a $10-20,000 down payment for a lawsuit.”

And Dys said if the school district is hankering for a legal fight – “we may be willing to oblige them.”

Hamby remains saddened and perplexed by how the school district treated him.

“I was really surprised the school would deny my speech not once, twice, but three times,” he told me. “I just wanted to say a few nice words and allow people to see the good news – which is the Gospel.”

After the district rejected those versions, Hamby wrote a fourth – just hours before the graduation ceremony. In that speech, he refused to water down his faith in Christ. He never received a reply from the district – so he decided to deliver that version.

“May the God of the Bible bless each and every one of you every day in the rest of your lives,” he told his fellow graduates.

That’s what led to the legal firestorm. That’s what led the school district to hire a high-powered law firm to bully this Christian teenager.

If you believe the school district’s version, Hamby turned his speech into a Billy Graham Crusade where he invited his fellow graduates to walk the aisle and convert to Christianity.

But that’s not what happened at all. This young man simply talked about the values that shaped and flavored his life – the values that carried him through the difficult days of high school.

According to the school district, Brooks Hamby broke the law.

“Mr. Hamby’s salutatorian speech was a sectarian invocation, which is not legally permitted in California or the Ninth Circuit,” the district’s attorneys wrote.

I’m surprised the principal didn’t take out a warrant and throw the kid in jail.

Hamby is not the first graduation speaker to have his Christian voice silenced – and I predict he won’t be the last. In my new book, “God Less America,” I write about other teenage Christians whose speeches were deemed inappropriate by government representatives.

Brooks Hamby was a victim of anti-Christian bigotry, and I hope Liberty Institute teaches the Brawley Union High School District a lesson it won’t forget.

Hamby is Stanford bound this fall. But I suspect the lessons he’s learned will flavor the rest of his life.

“I’m not an attorney, so I can’t speak on behalf of the law, but I think it should never be acceptable to silence students who mention the word God or Jesus,” he told me. “I know in my heart that kind of thing is not OK.”

Indeed, it is not.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/07/11/school-have-right-to-ban-god/
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« Reply #295 on: August 04, 2014, 02:23:05 PM »

Restaurant's 'Prayer Discount' Sparks Mix Of Praise, Anger
by SCOTT NEUMAN
August 01, 2014

When Jordan Smith got her tab after breakfast at Mary's Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, N.C., she was pleasantly surprised to find a 15 percent discount — for "praying in public."

Smith, on a business trip, tells HLN that she and her colleagues "prayed over our meal and the waitress came over at the end of the meal and said, 'Just so you know, we gave you a 15 percent discount for praying.' "

Smith then snapped a photo of her receipt, complete with a line item for "15% Praying in Public ($6.07)" and posted it to her Facebook page. Not surprisingly, it's gone viral.

Some people wondered if it was just another social media hoax, but Shama Blalock, a co-owner of the diner, confirmed to NPR that "It's for real; it does exist."

Blalock says it's something that she was moved to implement about 3 1/2 years ago. "We're very thankful for the attention we've received, but that's not what we were aiming at," she says.

Blalock says the discount is given to customers at the discretion of the wait staff.

On seeing the picture circulated by Smith, many responded like Arlene Wilson Focht, who wrote on the diner's Facebook page:

Arlene Wilson Focht‎Mary's Gourmet Diner
Owner at The Rosey Posey · August 1 at 5:45am ·
Thanks, Mary's Gourmet Diner, for giving 15% off to people who pray for their food. The Lord deserves our thanksIf I'm ever in WS, NC I'll be sure to stop in.

But others were more critical. Dave Moore was among those who questioned whether the restaurant would give the same discount to people who offered public prayers that weren't of the Christian variety:

Dave Moore‎Mary's Gourmet Diner
34 followers · July 31 at 3:28pm · Tucson, AZ ·
Prayer discounts? Do you give prayer discounts to people who aren't of your religion? like Sikh's or Hindus or Muslims or Jews?

Several others noted their interpretation that praying in public is frowned upon in the New Testament passage Matthew 6:5:

Mark Malone‎Mary's Gourmet Diner
Works at None of your business · August 1 at 12:46am ·
Matthew 6:5
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

And some people wondered aloud if the restaurant's practice amounts to discrimination. The Department of Justice says that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion in a public accommodation, such as a restaurant. Whether the diner is in violation isn't immediately clear.

We put in a call to the DOJ for clarification and will update this post if we hear back.
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« Reply #296 on: August 10, 2014, 12:20:58 AM »

Judge rules Ten Commandments monument must go
Published August 08, 2014
Associated Press

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that a New Mexico city must remove a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lawn in front of Bloomfield City Hall.

Senior U.S. District Judge James A. Parker said in his ruling in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that the monument amounts to government speech and has the "principal effect of endorsing religion."

Because of the context and history surrounding the granite monument, Parker said Bloomfield clearly violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. He gave a Sept. 10 deadline for its removal.

The suit was filed in 2012 on behalf of two Bloomfield residents who practice the Wiccan religion.

Peter Simonson, ACLU of New Mexico executive director, called the decision a victory for protection against government-supported religion.

"We firmly support the right of individuals, religious groups, and community associations to publicly display religious monuments, but the government should not be in the business of picking which sets of religious beliefs belong at City Hall," Simonson said Friday.

According to previous court testimony, plaintiff Jane Felix said the display "says that anybody who doesn't agree with this monument on city grounds is an outsider."

"It has no place on City Hall property," Felix said in March.

City attorneys say private individuals erected and paid for the monument under a 2007 city resolution. That resolution allows people to erect historical monuments of their choosing.

Bloomfield Mayor Scott Eckstein said he was surprised the judge would rule against "a historical document."

"The intent from the beginning was that the lawn was going to be used for historical purposes, and that's what the council voted on," Eckstein told the Daily Times (http://bit.ly/XMgAqu).

The city has 30 days to file an appeal. City attorney Ryan Lane said he will review the opinion and tell the city council if there is basis for one.

The 6-foot-tall monument was erected in July 2011 by a former city councilor and weighs 3,000 pounds.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/08/judge-rules-ten-commandments-monument-must-go
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« Reply #297 on: August 20, 2014, 08:33:30 PM »

Brevard County commissioners refuse to recognize atheist invocations

 By Dan Billow
6:01 PM EDT Aug 19, 2014

Atheists demanded the right to give an invocation at the beginning of a Brevard County Commission meeting on Tuesday.

A debate over invocations quickly turned up the temperature at the Brevard County Commission.

"For you to say that Christianity isn't under attack, I'd like you to look over at Iraq right now and let me know if Christianity's not under attack," said Brevard County Commissioner Andy Anderson. 

David Williamson of the Central Florida Freethought Community wears an A for "atheist" on his lapel.

"The supreme court specifically named non-believers as someone who should be included. And in this case, we've asked to be included," Williamson said.

What is an atheist invocation? Same thing a minister would pray for.

A sample atheist invocation reads, "We need only look to each other for guidance, and work together to overcome any challenges we may face."

Commissioners said unanimously they don't want to change a policy that allows individual commissioners to select the invocation-givers from a pool of applicants, who are mostly Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis.

That allows them to pass on atheist applicants.

"It's a slap in the face to be told, specifically, you cannot participate," Williamson said.

Williamson indicated his group may seek a court order.

http://www.wesh.com/news/brevard-county-commissioners-refuse-to-recognize-atheist-invocations/27617706
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