Lessons from Niagara

In last month's post on the contributions of freethinkers, I outlined the life of the pioneering civil-rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois. Today, I want to focus on one aspect of Du Bois' life, one that still holds resonance for atheists and others continuing the fight for full equality for all people.In July 1905, Du Bois and some fellow civil-rights activists met at Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side of the border, to found the so-called Niagara Movement. Named not just for the location but for … [Read more...]

In Which I Am Attacked By a U.S. Senator

No, I'm not kidding.In August, you may recall, I wrote a post titled "Why I'm Donating to Kay Hagan". This post concerned the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina, where Democratic candidate Kay Hagan is running against the Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole. The focus of my post was a press release from the Dole campaign attacking Hagan for attending a fundraiser held by Wendy and Woody Kaminer, who are politically active atheists. In this press release, the Dole campaign pandered to … [Read more...]

Season’s Warning: The Bowery Mission

The other day, I got this piece of mail soliciting donations for a "Thanksgiving meal ticket" for New York City's homeless, from an organization calling itself the Bowery Mission:I skimmed the letter, which looked like a run-of-the-mill charity solicitation. (I normally give to America's Second Harvest for this sort of thing.) I was about to throw it away when a thought occurred to me: The name "The Bowery Mission" sounds distinctly … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch XIV: Religious Right Lawbreakers

As reported by Americans United, thirty-three religious right churches endorsed Republican politicians from the pulpit on Sunday. This event was planned and orchestrated by the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious right legal group, which hopes to use it as a test case to have laws against church politicking declared unconstitutional.Let's emphasize at the outset something that religious-right spokesmen, in the coming weeks, will be working their hardest to deceive everyone about. There are no … [Read more...]

The Fading of the Church

The growth of atheism is coming at the expense of religion. As freethought makes gains in society, it will inevitably start by appealing to those who are religious only by default - the people who go to church because they've never known an alternative, those who are receptive to our message and easily persuaded. And as their members join us or simply drift away, the larger, established churches are bound to begin feeling the sting of declining membership. There are encouraging signs that this … [Read more...]

The Real Enemies of Free Speech

Liberty magazine, a publication of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, has recently published "Faith Attack", a polemic by Clifford Goldstein against the New Atheists. The entire article is little more than repetition of the modern equivalent of the medieval blood libel: that atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett want to take over the world and outlaw religion.I'll offer some more specific criticisms, but what should be noted is that Goldstein presents no evidence … [Read more...]

Why I'm Donating to Kay Hagan

In case you haven't heard, Kay Hagan is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina, running against Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole. Yesterday, Dole and her staff put out a press release attacking Hagan... for planning to attend a fundraiser held by atheists. (HT: Friendly Atheist).According to Dole's press release:"Kay Hagan does not represent the values of this state; she is a Trojan Horse for a long list of wacky left-wing outside groups bent on policies that … [Read more...]

No Religious Exemptions from Discrimination Laws

Via ABC, this good news: the California Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that doctors cannot deny patients medical care on religious grounds. The case involved two Christian doctors, working at a fertility clinic, who had refused to perform artificial insemination on a lesbian:Guadalupe Benitez, now 36, had maintained that the California medical clinic that was treating her polycystic ovary syndrome had "dumped" her when she asked for artificial insemination.In 1999, after a year of … [Read more...]

Some More Good News

After the welcome news of the UC-Calvary lawsuit's dismissal, I'm happy to say I have two other pieces of good news to report on this week:• The Alberta Human Rights Commission, a group of petty bureaucrats who make it their mission to censor people's thoughts, has dismissed the charges against Ezra Levant that I wrote about last January, in "In Defense of Free Speech". The commission decided that Levant's republication of the Mohammed cartoons was journalistically reasonable, dismissing … [Read more...]

The UC-Calvary Lawsuit Concluded

This past April, I posted an update on the UC-Calvary lawsuit that I first discussed in February 2006. I have another update to report, and I'm happy to say it's very good news indeed.As you'll recall, the private Calvary Chapel Christian School sued the University of California in a bid to force UC to grant college credit for courses that taught creationism and were otherwise biased toward Christianity. Calvary Chapel filed two challenges, one facial - that the UC's college credit policy was … [Read more...]


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