AR Town Bans Pagan Temple

In a move that is almost certain to be unconstitutional, the town of Beebe, Arkansas has refused to allow a man to open a pagan temple — after allegedly telling him that it was okay when they thought it was going to be a church. This is only one side of the story, but if what is alleged is true the city is in for legal trouble:
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SCOTUS Denies Cert in Graduation in Church Case

The Supreme Court has denied cert in a case where the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, in an en banc hearing, ruled 7-3 that a public school violated the Establishment Clause by holding graduation ceremonies in a church. But Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Thomas, wrote a rare dissent from the decision to hear the case (usually cert is denied without comment from the court).
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AHA Settles With MO School Over Church/State Violations

The American Humanist Association’s Apignini Legal Center has reached a settlement with with the public school system in Fayette, Missouri over a range of clear violations of the Establishment Clause in favoring Christians groups. The group issued a press release on the substance of the consent decree:
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The Scopes Trial Still Fascinates

Rachel Maddux has an interesting article about the annual celebration of the Scopes trial in the town where it took place, Dayton, Tennessee. One of the things that most people don’t understand about the trial is that it was almost entirely a show trial, engineered by both the town and the ACLU (the former for financial reasons, the latter for legal reasons).
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CFI, AU Protest Bill to Add Prayer to WW2 Memorial

Since 2011, House Republicans have repeatedly tried to pass a bill add a prayer plaque to the World War 2 memorial in Washington, DC. It makes good politics, of course; they can then go back home and tell harrowing tales of those evil liberals who hate God and our fallen heroes. Several church/state separation groups sent a letter to the leaders of the committee considering the legislation urging them to reject it.
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Susan LaVine Just Became My Favorite Ambassador

This is an awesome story that you can be sure some Christian theocrat will throw a fit about. Susan LaVine, the new U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein, swore her oath of office not on a Bible but on an electronic copy of the U.S. Constitution — opened to the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Here’s a picture:
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Chancey Rips New Hobby Lobby Bible Curriculum

The new Bible curriculum developed with money from the owner of Hobby Lobby has already been adopted in one school system in Oklahoma and is sure to spread. But like earlier curricula of this type it is little more than a Sunday School program. Mark Chancey, a religious studies professor, did a full evaluation of the curriculum for the Texas Freedom Network.
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Elmira School District Gets It Right

After the American Humanist Association sent a letter to the Elmira school district in New York because a teacher berated a student for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance, the superintendent of that school district took swift action and told all teachers that students have a constitutional right not to do so.
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Religious Extremism Prevents Development in Nigeria

Leo Igwe, the Nigerian human rights activist who is coming to the U.S. for the Humanism at Work conference and a two week speaking tour of Ohio, Indiana, Chicago and Michigan, has an article in The Humanist about how religious extremism in his home country prevents development and all attempts to improve the lives of the people there.
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