The Festivus pole, a relic from the 1990s NBC sitcom “Seinfeld,” made an appearance in the Florida Capitol on Tuesday, after a self-described “militant atheist” received permission to set it up near a Nativity scene.
“A Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus pole is a symbol of ridiculousness,” Chaz Stephens, editor in chief of South Florida advocacy blog MAOS (My Acts of Sedition), told The Christian Post on Tuesday. He set up the pole, not to celebrate a 1990s holiday, but to protest the Nativity scene and other religious monuments set up in public spaces.
“It’s a made up holiday from the 1990s, but it’s a symbol of separation of church and state, in my mind,” Stephens explained… FULL STORY
A humanist organization is threatening lawsuits against two public schools for their participation in Operation Christmas Child, a project of evangelist Franklin Graham’s international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse that seeks to deliver Christmas toys to needy children throughout the world.
The American Humanist Association recently sent letters to two public elementary schools, one in South Carolina and one in Colorado, threatening legal action if they continue participating in Operation Christmas Child, which delivers thousands of shoe boxes stuffed with gifts to needy children throughout the world every year during the holidays. Along with containing small gifts, the shoe boxes also include a small note inviting recipients to join in Christianity. The American Humanist Organization argues that Operation Christmas Child’s commitment to “[sharing] the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ” means that public schools in the U.S. should not participate in the program.
In its letter sent to East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., the humanist association accuses the school of “promoting student participation” in the Operation Christmas Child program by encouraging students to assemble shoeboxes and donate money. According to the humanist organization, East Point Academy has been involved with Operation Christmas Child since 2011.
“Because the purpose and effect of Operation Christmas Child is to induce impoverished children to convert to Christianity, the school’s promotion of this program violates the Constitution. The school must immediately suspend its unconstitutional participation in Operation Christmas Child,” the letter states. FULL STORY
“It’s a sad, sad commentary on the attitudes of the day that a nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition is now having to hunt for a home, something like our savior had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested.” – Hunter Jameson, head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee. (AP)
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers say it is seeking an alternative to the services provided by Christian and other faith-based chaplains in VA hospitals and hospices. The group is campaigning for more secular humanist representatives for veterans – the equivalent of chaplains for non-believers.
THE CHRISTIAN POST
As part of the atheist group’s campaign, its president released a letter written by Vietnam veteran Phil Heycock before he succumbed to cancer during an extended stay at a VA hospice.
“Currently, religious, theistic oriented Chaplains are on staff and visit patients including secular humanist atheists like myself. While the Chaplains have been friendly, according to their Christian beliefs I will be burning in hell after my demise. While I respect their right to believe as they wish, I don’t find their perspective on death comforting,” wrote Heycock.
MAAF President Jason Torpy said that Heycock expressed that he received good quality care but felt that the Christian chaplains generally available were not comforting to him as a secular humanist. “He also requested the letter be held until after his death to avoid alienating his caregivers, whom he knew to be religious,” stated Torpy.
Chaplain (Col.) Ron Crews, executive director for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told The Christian Post on Monday that he feels that VA chaplains are doing their best to accommodate everyone and that the MAAF is using the letter in an effort to gain public support.
Lawsuit filed by an atheist couple who believe that their children are being discriminated against because the Pledge of Allegiance – which is said every day in Mass. public school classrooms under state law – contains the phrase “under God.” … Oral arguments were heard in a Massachusetts Superior Court on Monday.
Officials from California county remove angel ornament from Christmas tree after lone complaint.
Stars and other religious emblems were ordered removed from Christmas trees in all government buildings in Sonoma County on Monday following a complaint by Irv Sutley, a disabled 65-year-old Marine veteran who said the symbols were “extremely offensive” and part of the “cult” of Christianity. FULL STORY
LUZERNE COUNTY, Pennsylvania — A menorah and statues in the nativity scene on the Luzerne County Courthouse lawn were removed Wednesday night after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) threatened legal action. County officials opted not to spend time and money on a lawsuit – at least not at this time – because they are swamped with the budget crisis and other pressing matters, the Times Leader reports. The empty manger remains. FULL STORY (Photo: Pete G. Wilcox/TimesLeader.com)