What a difference an ocean makes

The Christian Institute reports that, unlike their counterparts “across the pond,” British Boy Scouts may soon end discrimination against atheist members.

The Scout Association is considering adopting a new “atheist” promise for the first time in its 105-year history.

Currently, in order to join the Scouts youngsters must pledge: “On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, To do my duty to God and to the Queen, To help other people, And to keep the Scout Law.”

And the [Girl] Guides are also thinking of rewriting their promise to love God and serve the Queen.

Don’t expect the American Scouts to follow suit any time soon.

[Read more...]

Clay County schools lose a good man

The Florida Times-Union reports that the Clay County school district has lost an unusually talented superintendent.

Ben Wortham closed his office door behind him last week ending a 43-year journey that has taken him from the classroom to superintendent of Clay County schools…

Three weeks after he became superintendent in 2008, the state cut the district’s funding by 5 percent. That was a $16 million loss in the middle of the school year. It was the first in a continuing series of similar state funding cuts to school districts statewide…

He said the district’s weathered the financial storm “with just a minimum of disruption to our district in the way of classroom and personnel.”

Clay is designated “an academically high performing” district by the Florida Department of Education. It’s one of 17 such districts statewide.

It also ranks 12th by student achievement statewide. It has an overall grade of “A” from the state. Clay’s graduation rate is 94 percent, while its dropout rate is 1.2 percent annually.

He was defeated by a fellow Republican who made a campaign issue out of “See You At The Pole” prayer rallies.

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Don’t ask, don’t say “I do”…

…is over.

Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday.

Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, attended by about 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain.

via West Point chapel hosts its first same-sex wedding, Boston.com.

So, what are you doing for the end of the world?

I don’t have a whole lot on my mind today, so I thought I’d just open up a thread for you guys to talk. My suggested topic is the end of the world, as scheduled by the Mayans for the 21st of this month (or not). Any parties being planned? Seen anybody building any mountain-top bomb shelters in your area? Has Nostradamus come back from the dead yet?

What bemuses me the most is the number of people who apparently expect the world to end next week, on 12/12/12, instead of 12/21/12. Somehow the number 12, repeated 3 times, is sufficient proof for—well, whatever.

Anyway, open topic: share your favorite Mayan calendar story, or bring up something completely different. It’s up to you.