Category Archives: freedom from religion

4 in 10 American Millennials, and half of Europeans, think that government should be able to ban “hate speech”

This 2015 Pew poll was mentioned by Lionel Shriver in her piece about the policing of literature tthat I discussed the other day. It shows a surprising degree of censoriousness in various Western countries.  Pew asked people in the U.S. and Europe the following question: We asked whether people believe that citizens should be able […]

The FFRF wins a big one: federal court rules that ministers’ tax-free housing allowances violate the Constitution

You may know that American ministers have some tax advantages under the law: they often get a housing allowance from their church, and that allowance, in contrast to non-ministers who get such perks, is free from taxes.  Here’s the stipulation from the Internal Revenue Service code: A licensed, commissioned, or ordained minister may be able […]

The U. S. moves toward theocracy: Congress aims to repeal the Johnson Amendment barring nonprofits (like churches) from endorsing candidates

The Johnson Amendment, in effect since 1954, is in fact named after Lyndon Johnson, who introduced it as a congressman. It’s part of the U.S. Tax Code, and specifies behavior prohibited for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (the amendment itself is the part in bold below): 26 U.S. Tax Code §501 Section C (3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or […]

The saga of NASA’s grant to theologians continues, with NASA violating the Constitution and its employees apparently behaving illegally

If this doesn’t get me another Discovery Institute “Censor of the Year” award, I don’t know what will, for, as far as I remember, I discovered this bit of information. But the Freedom from Religion Foundation should be the real recipient, as it’s done every bit of the legwork and heavy lifting. The issue involves […]

FFRF versus the Ark Park

In this video, which the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) says was filmed covertly, FFRF lawyer Andrew Seidel talks about how Answers In Genesis, Ken Ham’s organization, sworn to purvey lies about biology to children, has benefited from taxpayer subsidies. (As you may remember, the Ark Encounter has a supposedly life-sized version of Noah’s Ark which […]

BBC discusses historic court case on church-state separation

In 1956, a 16 year old Pennsylvania high school student named Ellery Schempp finally had enough of his school’s practice—shared by schools in other states (see below)—of reading ten verses from the Bible each morning, followed by a mandatory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Schempp, who became a physicist as well as a mountaineer (he was part of the first […]

SPLC: talk our kind of talk, or we will smear you as a bigot

by Grania Spingies Ahnaf Kalam has posted an update to his petition at [JAC: it now has almost 9,000 signatures]: “Today, I was informed that the Southern Poverty Law Center has no intention of removing Maajid Nawaz from their list. ” You can read the full statement here. This is the bit that makes […]

To uniquely protect Islam against mockery, Sydney newspaper suggests that Muslims be considered members of a race rather than a religion

I don’t know how popular or respected the Sydney Morning Herald is (Aussies weigh in), but it’s just published an editorial that’s as intellectually misguided as it is poorly written. Have a look at the short online op-ed, “Jedi knights don’t need protection from free speech“, published five days ago. Now the title is provocative, […]

What’s up with the NASA grant to study theology?

This post is to bring you up to date on the the battle over the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) giving over $1 million dollars to a theological organization to study the implications of extraterrestrial life for theology. The Freedom from Religion Foundation is trying to get NASA to rescind the grant on First Amendment grounds, but NASA […]

Shenanigans in Illinois: 1. Unique panel set up to give Muslims a voice in state government

Unless I don’t know the U.S. Constitution, what my own state of Illinois is poised to do is a palpable violation of the First Amendment, designed to avoid, among other things, excessive government entanglement with religion. According to both The Humanist and The Chicago Tribune, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is poised to sign a bill, passed by both state […]