Theocracy Watch XIII: Fighting Prison Theocracy

Last year, in a previous installment of Theocracy Watch, I wrote about unconstitutional government-supported prison ministries which target a literal captive audience. Many Christian evangelists view these ministries as a great opportunity to preach to those who can't escape, as if the prisons were their own personal factories for churning out converts. Worse, the Bush administration has been all too willing to let them in, and has cooperated in setting up coercive programs that offer special … [Read more...]

On Atheism and Hope

Pope Benedict has released the second encyclical of his papacy, a 75-page missive titled "Spe Salvi" (Latin for "in hope we are saved"). As was widely reported, this statement attacks atheism and calls people to convert to Roman Catholicism as the only hope for humankind. (Here's the text of the statement itself, if anyone's interested.) In this post, I'm going to offer some comments in response.The major theme of the encyclical is that only belief in a god - actually, in the Roman Catholic … [Read more...]

Probing the Prosperity Gospel

I'm surprised that this story, "Going After the Money Ministries", hasn't gotten much attention on atheist blogs. Earlier this month, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer, and Paula White - six notorious televangelists who preach the "prosperity gospel" - received an ominous letter from Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee, asking them to account for numerous expenditures whose tax-exempt status seems … [Read more...]

A Particular God

Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars gives us the scoop on a California school district which voted to display posters declaring "In God We Trust" in every classroom in the district. Although one board member called the display a way of "promoting patriotism", a different quote indicates what the real intention is here:The classroom displays were first suggested by the non-profit group In God We Trust -- America Inc., whose president, Jacquie Sullivan, is a Bakersfield … [Read more...]

Georgia’s Rain Prayer Farce

It may be the 21st century, but you wouldn't know it from stories like this:Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue stepped up to a podium outside the state Capitol on Tuesday and led a solemn crowd of several hundred people in a prayer for rain on his drought-stricken state."We've come together here simply for one reason and one reason only: To very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm," Perdue said after a choir provided a hymn.These past few months, the American South has been suffering from … [Read more...]

The Exploitation of Antony Flew

Have you heard the shocking news? The world's most notorious atheist has converted!No, it's not Richard Dawkins.Or Sam Harris.Or Christopher Hitchens.Or Dan Barker.Or Michael Newdow.Or Julia Sweeney.No, this world-famous, notorious atheist convert is the philosopher Antony Flew.If you're wondering, "Who?", you're probably not alone. Antony Flew is a British philosopher, now retired and of advanced age. Though fairly well-known in philosophical circles in his day, I doubt he was … [Read more...]

The Last Battlefield

Back in September, the blogger Riverbend - the thoughtful, eloquent young Iraqi woman who authors the blog Baghdad Burning - left Iraq along with her family. After four years of writing from a first-hand perspective about the chaos and violence that the U.S. occupation has unleashed on her country, Riverbend and her family finally decided that things had become too dangerous to stay, and it's hard to blame them.She writes about leaving her house for the last time, taking only the … [Read more...]

CAP Alert Reviews IV

Recently, while I was looking over my list of especially ridiculous items culled from the CAP Alert site, I noticed an interesting trend. Namely, many elements of movies which the CAP reviewer condemns can also be found in the Bible. Consider the following examples:The 13th Warrior: "'Your fate is fixed'"Romans 9:21: "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (In the middle of a long argument for … [Read more...]

Is America a Christian Nation?

A frequent refrain among the religious right is that the United States of America is a "Christian nation", or that this country was founded on Christian principles. However, I've never seen any religious apologist explain what exactly this is supposed to mean beyond making the mere statement. If this nation was founded on Christian principles, which principles are those? If Christianity played such a major role in our nation's founding, then what specific contributions did it make?In an … [Read more...]

A Change in the Wind

Via Orcinus, a truly incredible story about the latest survey to come out of the Barna Group, whose title is "A New Generation Expresses its Skepticism and Frustration with Christianity".Over the last decade or so, the religious right has exercised virtually untrammeled power in America. They've commanded the allegiance of a majority of the population and have enjoyed tremendous influence and near-unchallenged power in popular culture, in the media, and especially in government. They have had … [Read more...]


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