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Conservative ‘Christian’ Candidate Insists Disabled Children Are Caused By Prior Abortion
The nice thing about conservative leaders is they’re the gift that keeps giving, for those of us that write about them — every week there’s another astonishingly oblivious or obnoxious quote for us to write about, while the satire writers go out of business (forcing them into the industry of prophecy). Then, at the same time, there’s the fact that they are leaders, and there are people listening to and believing the things that come out of their mouths. That’s the disturbing, depressing part of it. [Read more]
Pope Francis Asks Forgiveness for Priests Who Sexually Abused Children
Pope Francis made his strongest condemnation yet of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Friday, asking for forgiveness and pledging to impose penalties on “men of the church” who harm children. “I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests — quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests — to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children,” the Pope said in remarks quoted by Vatican Radio. [Read more]
Religious atheists? Maria Greene on Unitarian Universalist Humanists
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has long been a home for atheists, agnostics, and Humanists looking for community and supportive resources. In fact, atheists and Humanists have been involved from the beginning of the UUA. But the idea of religious atheists—of atheists joining, attending, and even leading churches or other “houses of worship”—is controversial among many atheists. [Read more]
Brandeis Chooses Not to Tolerate Intolerance
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a polemic figure. Her atheist supporters laud her as a fierce and much needed critic of Islam. Her Muslim opponents see her as a blasphemous apostate, some of whom have heaved very real death threats upon her. Brandeis University, which planned to award Ali with an honorary degree in May, recently decided that it wanted no part in the polemic divide that surrounds Ali. On April 8, Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence announced publicly, shortly after a private phone call with Ali informing her of his decision, that the university would no longer honor her. [Read more]
Clergy Out In Force To Defend Their Housing Tax Break
There is a certain irony in the litigation surrounding the “parsonage exclusion”, which allows mega-pastors to excluded mega housing allowance for their mega houses. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that Code Section 107, which excludes from taxable income housing provided for “ministers of the gospel” either in-kind or by means of a tax-free cash housing allowance, costs $700 million in lost revenue. The estimate does not break down the revenue loss between in-kind (107(1)) and cash allowances (107(2)). In the last few decades cash allowances have been more common, so that ministers would not lose out on the guaranteed wealth increase that home ownership provided. Judge Barbara Crabb only ruled that 107(2) is unconstitutional, so let’s call it a half billion being at stake. [Read more]
Recovery Without God
Drug addiction is a disease that plagues individuals the world over. Despite efforts to crack down on drug crimes and to criminalize drug users, recreational drug use rates continue to rise in the United States. Furthermore, the stigma that is attached to drug addiction leaves many stranded in their disease, feeling hopeless and ashamed. It’s easy to stereotype and blame “bad people” or criminals for the circulation of illegal substances, but not all addiction is fed from the streets and not all addicts are losers. [Read more]
Hobby Lobby, Christian Women, and Contraception: More Complicated Than You Might Think
The Green family, owners of the 609 Hobby Lobby stores, are to conservative Christianity what the Kardashians are to the E! network: poster children. The billionaire believers are outspoken Christians who claim to run their company based on the teachings of the Bible and spend at least one-third of the company’s annual profits on evangelical causes. On March 25th, the Greens prayed together before entering the Supreme Court to argue that their $3.3 billion for-profit business should receive a religious exemption from the Obamacare contraception mandate. Conservative evangelicals everywhere were interceding with them. [Read more]
What’s the Best Way to Challenge Religious Intrusion?
How many people of faith take seriously the biblical admonition against public prayer—“Be careful about not living righteously merely to be seen by people,” (Matthew 6:1)? Everywhere you turn more religious people are trying to find ways to use government, schools, and other public mechanisms to promote their faith. There are Ten Commandments monuments in public parks, permanent Christian cross memorials on roadsides, and prayers delivered before legislative bodies. [Read more]
Is Religion Inherently Oppressive?
There’s little doubt, outside circles filled with self-delusional reactionaries, that religion is probably the most important force in continuing the oppression of women worldwide. Around the world, various abuses from coerced marriage to domestic violence to restricting reproductive rights are all excused under the banner of religion. More to the point, women’s rights have advanced more quickly in societies that put religion on the back burner, or like the United States, have strict laws separating church and state. [Read more]
Mike Huckabee Calls Out Obama’s ‘Christian Convictions’ On Gay Marriage
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) went after President Barack Obama’s views on gay marriage Friday, questioning the commander-in-chief’s changes in his “Christian convictions.” In an interview with Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” guest host Laura Ingraham asked Huckabee if there was a concerted effort out there to tar conservatives as anti-gay.
What Would It Mean to Work for the Divine Commonwealth?
While many people still retain faith in capitalism, Christians are called to a different allegiance. Whether you think it has failed depends greatly on how you measure its success. If the standard is wealth creation, there is no system on earth that is more effective. [Read more]
“American Atheists Convention”, David Silverman on Atheists Talk
A few weeks ago, we had American Atheists president Dave Silverman on the show to talk about the upcoming American Atheists national convention, April 17-20 in Salt Lake City, among other things. At least that was the plan. [Read more]
Appleton Man Pushes ‘In God We Trust’ License Plate
David Hinds hopes to be the first to fasten Wisconsin’s new “In God We Trust” license plate to a car. It makes sense, considering the 61-year-old Appleton man was the driving force behind the specialty plate that will raise money for state veterans. [Read more]
Former ‘American Jihadist’ Dies of Overdose
A former U.S. soldier of Lebanese descent who fought alongside the Nusra Front in Syria has died of an “accidental overdose” in his hometown of Phoenix in Arizona, his family said. Eric Harroun, nicknamed “The American Jihadist,” gained notoriety for posting about his exploits in Syria on social media, claiming to have fought with Al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels by accident and sharing his stories with the FBI. “Eric died yesterday of an accidental overdose, thank you everyone for your love and support,” his sister Sarah Harroun said on Facebook Wednesday. [Read more]
Freedom to Broadcast Hate
Sectarian violence is ripping the Mid-East apart. The two sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia, are fighting against each other in Syria and Iraq. Tensions are rising across the region, but what’s provoking this wave of violence? This documentary investigates the TV channels that fan the flames of sectarians and asks how influential they really are. [Watch Film]