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Constitution Check: Is the Line Between Church and State Shifting?

church_stainedglass[1]For decades, a mostly well-mannered debate has been going on within the Supreme Court over the way to draw a constitutional line between religion and government – the line that Thomas Jefferson in 1802 famously argued should be a “wall of separation.” The court, of course, has never quite believed that this had to be a rigid, impenetrable wall. Similarly, though, it has never given up on the notion that there ought to be some separation, and has been more or less committed to making the distance wider rather than narrower. [Read more]

Why Islam is the Issue when Discussing Islam

moderate_muslim[1]It’s getting so popular now for moderate (?) Muslims to say “not like us,” or “they aren’t good Muslims.” Just what is a good Muslim? Hell, what is a good Christian? What is a good atheist? I am not even sure “what is a good tractor mechanic?” Huh, really? A good tractor mechanic is one who can do their job–fix the tractor, do it when promised, and charge a fair price. Why is it so hard to evaluate religious mechanics? [Read more]

United Church of Christ Sues for Gay Marriage

UCC-minister-300x189[1]It might seem hard to believe, but the United Church of Christ (UCC) is suing the State of North Carolina for restricting religious freedom by banning its ministers from performing same-sex weddings. Churches that believe in equality are forced to defend the sacerdotal rights of their ministers on the grounds of religious liberty. The UCC filed the lawsuit on Monday, April 28th in conjunction with a dozen more clergy from various churches as well as several same-sex couples. [Read more]

First Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop Announces Divorce from Husband

gene-robinson[1]The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, whose election to lead the diocese of New Hampshire kicked off a firestorm of controversy a decade ago, said on Sunday he was divorcing his husband after four years of marriage. Gene Robinson, who retired as a bishop in 2013, announced the split in a letter to the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire and in a personal essay published in the Daily Beast, where he wrote that his “belief in marriage is undiminished.” [Read more]

Damon Linker Fails to Spot the Nightjar; Says Human Altruism Proves Jesus

linker-nightjar[1]I’m not really sure who Damon Linker is, but this recommendation on his website doesn’t give me a lot of confidence. And if you Google “Damon Linker”, the second hit you get, after his own website, is a critique I wrote on this site. Linker clearly doesn’t like me because I make Baby Jesus Cry, and, as you’ll see, he harbors a great deal of love for Jesus. In fact, in his latest piece at The Week, “Why atheism doesn’t have the upper hand over religion,” he gives the Saviour credit for human altruism and for the fact that we humans admire it so much. But what it does is not do is show any advantage of religion over atheism. [Read more]

The Insane Lie About Slavery That Christian Conservatives Are Spreading

12_years_slave-620x412[1]The fanatical right in the US has a problem on its hands and that problem is American history. History tells a tale that does not fit the narrative of the Tea Party and libertarian version of American’s founding and history. That was evident this week, when former senator Jim DeMint, who is head of the Heritage Foundation, a libertarian think tank, made the claim that it was not the government that freed the slaves, but faith. [Read more]

REVIEW: Barbara Ehrenreich’s ‘Wild God’ is Not Here to Help

wildgod_302[1]The most harrowing chapter of Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book, Living with a Wild God, isn’t the one that describes her mystical experience. It’s the final chapter, “The Nature of the Other,” where she finally draws her stark conclusions. Ehrenreich, a self-declared atheist, doesn’t believe in “God” as in the one true God of the Abrahamic religions, and in fact skewers belief, declaring it to be “intellectual surrender” and faith “a state of willed self-delusion.” As a scientist, she defends what she knows; in the case of that tantalizing “Wild God,” she knows something is out there, some “Presence.” [Read more]

Thanks, Seminary

Seminary[1]Like any fine pedigree, when it comes to mental illness, I come with papers. No, not some unbelievably low iQ score or discharge forms from the local psychiatric hospital… No, these papers are in the form of some 8×10 embossed stationary that say “degree” on them. Masters in fact, the paper says I mastered my mental illness (!@#$) …I mean study of theology, so I’m kind of certified and everything. [Read more]

United States of American Theocracy – SCOTUS Destroys Separation of Church/State

christianfascismprisoner-e[1]In a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS has destroyed the Separation of Church and State, and opened the floodgates to the filthy waters of fundamentalist Christianity and theocracy. To read more about the details of the case and the decision, please visit here. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that those who read on are familiar with the case. “What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. [Read more]

Christians Underwrite Uptick in Ukrainian Jews Immigrating to Israel

0504-ukraine-jews_full_380[1]As Ukraine’s political turmoil spreads, the number of Ukrainian Jews immigrating to Israel has doubled this year, mostly from restless eastern regions. The uptick comes amid reports ofan attack on a synagogue, the attempted assassination of a Jewish mayor, and an apparent threat to force Jews in Donetsk to register. According to the Jewish Agency for Israel, overall immigration from Ukraine has more than doubled to 777 in the first four months of this year, with particular spikes from Odessa (315 percent), Simferopol (294 percent), and Dnepropetrovsk (266 percent). [Read more]

Embrace of Atheism Put an Indonesian in Prison

INDONESIA-master675[1]Growing up in a conservative Muslim household in rural West Sumatra, Alexander Aan hid a dark secret beginning at age 9: He did not believe in God. His feelings only hardened as he got older and he faked his way through daily prayers, Islamic holidays and the fasting month of Ramadan. He stopped praying in 2008, when he was 26, and he finally told his parents and three younger siblings that he was an atheist — a rare revelation in a country like Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. [Read more]

Papal Commission on Sex Abuse to Push for Accountability

boston-cardinal-sean-omalley[1]A commission advising Pope Francis on the sexual abuse crisis will recommend that negligent clerics be held accountable regardless of their rank in the Church, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said on Saturday. In many cases of abuse, most of which took place decades ago but surfaced in the past 15 years, bishops seeking to protect the Church’s reputation moved priests from parish to parish instead of defrocking them or handing them over to police. [Read more]

Tradition of Prayer Wins at SCOTUS

Anthony KennedyThe current version of the majority in the Supreme Court shows consistent overpowering of the minority. Clearly these boys in majority long for the old days where the strong survived and the meek died. Like many in the public they are tired of those annoying minorities seeking some means of being included. It’s Herbert Spencer and survival of the fittest all over again. Eugenics doesn’t just mean finding the right partner for your son or daughter it is now building a group, community, class that lives, breeds, and excels within their own world, without contamination. [Read more]

Chief Justice Says First Amendment Applies Only to Christians

482px-roy_moores_ten_commandments_monument[1]Just when I think Southern legislators and judges can’t make themselves look any more stupid, someone comes along to prove me wrong. In this case it’s the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore.  You probably remember that a judge refused to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall and also had a pre-session prayer every day. That was Moore. He lost the prayer issue after the state (at the behest of the ACLU and others) filed a lawsuit, but somehow the Ten Commandments remained. [Read more]

A Chief Justice in Alabama Won’t Tolerate Non-Christian Lifestyles

2014_0505judg_[1]You wouldn’t believe the kind of things Roy Moore, Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, said at a Pastor for Life Luncheon this week. (Well, maybe you would, but that doesn’t make it any better.) A video of Moore’s speech on Raw Story shows the Chief Justice declaring the Christian faith the one true religion, while simultaneously belittling other faiths. “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures,” Moore said. “They didn’t bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship. Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history. Let’s stop playing games.” [Read more]

Is There Really More than One Way to be a Muslim Atheist?

Who knew you could you could be an atheist in Saudi Arabia? Especially after the recent illegalization of it. Seems like most of my atheist friends who converted do talk about what religion they left. [Read more]

Hey, Atheists and Agnostics — Want To Join Our Church?

So I’m on a Meetup list for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and skeptics in the San Francisco Bay Area. On my Meetup profile, I listed my interests as Agnostic, Atheism, Secular Humanism, Freethinker, Freedom From Religion, Critical Thinking, Separation of Church and State, Skeptics, and Atheists. [Read more]

New ‘Openly Secular’ Group Seeks to Combat Anti-Atheist Discrimination

A new coalition of secular organizations hopes to combat prejudice and discrimination against atheists, humanists and other nonbelievers. Called “Openly Secular,” the coalition wants to draw attention to incidents of anti-atheist discrimination in hopes of making such bias socially unacceptable. [Read more]

Atheism’s MRA Problem

There was a piece of research done on the MRA of r/mensrights on Reddit which showed that they are mainly White, Young and Atheist. Now I know there was a bot entering values so it should be discounted but I do think there are is a fairly large representation of MRA or their ideas that are vocal among atheists. [Read more]

Jason Lisle: The Logic of Faith

This one will drive you right over the edge of the flat Earth. It’s at the website of Answers in Genesis (ol’ Hambo’s online ministry). The title alone is interesting: Is the Christian Worldview Logical? [Read more]

AIG: How To Raise a Creationist Child

Do you remember the final paragraph, and the chilling final sentence, of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four? In case you’ve forgotten what happened to Winston Smith after betrayal, imprisonment, and brainwashing, here it is. [Read more]

PODCAST: Music Was His Religion, and More…

FFRF stops a West Virginia high-school wrestling team from using a bible verse as their motto. After complaining about Hobby Lobby inserting a bible class into an Oklahoma high school, we celebrate the birthday of the freethinking composer Johannes Brahms. Then we hear the Oxford University debate about the existence of God, where Dan Barker and Peter Hitchens go head-to-head. [Listen]

AND A BLAST FROM THE PAST:

10 Ridiculous Christian Right Prophesies

screen_shot_2013-05-15_at_11.31.40_am[1]There’s nothing right-wing Christians love better than making wild predictions or invoking outright prophecies that invariably turn out to be false. Here’s 10 of the best from recent years. 1) Mitt Romney would win in 2012 and go on to be a two-term president. One week before the 2012 election,  Pat Robertson assured viewers that Romney would not only beat Barack Obama for the presidency, but go on to be a two-term president. [Read more]

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