Two Wins for Secular Activism in Two Unlikely Places

children win success

When it comes to secular activism, it often seems like we don't have many victories. At least, it has seemed like that lately. This makes it even more important to celebrate those we do get. And so, I'd like to highlight two recent victories that might be missed.

Mississippi Drops God-Pushing License Plates

Thanks to some good work by American Atheists, the state of Mississippi has removed "In God We Trust" from our standard license plate. The new design is not only more attractive than the current godly one, but it is more accurate. I'm not sure how to trust something I don't think is real. I am looking forward to receiving my new plate next year!


Are the Southern Baptists Facing a Crisis as They Lose More Members?

Baptist church

Most of the evangelical Christians I've encountered in Mississippi have been Southern Baptists. They aren't the only Christian denomination in the area. There are also lots of Methodists and some Catholics, but they aren't the ones knocking on my door. They aren't the ones who cover the local gas stations with religious flyers, most of which end up as litter. And they aren't the ones who proselytize in local businesses.

Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The good news is that there aren't as many of them as there used to be. According to Religion News Service, the Southern Baptist Convention has lost 3 million members since 2006. Most of this loss has taken place in the last five years, suggesting the trend is accelerating.


Fighting Against Christian Extremism: Exhausting but Still Important

cat pet yawn

I started writing about the importance of church-state separation in 2005. I'd had enough of the Christian privilege that pervades the United States. I was sick of the bigotry that seems to go along with it. People were being denied civil rights based on someone else's Christian beliefs. We were falling far short of our promise as a secular democracy.

We permitted our president, George W. Bush, to push "faith-based initiatives." This wasn't supposed to be legal. He opposed reproductive rights and same-sex marriage. He explained that he did so based on his religious beliefs. Where was the outrage? We seemed to be heading closer to a Christian theocracy.


Question the Common Practice of Equating Christian With Moral Goodness

Pagoda waterfall three-storied

I've written quite a bit about how it is a mistake to equate "Christian" with moral goodness. This is still common practice in the United States, and it is a practice not limited to Christians. In fact, I hear it from other atheists more than I hear it from Christians. They are trying to call attention to hypocrisy but end up helping to perpetuate a myth.

When I encounter this assumption from Christians, it is usually quite blatant. I challenge it, pointing it out and explaining that I reject it. The version I hear from atheists is often more subtle. I try to make it more explicit since the person often doesn't realize what they are doing. I then challenge it and try to suggest alternatives. But why? Why do I bother with any of this?