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In the Crosshairs: Fla. City Debates Future of Sectarian Symbol In Public Park

A cross displayed in a public park in Pensacola, Fla., isn’t a problem because it’s “simply there” and it’s like a tree.

I know. It doesn’t make sense. Yet those arguments were made recently by the Pensacola News-Journal after the American Humanist Association (AHA) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit to remove a Latin cross from Bayview Park. The suit, which the groups filed on behalf of four residents, argues that the display of a sectarian symbol on public land violates the First Amendment.

Ark. County Pays Fees To Nativity Plaintiffs

Baxter County, Ark., officials must pay more than $52,000 in legal fees to attorneys who challenged its refusal to allow a local humanist group to erect a holiday display.

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks ruled that attorneys affiliated with the American Humanist Association (AHA) are entitled to the fees, reported the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Miss. Public School Fined For Violation Of Prayer Order

A federal court found the Rankin County, Miss., school district in contempt of court for refusing to obey an order prohibiting it from official endorsements of Christianity.

The school district previously lost a suit filed by a student over its practice of sponsoring religious school assemblies. At the time, it was ordered to immediately stop promoting religion. Six months later, the same student attended a school honors assembly where a local Metho­dist pastor delivered a prayer. The district also allowed the Gideons to hand out Bibles to students during the school day. 

Weak Defense: Miss. School District Punished For Coercive Prayer Violations Claims Its Officials Don’t Understand First Amendment

A Mississippi school district is in hot water after it invited a Christian pastor to deliver a prayer at a school function, in violation of a court order. But the best (worst) part of this story is the district’s excuse for the violation: its administrators are incapable of understanding the First Amendment.

N.C. Prison Sued Over Ban On Humanist Groups

The North Carolina Department of Corrections and a state prison are being sued for prohibiting prisoners from forming humanist groups. The lawsuit alleges that the Lanesboro Correctional Institution and the department violated the First Amendment because they do not recognize humanism or other non-theistic belief systems as an official category.

Frightening Five: Religious Right Legal Group Singles Out ‘Dangerous Enemies’ Of Christianity – And Guess Who Made The List?

On Friday a Religious Right legal group called the Liberty Institute published an article titled “5 Dangerous Enemies Against Your Christian Faith” on the site Charisma News.

Americans United made the top five! There we are, right alongside American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. (Sounds like good company to me –and don’t be sad that we’re number four; the list is alphabetical.)

Ridiculous Resolution: Congressman Proposes ‘War On Christmas’ Counter-Measure

It’s almost Christmas, and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) isn’t going to let you forget it. In a special resolution introduced Wednesday, the congressman celebrated his idea of the reason for the season — and condemned church/state separation advocates in the process. (Lamborn introduces the resolution every year.)

“We give thanks for Jesus’ message of love and peace and remember the sacrifice He made for us all. It is a season of giving, of love, and of joy,” he said.

Humanists Sponsor D.C. Event To Press For More Diverse Military Chaplaincy

The chaplains serving the U.S. armed forces do not reflect the religious and philosophical diversity of the men and women in uniform and do not adequately serve those with non-theistic beliefs, the American Humanist Association (AHA) said at a recent congressional briefing on Capitol Hill.

The Washington Times reported that the AHA and its allies said they want greater resources for service members who are humanist, a designation that makes up about 3 percent of the armed forces according to a 2009 survey by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.

Good News From Greece: Atheist Invocation Goes Off Without A Hitch

Last night, an atheist offered a secular invocation before a meeting of the Greece, N.Y., Town Board.

The ground did not open up and send the town of Greece hurling into the bowels of hell. No one was struck by lightning. In fact, all that happened is that the members of the town board and those attending the event heard a thoughtful invocation delivered by local resident Dan Courtney.

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