The Freedom From Religion Foundation, responding to complaints from concerned Indianapolis taxpayers, has sent a letter of strong objection to the Indianapolis Public School system for its policy of censorship of web content that promotes or provides information about "atheistic views."Hmmm, I wonder what it exactly says?
Sites that promote and provide information on religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft or Satanism. Occult practices, atheistic views, vodoo rituals or any form of mysticism are represented here. Includes sites that endorse or offer methods, means of instruction, or other resources to affect or influence real events through the use of spells, incantations, curses and magic powers. This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.
Uhhhhh.... Let's have FFRF finish before I get distracted by The Stupid.
This policy ... is unlawful because it violates the Free Speech Clause as unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, FFRF charges. This policy does not prohibit or even mention religious views such as Christianity. A website like FFRF.org, which educates on freethought and nontheism, would, however, be blocked under this policy. This promotes religion over nonreligion, which is forbidden under the Establishment Clause.
In her letter, Foundation Staff Attorney Rebecca Kratz pointed out that, in addition to the illegality of the policy, it discriminates against the 15% of the population that is nonreligious, the fastest growing segment of the American population (American Religious Identification Survey 2008).
"This policy not only violates the rights of students in the Indianapolis School District, but limits their capacity to expand their knowledge and acceptance of all individuals and beliefs," Kratz noted.
How the hell could they have thought this was a good idea or even legal? You can't look up views on certain religions or atheism, but Christianity is a-okay? Discrimination, much? The only thing I find much stupider than that is lumping atheism with supernatural/paranormal events when atheism rejects those things. I take it back: thinking that spells, incantations, curses, and magic powers can actually work is pretty fucking stupid.
But wait, that's not all.
The policy also blocks LGBT sites "that provide information regarding, support, promote, or cater to one's sexual orientation or gender identity including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender sites" (see second page of policy).Yep, let's ban students from helpful information when they need it the most! Maybe if they can't find out that it's okay to be gay, they'll start being straight again.
Though shame on Indianapolis students for not being able to just crack through the censorship. That's the first thing you learn to do in high school! How else are you going to feed your Neopets, watch Homestar Runner, and play crappy flash games? Wait, what? That's what I did 7 years ago? None of that is cool? Damnit.
(Thanks to the seventy billion different people who let me know about this one. Apparently atheism + Indiana = OMG GO EMAIL JEEENNNN!!)
(Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)