August 31, 2010

Is Michael Stopa a Bigot?

Thanks to Atheist Ethicist for bringing this one to my attention.

According to The Sun Chronicle, Michael Stopa, a Republican running for the 3rd district of Massachusetts who also happens to be a physicist employed by Harvard, has managed to convince himself that President Obama is an atheist. But that really isn't the story. The story is that Stopa was quoted as saying:
I have no specific evidence, but I think he's sympathetic to anybody who is opposed to America and American values.
As Alonzo Fyfe points out, this makes it sound an awful lot like Stopa is claiming that all atheists are anti-American. If only the interviewer had asked this obvious follow-up question, we would know if this is indeed what he was saying. And if it turns out that Stopa was indeed claiming that all atheists are opposed to America, then he should be exposed as a bigot.

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August 30, 2010

If It Makes You Feel Better...

When Christopher Hitchens is asked by Anderson Cooper in this interview whether he tells people not to pray for him, he responds that he does not.
If it makes you feel better, you have my blessing.
That is an interesting perspective. Of course, nobody is going to stop those who want to pray from doing so. Asking someone not to pray for you seems unlikely to change their behavior precisely because the prayer is really for them and not for you. On the other hand, it seems like this might be a brief teachable moment to point out that one does not believe in magic.

What do you think? Would you respond like he does, and if not, what would you say instead?

August 29, 2010

Many Promises Unfulfilled Five Years After Hurricane Katrina

Cross-posted at Mississippi Atheists

Hurricane KatrinaAugust 29 was once a day with no particular significance for me, but that seems like a long time ago. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005, and maintained hurricane strength over more than 150 miles of our state. When the immediate effects were combined with significant damage to the infrastructure, massive flooding in New Orleans, and an inadequate federal response, we endured the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. And as difficult is it may be for those outside the South to grasp, the effects of Katrina are still evident today.

August 28, 2010

Idiot of the Week: South Carolina Gas Station Owner

Technically, this may not count as an idiot of the week because it has apparently been happening for the past year and not simply this week. But I found out about it this week, so there you go.

The owner of a South Carolina gas station has set his pumps so that the following message appears whenever people use them:
One nation under god and if you don't like it. Leave!
What a great American! Believe like I do, or get the hell out. The video below will explain how much all the customers like this message, agree with this message, and see absolutely nothing wrong with this message.



Christian bigotry: Good for business in South Carolina.

H/T to Stupid Evil Bastard

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August 27, 2010

I Get Christian Email

emailI wasn't planning to post today. Work has been unexpectedly busy, and I have a number of deadlines approaching quickly, one of which is later today. But I received an important email from someone calling herself Serena that I need to share with you. I know it is important because the title was "IMPORTANT." Naturally, that caught my eye.

I have reproduced the email below verbatim:
God is the best thing that has happend to me. If you do not belive in him, you WILL be eternally damned. This website is NOT acceptable. HE created you to love and live for Him. Not for this world. Everything He created is holy, and everything created from this world is sin. Please, i will pray for you. Do not live like this any longer. Jesus wants you to want him. You may enjoy this life, but it is only temporary. God WILL punish you if you do not belive and love him unconditionally. please, i am begging of you. take some time to read his Word for you will be eternally blessed if you love him. God forgives anyone, no matter how bad they sin. I am a sinner, you are a sinner, everyone is a sinner, but if we trust in Lord Jesus Christ, we will all be eternally blessed in His name. I am urging yo! u. Anyone can become a Christian. I am a freaking 14 year old girl. I will pray for you. Please remove this website. It is unholy and a slap in the face to God, the one who created you.

August 26, 2010

More Thoughts on Secular Community Resource Centers

Community
Community (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The thing about ideas is that it is almost always easier to shoot down those of others down than to offer one's own. Yes, secular community resource centers are idealistic, would require resources most of us lack, and may face unique challenges in the locations where they are most needed (e.g., the U.S. bible belt). But it seems to me that we are making a mistake by giving up simply because it sounds difficult. If we imagine a secular community resource center as an eventual goal and agree that there are many small but influential steps we could accomplish along the way, it might look a bit more feasible.

August 25, 2010

Words of Wisdom: Barry Goldwater

There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me ... that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?
— Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), Congressional Record, September 16, 1981.

August 24, 2010

Why Some Atheists Are Offended By Prayer

Dan Gilgoff, Co-Editor of CNN's Belief Blog, does not appear to have a high opinion of atheists. In a recent post, he complains that "hordes of atheists" have been leaving comments on a post from a Catholic priest suggesting that Christians should pray for Christopher Hitchens.
Far from being touched by the priest's gesture, the atheists are mostly offended.
Mr. Gilgoff really doesn't get it, does he? Let me see if I can explain what is happening here to anyone else who might be as confused as Mr. Gilgoff seems to be. I'll start with a brief explanation of reactions to the "pray for Hitchens" thing and then expand to consider the broader subject of why some atheists take offense at prayer.

August 23, 2010

Back to the Manhattan Islamic Center

Imagine No ReligionControversy over the proposal by an Islamic group to build a community center near "ground zero" in Manhattan has only intensified since I wrote about it at the beginning of the month. Each side in the dispute has at least one valid point with which reasonable people should be able to agree, and yet, members of each side have been demonized not only by those on the other side but by those who generally agree with them. What a mess! I have been most disappointed with those on the political left, and I'll explain why.

August 22, 2010

Some Biblical Prophecies Have Come True

jesus swordAtheists do not believe that the Christian bible or any other "holy" books are sacred in any way. We may appreciate other aspects of such texts, but we do not buy the notion that they are divinely inspired in any way.

And yet, it would be a mistake for atheists to dismiss the entire Christian bible as nonsense. Not only are there some aesthetically pleasing passages, but some of the prophecies contained in this book have turned out to be true whether we like to admit it or not.

Chatpilot, the former Pentecostal evangelist who now writes the "God is a myth!" blog, provides an excellent example of a biblical prophecy that came true in the form of Matthew 10:34,
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
These words were attributed to Jesus himself, and as Chatpilot points out, it is difficult to argue that they did not foretell the future.
Since it's ascendancy to power Christianity has left a path of destruction littered with rivers of blood of all those that dared to oppose their beliefs...
It is not that any of this is somehow unique to Christianity. Again and again, we have seen that the combination of religious belief and state power leads to disastrous outcomes. Perhaps we would do well to heed these words attributed to Jesus. He certainly warned us what was coming...his followers.

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August 21, 2010

Idiot of the Week: Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Dr. LauraThis may come as a bit of a surprise, but I am not "honoring" Schlessinger for saying "nigger" 11 times on her radio show. Sure, that wasn't a bright move on her part, but like others have documented, Schlessinger has earned a reputation for bigotry. That she might have some issues with race too is not all that shocking. No, I find her deserving of Idiot of the Week status for statements she made on Larry King after she resigned about how her First Amendment rights were being violated because people were criticizing her for what she said. If Schlessinger wants to hide behind the First Amendment, doesn't she at least need to understand it?

August 20, 2010

Lots of People Believe Dumb Things

sigh.jpgAccording to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 41% of Americans expect Jesus to come back by 2050. Should we celebrate that it is only 41%? Maybe we should be asking ourselves how many of the politicians who run this country for their corporate masters share this belief.

Not surprisingly, the number jumps to 58% among White evangelicals and is higher in the South than in other regions.

Oh, and 65% of those surveyed expect religion to be as important in 40 years as it is now.

H/T to CNN's Belief Blog

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August 19, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage and Atheist Community

In a recent post on the same-sex marriage issue and California's Proposition 8, Daylight Atheism wrote:
...the more places that same-sex marriage moves into the mainstream, the more it will become familiar and accepted. More and more, people are getting the chance to see for themselves that gay and lesbian couples are normal human beings, deserving of the same rights as everyone else, and religious prejudice is weakening. Every fight we win sets the stage for further victories, and brings us ever closer to the time when true equality is the rule everywhere, not the exception.
I think it could be argued that the decision of so many gay men, lesbians, bisexual persons, and transgendered individuals to "come out of the closet" and embrace membership in the GLBT community is a big part of why they have made the civil rights gains they have made. Not only is there strength in numbers, but there is much to be said for familiarity as a path for changing public attitudes. I suspect Daylight Atheism is right that the mainstreaming of same-sex marriage will lead to greater acceptance.

This same rationale is often applied to atheism and used to make the case that it is important for more of us to live our lives as openly atheistic, to claim membership in the reality-based community. In many areas, we remain closeted, and even those who are "out" rarely seem to take genuine pride in their community. Few would deny that there is such a thing as a GLBT community; the same is not true when it comes to atheism.

I do not mean to suggest that gay rights is the only viable model for atheist civil rights or that the GLBT community is the only model for atheist community. I have made it clear that I think these are some of the better models available to us, but there are undoubtedly others.

One of the most commonly heard arguments against any sort of atheist community is that atheism is an insufficient reason around which to unite people. Again and again, we are reminded that atheists have nothing in common but a lack of belief in gods. But what do members of the GLBT community have in common besides their sexual orientation? Why have they been able to create an effective community while we seem too stubborn or fearful to do so?

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August 18, 2010

Will Anti-Islam Sentiment Help or Hurt Church-State Separation?

Controversy over mosques has not been limited to the Cordoba Initiative's proposal to build an Islamic center in Manhattan. Writing about the growing anti-Islam sentiment in the United States, Laurie Goodstein (The New York Times) wrote:
These local skirmishes make clear that there is now widespread debate about whether the best way to uphold America’s democratic values is to allow Muslims the same religious freedom enjoyed by other Americans, or to pull away the welcome mat from a faith seen as a singular threat.

August 17, 2010

Promoting Atheism One Blog at a Time

kiteWhile commenting on a new atheist blog, Flying Kites, I found myself thinking once again about the importance of atheists helping each other. The author had contacted me and asked if I'd be willing to visit the new blog and offer any feedback. Time permitting, I'm always happy to do this. In this post, I'd like to address the simple but intriguing question of why.

August 16, 2010

Does Opposing Religion Entail Anti-Semitism?

anti-religionI suppose it would be fair to say that opposing organized religion and religious belief for their irrationality and vast destructive potential makes me anti-religion. I suspect that humanity would be better off without religion of any sort. You see, I regard all religions as equally false. Again, it would probably be fair to characterize me as anti-religion. And if I oppose all religions, would that not necessarily mean that I am anti-Islam, anti-Christianity, anti-Judaism, and the like? Does this not mean that I am confessing to anti-Semitism?

August 14, 2010

Idiot of the Week Twofor: Billy Graham and Pat Robertson

Time for Idiot of the Week. I have many weeks where I have a difficult time deciding who to "honor" in this series, but I had such a tie this week that I decided to pick both. Yep, you're getting two for one here.

Pat RobertsonPat Robertson

We'll start with Pat Robertson, a real Christian who is no stranger to idiocy (this is at least the third time he has been recognized for it here). Pat was recently contacted by a Christian seeking advice about her atheist boyfriend. I don't know about you, but I always turn to the 700 Club when I need advice about my personal life (or lack thereof)! Anyway, Pat was all too happy to share some of the bigotry for which he is famous. After all, nobody does it quite like Pat.
There is no fellowship between an atheist and somebody who is a believe in God.
Come on Pat, some of us have a difficult time deciphering Christianspeak. What exactly are you suggesting this woman do?
I hate to tell you, but you've got to go find somebody else.
Oh, okay. No self-respecting Christian should be in a relationship with an atheist, huh? It sounds like same-sex marriage is not the only abomination.
He's going to be serving the Devil.
Wow! Now that's some real bigotry, Pat. Spreading the evil atheist stereotype never gets old, does it? Believe exactly as Pat Robertson does, or you are pure evil. It is that simple. Pat, are you unaware that some "interfaith" couples get along just fine?
There is no middle ground. There is no peace in that situation.
Got it. Time to move on.

I've Never Seen an FFRF Billboard I Didn't Like...Until Now

I've been happy to support the Freedom From Religion Foundation with my membership and the publicity I try to bring to their efforts here. I think they are one of the few organizations most atheists in the U.S. should support, and nothing I am about to say changes that it any way.

I have liked every one of the billboard designs developed by the FFRF and hope I will live long enough to see one here in Mississippi. Having said that, I'm not particularly crazy about their most recent billboard design.

enjoy life now

My initial reaction was something like, "Oh great, now the Christians are going to accuse us of being hedonists." Of course, this is silly because we are already accused of this. I like the "enjoy life now" message, even if I question what it has to do with freeing oneself from religion. I think it is the "there is no afterlife" part I could do without. When trying to reach the religious, this seems like a better message to impart down the road after there has been some initial dialogue.

Of course, I'd still love to see one of these on my daily commute. It wouldn't be my first choice, but it would be a hell of a lot better that the AFA.net billboards I have to look at now!

August 12, 2010

Christian Hypocrisy: Only My Beliefs Are Sacred

other religions

If there is one thing many fundamentalist Christians are known for, it is their blatant hypocrisy. I have heard liberal Christians and even some moderates say that they believe virtually everyone will go to some sort of heaven as long as they are not terrible people who commit serious crimes.

Not so for the fundamentalists. For them, the only path to heaven is through Jesus. Like the woman in the cartoon, they are quick to condemn all other religions as false while generally refusing to critically examine their own.

Cartoon From Atheist Eve

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August 11, 2010

2010 Election Will Be Important One

rick perry.jpgMidterm elections are not something most people find particularly exciting, but the next U.S. election could end up being a big deal. The political tone and competence of the nation could change considerably (and for the worse). The far-right teabaggers are looking to make a big splash with the likes of Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. And you know what that means, Christian extremists could make great strides toward consolidating even more power.

Just ask Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) what is at stake in the next election. During a recent speech to the Texas Eagle Forum, Gov. Perry said that the upcoming election was nothing short of a religious crusade.
That's the question: Who do you worship? Do you believe in the primacy of unrestrained federal government? Or do you worship the God of the universe, placing our trust in him?
Um...how about neither? How about we sit this absurd need to worship things aside and work on solving the problems facing our country?

H/T to Religious Right Watch

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August 10, 2010

Marketing Woo for Weight-Loss

CNN recently ran a story about religious believers turning to their god for help losing weight. Instead of commenting on how ridiculous that sounds, I'm going to take another tact and suggest that this is pure genius. Really.
Using the Lord's name (not in vain), fitness and diet enthusiasts are injecting the Almighty into nutrition programs, exercise DVDs, martial arts and healthy living courses.
This is not about effective weight-loss; it is a marketing strategy and an effective one at that. With all the Christians in the U.S., injecting Christianspeak into exercise videos, books, and virtually everything else is a no-brainer. As long as we recognize that the goal behind this is turning a profit, we can admire the clever marketing strategy.

The problem is that CNN and others in the media almost never acknowledge that this is woo (i.e., there is no evidence that exercise videos containing Christianspeak are any more effective than those that do not). They present stories like this as if they are something other than an approach to marketing a product. The line between news and infomercial blurs.

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August 9, 2010

Strippers Protest Church

After being harassed by Christians wishing to impose their morality on others, the owner of an Ohio strip-club has decided to fight back in one of the best ways I can imagine. The strippers are protesting the church just like the Christians have been protesting the club.

Pastor Bill Dunfee of New Beginnings Ministries has been trying to shut down the strip-club.
Every weekend for the last four years, Dunfee and members of his ministry have stood watch over George's joint, taking up residence in the right of way with signs, video cameras and bullhorns in hand. They videotape customers' license plates and post them online, and they try to save the souls of anyone who comes and goes.
Yes, Dunfee and others who attend his church do not want their neighbors to have the right to attend this club.

Fortunately, club owner Tommy George has decided to respond in kind. His girls are out there in the skimpiest clothes they can find with squirt guns, lawn chairs, and a grill. I love it!

H/T to The Religion Virus

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Never Forget the Burden of Proof

mormonsAddressing the fascinating subject of Mormonism, Craig James (The Religion Virus) reminds us that the central issue whenever matters of religious belief are involved is the burden of proof. We atheists have absolutely zero burden of proof. The burden lies with the believer.

What James says of Mormons is true for all proponents of religion:
Mormonism makes a staggering number of amazing claims that defy both common sense and the historical and archaeological records. It is up to the Mormons to prove that there is a reasonable, plausible explanation for every one of them.
Have the Mormons met their burden of proof? Not hardly. The Muslims? Nope. The Catholics? Hardly. The mainline Protestants? Not even close.

We atheists don't need to argue unless we just really enjoy it for some reason. We can simply wait for the requisite proof. I don't know about you, but I'd be happy to believe should evidence sufficient to substantiate each and every religious claim arrive. Of course, this would render faith obsolete because religion would become rational.

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August 8, 2010

How to Share Atheist Revolution Posts

I have received a few questions lately from readers about how to share content from Atheist Revolution with others around the Internet. There are many ways to do this. For example, you can simply copy and paste the URL of the page you want to share into an email. But the easiest way for most people is to look for the "What's Next" box at the bottom of each post. It looks like this:

Screen shot 2010-06-24 at 6.44.20 AM.png

The "Email this post" link will bring up an email form you can use to send the post to a friend. But the "bookmark" button will do even more.

lg-bookmark-en.gif

When you click on this button, it provides all sorts of choices about where you'd like to send or save the post.

I hope this helps.

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August 7, 2010

Idiot of the Week: Jim Garlow

Bigotry over time
While those of us who believe that equality it an important American value were celebrating the district court ruling against Proposition 8, the forces of Christian extremism were spewing all manner of idiocy. This week's idiot is California pastor Jim Garlow, one of the organizers of the ProtectMarriage.com - Yes on 8 campaign. Here is Garlow's analysis of the recent ruling in which Proposition 8 was determined to be unconstitutional:
The next court case could conceivably say that if three people wanted to marry or four people or five people or if someone wanted to marry their dog or their horse, they have a right to that because no longer do we have a right to ‘discriminate' based on equal protection.
Bringing up bestiality may indeed make Rick Santorum proud, but this line of argument is pure idiocy.

H/T to Liberaland
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August 6, 2010

I Don't Want to Live in an Echo Chamber

contractIt is unfortunate that we humans have a tendency to seek out information that confirms our views. In this digital age where it is easy to customize the sort of information we receive with a few mouse clicks, it is tempting to construct virtual cocoons to isolate us from dissenting perspectives. This may be comfortable, but it is comfort that comes at a price. Too much of this self-imposed isolation leaves us ill equipped to function in the world as it actually exists.

I have been guilty of this very thing more than I would like to admit. While I do make an effort to seek out and consume information that comes from outside the traditional channels, I can do better. I read a handful of Christian blogs, but I could read more. I read a handful of blogs written by conservative atheists, but I know there are more out there. My RSS aggregator contains feeds from right-wing and centrist sources, but it still leans heavily to the left.

August 5, 2010

District Court Rules Against Religiously-Motivated Bigotry

Prop-8As you know, a federal judge ruled yesterday that California's ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8) is unconstitutional. This is a win for all of us who value equality under the law and a loss for those still clinging to religiously-motivated bigotry. Although I'm not sure anybody believes this ruling settles the matter, it is worth pausing to celebrate the victory.

The complete ruling can be found here.

Many people worked hard to stop this attempt by the Christian right to legislate their particular values, imposing them on a large segment of the population who wanted nothing to do with them. In doing so, the opponents of Proposition 8 stood up for their rights and the rights of all minorities. I am sure some were afraid at times, but they did not let this get in their way. They faced down the bigots who sponsored this offensive legislation, and they won.

Here's how the Human Rights Campaigned summed up the decision:
After hearing extensive evidence in support of marriage equality, and essentially no defense of the discrimination wrought by Prop 8, Judge Walker reached the same conclusion we have always known to be true -- the Constitution's protections are for all Americans, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
How obvious and important at the same time! The Constitution applies to all Americans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals. Maybe it even applies to atheists.

Same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue. It is also a church-state issue. As we atheists work to advance atheist civil rights, there is much we can learn from the LGBT community. We need to study Proposition 8 closely, paying attention to how it came to be, who paid for it, how it was defeated, and what it means for modern American religion.

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Iranian Atheist Blogger Threatened

I suspect that most atheist bloggers receive death threats from time to time. It seems to come with the territory. Here in the U.S., dealing with them is usually as simple as notifying law enforcement and not giving the matter much more thought. Sadly, things can be considerably more complicated in Muslim nations.

According to the Committee to Protect Bloggers, Fariborz Shamshiri, an Iranian atheist blogger, has been receiving death threats. Something tells me that this is far more serious in Iran where one can be imprisoned just for criticizing religious leaders. Can you imagine the courage it would take to write not one but several outspoken atheist blogs in a country like Iran?

You can see some of Shamshiri's work at Rotten Gods.

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August 4, 2010

Shoot-the-President Game at Catholic Carnival

Obama gameHave you ever been to a church carnival? No, I don't mean a church service with a carnival atmosphere. I mean an actual carnival put on by a church as a fundraiser. Sounds like it could be a fun, family-oriented way for a church to raise money. Or it could simply be an exercise in far-right hatred.

A Catholic church in Roseto, PA, is in the news because of game at their carnival in which attendees were encouraged to shoot darts at the image of an African American man holding a health care bill and wearing the presidential seal. Of course, the owner of the company responsible for providing the games now claims that it was not meant to depict President Obama. Sure it wasn't.

The real story, as far as I'm concerned, is how Rev. Jim Prior responded when attendees complained.
“We’re used to this kind of bigotry and prejudice, and we abhor it but it’s the way of the world,” Prior said. “Even the Divine Father himself is vilified in today’s culture.”
Sigh.

H/T to The Maddow Blog

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International Blasphemy Day, 2010

This crime called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves.

Robert Green Ingersoll
BlasphemyPeople are always asking me how I am planning to celebrate some obscure occasion or another, and I often find myself saying I would have if I had heard anything about it until it was far too late to do anything about it. I accept some of the responsibility for this - I'm chronically disorganized and not always very observant. But I think it is equally true that some of these occasions are publicized quite poorly (if at all). I think that International Blasphemy Day should be an exception. It is too important.

August 3, 2010

CNN Features Battle of the Idiots

I really enjoyed the following clip from CNN. Man, they really have become an embarrassing self-parody by airing this sort of garbage! I never would have guessed that anyone could make the guy planning to burn Qurans on 9/11 seem almost rational, but CNN's Rick Sanchez managed to do just that. I have not spent enough time watching him to realize what a colossal moron he is, and I must admit that I'm impressed.



This Christian church in Florida has the right to burn whatever they want as long as it is theirs to burn. Let them burn the Quran. It is just a book. And let Muslims burn the Christian bible if they want. It too is just a book.

Assuming that Rick Sanchez is interested in not sounding like such a moron in the future, here are some points from the video he should review:
  • It doesn't matter how many Muslims there are in the world. This is not relevant to this argument at all. Numbers do not bring with them a right not to be offended.
  • The Quran is not sacred; it is a book. The Christian bible is not sacred; it is a book. Burning a book one owns is about as far from burning someone else's house as possible.
  • This church is burning the Quran to make a statement. Why is this so difficult to comprehend?
  • Islam is a violent religion. How is this even in dispute. Christianity is also a violent religion.
  • Why do we defend oppression, Rick? That was a good question, and you dodged it completely.
  • How does this guy "do Christians a disservice" in any way? He is saying what many of them believe.

Yeah, I get it. This Florida pastor is more than a little cooky if he thinks his preferred religion is superior to the other guy's. I'm not defending anything about what he believes. However, I will certainly defend his right to burn any "holy" book he chooses. If Rick has such a problem with what he's doing, maybe he shouldn't have given him a national platform.

H/T to Atheist Media Blog

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August 2, 2010

H.Con.Res. 274 Threatens to Put God in Public Schools

It probably goes without saying that I am going to be opposed to anything supported by the Christian extremist American Family Association. But there is a bit of legislation they have been pushing in Congress that I'd like to bring to your attention because it seems to be gaining support. H.Con.Res. 274 would not only reaffirm "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States, but it would encourage public display of this motto in all public buildings, including public schools.

This resolution, sponsored by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), has picked up 73 co-sponsors already, including some Democrats. The American Family Association has been sending out action alerts stating,
We all recognize the need to return God to His proper place in our public life and especially in our system of public education. You can help return this nation to God by contacting your representative today!
So much for this national motto not being inherently religious.

It is good to see the American Humanist Association out in front on this one, but I worry that this is the sort of resolution that may pass if we cannot bring additional pressure on our elected representatives.

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August 1, 2010

Islamic Center at Ground Zero

IslamUntil now, I haven't addressed the controversy over the proposal by the Cordoba Initiative to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero. Initially, I did not have particularly strong feelings either way. I understood why many of the families of 9/11 victims would object and why some would consider it insensitive. I also found the bitterness of the right-wing pundits and Christian extremists who opposed the proposal to be quite interesting for what it revealed about them. I was also fairly certain that much of what I had heard about the center was inaccurate. Before sounding off, I thought it would be reasonable to wait until I knew something about the real issues (imagine that).

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