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Thousands donate food, skip Mass

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been hard at work for the past few years ensuring attendees at several annual festivals in Milwaukee do not need to attend Catholic Mass to receive festival admittance discounts.

Polish Festival, Irish Festival, Mexican Fiesta, Festa Italiana, and German Fest all include a worship service as part of their festival activities, and all of them used to give special discounts only to those who attended the service.

Thanks to FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott, almost all of the festivals have changed their discounts to include attendees of all faiths and no faith. Elliott is still working to change Festa Italiana’s policy so that it does not violate Wisconsin civil rights laws.

Irish Fest changed its policy late last year from giving free admission only to attendees who both attended Mass and donated a food item to the Hunger Task Force, to giving free admission to everyone who brought in food on Sunday morning prior to the start of the festival.

The outcome was win-win-win. The Hunger Task Force reported a 25% increase in food donations from the previous year. Although the festival does not release exact attendance numbers, thousands of people who were not attending Mass were observed enjoying Irish Fest Sunday morning—a clear benefit to Irish Fest itself. And, of course, everyone, no matter their religion or non-religion, received the same discount from Irish Fest.

Not only were food contributions up 25% from the 2012 festival, but this year’s contributions reportedly set an all-time record for the event. This year’s Hunger Task Force contributions beat out the previous record set in 2008 by roughly 20%.

After Irish Fest changed its policy last year, Atheist Ireland received word of the change and donated $100 to the Hunger Task Force via FFRF.

“We are glad to have created a new opportunity for non-churchgoers to enjoy Milwaukee’s summer festivals and help feed the hungry,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

Who says atheists aren’t generous?

By Sarah Eucalano

Despite the bad publicity dogging the Catholic church internationally,  Karl du Fresne reports that many NZ Catholics have a positive picture of their church in New Zealand (see Catholicism: Holy smoke, NZ Listener). His subtitle conveys the message – despite … Continue reading

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I keep running into lapsed catholics. They seem to be everywhere – and usually they are nice people. There’s something about being lapsed which gives you a sense of humour. But I wonder how many have tried to formalise their … Continue reading

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Ian Wishart is a local “investigative’ journalist and well-known conspiracy theorist from way back. He’s dabbled in climate change, creationism, health, political, crime, and other issues.

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The election of Pope Francis only means the church’s unacceptable policies of the past will be endorsed with a new signet ring.

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Rick Santorum and James Dobson are back together again, this time promoting Dobson’s “dystopian thriller” on Patriot Voices Radio, which is Santorum’s new radio show. The former presidential candidate said that the Obama adminis…

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Last night, Glenn Beck kicked off his program by showing off a couple of historical artifacts that he has acquired, including a handwritten copy of a speech delivered by John Wilkes Booth and an early edition of “Mein Kampf” signed by Adolf Hitler … which he then tied to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to ban the sale of sodas over sixteen ounces.

According to Beck, just as Booth and Hitler believed that they knew the proper solutions to the “crisis” they believed their nations faced, so too Bloomberg believes he is doing the right thing in trying solve the “crisis” of obesity.

“A lot of people have come in the past and said ‘there’s a crisis,’” Beck said, pointing to the Booth and Hitler documents, “We have to do something.  We have to do something. That always leads you to bad places”:

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Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) appeared on Washington Watch yesterday with Family Research Council Tony Perkins to discuss his legislation that “would spend $110 million a year for the next five years on grants to abstinence programs around the count…

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The news broke this morning that Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has resigned from office over her ties to an organization that ran a series of “internet cafes” in the state that is now at the center of a racketeering investigation. According to reports, Carroll had close ties this organization and even appeared in a commercial for it in 2010.

These “cafes” are often borderline casinos that exist in a legal gray area by claiming that they are merely offering “sweepstakes” to customers.

So it is just a little too perfect that back in 2011, Carroll was a featured speaker at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event ahead of a Republican presidential debate in Florida, organized by none other than Ralph Reed, where she declared that America needs “good, solid Christians to step up and lead this country on a proper moral path”:

You know the Bible says faith is believing in what is not seen, today unfortunately many in the media would like nothing better to ridicule Christians: they promote ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ they place doubt in the public’s mind that Christ was not risen and they condemn the ‘Passion of Christ,’ yet they sensationalize stories that call for the end of prayer in school and removing the name of God from our country’s pledge. Ladies and gentlemen, these are very sad times when we allow the minority to poison the minds of the majority. This is exactly what dictators and socialist rulers did.

Man does not have all the answers, some of our political leaders bow down to scientists and let them have the stage to push their evolution, but there’s nothing, nothing a scientist can make, that is exactly like what God creates.

Trust Him to give you the strength to fight back against those who want to take God out of our country. Trust Him to give you the wisdom to speak out against injustice and blasphemy of His name. Trust God to guide your path to bring about a righteous government. …

Ladies and gentlemen, Christianity is in a fight and it is one of the greatest trials we have seen in modern times. Without a doubt, America and her people are in grave need of prayer, divine guidance, protection, to have good, solid Christians to step up and lead this country on a proper moral path. I firmly believe that if we magnify God, our problems will be minimized.

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