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Atheist Leader David Silverman Drops Support for Brandeis University Over Ayaan Hirsi Ali Controversy

ayaan-hirsi-ali[1]David Silverman, president of American Atheists who graduated from Brandeis in 1988, announced that he is withdrawing his support from Brandeis University and its alumni association because the academic institution rescinded its plans to give an honorary degree to controversial social commentator Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In an open letter on Facebook explaining his actions and reasoning, Silverman said that although he had fond memories of the activism and classes at Brandeis, he felt this history went contrary to the university’s decision against Hirsi Ali. [Read more]

Barbara Ehrenreich: My Search for Truth As a Non-Believer

barbara_ehrenreich2-620x412[1]Somewhere in middle age I returned to the quest, or, in its stripped-down version, the question of what exactly happened there when I was seventeen. In the midst of so much that was grown-up and responsible—deadlines, campaigns, movements, scholarly undertakings, motherhood—some crucial late-night part of the ongoing mental churning regressed back to the events of my adolescence, which were just too strange, and I wish there were a better word, to be permanently buried under the label of “mental illness” or some kind of temporary perceptual slippage. [Read more]

Don’t Call It Atheist Church; Secular Communities Are Growing

TS-Del6311127-kEiC--296x222@wp.com[1]A group of nonbelievers held its first secular Sunday service here earlier this month. These meetings fill a need that area atheists say wasn’t being met: Weekly get-togethers for like-minded people in a family-friendly environment. The group is called Kansas City Oasis, and it’s modeled after Houston Oasis in Texas. But don’t call it an “atheist church” — they prefer “secular community,” or “humanist community.” These Oasis communities aren’t the only Sunday meetup. Another secular Sunday meeting model, Sunday Assembly, has spread throughout England, the U.S. and Australia. [Read more]

Why the Christian Right Is Freaking Out Over a Honey Maid Graham Crackers’ Ad

honeymaid_0[1]Everyone has probably experienced a Honey Maid graham cracker sometime in their lifetime. Last month, Nabisco, the company that makes Honey Maid Graham Crackers, as well as Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nilla Wafers and an assortment of other well-known cookies and crackers, came up with an extraordinary family-positive/gay-positive advertisement. And “traditional values” conservatives went, well … crackers. [Read more]

Federal Hate-Crime Charges, State Charges Likely in Overland Park Shootings

egyk4.St.81[1]Terri and Jim LaManno planned to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary today. But on Sunday, as Terri LaManno made her regular weekly visit to see her mother at an Overland Park assisted living center, she was caught in what authorities say was a hate-inspired killing spree that left her and two other people dead. Though killed outside of Jewish facilities in Overland Park, all three victims were members of Christian denominations, according to their families. [Read more]

Anti-Easter Display in Wisconsin State Capitol

nobodydied[1]The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has a display up in the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison to counter one from the Concerned Women for America, based in Washington, D.C. FFRF’s display on the first floor of the rotunda says “Nobody died for our sins. Jesus Christ is a myth.” FFRF received a permit for its display April 14 after learning of CWA’s. The CWA Easter display has a cross and a plethora of conservative materials, including antiabortion literature (one reading: “Equal rights for born and pre-born”). [Read more]

Meet the Twisted ‘Pioneer’ of the Right-Wing War on Women

keating_sc[1]The late Charles Keating, who died last week at the age of 90, is remembered primarily for his role in the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, as a symbol of the frauds and excesses of an unregulated financial sector — a debacle from which we seem to have learned very little. Yet, ironically, those of us interested in American sexual politics remember a very different side of Keating: the smut-fighting moral entrepreneur who called for more regulation — as long as it pertained to matters of obscenity, rather than investment. [Read more]

‘Blood Moon’ Sets Off Apocalyptic Debate Among Some Christians

Snappers_Pics_-_Blood_Moon_28th_Aug_2007_by-427x318[1]In the wee hours of Tuesday (April 15) morning, the moon slid into Earth’s shadow, casting a reddish hue on the moon. There are about two lunar eclipses per year, according to NASA, but what’s unusual this time around is that there will be four blood moons within 18 months — astronomers call that a tetrad — and all of them occur during Jewish holidays. A string of books have been published surrounding the event, with authors referring to a Bible passage that refers to the moon turning into blood. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord,” Joel 2:31 says. [Read more]

Is Internet Porn to Blame for Millennials Leaving the Church?

byu-idaho-anti-porn-video[1]In a report released last Friday, computer scientist Allen Downey of Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts found with the numbers of non-religiously affiliated Americans jumping from 8 to 18 percent from 1990 to 2010, the prevalence of Internet use has also increased from essentially zero to nearly 80 percent. Downey’s study suggested that increases in Internet use accounted for about 20 percent of the observed decrease in affiliation. [Read more]

Persecution Pays: How Right-Wing Christian Films Like ‘God’s Not Dead’ And ‘Persecuted’ Monetize The Persecution Complex

godsnotdead[1]This spring, theaters will see a veritable deluge of biblically inspired films hitting the box office. From Darren Aronofsky’s reimagining of Noah’s Ark and the flood to the History Channel’s “Son of God,” a makeshift blockbuster stitched together from its miniseries “The Bible,” filmgoers will have no shortage of options for religious-themed entertainment. Oddly enough, though, the two films with the most overtly Christian messages this spring may not draw from the Bible itself. [Read more]

ACLU Seeks to Oppose Diocese in Birth Control Suit

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking to enter a pending federal lawsuit to argue against Roman Catholic organizations in Wyoming that are trying to block the birth-control coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul. [Read more]

If a Christian Group Can Distribute Bibles in Kentucky High Schools, Atheists Want the Same Opportunity

Earlier this year, Gideons International requested and received permission to leave Bibles at a Kentucky public elementary school so that interested children could pick them up. In response, the Tri-State Freethinkers group decided they also wanted to play the game by leaving books promoting Humanism at the same school. The district had no choice but to allow them to do it. [Read more]

Prayer Ban Implemented in Maryland; Dissenting Commissioner Slams Vote, Says It’s ‘Disobedience to My Christian Faith’

City commissioners in Carroll County, Md., voted this week to temporarily halt sectarian prayers at their meetings in compliance with a judge’s previous ruling. One city commissioner who voted against the temporary ban said that such a move “binds me to an act of disobedience against my Christian faith.” [Read more]

Diverse Groups Defend Clergy Tax Break

Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus may have different ideas about God, but they all agree on a tax break for clergy under attack by an atheist group that says it discriminates against the non-religious. [Read more]

Secular Pro-Life Same Old Scare Tactics

If I were to tell you that a purportedly secular anti-abortion group was engaging in the very same fear mongering and harassment of abortion providers that the largely Christian dominated pro-life groups do; would you be surprised? The True Pooka’s final report on Secular Pro-Life’s tactics is posted. [Read more]

Mississippi’s Horrific Approach to Sex Education

When Mississippi passed a law requiring school districts to teach sex education, it was a great victory. After all, 76 percent of the state’s teenagers report having sex before they graduate from high school, and Mississippi has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, currently standing at 50 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in 2011. [Read more]

Liberia: ‘Religious Tolerance – Liberia’s Muslims Question Ban On Sunday Selling

Some Muslims residents of the Jacob Town Community in Paynesville are raising concerns over the municipal regulation banning selling on Sundays. [Read more]

White House Easter Prayer Breakfast Gets Benediction By Gay Bishop
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