New on the Guardian: Atheists Fighting for Choice


You may detect a theme this week. My latest column on the Guardian is up: "Abortion opposition is a religious stance. Atheists must help fight for choice".Under an onslaught of anti-choice legislation, abortion rights in the U.S. are threatened as never before. But an ally is beckoning from an unexpected quarter: in spite of our image as a male-dominated and sometimes obliviously sexist community, atheists are by far the most pro-choice demographic in the nation, and some large secular … [Read more...]

The Stingless Sting: The Absurd Attack on Planned Parenthood


The latest religious-right attack on abortion rights is a set of undercover videos made by an anti-choice group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress. Posing as potential buyers for a medical research firm, they tried to get Planned Parenthood officials to accept illegal payments in exchange for tissue samples from aborted fetuses. (Profiting from fetal tissue or organ sales is against the law, but accepting payments to cover the costs of storage and transportation is legal.) But they … [Read more...]

The Graying of the Priesthood, Continued

Pope Francis's visit to the U.S. this week is generating reams of breathless, anticipatory coverage. But all the media excitement can't change that there are severe, long-run problems for the church that are already having an impact, and that a papal red-carpet tour isn't going to fix.One of those big problems is the aging and dwindling of the priesthood. Simply stated, priests and nuns are growing old and dying, and there's nowhere near enough new recruits to replace them. I've written … [Read more...]

Sam Harris’ Indefensible Views on Racial Profiling

As PZ brought to my attention, Sam Harris is still arguing for racially profiling airline passengers. His argument in the video is that security is a "zero-sum game", that our screeners have limited time and resources, and so they should focus on the people whom we know are more likely to be terrorists, by which he means Islamist fundamentalists (he never considers any other kind of terrorism).The fullest expression of Harris' views is in a 2012 article on his blog, "In Defense of … [Read more...]

Kim Davis’ Multiple Marriages Are Fair Game

Although the vast majority of American local officials are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, there are a few stubborn bigots determined to hold out. In the state of Kentucky, 3 out of 120 county clerks are still refusing to comply, including the most notorious, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis.After repeatedly losing her appeals and then defying a direct court order - claiming she answered only to "God's authority" and not the courts or the Constitution - Davis was jailed for … [Read more...]

Is Religion Inherently Authoritarian?


This article was originally published on AlterNet.Human history is a story of gradual moral enlightenment. Over the ages, we've become less violent, less xenophobic, more tolerant, more committed to the ideals of democracy and equality under the law. Of course, moral progress is painfully slow, with many holdouts and local reversals, and we have a very long way left to go. But it's hard to deny that the world we live in today is less prejudiced and more peaceful than the world five hundred … [Read more...]

Anti-Sex Dogma Can’t Fail, It Can Only Be Failed

There aren't many Christians who've been at the center of not just one but two major scandals, but that twice-disgraced distinction now belongs to Josh Duggar, the Quiverfuller and reality-TV star turned pro-patriarchy political activist.First, there was the confession that he had molested his sisters as a teenager, which his parents helped to cover up, and which got him fired from his job as a professional sex scold for the Family Research Council. And now, last week, we learned that he had … [Read more...]

Should We Pity the Victims of the Prosperity Gospel?

John Oliver's Last Week Tonight (watch this show!) had a cutting episode this past weekend about the wealth and arrogance of Christian televangelists:Like other preachers of the prosperity gospel, these shiny-suited hypocrites proclaim that God wants to make you rich, and that by "planting a seed", or in other words giving money to the televangelist, you'll reap a manyfold return. Obviously, the only people who get rich from this theology are the ones who preach it, and Oliver doesn't … [Read more...]

Jewish Fundamentalism Is Poisoning Israel


Last month, a religious fundamentalist attacked a gay-pride parade in Jerusalem, stabbing six people. One of them, a teenager named Shira Banki, later died from her wounds. The attacker, identified by police as Yishai Schlissel, is an ultra-Orthodox Jew who had previously stabbed three people at another gay-pride parade in Jerusalem in 2005, for which he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. Just three weeks after his release, he apparently did it again. Horribly, a photographer … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: The Bright Side of Discrimination


My latest column on the Guardian is up: "There's a silver lining in the religious right's onslaught of discrimination".From evangelical colleges to Catholic schools, America's religious right is pulling out all the stops to keep enforcing their prejudices on others, even after Supreme Court rulings that went against them. In this column, I argue that this is a good sign for those of us who care about equality! To find out why, read the excerpt below, then click through to the full … [Read more...]