Bo Gardiner is an environmental analyst, naturalist, writer, and humanist/skeptic organizer. She's a former research hydrologist, EPA consultant, wildlife program director for a national NGO, and TV writer/producer. She holds a B.A. in communications and M.S. in environmental engineering sciences.
Two weeks ago I reported on a sweeping program of organized religious coercion of student athletes by their Christian coaches at public high schools across southwestern Virginia. Since then I’ve received reports of two more schools involved, bringing the total number we know to host this program to twelve: Read more
On a sweltering August afternoon at a Virginia public high school’s football practice, the coach calls his hot, thirsty players to attention. A guest, he announces, has brought them ice-cold watermelon — and a message. As the grateful young teens in uniform drop to the grass to savor their treat, the coach steps back and nods to his guest. The visitor is a preacher, and he’s there to bring the boys around to Coach’s particular brand of faith. Coach figures all his boys and assistant coaches are Christian, because that’s what good Virginians are. And if they aren’t, they should be. He tells himself it’s part of his job because it’s good for the team. A boy without Jesus isn’t as respectful, strong or reliable — you know, Christian traits. The preacher reads “The Competitor’s Creed” from the back of the book he holds, God’s Game Plan: The Athlete’s Bible: Read more
On August 26, two journalists from WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia — reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward — were shot and killed during a live interview at Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake. They were murdered by former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan, who was angry at being fired from the station two years ago and replaced by Parker. Read more
In April of 2014, white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, shot and killed a boy, the boy’s grandfather, and a woman near a Kansas Jewish community center while shouting “Heil Hitler!” In a dark twist of fate, all three victims were white Christians. This week, Miller was convicted of capital murder. At his trial, he said he “wanted to kill Jews, not people,” and responded to the verdict with “Sieg Heil” and a Nazi salute. Miller, who ran for several offices including U.S. House and Senate, has been described as “one of the pioneers in the modern hate world” and “a central figure of the white power movement.” CNN has reported that Miller is a neo-pagan who also “self-identified as an atheist,” who uses anti-Christian rhetoric. Here I take a deep dive into that characterization, and I will explain at the end why I think it’s worth the effort. Read more