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Calif. school district bans atheist scholarships — but allows them from Scientology

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A lawsuit filed in federal court last week accuses California’s Antelope Valley Union School Board of blocking scholarships from atheists while allowing them from Scientology.

Courthouse News Service reported that the district was sued after it refused to let students compete for $17,950 in scholarships from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and $1,750 in scholarships from the Antelope Valley Freethinkers.

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According to the atheist groups, Palmdale High School declined to notify students of their scholarship offers, which required applicants to submit an essay on the challenges of being a “nonbeliever.”

The lawsuit notes that the school did offer scholarships from other groups — including the Church of Scientology — that “solicited religious speech, required applicants to be religious, and dealt with the historically controversial topics of homosexuality and guns.”

Deputy Superintendent Jeff Foster reportedly told Antelope Valley Freethinkers President David Dionne that offers from atheists groups would “upset some parents.” Foster cited the group’s suggestion that students write about being “ridiculed, harassed, or punished for speaking up against religion in the classroom, at school events, in government, or within your family.”

“We simply do not have the time to ‘word smith’ language that might be acceptable to the district and yet meet the intent of your organization,” Foster explained.

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The atheist groups are asking a federal judge to issue an injunction to force the district to stop suppressing free speech.


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White House personnel chief delivers a new blow to Trump: Top DHS candidates are not legally qualified

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President Donald Trump's quest to find an acting replacement for departed Department of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen was dealt a significant blow on Monday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House personnel office chief Sean Doocey has informed the president that he doesn't believe either of his top two picks are legally qualified to hold the position.

As the Journal notes, "federal statute that governs vacancies states that acting officials in cabinet-level positions must either be next in line for a position or hold a Senate-confirmed position." Neither Ken Cuccinelli, who heads the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, nor Mark Morgan, who leads Customs and Border Protection, meet those standards, Doocey determined.

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CNBC reporter laments ‘very sad’ decline of Trump: ‘We just heard 20 minutes of nonsense’

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CNBC's John Harwood reacted to President Donald Trump's appearance before the press corps on Monday by calling it "20 minutes of nonsense."

Trump's remarks to the press came during a cabinet meeting where he defended his decision to pull troops out of Syria and insisted that the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution is "phony."

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Trump went off the rails at Monday’s cabinet meeting — here are the 5 craziest moments

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President Donald Trump went on a rampage during his Monday cabinet meeting in which he launched multiple broadsides against his political opponents.

The president's latest public tirade came as he is facing increased pressure from House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, as well as criticism from members of his own party over abandoning America's Kurdish allies and trying to award his own business a massive government contract to host next year's G7 summit.

Below are the craziest moments from Trump's off-the-rails Cabinet meeting.

1.) Trump claims that he deserves personal credit for capturing Islamic State fighters.

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