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FFRF announces memorial award on third anniversary of Avijit Roy’s assassination

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce, on the third anniversary of the assassination of Avijit Roy, the creation of an annual award in his name. Roy, the Bangladesh-American writer and atheist, died at the hands of militant Islamists on the streets of Dhaka. Avijit Roy initiated a new movement in free and rational […]

‘In God We Trust’ Bills Are About Promoting Religion In Schools, Not The National Motto

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‘In God We Trust’ Bills Are About Promoting Religion In Schools, Not The National Motto LHayes Fri, 02/23/2018 – 11:25 Authored by Maggie Garrett Image On Wednesday, the Florida House adopted a bill, HB 839, that would require the words “In God We Trust” to be displayed in a conspicuous place in every public school. […]

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Black History Month Spotlight: Richard Allen

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Black History Month Spotlight: Richard Allen Hassanein Fri, 02/23/2018 – 10:21 Authored by Rokia Hassanein Image February marks Black History Month, a month to appreciate the accomplishments that African-Americans have made throughout American history. This month, we are highlighting the important role African-American figures have played, and continue to play, in promoting true religious freedom […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Sets April Date for Travel Ban Hearing

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Written by Don Byrd

The Supreme Court today announced it will hold oral arguments in Trump v. Hawaii on April 25. The case involves a constitutional challenge to President Trump’s most recent order, his third attempt at a “travel ban” restricting immigration from certain countries. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found the latest action exceeded the president’s authority, and so did not find it necessary to address claims that it violates the separation of church and state. Notably, however, the Supreme Court has asked the parties to address the Establishment Clause question in their briefs.

Subsequently, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, hearing a different challenge to the third travel ban, ruled it unconstitutional on those religious liberty grounds the 9th Circuit declined to address. Finding the policy is motivated by the President Trump’s religious animus toward Muslims, the 4th Circuit held it to be discriminatory in violation of the First Amendment. You can read extended quotes from the 4th Circuit’s ruling here.

With so many potential issues to address, the Supreme Court scheduled no other hearings for April 25. It remains to be seen which claims against the president’s order will be their focus.

Previous incarnations …read more

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FFRF deplores creationist event in S.C. elementary school

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is denouncing a recent creationist event hosted by a South Carolina elementary school. A parent reports that Ocean Bay Elementary School in Myrtle Beach hosted a Science Night for students on Jan. 30 that included creationism instruction. The school reportedly organized and sponsored the event. The Bay Breeze school […]

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FFRF protests Billy Graham Capitol honor

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog, is formally objecting to an extremely rare national honor being accorded to the late Billy Graham. According to a press release from the Speaker’s office, “On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the late Rev. Billy Graham will be brought to the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in honor […]

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Lawmakers In Two States Consider Mean-Spirited ‘Parody Marriage’ Bills

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Lawmakers In Two States Consider Mean-Spirited ‘Parody Marriage’ Bills boston Thu, 02/22/2018 – 10:32 Authored by Rob Boston Image The U.S. Supreme Court upheld marriage equality a little less than three years ago, ruling that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The […]

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Liberty, equality and the meaning of religious freedom

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By Paul V.M. Flesher

The Declaration of Independence placed the Enlightenment ideal of “liberty” at the heart of the American soul. It cites liberty among the reasons for creating our new country. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

The basic meaning of liberty is the ability to do what one wants. Of course even school children know that unbridled liberty is impossible. If one person decides they want to kill another, an extreme example, the second person’s liberty is violated, to say nothing of their life.

Liberty as a political or governing policy thus consists of balancing of each individual’s ability to behave as they wish against others’ freedom to do the same. The goal is to achieve an equality of liberty for everyone, with everyone attaining as much freedom as possible.

Another widely used definition of liberty is one of freedom from oppression; as the Merriam-Webster dictionary puts it, “freedom from arbitrary or despotic control.” This notion of liberty inspired the Puritans to leave England and come to the New World. They wanted the …read more

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FFRF opposes daily piety at Houston school

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation says a daily unconstitutional religious practice at a Houston public charter school must immediately cease. A concerned district community member contacted FFRF to report that earlier this year, Energized for Stem Academy Principal Ranier Perez adopted a policy of including a bible reading during the morning announcements each school day. […]

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Louisiana School District to Change Policies Following Church-State Lawsuit

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Written by Don Byrd

Faced with a lawsuit alleging sweeping religious liberty violations, school officials in Louisiana’s Bossier Parish have announced new staff training programs and changes in policy to ensure that the rights of students and parents are protected. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, claims the school district improperly promotes Christianity in classes, clubs, music programs, and on athletic teams.

The Shreveport Times reports:

The board will update and supplement policies to ensure “full legal compliance across the school district” and is scheduling mandatory training for “all administrators, teachers and coaches on the policies and underlying laws,” according to the statement.

“We trust these affirmative steps will resolve the current federal court matter in short order so that precious taxpayer funds can be spent on continuing to improve the quality of educational services to students rather than on potentially expensive litigation,” the statement reads. “Bossier Schools will always carefully respect and preserve the fundamental rights of all students, including their cherished First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

Whether these changes will halt the lawsuit as intended will likely depend on the details of those policy changes. Americans United, which filed the complaint on behalf of four parents, says …read more

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