Why We Should Tax the Churches

My latest article has been posted on AlterNet, How We All Pay For the Huge Tax Privileges Granted to Religion -- It's Time to Tax the Church. In it, I discuss the enormous wealth owned by churches, financed in part through generous tax exemptions not available to any other organization; the shameless greed of "prosperity gospel" theology; and the bizarre rhetoric of resentment spreading among the American religious right which insists it's a sin to call for higher taxes on the rich or greater … [Read more...]

Remembering Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has died. I never personally met the man, but I want to say a few words in tribute. Of all the popular figures commonly styled as the New Atheists, he was the hardest to pin down. He could be caustic, crude, witty, and brilliant by turns. He was a dauntless defender of free speech who never hesitated to aim a dart at the powerful or smash a sacred idol. His book about Mother Teresa, The Missionary Position, was and is the trailblazer in debunking the myths that have become … [Read more...]

Do We Need More Humanist Chaplains?

I wanted to highlight this excellent post on JT's blog about the rewards of activism: Joe was sick in the hospital, and asked a friend of his to go down to Philadelphia to collect the award for him. Friend went to see him in hospital, said "Joe, what do you want me to tell these folks when I pick up the award?" He's looking at Joe lying there sick as a dog, and thinking about his life, all the struggles, all the hard times, you know, trying to fight for social justice, and racial justice, and … [Read more...]

Why Atheists Should Fight Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Last month, the TLC television channel premiered All-American Muslim, a reality show which follows several, from what I can see, fairly normal American families who happen to be Muslims. On any other planet this shouldn't have been in any way controversial - but the Florida Family Association, a Christian-right hate group, has been pressuring advertisers to drop their support on the astounding basis that the stars of the show are too normal:The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim … [Read more...]

Hemley Gonzalez: The Truth About Mother Teresa

[Note: Please welcome Hemley Gonzalez to Daylight Atheism. Hemley is the founder of Responsible Charity, a secular non-profit organization serving the poor of Calcutta, which was a past beneficiary of the Foundation Beyond Belief. In this interview, he discusses his time as a volunteer with Mother Teresa's supposed charitable organization, how he became disillusioned, and how it inspired him to start a better alternative. See also my past post on the same subject. —Adam] You used to be a … [Read more...]

Pseudoscience Without the Science

I was at the pharmacy the other day when I happened to notice this little accessory, which boasts on the package that it "may help to promote BALANCE, STRENGTH & ENDURANCE" (and which carries a disclaimer about not being evaluated by the FDA - always a good sign):I have to admit, I get weirdly enthusiastic whenever I see a new brand of snake oil on the shelves. I always want to see what kind of pseudoscientific claim the manufacturer has come up with to support their wildly improbable … [Read more...]

Some Friendly Advice for Rick Perry

You've probably already heard that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, sinking in the polls as primary season approaches, is making one last bid for relevance with a new campaign ad:Here's the transcript:I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I'll end … [Read more...]

Support the Foundation Beyond Belief’s Year-End Drive!

When this life is all you have, you're naturally motivated to care more about it. That's why I've often encouraged readers to support the Foundation Beyond Belief, an excellent secular charity, and this holiday season I'd like to renew that call. If you don't already know how the FBB operates: Each quarter, they choose a slate of charities - one each in the areas of animal protection, children, education, the environment, health, human rights, peace and poverty - with a track record of … [Read more...]

The Grindstone of Persuasion

If you were a regular commenter on the old site, you've probably noticed a shift in the commenting community since Daylight Atheism came here to Big Think. The old site had a smaller, more homogeneous community, and as a result, there were a lot more "atheism 201" discussions - how we can organize and build a welcoming secular community, how we can overcome internal disagreement to unite in defense of our political rights, how we can phrase our arguments to be most convincing, and so on. But … [Read more...]

Atheism and Unitarian Universalism: An Interlude

Apropos of my recent posts on whether Unitarian Universalism is welcoming to atheists, I just got the winter 2011 issue of UU World magazine. And guess who wrote the blurb in this book ad I saw on the front page (click the image on the left to enlarge and read the whole thing). It says:"Secularists, individuals, please take note! Encounters and dialogue between religiously motivated radicals and more secular activists remain important. America, 'the nation with the soul of a church,' cannot … [Read more...]


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