An atheist group has filed an appeal against a ruling that allowed the "Big Mountain Jesus" statue at Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort in Montana to stay in place.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a brief on Jan. 28 with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking it to overturn a June ruling by a federal judge that allowed the U.S. Forest Service to renew its 10-year permit for the Big Mountain Jesus Statue, which has stood atop Whitefish Ski Resort in Montana for the past six decades as part of a World War II memorial. The Whitefish Ski Resort is located in the Flathead National Forest, which is owned by the U.S. Forest Service, a government entity.
In its brief filed last week, the FFRF described the six-foot statue as "a permanent Catholic shrine on public land," saying that such a religious shrine is "prohibited by the Establishment Clause, every bit as much as a Catholic church would be." more >>
Atheist author and neuroscientist Sam Harris announced a new book on Wednesday titled Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, set to be published later this year.
"Waking Up is for the 30 percent of Americans who follow no religion, but who suspect that Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history could not have all been epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds," states a description for the book on Amazon.
"Throughout the book, Harris argues that there are important truths to be found in the experiences of such contemplatives – and, therefore, that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow." more >>
American Atheists is putting up a new billboard making fun of prayer outside Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, where the Super Bowl is scheduled to take place on Sunday.
The 14 feet by 48 feet billboard features a man in a priest uniform with the text "A 'Hail Mary' only works in football. Enjoy the game!" referring to the Roman Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary and also the name of a long-forward pass in football.
An atheist lawmaker in Nebraska has introduced a bill that would strip churches and religious organizations in the state of their property tax exemptions.
State Senator Ernie Chambers (D-Omaha), an atheist, said at a Nebraska Revenue Committee meeting last week that he believes his new bill, Legislative Bill 675, will help ease the tax rates of Nebraska citizens by requiring churches and religious organizations to pay property tax. Additionally, Chambers argued that the bill could reduce the need for state aid to local governments and schools. The bill continues to allow nonreligious educational and charitable organizations to remain tax exempt.
"The purpose of LB 675 is to help the state gain more revenue, rather than less, by taking away churches' property tax exemptions," Chambers read in his Statement of Intent at last Friday's committee meeting. "If taxes were paid on the many churches and cathedrals and temples in every city in this state, perhaps the state's assistance to local governments and schools would be diminished considerably – leaving more in state coffers for other purposes." more >>
Atheist and comedian Bill Maher recently made the shocking comment that there is "no more psychopathic mass murderer than God." Maher, who is known by many to make intentionally controversial comments relating to religion, received criticism on social media for his comments.
The comedian, who hosts the HBO talk show series "Real Time with Bill Maher," said in an interview with The Atlantic's Scott Stossel that he thinks people who believe in God are "insane," noting that the God portrayed in the Bible's Old Testament is a "mass murderer."
Maher was responding to Stossel who asked if the comedian believes in the argument of Pascal's wager, which states that atheists could be wrong by betting that there is no God and therefore be dooming themselves to an eternity in hell. more >>
A police chief in Arkansas is refusing to remove a small white cross from the lawn of the local police department after an atheist group demanded he do so. The police chief has argued that residents do not find the cross offensive and therefore it will not be removed.
The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation contacted Jeremy Clark, police chief of the Searcy Police Department, asking that he remove the small wooden cross from the front lawn of the department, arguing that its presence is a violation of Separation of Church and State. The FFRF claims it was contacted by a local resident who feels too intimidated to directly request the police department remove the cross.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, told the local KARK-TV that her organization has asked Clark to remove the cross from the property on multiple occasions. Clark told the local media outlet that he doesn't plan to remove the cross just because an organization from another state has told him to. Clark also added that the cross was already there when he took his position as police chief in February 2013. more >>