Archive for category Atheism

Same-Sex Marriage Youth Support Numbers Become Staggering and Other Trends

Some time back, way back in the bronze age in internet time, as prop 8 was still being hotly debated (pre-vote that is), a few of us posted thoughts to the effect that in the long run it simply wouldn’t matter. Pass or fail, the youth support was for equality, and while it may take time the end result would be support. You know, after the bigots die out.

Two or three of the usual suspects (our own personal party of “no” commenters) yelled and screamed and stamped their little feet, and said that it was clear that it would never happen, and that our youth support was a figment of our collective and diseased imagination.

Since then, our imagination has produced many polls with shocking numbers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Children are Often Oppressed in Religious Households

“Children are often oppressed in religious households”; when I read that line in Mark Galli’s op-ed over the weekend, I literally stopped reading mid-sentence.  Here’s the whole passage:

But the fact that children are often oppressed in religious households suggests that there is indeed something in religion which tempts parents in this way. That temptation is the inherent human fascination with law and control. People become religious for many reasons, good and bad. One for many is that their lives are completely out of control morally and socially, and they see in religion a way to bring order to the chaos. Religion as inner police. Such adherents are attracted to religions, or denominations within religions, that accent discipline and obedience. This happens — surprisingly — even in Christianity.

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Obama Is a Muslim and An Atheist or Why Repubicans Suck. This Should Scare You.

This one is a winner. This is why America is deteriorating. Republicans are uninformed, vacuous people.


It May Be Necessary to Save Religion From its Defenders

In a recent op-ed, Salt Lake Tribune writer George Pyle argued that:

Following no organized religion does not mean that individuals do not believe in God, or a higher power. It just means they are compelled to define and follow that power on their own, being responsible for their own decisions, not outsourcing their thinking to any Earthly leader. And that should make democracy easier, not harder.

When no single religion is in a superior position of power, participants in a democracy must find another common language, the language of civil society, in which to converse. Preferred policies must be argued in terms of rational facts, because no one can simply claim it is God’s will and shut down the conversation.

This assertion is not controversial and should not be controversial.

Paul Mero wrote a surprisingly arrogant response to Pyle’s editorial.  Mero, for those who don’t know, is a leading Utah based recipient of Wingnut Welfare as head of the Sutherland institute.  Mero’s main point is summed up:

. . .  there is no civil society without religion. Religion is a basic human value; it is a human good. All but the secular mind pause to reflect persistently on the purpose of life. Not only is this reflection natural to every reasonable human being, it is a requirement for human excellence.

Read the rest of this entry »


An Epidemic of Hostility Toward Religion or an Epidemic Christian Cry-babies?

The Family Research Council (a group the SPLC identified as a hate group for its ongoing use of lies, distortions and untruths about glbt persons) and Liberty Institute, another right wing organization, recently released a study which they claim documents more than 600 instances of hostility toward religious liberty:

Liberty Institute attorney Justin Butterfield tells OneNewsNow what his group hopes to accomplish with the study’s findings.

“We want to raise awareness of the issue. A lot of people think that hostility because of people’s religious beliefs and attacks on religious liberty are things that happen elsewhere in the world, not in the United States,” he notes. “We just want to show that it actually happens with increasing and alarming regularity here in the United States.”

Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford and FRC President Tony Perkins are presenting the study before the Republican Party Convention platform committee to raise that awareness.

I’ve been very skeptical about claims made by the religious right concerning discrimination against and bigotry towards Christians.  However, this report is based on an audacious claim – 600+ incidents of hostility towards religion?  Documented and published?  As a matter of due diligence I figured I owed it to myself to check out the report.  I downloaded the report.  It’s 135 breezy pages long consisting of short summaries of instances the authors identify as hostility to religion and citations (either the case information or links to online news reports).  The report is helpfully broken down in sections based on what type of hostility the authors deemed to have occurred (i.e. public expressions of faith, in schools, workplaces, about monuments and public displays, etc.)

I picked a few cases at random. Read the rest of this entry »


About the Fundamentalist Assault on American Democracy

A must read from Al Stefanelli at Free Thought Blogs:

Absent from the land of TV-make-believe were some real issues like back-alley abortions, rampant racism, epic discrimination against homosexuals and atheists, and a whole slew of other problems that were conveniently swept under the rug of ignorance. Of course, there are a significant number of American politicians in office today who would like to see us return to coat-hanger abortions, segregated schools and the virtual disappearance of homosexuals and atheists; a problem that many of us are painfully aware of.

How did the fundagelicals take over one of Amreica’s major political parties?

They used underhanded tactics, such as to tie up meetings for hours on end. They took this long so that people would get tired and just leave.  Once alone, they appointed themselves leaders and proceeded to make important decisions.  They repeated this process until they controlled the entire state. Their goal was to see as much of the Republican Party controlled by fundamentalists as possible. Pat Robertson then formed the Christian Coalition, which had over 100,00 churches as members and was headed up by Ralph Reed, Robertson’s main minion, and a political genius.  They distributed Christian propaganda at astonishing rates, including voter guides that reached saturation with over 40 million distributed copies. Not to mention telemarketing campaigns. The stage was set, and when the World Trade Center got bombed in 1993, it was the perfect catalyst that the religious right needed.

As an aside, they’ve used similar tactics to paralyze the moderate and liberal churches – plunging every national gathering into some manufactured controversy, manipulating rules of order to sidetrack discussions and creating conflict rather than cooperation.

The last twenty years has seen the melding of Christian fundamentalism and National pride. Fundamentalist Christians see themselves as Patriots, protectors of what they erroneously call a Christian Nation, against the traitorous liberal, socialist Democrats. Within this group lie their sworn enemies; the godless, heathen, devil-worshiping, baby-eating atheists. The fact that atheism is not a political party and atheists come from a wide variety of world views is totally lost on these people.

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Reflecting on The Festival of Colors, Diversity and Universalism

“I consider nothing that is human alien to me.” Terence 195-159 BC

For a long time, for some reason, I thought Terence’s quote was actually Walt Whitman.  It seems like something Whitman would have written.  And its relevant.

I spent a most of my waking hours the weekend of the 24th either getting ready for, driving to, attending, driving from and showering after the 2012 Festival of Colors at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.  Reports say 80,000+ people attended this year and I’m not surprised.  The crowd was huge all day Saturday.  I don’t think I’ve seen that many people in one place in Utah outside of a Utah BYU game.  And it was amazing.  Live music, lots of happy people.  Lots of color.  Oh my god was there color. 

I’m going to be all over the map in this post.  You may want to buckle your seatbelt. Read the rest of this entry »

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Where are the coming out parties?

“Atheist!” my mother cried, “atheist! Your father said last night that he wished you were gay, at least that is socially acceptable!”

-Julia Sweeney

Reality and Faux News, two paths that crossed once, and have ever since been running at 90 degree angles to each other…

According to blathering idiots babbling on Faux, gay marriage has no support, the majority are against it:

As the link points out, not so much. But then anyone who pays attention knows Faux is generally a clearing house for rightwing lies anyway, so no big deal. The reason I bring this up is slightly different.

Read the rest of this entry »

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What Ails Us at Christmas Time?

Christmas is fast approaching and I am pleased to say my shopping is done and courtesy of several online retailers I have successfully avoided the stores.

Truth be told I get morose around the holidays.  Christmas seems to me to be neither a convincing religious holiday nor a pleasurable secular one and the societal “script” feels as if we’re supposed to be happy even if happy is the last thing we feel like being.  Between the conservative Christians whining that there’s a war on Christmas and that people are trying to prevent them from enjoying their religious festivities and the relentless drumbeat of corporate America trying to convince the rest of us we should bankrupt ourselves in a quest to buy the perfect present, the season seems more dreary than joyous. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Information be the Death-Knell of Christianity?

Another post about faith – or more realistically, the lack thereof.

The enemy of faith isn’t atheism, it is information.  Sustaining faith in God, as for example, relies on a lack of information which would disprove God.   How do I know?

Leading Christian apologist Josh McDowell says so: Read the rest of this entry »


The Answer the D-News Editorial Board Can’t Give

This morning, the D-News editorial board published a relatively short piece decrying a recent NY Times Op-Ed.

The piece in the Times (written by Bill Keller) included this passage:

. . . when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents, we are a little squeamish about probing too aggressively. Michele Bachmann was asked during the Iowa G.O.P. debate what she meant when she said the Bible obliged her to “be submissive” to her husband, and there was an audible wave of boos — for the question, not the answer. There is a sense, encouraged by the candidates, that what goes on between a candidate and his or her God is a sensitive, even privileged domain, except when it is useful for mobilizing the religious base and prying open their wallets.

Read the rest of this entry »


America’s Horribly, Shockingly Oppressed (Not so much) Christians

Among religious conservatives, it has become fashionable to declare they are being oppressed and discriminated against.  Two recent articles in the Deseret News echo those fashionable claims.

The first from August 9 proclaimed:

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new federal regulations that run roughshod over the moral conscience of many Americans.

Promulgated under the health care reform act commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” the new regulations would require an employer to have a health plan that covers sterilization and contraception — which could include drugs that cause abortion — as part of a larger set of “preventative services” for women. These practices are morally repugnant to many Americans — for some, because it directly contradicts their faith. For example, the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which includes roughly a quarter of Americans, explicitly prohibits such practices.

The second, from August 12, declared:

It is important to note that much of the anti-religious hostility worldwide is directed against Muslims of various kinds. It also is noteworthy that not all anti-religious hostility is overt. While the report didn’t measure this, popular entertainment now seems to have an anti-religious bent, while recent new U.S. regulations requiring insurance companies to provide contraception without a co-pay also is a form of discrimination against companies and individuals that wish to adhere to religious principles.

These articles share a common set of assumptions, articulated by Mormon leader Dallin Oaks in February of this year.  Oaks speech at Chapman University (transcript here) almost perfectly articulated the conservative position on religious freedom.  He argued that respect for religion is decreasing which leads to a loss of religious freedom.  As fewer people belong and believe, their views will hold less sway in an increasingly pluralistic, secular society; the religious will face persecution as laws are passed which are contrary to their beliefs (Oaks was talking about gay marriage and these editorialists are talking about birth control but the principle is the same). Read the rest of this entry »


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