MADISON, Wis. (AP) â€” The nation’s largest group of atheists and agnostics is suing President Bush, the governor of Wisconsin and other officials over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued Friday in U.S. district court, arguing that the president’s mandated proclamations calling on Americans to pray violates a constitutional ban on government officials endorsing religion.
The day of prayer, held each year on the first Thursday of May, creates a “hostile environment for nonbelievers, who are made to feel as if they are political outsiders,” the lawsuit said.
The national proclamation issued this year asked God’s blessings on our country and called for Americans to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is named in the suit because he is one of 50 governors who issued proclamations calling for the prayer day. The foundation is based in Madison.
Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and White House press secretary Dana Perino also are named.
The foundation has filed numerous lawsuits in recent years, including one rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court last year that attacked President Bush’s faith-based initiative.
The White House and Doyle spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner had no comment on the lawsuit. A message seeking comment from the task force was not returned Friday.
Â What kind of sick fucks want to force an 11 year old girl to give birth after having been raped by her uncle? Unbelievable.
An 11-year-old Romanian girl who is 21 weeks pregnant after being raped by an uncle will be able to have an abortion, even though it is forbidden by law.
A government committee said the procedure should go ahead due to the exceptional circumstances of her case.
Romania’s abortion limit is 14 weeks. It had been suggested the girl might travel to the UK for the abortion.
Some 20 Christian Orthodox groups had threatened to press charges if the girl was allowed to abort the foetus.
In a letter to the government committee, the girl said she wanted to be able “to go to school and to play”.
“If I can’t do this my life will be a nightmare,” she said, according to a text read out by government committee member Vlad Iliescu.
“The committee has decided that a voluntary termination of the pregnancy can be carried out,” said Mr Iliescu.
He said the abortion could take place because the girl was a victim of sexual abuse and faced “major risks to her mental health” if the pregnancy continued.
Another committee member, Theodora Bertzi said the decision was made focusing on “the rights of this child who was subjected to rape and incest”.
The committee said the case highlighted the need for “clarifications with regard to the exceptional circumstances” that would allow late-term abortions to go ahead.
The girl was raped by a 19-year-old uncle who has since disappeared.
Her family only discovered she was pregnant when they took her to the doctor because she seemed sick.
While some pro-life Christian Orthodox groups had urged the family to keep the child, and offered to raise it in a church institution, the Romanian Orthodox Church said any decision on abortion should be left to the family.
The girl’s parents had said they wanted to travel to a country where such a late-term abortion was legal.
In Romania abortion is only normally allowed beyond 14 weeks if the mother’s life is deemed to be at risk. In Britain, they can be carried out up to 24 weeks in some circumstances.
A Romanian living in the UK had offered to cover the costs of a termination there.
Seems that despite the ever loudening and aggressive Christian right, the American public is becoming less religious.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – When it comes to religion, more and more U.S. adults either have none or do not identify with a particular church, although the country remains highly religious, a survey said on Monday.
The report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found a constantly shifting landscape of religious loyalties, with the Roman Catholic Church losing more adherents than any other single U.S. religious group.
One in 10 Americans now describes himself as a former Catholic, it found, although that church’s membership is constantly being replenished by immigrants, particularly Latinos.
Despite predictions that the United States would follow Europe’s path toward secularization, the U.S. population “remains highly religious in its beliefs and practices,” the survey concluded.
But John Green, a senior researcher with the Pew Forum, told reporters American religion appears headed for more diversity, with the likelihood the country will be “less Protestant and less Christian” in the future than it is now.
The survey, based on interviews with more than 36,000 U.S. adults, found 78.4 percent of the population identify themselves as Christian. Of U.S. adults in general, it said 51.3 percent were Protestant, 23.9 percent Catholic, 1.7 percent Mormon, 0.7 percent Jehovah’s Witness and less than 0.3 percent each Greek or Russian Orthodox.
“The biggest gains due to changes in religious affiliation have been among those who say they are not affiliated with any particular religious group or tradition,” the survey found.
Â I deleted my MySpace profile weeks ago due to my disdain for the way myspace is run, this recent news makes me even happier I did.
Cleveland, OH.â€” Social networking site, MySpace.com, panders to religious intolerants by deleting atheist users, groups and content.
Early this month, MySpace again deleted the Atheist and Agnostic Group (35,000 members). This deletion, due largely to complaints from people who find atheism offensive, marks the second time MySpace has cancelled the group since November 2007.
Whatâ€™s unique in this case is that the Atheist and Agnostic Group was the largest collection of organized atheists in the world. The group had its own Wikipedia entry, and in April won the Excellence in Humanist Communication Award (2007) from the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University and the Secular Student Alliance.
â€œMySpace refuses to undelete the group, although it never violated any terms of service,â€ said Bryan Pesta, Ph.D., the groupâ€™s moderator. â€œWhen the largest Christian group was hacked, MySpaceâ€™s Founder, Tom Anderson, personally restored the group, and promised to protect it from future deletions.â€
â€œIt is an outrage if Rupert Murdochâ€™s News Corporation and the worldâ€™s largest social networking site tolerate discrimination against atheists and agnostics– and if this situation goes unresolved Iâ€™ll have little choice but to believe they do,â€ said Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain of Harvard University. News Corporation, Murdochâ€™s global media corporation which also includes Fox News, purchased MySpace in 2005.
â€œMy personal profile was deleted as well, and despite weeks of emails to customer service, plus a petition signed by 500 group members, MySpace wonâ€™t budge. I think these actions send a clear message to the 30 million godless people in America (and to businesses whose money was spent displaying ads on our group) that we are not welcome on MySpace,â€ said Pesta.
For a Wikipedia article on the now defunct atheist and agnostic group, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_and_Agnostic_Group.
For links to Pestaâ€™s defunct group and profile, visit http://www.MySpace.com/aiffb.