An Address to Hispanic Freethinkers

This year, I made a New Year's resolution to learn Spanish. In a world of many cultures, I've always felt somewhat embarrassed that I never learned to speak another language, and with the increasing influence of Hispanic people and culture in the United States, Spanish was a rational choice. Both while going to graduate school and working in multicultural New York City, there have been times it would have helped me to speak it, and the next time the opportunity comes, I intend to be prepared. So … [Read more...]

Et Tu, Chris Mooney?

Last year, I read and greatly enjoyed Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science as an invaluable exposition of the harm that ideologically driven antiscience has done to the state of scientific knowledge in this country. But to my great distress, he has taken a turn toward the dark side. In a column published this week in the Washington Post, along with his colleague Matthew Nisbet, Mooney advocates that atheists who want to support science education should stop defending or speaking about … [Read more...]

The Root of All Evil

One of the more bizarre offshoots of fundamentalist Christianity that has been making headway in recent years is the "prosperity gospel", also called the "Word of Faith" movement. Devotees of this theology believe that God, far from the dour, gloomy Puritan deity who expected people to deprive themselves in this life to be rewarded in the hereafter, is actually more like a rich uncle who can't wait to shower us with riches and grant us financial prosperity. In this movement, wealth and fame in a … [Read more...]

On Atheist Fundamentalism

There has been something of a spat lately in the atheist blogosphere, due to an announcement from Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard. Epstein and the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy are sponsoring an event to, in their own words, "take on... atheist 'fundamentalists'" such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, and promote the value of humanism and inclusiveness. The Associated Press has run an article on Epstein's announcement.These comments have drawn a sharp response from those who feel … [Read more...]

The Congressional Prayer Caucus

I wrote recently about an attack on nontheist Congressman Pete Stark by a right-wing group calling themselves the Christian Seniors Association. The CSA's spokesman James Lafferty, incensed by the idea that atheists think they have a right to be represented in Congress as if they were human beings like everyone else, complained at length about the campaign of persecution waged against the hundreds of believing members of Congress by the single nonbelieving member:That would be the day that … [Read more...]

A Reply from Pete Stark

A few days ago, I received the following letter from U.S. Representative Pete Stark's office in acknowledgement of the contribution I made to him:These are wonderful sentiments that I can strongly support. I don't think there is any necessity for Rep. Stark to be modest - in the current political climate, it does take courage for an elected official to announce their nontheism, whether we like it or not - but it's absolutely correct to say that the mere announcement does not by … [Read more...]

Pete Stark: The Reaction

It has now been over a week since U.S. Representative Pete Stark announced his nontheism, and so far the reaction from the religious right has been surprisingly tepid. As far as I know, none of their heavyweights have responded - not frothing bigots like William Donohue, not advocates of intolerance like James Dobson, not the cult-controlled Washington Times, not even the many fundamentalist fanatics that still remain in Congress. I confess myself surprised. But although the major propaganda … [Read more...]

CAP Alert Reviews III

It occurred to me recently that I haven't done a post poking fun at the CAP Alert site in quite a while. Well, I intend to correct that oversight right now. For your entertainment, here are some of the more laughably bizarre reasons why the CAP reviewer saw fit to deduct points from various movies:Dungeons & Dragons: "many, many images of a form fitting breastplate - female"How dare those depraved Hollywood liberals imply that men and women are different shapes!King Kong: "human … [Read more...]

The Congressional Nontheist Is Revealed

Following up on my earlier post, the Secular Coalition for America has made good on its promise and has revealed the name of the first openly nontheistic member of the U.S. Congress: Democratic representative Pete Stark, a seventeen-term House member representing California's 13th district.I didn't expect a nontheist to be a supporter of George W. Bush, and I'm glad to say that isn't the case. On the contrary, Rep. Stark seems to have his priorities in exactly the right place: he is a member … [Read more...]

A Freethinker in Congress!

A brief update to pass along an exciting e-mail alert I received last night from the Secular Coalition for America:On Monday, March 12, the Secular Coalition for America, a national lobbying group representing Americans who do not hold a god-belief, will make history by announcing the name of the first open nontheist member of Congress.Yes, you read it right - there is an atheist in Congress, and one who is willing to step out of the closet and identify themself! I have no idea who it might … [Read more...]


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