, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘Day of Reason’ to Coincide with Nat’l Day of Prayer

RhodeIslandLincolnChafee_LG[1]Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island has declared May 1 as a “Day of Reason” in his state. The secular celebration is being held on the same day as the National Day of Prayer. Atheists and secularists oppose a national day of prayer, saying it’s part of a “persistent threat” to the separation of church and state. They think a “Day of Reason” will help them fight back. The Humanists of Rhode Island and the Secular Coalition for Rhode Island requested the event. [Read more]

Papal Saints: Once a Given, Now Extremely Rare

FT_14.04.23_popeSainthood[1]On Sunday, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will become the 79th and 80th heads of the Roman Catholic Church to become saints, an event that has become a rarity in modern times. How rare? Roughly 30% of all popes are saints. Starting with St. Peter, traditionally regarded as the first leader of the church after Christ’s death, 52 of the first 55 popes became saints during Catholicism’s first 500 years. In the last 1,000 years, just seven popes have been made saints, including the two being canonized on Sunday. It will be the first time in the 2,000-year history of the church that two popes will be declared saints at one time. John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, and the hundreds of thousands packing St. Peter’s Square chanted “Santo, subito!” or “Sainthood, now!” in Italian on the day of his funeral. [Read more]

Theologians Challenge Bart Ehrman’s ‘Sloppy’ Scholarship in ‘How Jesus Became God’ With Book on ‘How God Became Jesus’

bart-ehrman-and-michael-bird[1]Bart Ehrman, prolific author, New Testament scholar and former evangelical Christian, says it took him eight years to research and complete his new book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. Yet, a group of fellow scholars responded in their book, How God Became Jesus, by claiming that the Christian-turned-agnostic’s “sloppy” scholarship on Jesus’ divinity leaves much to be desired. Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, says his research reveals that Jesus, a first century Galilean, never claimed to be God, and that it was his followers who elevated him to a deity after his death. [Read more]

Priest Indicted in $700,000 Parish Theft

thm2014042414170730780552[1]The suspended pastor and a one time parish manager of Troy St. Thomas More Catholic Church were indicted Wednesday for allegedly embezzling nearly $700,000 in parish money. The Rev. Edward Belczak, 69, of Troy, and Janice Verschuren, 67, of Bloomfield Hills were named in a five-count indictment in U.S. District Court. The indictment alleges mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy involving missing parish funds from 2004 to 2012. [Read more]

The Religious Left is Struggling. Can the Cause of Economic Justice Help It Rise Again?

Hkg9744631[1]The religious left was never as powerful and cohesive as the religious right. But a new report based on many interviews with religious progressive leaders finds that the Obama era may have further weakened Democrats’ interest in the non-secular. The report released Thursday by the Brookings Institution argues that religious progressives could be heading for a renaissance if they can focus on what some see as the civil rights issue of our time: economic justice. [Read more]

Bible Verse on HS Team’s Shirts Questioned

bible_ap_1361973405442_379457_ver1.0_640_480[1]School officials in Wood County, W. Va., have asked their lawyers to review a wrestling team’s T-shirts with a Bible verse on them. Superintendent Pat Law says the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation complained about the Parkersburg South High School team’s T-shirts, which have the words, “I can do all things through Him that strengthens me” on the back. Law says the group’s complaint alleges that the shirts violate the separation of church and state. [Read more]

Atheists Win Prayer Battle Against California City Council

ap070125052095_s160x123[1]Atheists who complained about pre-meeting prayers conducted by members of the Pismo Beach City Council in California can now claim a win. Council members say they’re going to stop saying prayers at public meetings and that the volunteer chaplain will no longer be invited to give the opening invocations, The Blaze reported. They’ve also agreed to pay a symbolic settlement of $1 to each of the the two plaintiffs — and another $47,500 to cover the two plaintiffs’ legal fees. The council members announced their decision on the heels of complaints filed by the out-of-state Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is headquartered in Wisconsin, and by the more local Atheists United San Luis Obispo. [Read more]

Atheists Strong Arm Wrestlers Over Bible Verse

Bible042214[1]Hulk Hogan once said, “I fear no man, no beast or evil, brother.” And the wrestlers at South High School in Parkersburg, W.Va. fear no atheist. The teenage grapplers are staring down the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist group outraged because the team wears t-shirts bearing a Bible verse. “I can do all things through Him that strengthens me.” That’s the verse emblazoned across the back of the shirt. The motto was also posted on the team’s website. Until now. [Read more]

Three American Hospital Workers for Christian Charity Shot Dead by Afghan Guard

cure-internationals-hospital-in-kabul[1]Three American hospital workers for a Christian charity, among them a father and a son, were shot dead by an Afghan security guard on Thursday in Kabul. The suspected killer shot himself but survived and is currently in custody, officials said. CURE International and the U.S. embassy confirmed the deaths. “We are grieved to confirm, as has already widely been reported, the CURE Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, was the site of a shooting this morning. Three individuals, including a doctor who served at the hospital, were killed, and two others were injured,” the Christian nonprofit said in a statement. [Read more]

The Humanist Hour #95: Greta Christina on Coming Out Atheist

HH095_large[1]In this episode, Todd and Kim interview Greta Christina, author of Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why. Coming out as an atheist is a powerful, liberating act. It makes life better for you, for other atheists, and for the world. But telling people you’re an atheist can be risky. What are the best ways to do it? And how can we help each other take this step? Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and of Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More, and is editor of Paying For It: A Guide for Sex Workers for Their Clients. [Download Episode]

Pastor Craig Gross Urges Christians to Look Beyond ‘Black and White Rhetoric’ About Homosexuality

craig-gross[1]Pastor Craig Gross of XXXchurch advises Christians to look beyond the “black and white rhetoric” about homosexuality and focus on the people most affected by the church’s stance on surrounding issues instead. In a recent blog post, Gross noted that while the church and companies like World Vision state their views on homosexuality, the ones who end up negatively affected are individuals caught in the gray area of the subject. “I’ve said this before, but it needs to be said over and over: be quick to listen and slow to speak. Most people and companies issuing statements and talking about a definitive black and white God have never sat and listened to the people and lives on the other end of their statements,” wrote Gross, also referencing World Vision’s reversed decision on hiring same-sex married couples. [Read more]

Israel Halts Peace Talks with Palestinians

460x[1]The Israeli government says it has decided to halt peace talks with the Palestinians in response to a new unity agreement between rival Palestinian factions. The decision appears to end a nine-month peace initiative by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The negotiating period is scheduled to end next Tuesday, though the sides had been trying to agree to an extension. Israel’s Security Cabinet unanimously decided to cut off contacts after a five-hour meeting Thursday. They announced the decision in a statement sent to journalists. [Read more]

Conservative Hero Cliven Bundy Spins Out of Control, Claims Blacks Would Be Better Off as Slaves

screen_shot_2014-04-17_at_12.21.24_pm[1]Conservative icon Cliven Bundy told the New York Times that African Americans would probably be better off if they were still slaves. Bundy, who became famous last month as he battled the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights on federal land has used his new fame to speak from a bully pulpit, expressing his ultra-conservative views. The comments were made Saturday at a news conference that he held, according to the Times story. [Read more]

Neil deGrasse Tyson Said Earth Is 4.5 Billion Years Old on TV: Creationists’ Heads Explode

It did not take long for the creationists to take issue with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and the latest episode of Cosmos on Fox. Why you ask? Well, because Tyson dared to declare the age of the earth to be 4.5 billion years old. [Read more]

Group Claims Religious Display at Daley Plaza Was Vandalized

An image of Jesus known as “The Divine Mercy” that is annually displayed in Chicago’s Daley Plaza around Easter is believed to have been vandalized for the first time in its 8-year history this week. [Read more]

Is Army’s New “Humanist” Designation Just Semantic Hooey?

Responding favorably to a February letter from the ACLU, the Department of Defense this week ended more than two years of stonewalling over a request from U.S. Army Major Ray Bradley to amend the approved list of religious preferences used on military records. [Read more]

Truly ‘Top Chef’: Gospel Shows Jesus Knew How to Cook, Theologian Says

When Christians pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” it is a genuine plea reflecting their needs — needs that Jesus took seriously, even to the point of cooking for his disciples, says Father Giovanni Cesare Pagazzi, an Italian theologian. [Read more]

Secular Pro-Life’s Abortion Quackery

This was a piece I offered to do for The True Pooka, for those who are unaware? True Pooka and Lilandra have both been dealing with the nature of Secular Pro-Life and actively  engaging in analysing their beliefs. So far from my contact? I think their entire argument is purely philosophical and exists purely in the idealised world of academia. [Read more]

My Debate With an ‘Intelligent Design’ Theorist

Advocates of the pseudo-scientific, secularized version of creationism love debates, because they give the appearance of two equal sides. Here’s what it’s like to participate in one. Debating anti-evolutionists is something of a fool’s errand, which makes me something of a fool, especially if you read the reviews of my recent debate with America’s leading intelligent design “theorist.” [Read more]

Glenn Beck Wants The Bible Taught In Public Schools Because It Has Been ‘The Only Textbook We Needed’ 

Glenn Beck has been on a kick recently hailing the Bible as the solution to every single one of our nation’s problems, so it comes as no surprise to see him now throwing his support behind an effort led by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green to get the Bible taught in public schools all over the nation.

[Read more]