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No ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ for One TN Elementary School

Aleta Ledendecker, president of the East Tennessee chapter of Freedom From Religion Foundation, recently wrote an email to the principal of Linden Elementary School in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on behalf of two disgruntled parents who were upset that one of the school’s teachers played a portion of the “Hallelujah Chorus” during morning announcements. Ledendecker wrote, “In consideration of all the possible choices of music, this piece with its distinctly religious content can be interpreted as proselytizing.”

Instead of bowing to the atheist group’s wishes, the school sided with the teacher because the musical selection corresponded to that week’s overall music curriculum, which just so happened to be about the musical works of George Frideric Handel. Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers stated, “We strongly disagreed with her position and, through our attorney, we responded promptly to the writer suggesting that she was in error.” Borcher is now responding to Ledendecker’s open records request and so far no legal action has been taken by FFRF.

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Convicts Offered Shorter Jail Times in Exchange for Free Birth Control

In exchange for shorter jail time, White County, Tenn., General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield offered inmates free extreme birth-control measures. Male prisoners who opted-in would be given vasectomies, while female prisoners would receive Nexplanon, a three-year contraceptive implant. Judge Benningfield rescinded the offer after an uproar that included calls for the state attorney general to opine as to its constitutionality. Before it was rescinded, however, 32 women and 38 men had opted-in as a means of reducing their time in jail up to 30 days. Benningfield reasoned, “I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility and give them a chance, when they do get out, to not to be burdened with children.” Benningfield’s original offer for convicts to “buy” their freedom through sterilization procedures not only smacked of eugenics, but also bordered on coercion.

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Register for FACT’s New Biblical Worldview Seminar This Fall

Restoring the Vision is a unique biblical worldview seminar led by FACT President David Fowler. In the seminar, David distills the worldview concepts derived from Scripture that challenged him to leave the private practice of law to go into politics and public policy. At Restoring the Vision, you will see what God has been doing “from the beginning” and how you, too, fit into His original and ongoing creational purposes. If you’re looking for greater purpose in your Christian journey and want to develop the basic worldview tools that will help you make better sense of what’s going on around you, then come to Restoring the Vision on November 11. Register now for this exciting new seminar.

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shape of Tennessee on striped background with words Tennessee news

Lawsuit Challenging Tennessee’s Waiting Period Gains Pro-Choice Firepower

A motion was filed Wednesday seeking to add three plaintiffs to a lawsuit challenging the state’s 2015 law requiring a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. Specifically, both Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee and Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region are seeking to be added in addition to the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health, which will be represented by the ACLU. According to news reports, State Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery agreed to stop enforcing requirements that abortion providers must have hospital admitting privileges and abortion clinics must meet hospital-level surgical standards in April.

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shape of Tennessee on striped background with words Tennessee news

TN Courthouse Bible Verse Sparks Ire of Atheist Group

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is challenging the constitutionality of a Bible verse that was engraved in the Henderson County courthouse building more than 50 years ago. The verse is Psalm 89:14, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”

Mayor Dan Hughes has no intention of removing the verse. In fact, he is considering adding Psalm 33:12 as well.

The attorney for the atheist group said another letter will be sent to the mayor asking him to review the situation with a lawyer, and if the mayor fails to comply, legal action will be taken.

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