Category Archives: freedom of religion

FFRF once again fights government over unconstitutional housing allowance for ministers

For years the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has been fighting a no-brainer legal battle against the U.S. government, which by law makes all ministers’ housing allowances completely tax-exempt. This means that if a minister is given, say, $10,000 per year by his church to subsidize housing, that money is completely tax free. It is, […]

“In God We Trust” signs become mandatory in Louisiana schools

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has its work cut out for it, as there is never an end to the Christian, conservative, and Republican efforts to push God, Jesus, and faith into the public schools, despite its violation of the First Amendment. When they lose a case, they simply grow a new head, like […]

Movie: McCollum v. Board of Education

Heather Hastie called my attention to the existence of a movie, McCollum v. Board of Education, that exists in its entirety on YouTube. This case, which was argued before the Supreme Court in late 1947 and decided in 1948, decided the issue of whether public schools could support religious education by setting aside class time […]

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 […]

British Humanists come out against “hate speech”

Two years ago I gave the Darwin Day talk in London for the British Humanist Association, which has now changed its name to Humanists UK.  I much admired the group—and still do—because they actually engage in real action to promote humanism and secularism, and I like the people who run it. But they’re not perfect, I […]

Steve Paikin discusses freedom of speech with five Canadian professors

Wilfred Laurier’s attempt to stifle/punish Lindsay Shepherd for playing a bit of Jordan Peterson video in her class has ignited a big debate in Canada, none of which would have happened had Shepherd not been savvy enough to tape the meeting in which she was admonished, and then to release the tape to the press. […]

Bisexual student threatened by a University of Texas official after saying he said he didn’t have a “high opinion of Islam” because he’d be killed in some Muslim countries

This report comes from the Volokh Conspiracy site at the Washington Post, which got it from Gay Star News. The quote below, from the WaPo, includes links where you can hear the audio recording and read the transcript that documents the incident. In short, Alfred MacDonald, a bisexual philosophy student at the University of Texas […]

Bill Maher and his guests on punching Nazis

Reader Eli sent me a 5-minute video from a new segment of Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show about punching Nazis. The three guests are Tom Morello (Musician, “Rage Against the Machine”), April Ryan, a journalist and author, and journalist John Heilemann.  Maher gives the recent example of a guy on a Seattle bus wearing a swastika armband. […]

Doubts cast on recent survey of college students’ attitudes toward free speech

Four days ago I wrote about the results of a poll of American college students’ attitudes towards free speech. That poll was conducted by UCLA professor and Brookings senior fellow John Villasenor, and was supported by the Charles Koch Foundation. The results were scary, with 44% of all students thinking that hate speech is not protected by […]

Jonathan Pie on the causes of and reactions to the Manchester bombing

The schtick of Jonathan Pie (real name Tom Walker) is to act as if he’s a news reporter doing a story, and then suddenly to lurch into a passionate and angry rant about one thing or another. As time passes, though, the rants seem to be getting a little less funny, but more than compensate for […]