Monthly Archives: December 2013

Episode 38: Ellery Schempp – Protesting Prayer in Public Schools

Gabe and Dan sit down with Ellery Schempp to talk about his experiences as a life-long secular activist. Ellery is best known as the litigant in the landmark supreme court case Abington School District v. Schempp, which brought an end to requisite prayer in public schools in the US. What a treat.

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The outline of the conversation:

  • The requirement for students to read versus from the Bible in public schools in Pennsylvania
  • Ellery’s initial protest by using the wrong holy book during morning devotionals
  • Angst associated with suing your school over prayer during McCarthyism
  • Religiously motivated changes to the pledge of allegiance
  • Ellery’s principal actively trying to ruin his chances of being accepted to college
  • Ellery’s participation in the Secular Coalition of America and the Secular Student Alliance
  • The role that religious references play in the governing documents of the US
  • Positive changes in the education system over the past few decades
  • The work Ellery has done as a scientist and his involvement in science education
  • The role of religion in education, art, and literature
  • Secular/Humanist/Atheist organizations
  • Some goals and directions for the future of the secular movement
  • The fun adventuring Ellery has been able to be a part of

Links to some of the things we discussed:

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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Guest, New Episode


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Ask an Atheist Panel at Boston University

So, I don’t know how many of our readers are in the greater Boston area, but if you’re around and interested, you might want to check out the Ask an Atheist panel at Boston University on Friday, December 6th at 7:00 PM. It will be in room 211 in the College of Arts and Sciences (see on Google Maps). You can find more details at the Facebook event page. It is being presented by the Boston University Humanists, and should be a lot of fun!

I won’t be on the panel, but I will probably be in attendance. The panel will be composed of one person who has been on the show previously, one person (and possibly a second) I have wanted to invite on the show but have not yet done so, and undoubtedly interesting people I have never heard of before.

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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Random Post