Brainwashing foster children into Christianity

My attention was caught by this news item from Akela Lacey about how the state of South Carolina is seeking to discriminate against foster parents who are not Christian.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering whether to grant a South Carolina request that would effectively allow faith-based foster care agencies in the state the ability to deny Jewish parents from fostering children in its network. The argument, from the state and from the agency, is that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act should not force a Protestant group to work with Jewish people if it violates a tenet of their faith.

If granted, the exemption would allow Miracle Hill Ministries, a Protestant social service agency working in the state’s northwest region, to continue receiving federal dollars while “recruiting Christian foster families,” which it has been doing since 1988, according to its website. That discrimination would apply not just to Jewish parents, but also to parents who are Muslim, Catholic, Unitarian, atheist, agnostic or other some other non-Protestant Christian denomination.

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Florida county cannot ban invocations by atheists

This was the ruling from an appeals court that was handed down on Monday. Brevard County in Florida had passed a resolution justifying its policies that said that “an ‘invocation’ by atheists, agnostics or other persons represented by or associated with FFRF and [AU] could be viewed as County hostility toward monotheistic religions”” and thus could be barred.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Brevard County violated the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause” by allowing clerics from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other monotheistic religions and denominations deliver invocations at county commissioner meetings, while excluding atheists, secular humanists and others deemed outside the “mainstream.”

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If Carl Sagan had been a creationist …

Via reader and commenter Golgafrinchan Captain, I watched this amusing video narrated by ‘Reverend Carl Sagan’ about why biblical revelation is superior to science. It is an imagining of what Sagan, the creator of the popular series Cosmos, might have produced if he were an ‘intelligent design creationist’ instead of the freethinking scientist that he was.

An atheist ashram in India

In the west, Hinduism and Buddhism are seen as peaceful, contemplative religions that preach peace, tolerance, and harmony, and advocate for practices like mediation and yoga. But in those countries where those religions are the majority, we have seen the rise of militant religious chauvinists that have sought to discriminate against minority groups, sometimes using violence and even murder.
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Sri Lankan cabinet minister rebukes leading Buddhist monk for tirade against Muslims

After the deadly attacks by ISIS-inspired suicide bombers that killed and injured over 250 people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, there has been retaliation against ordinary Muslims. A friend of mine in Sri Lanka says that people are not patronizing Muslim-owned business, not taking the tuk-tuks (the ubiquitous small three-wheel scooter taxis) driven by them, Muslim students being asked to leave their lodgings, private buses refusing to accept Muslim passengers, etc. One wonders what people think they will accomplish by discriminating like this against ordinary people who had nothing to do with the attacks. Do they think they are striking a great blow for justice when all it is is a petty act of vengeance? Surely they should realize that people become even more resentful when they are punished for the actions of others and that it simply compounds the problem? That is such an obvious lesson from history that I find it incredible that people don’t realize it.
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What women clergy hear from male clergy and congregants

In their college course evaluations, female faculty get a lot more comments about their appearance (some highly sexual) than male faculty members. It appears that the situation is the same for female clergy. In this video, male clergy were asked to read the comments made to their female colleagues. They had not been told the comments ahead of time.
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Supreme Court rules that the Bladensburg cross can remain

The large cross that was on public land in a busy intersection in Bladensburg, Maryland and is maintained at taxpayer expense has been the target of litigation for some time. Its continued presence had been challenged by the American Humanist Association, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Center for Inquiry. A US District Court judge had initially ruled that the cross did not violate the Establishment Clause but the First Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 ruling overturned that ruling and said it had to come down.

But today the US Supreme Court reversed that decision yet again so the cross can stay. You can read the 7-2 majority opinion by justice Samuel Alito and the dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor here.
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