Atheist News by Edwin Kagin

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: April 23, 2009

Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

What Is An ATHEIST?

“ANOTHER THINKING HUMAN ENGAGED IN SEEKING TRUTH”
(Edwin Kagin, 2008)

To Unidentified Recipients:

They just won’t stop. What part of “no” don’t they understand?

Happy 445th birthday William Shakespeare. I do not think these happenings would surprise you one bit.

Edwin.

From reader David Kong:

San Leandro Times – Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trustee’s Wife: No Religious Songs in School

By : Amy Sylvestri : 4/23/09

Margarita Lacabe enjoyed her daughter’s performance in the McKinley Elementary School holiday show last December — children signing secular favorites like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” when she was shocked by the choir’s next tune.

“The children were singing and they were all regular Christmas songs, but then I heard ‘Silent Night,’” said Lacabe. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Lacabe, who is the wife of School Board President Mike Katz-Lacabe and mother of two, said that she objects to the religious theme of the song because she and her family are atheists. She said that songs like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” are more inoffensive because, while they are in celebration of a Christian holiday, they don’t feature overtly Christian lyrics.

“To me, there is a huge difference between what is cultural and what is religious,” said Lacabe. “Songs like ‘Feliz Navidad’ or even ‘Dreidel, Dreidel’ are about the cultural celebration of the holidays, whereas ‘Silent Night’ is sung in churches as a religious hymn. It is ridiculous to say it has one meaning in a church and then bring it out of a church and say it means something else.”

Lacabe was so incensed by the song that she left the auditorium while the children were still singing and spoke with McKinley Principal Cher Mott.

“I was so incredibly mad,” said Lacabe. “She said that she hadn’t seen the song book and I asked her to please refrain from teaching religious songs to my daughter. We had a conversation that didn’t really go anywhere.”

Lacabe said the McKinley music teacher Kathy Maier said she would remove the song from the rest of the seasonal holiday curriculum, but would not commit to permanently getting rid of it.

Some would say that teaching a Christian song is an example of celebrating one of many different cultures present in public schools. But Lacabe said that, because Christianity is so prevalent, teaching it becomes a form of indoctrination.

“They are not teaching Muslim songs, or Wiccan, or Pagan, they are not teaching atheist songs, if they are supposed to be teaching different cultures,” said Lacabe.

She suggested R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” as an example of a song with atheistic themes and suggested a web site full of songs that are from an atheist perspective.

In a follow-up email, Lacabe also acknowledged that, while some religious songs are holiday “classics,” they need to be put in context if they are going to be sung at public schools.

“Moreover, the song ‘Silent Night’ was taught without any cultural context whatsoever. (My daughter) was not told the history of the song… wasn’t at any point told that just because a song says something, it doesn’t mean it is true,” wrote Lacabe. “Children her age are very easy to influence. We tell them to listen to their teachers, so when the teachers tell them that jesus is the savior, they have no reason to not believe it… this is true of other songs — think of how many kids believe in rudolph the red nose reindeer or frosty the snowman.”

After asking McKinley staff to not teach her daughter religious music, Lacabe was disappointed that they would not make a blanket change of their policy, so she filed a complaint with the district. At this point she is considering either bringing the issue up to the school board or school the district.

Lacabe added that she believes that the school was aware of her atheism, because when her daughter was in kindergarten last year she fought to have the words “Under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. She believes that the school knew about her atheism and purposefully ignored it.

“I feel they did it intentionally to indoctrinate my daughter in Christianity,” said Lacabe. “They are discriminating against my daughter because she is not a Christian and that discrimination is against the constitution of the state of California.” Lacabe and her husband both acknowledge that putting the issue before the school board will be awkward for Katz-Lacabe as board president.

“I agree with her and, of course, I support her because she is my wife, but since I am on the board, I would of course recuse myself form any hearing,” said Katz-Lacabe. “This is an issue that is between my wife and the board.”

Katz-Lacabe was also at the concert, but declined to discuss his personal reaction to the song. McKinley Principal Mott and music teacher Maier did not return calls for comment. The school district office said that they have a no-discrimination policy but didn’t comment specifically on the Lacabe complaint.

School board trustees Diana Prola and Morgan Mack-Rose said that they would deal with the issue as it happens and currently are not familiar enough with the case to offer opinions.

Meanwhile, Margarita Lacabe said that she may pursue the possibility of a legal injunction on the “Silent Night” matter, as well her complaint about the Pledge of Allegiance, depending on the results of other similar lawsuits in the state. But for now, her daughter continues to say the pledge every Wednesday morning at an assembly with the rest of the school.

“She is seven-years-old and wants to be like everyone else,” said Lacabe. “Basically, that is what I’m talking about. When you have this type of indoctrination, you are telling a group of kids that, because they don’t believe in the same things, they are not like everyone else.”

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/99844

Atheists Hail Florida Decision Protecting Third Graders From Religious Proselytizing

National Desk
April 23, 2009

An Atheist state-church separation group has heralded a decision by a Federal Judge that struck down a move by a Florida grade school to include an overtly religious song in an end-of-year assembly.

This past week, Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger ruled that teachers and officials at the Webster School in St. Johns County acted improperly by having third-grade youngsters practice “In God We Still Trust,” composed by the country singing group Diamond Rio. Judge Schlesinger opined that students had their First Amendment rights violated when they were forced to choose between performing “proselytizing” and “sectarian” music or skipping their school assembly. He described the song as “espousing a specific religious viewpoint and attacking those who do not share in the same belief.”

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, praised the ruling but regretted the need for legal intervention.

“It has been over 46 years when coercive prayer and other religious exercises in our public schools was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Buckner. “We still see evidence that some teachers and school officials flaunt the law, and are attempting to enlist our children in religious proselytizing and indoctrination.”

Edwin Kagin, National Legal Director for American Atheists also praised the ruling.

It would be difficult to find a more blatant violation of the First Amendment prohibition against government establishing religion than a song requiring public school children to sing “”There’s no separation.

We’re one nation under Him …… Now it’s time for all believers to make our voices heard.”

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.

New song at Webster draws 2nd injunction

Religious lyrics bring school more trouble

By MARCIA LANE
[email protected]
Publication Date: 04/22/09
Attorneys are seeking to halt teaching of a song they call a “blatantly sectarian and proselytizing religious song” to third-graders at The Webster School until the case can go to court.
This is the second time in less than a month that attorneys asked the United States District Court in Jacksonville for a preliminary injunction to stop a song at Webster.
School district officials said they knew nothing about the amended complaint until contacted by The St. Augustine Record Tuesday evening.
“Our attorney (Frank Upchurch) had not heard of it. No one knew about it,” said Margie Davidson, spokeswoman for the St. Johns County School District.
Attempts to reach Superintendent Joe Joyner were unsuccessful.
The amended complaint, filed Tuesday, comes less than a week after a federal judge ruled the School District, a school principal and two teachers violated two students’ First Amendment rights by making them choose between practicing what he called a “proselytizing” and “sectarian” country music song for an end-of-the-year assembly or sitting out the performance.
The song was “In God We Still Trust,” released in 2005 by Diamond Rio. Two parents and their third-graders filed a lawsuit in protest in March.
The teachers and principal said in affidavits the children were told participation in the assembly was voluntary and the children did not have to sing the song.
The case still must go to trial.
On Tuesday attorneys Bill Sheppard and Gray Thomas sought another preliminary injunction for a second tune also being taught to third-graders at Webster. They’re asking the judge to order the school to stop having the pupils sing the song until the judge can decided if they should be prohibited from learning it in school.
Theyre also asking the judge to rule, as in the first case, that their constitutional rights were violated by making them either learn a song that runs counter to their religious beliefs or be ostracized by their classmates.
This injunction request named the school board, Joyner, the principal and three teachers, including the music teacher.
At issue this time is the music teacher’s introduction of “Chatter With the Angels,” a song the suit calls “sectarian” and “proselytizing.”
The suit claims directing the students to rehearse or perform the “Chatter” song constitutes “retaliation against Plaintiffs for their having instituted” the case for “In God We Trust.”
The injunction ruling came April 15. Webster began teaching the song on April 20, according to the amended complaint.
Chatter with the Angels
Soon in the morning
Chatter with the Angels
In that land!
Chatter with the Angels
Soon in the Morning
Chatter with the Angels
Join that Band!
I hope to join that band and
Chatter with the Angels
All day long!
I hope to join that band and
Chatter with the Angels
All day long!
Chatter with the Angels
Soon in the morning
Chatter with the Angels
In that land!
Chatter with the Angels
Soon in the Morning
Chatter with the Angels
Join that Band!
I hope to join that band and
Chatter with the Angels
All day long!
I hope to join that band and
Chatter with the Angels
All day long!
6
Chatter with the Angels
Soon in the Morning
Chatter with the Angels
In that land!
Chatter with the Angels
Soon in the morning
Chatter with the Angels
Join that Band!
I hope to join that band and
Chatter with the Angels
All day long!
I hope to join that band and
Chatter with the Angels
All day long!
Chatter with the angels all day long.

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http://staugustine.com/stories/042209/news_042209_016.shtml

© The St. Augustine Record

Atheist News by Edwin Kagin

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

What Is An ATHEIST?

“ANOTHER THINKING HUMAN ENGAGED IN SEEKING TRUTH”
(Edwin Kagin, 2008)

To Unidentified Recipients:

The 2009 American Atheists Convention in Atlanta was a screaming success. Hopefully, there will soon be on the Internet a video of the completely outrageous Mass Blasphemy, Dance of the Vestal Vegans, and Mass DeBaptism. There are already a fair number of photos here and there on Facebook and other repositories of cultural knowledge.

Speaking of blasphemy, by some coincidence of fate, a second printing of that universally banned work, “Baubles of Blasphemy,” by Edwin F. Kagin, has been released by American Atheists Press to a stunned world. A copy is now (should be—this is not a precise science) available from www.atheists.org or perhaps even www.amazon.com , where prices for a copy of the first edition run from $8.75 to $95.00. No, I have no idea why.

Edwin.

==========================================================================================================================================

AMERICAN ATHEISTS MEDIA
http://www.atheists.org

SILVERMAN ON ANSWERS IN ATHEISM
INTERNET RADIO THIS SUNDAY, 4/19

Dave Silverman, National Communications Director for American Atheists will be the guest on this weekend’s installment of the Internet radio program “Answers in Atheism.”

A veteran of media and public affairs programming, Mr. Silverman will be discussing Atheism, state-church separation, religious fundamentalism and related topics.

You can listen in by visiting http://www.answersinatheism.net at 6:00 PM ET on Sunday, April 19, 2009. You may also call in to the program toll free, 877-814-9287. and communicate through E-mail at [email protected] .

The host is Edwin Kagin, National Legal Director for American Atheists. Along with his wife, Helen, Edwin co-founded CAMP QUEST, a summer camp for non believing children. He is also the author of “Baubles in Blasphemy,” now in its second printing through American Atheist Press.

WHO and WHAT: Dave Silverman, National Communications Director for American Atheists on the “Answers in Atheism”: Internet radio show.

WHEN: This Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 6:00 PM ET.

WHERE: http://www.answersinatheism.net . Listener feedback at 877-814-9287. Communicate through E-mail at [email protected] .

MORE INFO: http://www.answersinatheism.net

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.

American Atheists
http://www.atheists.org

KAGIN, RANKIN DEBATE: WAS THE U.S.
ESTABLISHED as a CHRISTIAN NATION?

Monday, April 27, 2009 ~ University of Southern Maine

EDWIN KAGIN, National Legal Director of American Atheists will debate the Rev. John C. Rankin of the Theological Education Institute at the University of Southern Maine on Monday, April 27, 2009. The Question will be: “Was the United States Established as a Christian Nation?”

The debate, sponsored by the Southern Maine Association of Secular Humanists (SMASH) will take place at 7:00 PM in the Hannaford Lecture Hall at USM Portland,

Edwin Kagin, AA Legal Director is also co-founder (along with wife Helen) of the renowned CAMP QUEST, a secular summer camp for Atheist, Humanist and Freethinking youngsters. He is a leading national critic of “creationist” pseudoscience, and author of numerous articles and the best-selling book “Baubles of Blasphemy.” He is also host of the Internet radio program “Answers in Atheism.”

The Rev. John C. Rankin is President of the Theological Education Institute and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. As a youth, he was a Unitarian and strongly influenced by the teachings of Charles Darwin. He is the author of several books including “First the Gospel, Then Politics.”` He is an alumnus of the Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools (FOCUS).

For more information, visit the SMASH Facebook web site at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=22116550413 or contact [email protected] .

WHO and WHAT: A “spirited” debate between Edwin Kagin and Rev. John C. Rankin: “Was the United States Established as a Christian Nation?”

WHEN: April 27, 2009 beginning promptly at 7:00 PM

WHERE: The Hannaford Lecture Hall at the University of Southern Maine, Portland Maine. The Hannaford Lecture Hall is in the Abromson Community Education Center, on the University of Southern Maine campus, 88 Bedford St., Portland, ME 04101.

MORE INFO: Southern Maine Association of Secular Humanists (SMASH) –
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=22116550413 or contact [email protected] .

BRING EDWIN KAGIN OR OTHER OUTSTANDING ATHEIST SPEAKERS to your next Freethought event! From debates to discussion of philosophical topics, current events reflecting the intersection of politics and religion, or the separation of church and state, the Bureau is an outstanding resource! Visit http://www.atheists.org/about/speakers_bureau for more details.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.

ON EASTER by Edwin Kagin

In honor of April Fools Day, we herewith present that seasonal classic,

ON EASTER

The things you are liable to read in the Bible, they ain’t necessarily so. Porgy and Bess

Easter is the High Holy Day of the Christian religion. In its many manifestations, Easter celebrates the myth of the reanimation from death of the god Jesus, aka the Christ. Like its womb mate Christmas, Easter is a marvelous blend of Christian and non-Christian nonsense. The Christian side is represented by “Handel’s Messiah” and hot cross buns (a seasonal pastry with a sugar cross on it) and the non-Christian nonsense side by “In Your Easter Bonnet…” and hunts for Easter Eggs (dyed boiled eggs in the shell–laid, young minds are taught to believe, by rabbits. Some hold the rabbits don’t lay the eggs, only deliver them. What do you think?).

To understand the phenomena of Easter, one must understand the Christian “Gospels.” These four small propagandist tracts, written long after the supernatural fact, by unknown authors who did not know Jesus, contain the only known evidence for the existence of Jesus. Believers will argue other historic proofs, but these are provable forgeries added centuries later by pious priests who copied or translated Jewish, Roman and Greek texts. If the ancient writers had deliberately omitted Jesus merely because they had never heard of him, this error was often fixed for later Christian editions. The only evidence for Easter beliefs comes from the gospels.

Here’s a neat bible study exercise for non believers. It will help you learn something of the Christian belief system and will prove useful in the American Religious Civil War when believers try to force you to play in their sandbox. Read all four gospels and, including every fact contained within them, write a concise, noncontradictory chronology of what happened between the time Jesus was crucified on a stake (the Greek word translates “stake” not “cross”–tell that to your preacher and watch him ring them bells) and the moment he went up to Heaven. Then you will know what Christians believe. To make the challenge more exciting, be sure to include facts, for the same time frame, from “The Acts of the Apostles” and from the letters of Paul. Paul really got Christianity going. He claimed to have seen Jesus after Jesus had gone to Heaven. Lots of people believed him. Lots of people believed Joseph Smith too. Joseph Smith wrote “The Book of Mormon” and claimed an angel helped him translate buried gold plates the angel later reburied. At least Paul had honest delusions.

The reason the death of Jesus is of importance to Christians is because if they believe Jesus died for their sins they get to live forever with him when they die. Because Jesus survived death, believers will too. Somehow Jesus’ “sacrifice” doesn’t seem like such a big deal, being a god and all, and getting to come alive again after being dead only one day and two nights. Many people have died for others and have stayed dead. There should be no shortage of volunteers willing to die to save everyone forever and be worshipped as a god if they could come alive again after being dead between Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Once you finish the bible stories about Jesus, you may well wonder how anyone could believe this stuff, and you should understand why the events were omitted from every other history of that time. When Jesus died on the stake, the bible reports that dead people came out of their graves (whether decomposed or not isn’t revealed), walked around the city and were recognized by many. This should have provoked some interest by the scandal sheets of the day, but no other reference is found of it. We might wonder if the risen dead sued to get their property back from their useless heirs.

You will note from your Easter biblical studies that the primary witness to the resurrection of the Christ was one Mary Magdalene, a woman thought to be a prostitute who had been possessed by seven demons, i.e., she was nuts. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the risen savior of the world had appeared in all his glory to the Roman Senate where literate rational humanists could have recorded an accurate account of this miracle? Why have your immortal soul hang in the balance on less than credible evidence? Should one accept that laws of nature have been broken and that a dead body has come alive again on the word of a deranged hooker? Would a just, rational, compassionate god condemn one to eternal torment for doubting such evidence? Clearly the Senate, or even a meeting of the Aqueduct Committee, would have been a better place to break the good news of salvation.

But we are not dealing with a rational god or even decent moral behavior in the Easter story. The god the myth says was the father of Jesus believed in child sacrifice. Previously content with blood drained from the slashed throats of sheep, goats and such, god needed more gore to save everyone. He wanted his own kid killed as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world. This is what little children (kids) are taught in Sunday School (that’s where Christians violate the Fourth Commandment by worshipping on the first day of the week instead of the seventh as god ordered–no wonder we are in such trouble). But if child murder for the sins of others isn’t bad enough, consider this. Christians celebrate the death and rebirth of the god Jesus in a grotesque cannibalistic ritual of (symbolically if Protestant; for real if Roman Catholic) eating his flesh and drinking his blood! This bizarre custom is known as “Holy Communion”–dare we call it “swallow the leader?”

If Jesus rose from the dead, and if he went to Heaven, and if Heaven is outside the known universe, and if the laws of nature invented by god apply to god, then Jesus could not travel faster than the speed of light. If he left for Heaven two thousand years ago, he isn’t there yet, and won’t be there for some time. Therefore, we really need not concern ourselves at this point about his return to earth. Presumably he will return sometime after he gets there.

So now you know about Easter. You will probably be a happier and better adjusted human being if you stick to the Easter Parade and pass on the eating of human flesh and blood. And please remember that this disgusting rite is practiced in buildings owned by Christian groups who do not have to pay taxes on their property or income.

And the next time some un-American lunatics want to have forced Christian prayer in public schools, tell them you are a spiritual vegetarian. Happy Easter.

Edwin Kagin