My Debate at the Midtown Scholar

MidtownScholarDebate

This past weekend, I was at the Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for my first ever in-person debate, part of the "Think! Of God and Government" debate series I'm having with Christian author Andrew Murtagh.The Midtown Scholar is a huge, gorgeous independent bookstore - I'm told it used to be a movie theater - with a cafe and reading area surrounded by tall bookshelves and murals, and a second-floor viewing gallery that overlooks the rest of the space. I got there just a short time … [Read more...]

No Segregation in the Marketplace of Ideas

Last month, Universities UK, an umbrella organization representing institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom, published guidelines for how colleges could host controversial speakers on campus in a way that respects both free-speech and anti-discrimination laws. Among their case studies was the hypothetical example of a fundamentalist religious speaker who wanted his audience to be segregated by gender. Shockingly, Universities UK concluded that such a demand can and should be agreed … [Read more...]

When Bishops Tie the Doctor’s Hands

RosaryHands

Although the media has been thrilled by some symbolic statements about poverty by Pope Francis, the inconvenient fact remains that he's changed none of the doctrines that were the biggest reason for atheists to object to Catholicism in the first place. Last week in Michigan, we saw another example of that:Tamesha Means, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said that when she was 18 weeks pregnant her water broke and she rushed to Mercy Health, the only hospital in her county.Her fetus had … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 1

Author's Note: This post kicks off the "Of God and Government" debate series, featuring me and a Christian author, Andrew Murtagh, which I intend to become a semi-regular feature on Daylight Atheism. You can read Andrew's opening statement on Patheos' Versus blog, and this is my initial reply. I'll also be appearing at the Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with Andrew on December 14 for a live debate.* * *Hello Andrew,Thanks for contacting me! I appreciate your kind words … [Read more...]

When Abortion Is the Merciful Option

HeartSymbol

Last week, voters in Albuquerque decisively defeated a ballot measure that would have banned abortion in the city after 20 weeks, by a ten-point margin. The failed ban, which made no exceptions for rape, incest or fatal fetal abnormality, was the culmination of a months-long campaign by anti-choice groups in the city, including a grossly offensive protest outside the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and a truck bearing the usual gory fetus pictures.Since the bill was defeated by a solid margin … [Read more...]

Attacking Half the Electorate Surprisingly Not a Winning Strategy

Next Tuesday, voters in Virginia will choose their state's next governor. After months of hard-fought campaigning, the race is clearly tilting in favor of the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, and against Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli. As recently as May, Cuccinelli was ahead in the polls, but the most recent poll shows that McAuliffe has taken a double-digit lead - almost entirely because of an astonishing 24-point gap that's opened up among women.And why is there such a yawning … [Read more...]

Repost: The Guardians of Tone

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from January 2011.]I was tipped off to this excellent essay by a reader (thanks, bbk, even if it was unintentional!) and since it got buried in the comments on the other thread, I wanted to call special attention to it. It's about the virtues of anger, specifically with reference to the feminist movement, but it contains some valuable lessons that are applicable to atheism … [Read more...]

Repost: Fossilized Opinions

Ammonite

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from March 2010.]Sam Harris is famous for the argument that religion, even moderate religion, does harm by teaching that faith is a virtue that should not be questioned, which encourages militant and violent strains of fundamentalism. Today, I want to talk about another way, subtle but unmistakable, that religion causes harm to human beings.Because of its tendency to treat … [Read more...]

Repost: The Power of Christ Compels You

Atheists are not actually afraid of this.

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from June 2006.]Earlier tonight I received a highly amusing e-mail whose author seemed confident that I would cease to be an atheist if I performed a magical ritual of their devising. I don't normally post feedback e-mail in full, but since this one was sent to me anonymously, I have no qualms in doing so:From: Anonymous <anonymous@anonymous.net> Date: Sat, 10 Jun … [Read more...]

The Government Shutdown Blues

This week, the U.S. government shut down for the first time in 17 years, thanks to intransigent House Republicans who refused to pass a budget unless it included provisions to gut or delay the Affordable Care Act. Ironically, this is the same day that the new health insurance exchanges opened for business, since they're funded by mandatory spending that's not part of the budget process.The threat of a government shutdown was one of the last cards played by a political party that's tried … [Read more...]


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