Posts tagged ‘freedom from religion’

Atheist Group Honors TN Student Who Portrayed Jesus as Fictional

(Source: The Tennessean)

Summit High School sophomore Jeff Shott has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship for dressing like Jesus Christ on fictional character day.

The Spring Hill student was not disciplined for his action back in January, but Summit High Principal Charles Farmer did advise him that if the costume caused distraction during the day that he would have to remove it, school officials say.

Shott voluntarily removed his robes and sash, a costume that included a hammer and nail.

“Both principals said they were worried my costume would spark religious debates in every class and take up large amounts of time. I was sternly warned that if even one teacher reported the slightest disruption, I would have to take off my costume. Then and there, I decided to take it off,” Shott wrote in a letter to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national organization devoted to promoting the separation of state and church. The group ended up awarding him a scholarship. (more…)

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Bill Moyers on freedom of and from religion

(Source: The Examiner)

For most of the United States 200+ years of existence, a great battle has been fought over who has civil and human rights. It has been waged in Congress and the courts, at the ballot box and the workplace, and for the four years between 1861-65, on actual battlefields. It is still being fought and, while there have been setbacks at times, the trend has always been towards greater enfranchisement of the individual regardless of race, sex, religion or any of the myriad other things that differentiate us one from another. Over the last couple of weeks another of these battles has been fought over a proposed federal mandate that businesses provide female employees with health-care plans that covered birth control expenses if required. While America’s 355,000 churches were specifically exempted from this provision, religiously-associated businesses like colleges and hospitals were not. This led some organizations, like the Catholic Church, whose tenets forbid the use of contraception, to complain that their religious freedom was being infringed on. President Obama then sought to defuse the issue by offering a new plan that transfers the payment obligation from the business to the insurance companies and that’s the subject of Bill Moyers’ Feb. 16 video essay. “How,” asks the journalist and political commentator, “do we honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose one set of moral beliefs on others.”

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Teen Atheist Wins Big: School District Won’t Appeal Ruling to Take Down Prayer Banner

(Source: The Blaze)

On Thursday [Feb. 16] night, a massive crowd gathered at Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island, to discuss the future of a controversial prayer mural that has captured headlines for months. While many came to protest a court ruling that found the banner to be unconstitutional, others praised the teen atheist who fought its presence. Last night’s meeting, which CBS News likened, at least at its start, to “a rabid shout fest,” ended with the Cranston School Committee voting 5-2 not an appeal the judge’s mandate that the mural be taken down.

As the Blaze has extensively reported, the case was brought against the school district by 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist, an atheist who claimed she found the sign offensive. In January, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux agreed with the young woman, which has sparked outrage, protests and frustration in the local community.

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