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The Trials of Becoming an Atheist In-Law
Jason Eden is a contributor to TheHumanist.com and the author of a book about his journey from Christian minister to atheist. Given the recent Pew survey that revealed atheists are the “most unwanted future relative” I thought I’d get his personal take on the realities of faith and family relationships. [Read more]
Separation of Church and Triathlon
On June 15, 2014, I participated in the 9th annual Heartland Triathlon in Sebring, Florida, a race which requires swimming for a quarter of a mile, biking for 14 miles, and running a 5K. Prior to the swim start, the announcer led an invocation—and asked that we bow our heads. [Read more]
5 States Gunning to Make Their Kids As Scientifically Illiterate As Possible by Teaching Creationist B.S.
The British government dealt a strong blow to creationists last week when they clarified and extended their laws banning creationism in the classroom to not only free schools, but to academies as well. Academies, including free schools, are the UK’s version of the charter schools in the US, and there were concerns that, since academies are often run by religious organizations who taught and endorsed creationism in the classroom, kids who attend them were not being taught actual science. [Read more]
It Just Doesn’t Make Sense
Many Christian sects believe that, according to the Bible, God will one day destroy the earth at “the end of days.” That just doesn’t make sense. [Read more]
Americans United Warns Alabama City Not To Discriminate Against Religious Minorities At Local Board Meetings
The City of Huntsville, Ala., discriminated against a Wiccan priest when it rescinded his invitation to deliver a prayer before a city council meeting, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says. [Read more]
Christians Who Watch ‘Game of Thrones,’ Nudity Are ‘Recrucifying Christ,’ Says John Piper
Christians have been clear in their opposition to pornography but many don’t seem to have an issue with nudity on TV and film. Is there a difference between porn and nudity in a TV show like “Game of Thrones?” Pastor John Piper addressed the issue this week. [Read more]
What is the Codex Sinaiticus, and What Does It Reveal About the Bible?
It is the oldest Bible in the world. The 4th-century book is considered to be one of the most important texts in existence. Until this week, no one alive has seen all its 800 pages together in one place because in the 19th century the document was split into sections and is now in four different locations – London, St Petersburg, Leipzig and Egypt. [Read more]
Vatican says Believers are Shunning Catholic Lifestyle After Scandals
The Vatican has blamed a pernicious mixture of insensitive priests, “conspicuously lavish” clerical lifestyles, the sex abuse scandal and a morally lax modern culture dominated by the mass media for large numbers of Catholics no longer living their private lives according to church teachings. [Read more]
Grot Defends Decision to Amend Oath Amidst Concerns from Freedom from Religion Foundation
Shelby Township officials say they are choosing to ignore a letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation criticizing the recent addition of “so help me God” to the township’s standard oath by Clerk Stanley Grot. [Read more]
The Not-So-Great but Powerful Pseudoscience of Dr. Oz
Last Tuesday, the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection convened a hearing on “Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products.” In attendance was Dr. Mehmet Oz, the famous “Dr. Oz” of daytime television, whom Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) grilled on his larger-than-life claims about the many questionable weight loss “miracle” cures he has peddled on his show over the years. [Read more]
Prayer Plaque Bill Passes Congress
In May I wrote about a bill that raised some big church-state separation concerns, the World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2013. This act would place a commemorative plaque inscribed with the prayer President Franklin D. Roosevelt recited on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944, at the World War II monument in the nation’s capital. [Read more]
Local Wiccan Uninvited to Give City Council Invocation Due to ‘Community Fears’ (Poll)
City Council chambers were filled with people Thursday evening for the regularly scheduled meeting of the Huntsville City Council. But missing from the crowd was Blake Kirk, who – up until Wednesday – had been asked to give the invocation. [Read more]
Attorney: City Council ‘Trampled’ on Constitution by Excluding Wiccan Invocation
Huntsville City Council members revised the agenda for Thursday night’s meeting to exclude an invocation by Wiccan priest Bale Kirk. Staff Attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Andrew Seidel, said the change “trampled all over the Constitution.” [Read more]
The Best Argument for God? Really?
Either a reader called my attention to the articles discussed below, or I found them on my own; I am aged and forgetful. If someone pointed them out to me, my belated thanks. Both articles deal with what is claimed to be the best argument for God’s existence—one based on the existence of moral agents, i.e., us. [Read more]
Science and the Supernatural (II); Why We Get It Wrong and Why It Matters
“I have no need of that hypothesis.” So, according to legend, said the great astronomer and mathematician Piere-Simon, marquis de Laplace, when asked by Napoleon why he had not mentioned God in his book. [Read more]
TUC LGBT Conference Condemns Accelerated Christian Education
The TUC (Trades Union Congress) LGBT 2014 conference is currently underway, and yesterday the delegates unanimously passed an emergency resolution condemning Accelerated Christian Education’s teaching on homosexuality. [Read more]
Rick Santorum Says Anti-Gay Christians Being Sent to ‘Re-Education Camp’
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) claimed during a radio interview this week that anti-gay marriage business owners are being sent to “re-education camps” for refusing to serve gay customers. [Read more]
Archaeologists Edge Closer to Solving the Mysteries of Teotihuacán
For decades archaeologists have puzzled over the ruins of the ancient city of Teotihuacán in Mexico. In the July Scientific American science writer Erik Vance reports on recent finds that are transforming researchers’ understanding of this enigmatic place and the people who lived there. For more on Teotihuacán, check out the resources below. [Read more]
Five Reasons Churches Need to “Come Out” on LGBTQ Rights
Our entire family, including my wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, and my two kids, took part in the Portland Gay Pride parade this weekend. We stood on a float in the rain and waved to thousands of people lining the streets, from the park blocks to the riverfront. [Read more]
Britain Bans Saudi Cleric Who Supports Jihad in Syria
Britain has banned Mohammed al-Arifi, a conservative Sunni Muslim cleric from Saudi Arabia with over 9 million Twitter followers, as it tries to deter young Muslims from going to join Islamic militants in Syria. Arifi, who has called for jihad against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, has visited Britain several times. [Read more]
The Shortest Route to God
The World Health Organization is worried about this year’s Hajj. Beginning in early October, more than 2 million people will voluntarily gather in the home country of a novel and untreatable virus called MERS that has already infected nearly 700 people and killed more than 200. [Read more]
Vatican: Many Catholics Ignore Teachings on Sex
The Vatican conceded Thursday that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant and officials pledged not to “close our eyes to anything” when it opens a two-year debate on some of the thorniest issues facing the church. [Read more]
McAlister: Praying for the Wrong Thing at the World Cup
Portugal’s soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is suffering from tendinitis in his knee, which kept him out of a recent match against Greece. And a Ghanaian traditional priest named Nana Kwaku Bonsam has claimed credit for the injury. [Read more]
Republicans Woo Evangelical Base in Bid to Recapture the Senate
The Republican National Committee on Friday (June 27) launched its first web-based effort to rally conservative believers behind the party, a sign of how crucial voter turnout will be in this fall’s close-fought midterm elections and an indication that the GOP cannot take its evangelical Christian base for granted. [Read more]
Iraq’s Christian Minority Feels Militant Threat
Surrounded by a blast wall topped with razor-sharp concertina wire, Our Lady of Salvation Church in downtown Baghdad resembles a fortress more than a sanctuary. Despite the fortifications, however, those who worship there are feeling more vulnerable than ever. [Read more]
‘Hands Off the Crucifixes or You Will Be in Trouble,” Says Italian Mayor
The mayor of the northern Italian city of Padua announced on Wednesday that all public buildings must display a crucifix. Massimo Bitonci, a member of the anti-EU, anti-immigration Lega Nord, made the announcement on his Facebook page: “Now every office and every school will get a nice mandatory crucifix donated by the city. [Read more]
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Discussing Secular/Religious Relationships with Dale McGowan
Marriages between atheists and theists aren’t so popular with many Americans—at least, that was the finding of a recent study by the Pew Research Center. According to the study, 49 percent of Americans reported that they would be unhappy if a member of their family married an atheist. [Read more]
Vatican: Archbishop Kicked Out for Sex with Minors
It’s about time. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of he Faith has ordered Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski to be stripped of the priesthood. This order came after a canonical trial. [Read more]
World Vision Is Getting More Evangelical Leadership In Wake Of Gay Employee Debacle
World Vision tested evangelical boundaries three months ago when it announced it would allow its employees to be in same-sex marriages. The policy was short-lived; the relief group reversed it within 48 hours after supporters threatened to pull donations. [Read more]
HIV/AIDS and the Health of Our Souls
People have diseases, but they are not diseases. How we respond to those with diseases like HIV/AIDS might reveal to us the diseased state or health of our own souls. [Read more]
Right-Wing Christian Group Tried to Convert This City’s Kids — But They’re Fighting Back
In past summers, Child Evangelism Fellowship has targeted children in Boston, Denver, Chicago, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, and the Twin Cities for conversion to their brand of biblical fundamentalism. This summer they chose Portland, Oregon. It may have been a mistake. [Read more]
First Scientific Proof Of God Found
W.I.T. scientists, in conjunction with the Human Genome Project and Bob Jones University, have made what may be the most astounding discovery of this, or any generation. While working to understand and map the function of sequences of DNA in the human genome known as “Junk DNA” (for their lack of known function), scientists at W.I.T. noted that while the DNA sequences they were seeing bore little resemblance to the coding for biological function, they bore a striking similarity to the patterns of human language. Contacting and working closely with linguists and philologists from Bob Jones University, W.I.T. set out to analyze and decode the areas of Transposons and Retrotransposons which seemed indicative of human language. [Read more]
Creationist Student Challenges her Anthropology Professor, Epic Smackdown Ensues
We all know the old creationist adage which claims evolution is simply just another “theory,” disqualifying it from being reliable as factual evidence. Probably the most frustrating aspect of this argument is that it reveals the creationist’s lack of understanding of what the word “theory” means when applied to science – or most things in the real world for that matter.
Christian Reconstructionist And Southern Secessionist Michael Peroutka Leading In GOP Primary
Far from the spotlight of Thad Cochran’s surprise defeat of his Tea Party challenger in Mississippi, radical Christian Reconstructionist and southern secessionist Michael Peroutka has apparently won the Republican primary for a county council seat in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County.
Religion is the New Politics — But Britain’s Secular Politicians Just Don’t Get It
Aren’t Buddhist monks adorable? They meditate for days without needing to go to the toilet. They talk to each other in ‘grasshopper’ haikus. Their pot bellies are full of wholesome vegetarian fare. Your package tour to Southeast Asia isn’t complete without a sprinkling of them begging politely in the markets.
Gordon Klingenschmitt, The Demon-Obsessed Anti-Gay Exorcist, Wins GOP Primary In Colorado
Last year, “Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt announced that he was running for a seat in Colorado’s legislature and his long history as a disgraced former Navy Chaplain who brags about having successfully performed an exorcism on a lesbian soldier and who has stated again and again that demonic spirits are behind everything from abortion to gay marriage to ENDA to President Obama to Madonna won him the support of the vast majority of GOP caucus-goers earlier this year, setting up a primary showdown against another GOP hopeful which took place last night.
Atheists vs. Rapists: Atheists Trusted Less Than Rapists
The distrust of atheists is well known, but did you know that atheists are distrusted as much as or possibly a bit more than rapists? When presented with an apparently random person doing illegal and unethical things, few people were willing to identify the person as a Christian, more were willing to identify them as a Muslim, and the most were willing to identify them as a rapist or an atheist. [Read more]
Tenth Circuit Court Rips Apart Right-Wing’s Bogus ‘Religious Freedom’ Case Against Gay Marriage
The Tenth Circuit Court upheld a lower court’s decision striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. In its decision [PDF], the court dismantled several arguments from the state’s attorneys about the supposedly negative impacts of same-sex marriage on children and opposite-sex couples. [Read more]
Daviess Co. Clerk Denies Licenses, Citing Religion
Daviess County Clerk Sherri Healey tells the Washington Times-Herald that at least two same-sex couples who’ve tried to get marriage licenses from her office have been turned away since U.S. District Judge Richard Young threw out Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday. [Read more]
Atheist to Deliver Invocation at Greece, NY Town Meeting July 15
Atheist Dan Courtney will deliver an invocation at the July 15 board meeting of the Town of Greece, New York, the municipality involved in the recent case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of sectarian prayer at government meetings. [Read more]
How Should Atheists Respond When Others Ask for Prayers, Miracles?
Question: How should I respond to believers who ask for other people to pray for them when someone falls ill or some “miracle” is hoped for? As an atheist, it always makes me feel uncomfortable to confront others’ expectation that I should pray — and uncharitable when I want to respond by reminding people that many of us don’t believe in their god or any god at all. [Read Response]
Could Baptizing Children of Gay Couples Become a New Battleground?
Despite numerous controversies over dismissing gay Catholics from church posts and the U.S. hierarchy’s campaign against same-sex marriage, Catholic leaders have carefully, if quietly, avoided doing anything to block gay couples from having their children baptized. [Read more]
Judge Rebuffs Cheektowaga Teacher in Suit Over Religious Items in Classroom
Joelle Silver wants to display religious items in her Cheektowaga classroom, and is suing school officials who forced their removal. A federal judge is now recommending that most of her lawsuit be dismissed. [Read more]
Godless Living in America: What Can the Godless Do in a Religious Society?
Godless Americans are much like other people in America: they grow up, date, get married, raise children, celebrate holidays, and all the other things which religious theists do. Godless Americans simply do it all without the sort of structures provided by religion or theism. [Read more]
Science Museum Promotes Science — Scandal!
Over at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog, Casey Luskin — our favorite creationist — has been posting a series of articles about his stunning discovery that a museum in New Mexico has been organizing a Darwin Day exhibit, and they’ve been collaborating with — gasp! — atheist groups. The latest in his crushingly boring string of articles is State-Run New Mexico Museum Scrambled to Cover Up Collaboration with Atheistic Groups. [Read more]