A few days ago, I was at a business lunch where one of the participants was a freshly divorced man in his forties. So it's not a surprise that the conversation inevitably, and irretrievably, turned to the subject of marriage and what a soul-crushing burden it is. Not the divorce, mind you -- that was a liberation -- but marriage. The man had no specific grievances against his wife, whom he described as a normal enough human being and a good mother, nor against his kids, whom he professed to love -- he just wished he hadn't married her or had them.
I've been supporting the Earth Hour movement since it was introduced to me by a friend in 2009. I even attended the events held in SM Megamall last 2011 and 2010, where the shopping center dim its lights in support for the cause.
You may ask, What Is Earth Hour? Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (
On this date in 1944, Ishmael Jaffree was born. Jaffree brought and won the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 72 (1985). Calling him “an authentic American hero,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation inaugurated the “Freethinker of the Year” award at its 1985 convention to recognize his contributions. An agnostic, a father of six children and an attorney in Mobile, Jaffree discovered in 1981 that his children were being fed daily doses of the Lord’s prayer and grace at lunch, with an occasional bible-reading. Jaffree bravely filed a lawsuit in May 1982, challenging a 1978 law authorizing a one-minute period of silence, a 1981 statute authorizing a period of silence “for meditation or voluntary prayer,” and a 1982 law authorizing teachers to lead “willing students” in a prescribed prayer to “Almighty God … the Creator and Supreme Judge of the world.”
During the 1982 trial, the infamous Judge Hand permitted 600 Christians to intervene; school officials led children in prayer in front of the media. Jaffree’s children were ostracized, laughed at, talked about, subjected to racial epithets and physically harassed. Judge Hand issued a ruling in 1983 against Jaffree, claiming the Supreme Court was wrong about the separation of state and church, and that the First Amendment does not bar states from establishing a religion. The case proceeded by way of the Eleventh Circuit to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 4, 1985, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Jaffree’s favor, declaring unconstitutional a period of silence for “meditation or voluntary prayer” in public schools.
I brought the case because I wanted to encourage toleration among my children. I certainly did not want teachers who have control over my children for at least eight hours over the day to … program them into any religious philosophy.”
— Ishmael Jaffree, acceptance speech for “Freethinker of the Year 1985,” awarded by the Freedom From Religion Foundation
- Militant Secularism? (uglicoyote.wordpress.com)
- Freedom From Religion Foundation to Air Ad on CBS (skepticalteacher.wordpress.com)