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Atheists in the Evangelical Mind

The AV Club reviews the new movie God is Not Dead in which atheistic villain Professor Jeffrey Radisson (Kevin Sorbo) butts heads with a young evangelical student named Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper): [Read more]

Five Things The Justices Did Not Get During The Hobby Lobby Oral Arguments

Hobby-Lobby-638x422[1]At Tuesday’s oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases, several of the justices’ questions seemed to grasp the potential harms their decision could create for people not represented in the Courtroom. Justice Kagan saw how a decision in favor of the for-profit corporations could allow the corporation to evade federal law. Justice Kennedy questioned whether an employer has the right to impose religious beliefs on his or her employees. [Read more]

What Kind of God Did Shakespeare Believe In?

image[1]Shakespeare’s confessional allegiance has been investigated with ever increasing vigour in the past two decades. Not only has there been a turn to religion in literary studies but there are now sophisticated ways to explore and compare early modern texts that promise to tell us more about what people thought, believed and shared. As David Kastan points out in his pithy, elegant and eminently sensible overview, the question of Shakespeare’s possible Catholicism was raised so frequently in the popular press that it managed to quieten speculation that the man from Stratford was really the earl of Oxford. [Read more]

When We’d Rather Let Kids Go Hungry Than Be Reasonable On Gay Marriage

D258-0134-73-2_374197-new-site[1]Yesterday as told via Christianity Today, the Christian relief organization World Vision announced that it was making a major policy change in their hiring practices here in America: they will now hire gay Christians who are married. As a Christian organization, World Vision has long had some pretty strict ethical requirements of their employees, as they still do. For example, single employees are required to abstain from sex until marriage. Married couples are required to be faithful to their marriage. In the announcement yesterday however, World Vision announced that they would now hire gay Christians if they were married and faithful to their marriage. [Read more]

Its Time to Overhaul the Church Bureaucracy!

Screen-Shot-2014-03-24-at-10.16.35-am-300x126[1]I don’t know what the organizational mission of the bureaucratic arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is but I can say with absolute assurance that what I know of the shenanigans that surround the development of the former Church College of New Zealand site is evidence of some serious spiritual slippage.  Everyone involved in the deception, the coercion, the manipulation and the spiritual blackmail to turn this property over to developers while running rough shod over the feelings of good people who care about their community should be deeply ashamed. [Read more]

Taxpayers Fund Creationism in Private Christian Schools

Funding child abuse: US taxpayers will give nearly $1 billion this year to subsidize private Christian schools that teach creationism instead of science to our nation’s children. Politico reports taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition vouchers for private religious schools teaching that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. [Read more]

RNS-EHRMAN-BOOK aWas Jesus Divine? Publisher Hedges Bets with Bart Ehrman’s New Book

Set side by side, the book jackets look almost like matching woodblock prints of a bearded, haloed figure. The titles mirror each other, too, featuring the same trio of names: Jesus, God, Bart Ehrman. On one of the volumes, “How Jesus Became God,” Ehrman is clearly the author; but in the reversed “How God Became Jesus,” Ehrman is the nemesis of a concerted rebuttal. So what gives? [Read more]

Sacred and Profane

David Koresh was born in Houston in 1959, to a fifteen-year-old single mother. He arrived at Mount Carmel at the age of twenty-two, pulling up to the retreat in a yellow Buick—another in the long line of disenchanted Seventh-Day Adventists in search of a purer church. [Read more]

Gays And Lesbians More Popular Than Evangelicals Among Voters, Poll

Franklin Graham, religious leader and son of Billy Graham in Washington, DC.The moral cause embedded in the marriage equality movement is potent, but the debate may come down to a simple matter of popularity. On Thursday the Human Rights Campaign and Americans for Marriage Equality released the results of a study, entitled “Victory In Sight”, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and TargetPoint Consulting that investigated the nuances of voters’ views on marriage equality. [Read more]

Religious Right Leader Says “Modern Family” is Like “Poison”

bryan_fischer_rect-620x412[1]Calling into the Kevin Miller’s right-wing radio show, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer — sworn enemy of grizzly bears everywhere — railed against ABC’s hit sitcom “Modern Family” for portraying a well-adjusted, happy same-sex couple and thus, in Fischer’s telling, adding “a little bit of poison” into the American cultural bloodstream. “What’s illustrated [by ‘Modern Family’] is the way that the media influences the way that people think about life,” Fischer explained. [Read more]

Small World Discovered Beyond Pluto

After a decade of searching, astronomers have found a second dwarf-like planet far beyond Pluto and its Kuiper Belt cousins, a presumed no-man’s land that may turn out to be anything but. [Read more]

Dear All Muslims –
An Open Letter about Gender-Based Violence, Rape Culture and Community Priorities

womens-profile[1]Dear Absolutely Everyone in the Muslim Community: What does it take for our scholars, thought leaders, and community shepherds to understand that gender-based violence is a form of institutionalized oppression – one that belongs on the list of every Imam’s duas at the end of every communal prayer? How long does it take to get an institutional response to “jokes” made by a public scholar that perpetuate rape culture? Does the adab (Islamic etiquette) of not humiliating one man in a position of authority who has publicly made oppressive, mean-spirited statements supersede the infliction of debilitating psychological triggers and post traumatic stress (PTSD) on countless others? [Read more]

World Vision President Grieves Over Children Hurt by Controversial Decision on Hiring Married Gays

richard-stearns-president-of-world-vision-us[1]World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns expressed grief over the child sponsorships that were canceled after the organization announced its original policy change on hiring those in same-sex marriages. After receiving feedback from supporters and faith leaders who were opposed to World Vision’s decision to employ Christians who are in same-sex marriages, Stearns said in a press conference call Wednesday that the board decided to reverse its earlier decision and reaffirm the nonprofit’s commitment to core biblical principles and the belief that “marriage is an institution created by God, between a man and a woman.” [Read more]

U.S. Catholics Mirror General Public on Views of Inequality

When the White House announced in January that President Obama would travel to Rome this month, it said the president was looking forward to “discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality.” [Read more]

‘Noah’: Twitter Conservatives Outraged That Film Deviates from Bible’s Original English

Devout Christians are up in arms this morning about Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah, despite the fact that the majority of them haven’t seen it. They’re upset because, in the words of one person on Twitter. Aronofsky’s script deviates from the biblical account, and many on Twitter are happy to point the curious to the “real” story. Many churches have encouraged their congregants to retweet the following, line breaks be damned! But just in case it was raining too hard Sunday morning for them to make it to actual church, they can ask their backup pastor. [Read more]

Atheists Will Soon Deliver Even More Anti-Biblical Books to Georgia State Parks, All Thanks to the Governor

riUPAuw[1]Last May, former American Atheists president Ed Buckner visited a state park in Georgia and found a Bible in his rented cabin. That wouldn’t be unusual in a privately-owned hotel… but a state park?! It’s not that the Bible was “offensive.” It’s just that, on principle, it shouldn’t have been there. It suggested government endorsement of Christianity. At the time, park officials removed the Bibles from the cabins, but Governor Nathan Deal quickly put them right back in because he (wrongly) believed they were legal. [Read more]

The Church and Civil Marriage

No-fault divorce changed the American culture of marriage. So did the sexual revolution. Now proponents of gay rights are redefining marriage at an even more fundamental level. What’s to be done? As a post-biblical vision of sex, gender, and marriage gains the upper hand in our society, should our religious institutions get out of marriage? Should priests, pastors, and rabbis renounce their roles as deputies of state authority in marriage? Or should we sustain the close links between religious and civil marriage? [Read more]

How Gay Should We Allow Feeding the Hungry To Be?

tweet1[1]A Twitter dust-up was stirred yesterday when the board of the American arm of the Christian humanitarian relief organization World Vision announced that it had changed its standards of conduct to “allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision.” The letter explained that the change in the employee conduct policy reflects the reality of its engagement with Christian denominations which “in recent years have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians.” [Read more]

Roberts Suggests Contraception Requirement Forces Religious Business Owners To Violate Their Conscience

US-POLITICS-HEALTH CARE-BIRTH CONTROLSeemingly divided, the Supreme Court struggled Tuesday with the question of whether companies have religious rights, a case challenging President Barack Obama’s health overhaul and its guarantee of birth control in employees’ preventive care plans. Peppering attorneys with questions in a 90-minute argument, the justices weighed the rights of for-profit companies against the rights of female employees. The discussion ranged to abortion, too, and even whether a female worker could be forced to wear an all-covering burka. [Read more]

Ga. Catholic Groups Win Fight Over Contraception

A federal judge in Atlanta has ruled certain non-profit organizations in Georgia affiliated with the Catholic Church are not subject to a contraception mandate included in the president’s health care law. The law exempts Catholic dioceses and archdioceses from the mandate, but not affiliated organizations such as schools, charities and hospitals. [Read more]

That’s Entertainment!

sonofgodmovie[1]To solve the puzzles in life or fabricated, you have to look for the clues and put them together. If you have just enough, you can build a case. If you don’t have enough, you can still begin the process, so that others can join in the search with you. Together, you can solve the puzzle. Some puzzles have been around for ages. Serious puzzles for which no one seems to have the answers and for which countless men and women have made up their own answers, and those answers are accepted because no one feels the puzzles are worth solving, or they’re content to accept any answers that feel good in lieu of real solutions. [Read more]

Mike Huckabee Hints At 2016 Presidential Bid In Washington

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is telling House Republicans he’s considering a White House bid in 2016 and wants their advice. Huckabee met Wednesday with about 70 House lawmakers at the Republican National Committee headquarters, a short walk from the Capitol. [Read more]

“God Does Not Regard the Fetus as a Soul”

140325_JURIS_HobbyLobbyEvangelicals.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlarge[1]In its challenge to the “contraception mandate” of the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby claims that certain forms of birth control—Plan B, “ella,” and IUDs—induce abortion and therefore go against the owners’ religious beliefs. The government’s response is that none of these contraceptives ends a pregnancy. Rather, they prevent implantation in the uterine lining. The rejoinder, from supporters of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, is that this doesn’t matter. [Read more]

Right-Wing Pastor Demands Women Shut Their Mouths While Men Teach Them In Church

Conservatives are waging a vicious war against women across the country, and they’re using religion to do it. They say all politics begins at the local level. Apparently, the plague of sexism running rampant in GOP circles begins at church. Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona told female churchgoers to keep their mouths shut so that the men could teach them their place according to the Bible. During his Sunday sermon, Anderson mansplained that women should be silent in church and read two sexist Bible verses. [Read more]

A Creationist Decided to Answer My 10 Questions and the Results are Hilarious

palin-jesus-dinos-300x173[1]Let me go ahead and explain what you’re about to read.  I wrote an article titled 10 Questions Everyone Who Believes in Science Should Ask a Creationist, which simply featured 10 questions I think people should present to creationists to see if they have a response that makes any sense. Well, somebody I presume to be a creationist decided to answer my questions. [Read more]

Islamic School Shuts Doors on All Politicians Till Poll

LUCKNOW: Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has banned all political talk on campus by any party leader till the end of the Lok Sabha elections. No political leader is welcome at the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband (DuD) during this period. [Read more]

Pakistan Lawmaker Battles to Raise Punishment for Child Marriage

A bill introduced in Pakistan’s National Assembly to increase the punishment for guardians, clerics and spouses involved in child marriages should be supported by religious leaders, the legislator behind the move said on Wednesday. “I’ve seen this injustice in my constituency and around the country in every single province,” legislator Marvi Memon told Reuters. “It’s time that we stand up for our women.” [Read more]

“Heaven Is Real” [Official Trailer]