Creationism is superstitious nonsense. So are most religious beliefs. I live in the UK and am not a government employee, or indeed anyone with editorial responsibility, so either live with it or tell me my atheism is superstitious nonsense. Atheism1 is a treasured part of my identity too, but the law and I give you express permission to whinge about it all you want.
I don't know if this is the teacher's actual words being quoted, but if he truly said he had an "unequivocal belief that creationism is superstitious nonsense", how can that be attacked under the First Amendment?
If we're getting petty, this judge's ruling breaks the First A. Emphasis mine:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
So there. Anyway—I'm not particularly bothered by the finding represented by the headline.
The most interesting part for me is that most of the teacher's comments were protected. They include, in appropriate contexts, "when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth", "conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies – that's interfering with God's work" and "[there's as much evidence that Jehovah created the world] as there is that there is a gigantic spaghetti monster living behind the moon who did it".
Those statements are now protected by law or precedent or something, which gives the good guys some kind of framework within which to work.
From Julian Baggini's answer:
The simplest and clearest motivation for taking animal welfare seriously is the recognition that pain is in and of itself a bad thing, and that to inflict significant amounts of it unnecessarily is wrong. Of course, until you cash out "significant" and "unnecessarily", the principle remains vague, but without these qualifications, the rule is a clearly nonsense.
From HE Baber's answer:
In fact there is no principled way to sort all and only humans into one moral category and everything else into another, so we face a moral dilemma. Either we hold that there is no objective criterion grounding moral consideration or we hold that when it comes to common practice we fall short.
They may post more responses; I'm not sure. Just those two at time of writing.
If I had a Retriever, I'd admit to kissing him or her good morning.
So here's a thought. When it comes to ethical choices regarding companion animals, if in any doubt, substitute "my infant child" for "my dog" and see how you feel about it then.
Following that principle, and if we allow (although I realise some (particularly in parts of the US?) don't) that debarking and declawing are not defensible, you won't find much that's morally taxing or lifestyle-inhibiting until we get to neutering. Because I wouldn't permit an infant child in my care to be sterilised, I'm forced to adopt the view that spaying and neutering companion animals is wrong. Putting that into practice, of course, as Baber points out, is difficult.
Our dogs weren't spayed, although Bracken had a hysterectomy in adulthood to cure a bad infection. Our male cat, however, is neutered. I do think if I ever own a cat I still would have it sterilised, albeit with qualms, but not a dog. Handling bitches in season is fine; we had doggy equivalents of panty pads for ours, and most people in suburbia these days don't let their entire males roam the streets. Males are easy to control, although that seems to have escaped my father, whose entire male Labrador regularly drags his bedding outdoors after meals and copulates with it.
I have seen neuters and spays performed on cats, and noted the enormous difference between the operation on a tom (literally 30 seconds. Slash, snip, snip, done) and the operation on a female (much longer and more invasive). For that reason alone, given that I would have a cat neutered, I would be much more likely to own a male cat than a female.
1 Actually, technically, that treasured part of my identity is better described as "intelligence" and "freethinking cynicism with a generous helping of Occam", because I don't define myself by negatives. Except perhaps that I'm not blond. And, of course, that I'm not the werewolf/saboteur/traitor/cylon.
If you think it's funny for a self-described neuter (-gendered individual) to be arguing about neutering, I agree.