A Personal Note, Plus Weekend Miscellany

Hi folks,

I know I’ve been a little spotty lately when it comes to posting and answering e-mails. Well, I have a good excuse: I’m getting married two weeks from today.

If you had asked me when I announced I was engaged, back in 2008, I’d have thought that nearly two years was an incredibly long engagement. As it turns out, I was wrong. We’ve gotten most of the important things settled, but there’s still so much to do! (Part of this is the fault of the wedding-industrial complex and its relentless commercialization of everything related to a wedding – but throwing a nice party for a hundred and fifty or so of your family members and close friends does take a lot of planning.)

We’ll be ready in time, but Daylight Atheism has been unavoidably neglected somewhat. For that I apologize, and I hope to resume a normal posting schedule after our honeymoon. There are a few news items I’ve wanted to write about, but haven’t had the time, so here’s a quick link roundup:

• In an interview with D.J. Grothe, James Randi comes out of the closet as a gay man at the age of 81. He doesn’t expect this to make any real difference in the way his fellow skeptics view him and his work, and he’s right.

Antony Flew has died. You may remember him as the once-prominent atheist philosopher who, late in life and suffering from cognitive decline, was sadly taken advantage of by some ghoulish Christian apologists who insinuated themselves into his life, ghost-wrote a book and persuaded him to put his name on it. I’m sorrowful for his death, but also glad that Flew is at peace and this sordid story is finally over.

• A religious cult called Share International insists that American journalist Raj Patel is their messiah. The only person who seems to have a problem with this is Raj Patel, who wrote a fantastic op-ed for the Guardian explaining why humanity doesn’t need gods or messiahs to solve its problems, just a greater sense of morality and devotion to democracy.

• On the topic of cults, two former Scientologists and members of the church’s elite “Sea Org” have sued for $1 million in back pay, which they claim they were denied while working under conditions scarcely distinguishable from slavery.

• And finally, Indonesia’s highest court has upheld a law banning blasphemy, as well as limiting the number of officially permitted religions for Indonesians to six. I guess that’s one more place we can cross off our travel list…

And lastly, I want to put out a call for volunteers. Two weeks from today is the big day, and after that, I’ll be away for another two weeks on my honeymoon. I may be able to check in from time to time, but it would be nice to have someone minding the store – approving comments, writing guest posts so the site doesn’t get too quiet, and so on. Any regular readers interested? This is a job that can be shared by more than one person.

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