Atheist Base

Who could possibly be anti-anti-bullying? That’s right. The homophobic Christian agenda. The Guardian reports:

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Thirteen million children are bullied every year. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately “40% to 80% of school-age children experience bullying at some point during their school careers.” Suicides like Jacob’s take place somewhere in America every single month. According to a Yale University study, children who are bullied are two to nine times more likely to end their own lives. Kids are bullied for all sorts of reasons: for being fat, shy, poor, rich and for no reason at all, although everyone familiar with the phenomenon knows that sexual orientation is a common excuse.

Bullied Teen - Stock Image

Solutions to the problem of bullying aren’t easy. They have to do more with changing the culture than changing the legal codes. Families bear the chief responsibility for teaching their children to respect others.Schools can help, though, by educating students and teachers about the problem, setting up clear and effective policies for dealing with cases and establishing accountability, and fostering a safe and welcoming environment for all students. State legislators in New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois, among other places, have taken important steps in this direction with useful anti-bullying bills.

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In Michigan last year, the “anti-anti-bullying” lobby went on the offensive with some legislation of their own. In a bill dealing with the bullying issue, they inserted a provision that would have exempted bullies who acted out of “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction”. With an irony that seems more than usually cruel, the bill was named for a Michigan teen who had committed suicide after years of bullying.

A national outpouring of disgust at the Michigan legislature’s attempt to legitimize faith-based bullying ultimately resulted in the removal of the provision from the bill. But now the lawmakers of a Tennessee plan to make good on the loss. In what must count as an extraordinarily perverse way to mark the suicide of Jacob Rogers, they have introduced a bill that follows the trail blazed by the Michigan lawmakers, with some inconsequential changes in language, to open up a loophole for verbal bullying that is motivated by religious prejudices. Given that theTennessee legislature approved Bill 368, which is intended to bring “creationism” into the state’s biology classrooms, on 26 March, the prospects for this anti-anti-bullying bill have to be considered good.

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Many people will undoubtedly conclude that these efforts by the anti-anti-bully lobby are lacking in Christian charity or common sense. But their proponents do have a point that we should carefully consider. To be sure, the notion that the anti-bullying initiatives are driven by “the homosexual agenda” – a phrase that conjures the vision of gay hordes aiming to seduce children into lives of abomination – is preposterous. But the sense that anti-bullying initiatives involve teaching children “acceptance” of LGBT peers, to use the word of the Concerned Women of America, is not. If you want the school to tell students to stop harassing kids like Jacob Rogers because they are gay, you have to let them know, at some point, that the school thinks it’s OK to be gay.

As Americans, we all like to believe that we can establish laws and policies that are neutral with respect to religious belief. But the truth is, we can’t, and we don’t. Sometimes, we have to make a choice. We have already made such choices – obviously, the right ones – with respect to race or ethnicity. No state or school would or should entertain for a moment the notion that it is acceptable for students to tell those of another race or ethnicity that they are inferior and degenerate because their religion teaches them – as some religions in America did, until quite recently – that certain races are less worthy before God than others. Maybe, it’s time to come clean about sexual preference.

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Read more: The Guardian

In a relieving update to a story posted last week, New York has reconsidered it’s plans to ban ‘controversial’ words like ‘dinosaur’ from their school textbooks. CNN reports:

One week after New York’s Department of Education drew controversy with a request to ban 50 words and references from the city’s standardized tests – including “dinosaur,” “birthday” and “religion” – the department announced Tuesday that it is abandoning the plan.

CNN Illustration - NYC had initially sought to keep words like "dinosaur" and "Halloween" off standardized school tests.

CNN Illustration – NYC had initially sought to keep words like “dinosaur” and “Halloween” off standardized school tests.

“After reconsidering our message to test publishers and the reaction from parents, we will revise our guidance and eliminate the list of words to avoid on tests,” New York Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said in a statement.

“We will continue to advise companies to be sensitive to student backgrounds and avoid unnecessary distractions that could invalidate test scores and give an inaccurate assessment of how students are doing,” the statement continued.

The list of words New York hoped to ban from tests was made public when the city’s education department released this year’s “request for proposal” for test publishers across the country. The city is looking for vendors to revamp math and English tests for its students.

The list of words, which included “divorce,” “Halloween,” “Christmas” and “television,” attracted considerable criticism, with many alleging it was political correctness gone too far.

In its request for proposal, the NYC Department of Education explained that it wanted to avoid certain words if “the topic is controversial among the adult population and might not be acceptable in a state-mandated testing situation; the topic has been overused in standardized tests or textbooks and is thus overly familiar and/or boring to students; the topic appears biased against (or toward) some group of people.”

Matthew Mittenthal, a spokesman for the NYC Department of Education, said last week that this is the fifth year his agency has created such a list. The request for proposal said certain words “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”

Apparently, many of the words on New York’s list were avoided because of faith-based concerns.

For instance, the use of the word “birthday” or the phrase “birthday celebrations” may offend Jehovah’s Witnesses, who do not celebrate birthdays. A representative for the Jehovah’s Witnesses declined to comment on the use of the word “birthday.”

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Read more: CNN

Gizmodo reports:

Father Martin McVeigh was giving a talk to 26 parents and one 8-year-old kid when computer disaster struck. He connected his USB drive into a PC to start his Powerpoint presentation and, instead of the word of God, a hardcore gay porn slideshow started—thanks to Windows’ autoplay.

Father McVeigh. Source: BBC

Father McVeigh. Source: BBC

Some parents—who were there to hear McVeigh talk about First Communion—were angry. Others were in shock. Just like McVeigh. He was so embarrassed that, according to witnesses, unplugged the USB drive and walked out of the room without uttering a single word. Later he declared to the press:

“I don’t know how it happened but I know what happened. There are people making innuendos who weren’t even there but in this day and age these stories grow.”

Well, Father, I think there’s little space for innuendo after showing gay porn in church. McVeigh, however, claims there is an explanation for all this.

The Archdiocese of Armagh, where the parish belongs, called the police and gave them the USB stick for inspection. The police told them there was no crime in gay porn and the drive didn’t contain any pedophilia. It was just normal gay porn.

According to The Ulster Herald, “an emergency meeting was held in the parish last night.” You know, because gay priests are such a rare event that emergency meetings need to be held with the utmost urgency, so everyone can slam someone who mistakenly made his sexual preferences public. Embarrassment is not enough! To the fire with him. 

Huffington Post reports:

A small bomb exploded outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wis., on Sunday night, and police are investigating to learn who planted the device.

Planned Parenthood Logo

Planned Parenthood Logo

According to WGBA-TV, police fire crews found the homemade explosive outside a window sill that they believe had set off a small fire, which burned out before fire crews arrived. The building sustained a small amount of damage.

The FBI has joined with the local police department to investigate the bombing. Leonard Peace, a spokesman for the FBI’s Milwaukee Division, told The Huffington Post that the agency was notified of the incident on Sunday evening and initiated an investigation on Monday.

“The information that I have is that an unknown suspect placed a device at that location last evening, approximately 7:30 p.m.,” Peace said. “The device caused minimal fire damage to the facility. At this point in time, we’re reviewing the evidence to determine exactly what type of device it was.”

Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson told the Appleton Post Crescent that the bomb was made out of a plastic bottle and chemicals and “included agents of an incendiary quality.” He added that he had not heard of any threats to the clinic prior to Sunday’s incident.

Planned Parenthood has 27 health centers in Wisconsin, and three of them, including the clinic that was bombed, offer abortion services. The fire from the bomb caused minimal damage to one of the exam rooms in the clinic, which is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, said Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

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According to the most recent statistics from the National Abortion Federation, there were 114 violent attacks against abortion providers in 2011, including three physical assaults, one bombing, one incident of arson, 27 counts of vandalism and eight burglaries.

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Read More: Huffington Post