Religious Bigotry Caught Red-Handed

November has been quite the month for feeling schadenfreude. Between Kent Hovind's conviction, Ted Haggard's spectacular fall from grace, and the Republicans' crushing loss in the midterm elections, atheists have had much to rejoice over, and our political adversaries much occasion to mourn. And now, there is another encouraging piece of news where the good guys win. According to the Lippard Blog, which came to my attention via Pharyngula, a religious bigot who is a high-school teacher has been … [Read more...]

A Seriously Warped Moral Compass

"So what would you consider immoral?" I asked. It was a crisp, cold night, on the boundary between late fall and early winter, and the tang of frost and woodsmoke hung in the air. An orange gibbous moon was rising through the tangled leafless fingers of the trees into a clear, dark night sky. The air had a biting chill, but my friend and I were not out in it. We were indoors, in the recently built student coffeehouse of Practical Bible College, a warm and well-lit space paneled in rich earth … [Read more...]

Season's Change

I awoke this morning to the pattering of a soft November rain. Though I am not usually a morning person, I don't mind saying that I sprang out of bed today with more enthusiasm than I have in a long time, and with good reason. Last night's preliminary election results made it clear that there would be much to feel joy about this day, and I was not disappointed by that prediction. I deliberately avoided all news sources for most of yesterday, knowing that until the polls closed, there would be … [Read more...]

The System Works!

I'm not normally one to indulge in schadenfreude, but here's a piece of news I cannot restrain my glee over hearing: Kent Hovind and his wife have been convicted of tax fraud - and it couldn't have happened to two nicer people. The Hovinds were charged in July with twelve counts of willful failure to pay income taxes, forty-five counts of structuring financial transactions to avoid bank reporting requirements, and one count of impeding an IRS investigation through the filing of frivolous … [Read more...]

The New Atheists Fight Back

Wired has recently published a long article, titled Battle of the New Atheism, about the inroads made by prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and the attacks they have launched against faith. The article does not treat their views inaccurately or with malice, but nevertheless the author, Gary Wolf, seems scornful and dismissive of the idea that he or anyone else should actually pick a side in the debate. He begins and concludes his essay in much the same … [Read more...]

Tax the Churches

In the United States of America today, churches and religious groups are treated with enormous sensitivity and deference by politicians and the media, a deference they have not earned. Far too often, the government and society in general bends over backwards to accommodate and encourage religious beliefs even when there is no rational reason why they should do so. The most egregious example of this is the sweeping tax exemptions granted to religion. It is not just one tax that religious … [Read more...]

CAP Alert Reviews II

It's been far too long since I first examined the lunacy that is the CAP Alert site. Interestingly, the site seems to have fallen on hard financial times: it is plastered with ads, and virtually every page contains text begging for donations. Their recent reviews show that the majority of movies released in the past few weeks were not reviewed because no one "sponsored" them to do so. The site's owner claims that it costs him an average of $350 to review one movie. By my calculations, assuming … [Read more...]

What Christians Care About

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? … [Read more...]

Bending the World Around Yourself

In light of all the momentous events currently taking place around the world, this next story might seem somewhat trivial in the grand scheme of things. But it illustrates some important points that are of more general application, and more importantly to me, it concerns my own alma mater, Binghamton University, of which I am a proud alumnus. It seems that a Binghamton sophomore, Aaron Akaberi, recently converted to the Rastafarian religion. As part of his conversion, he decided to adhere to a … [Read more...]

This Is Not America

I am ashamed of my country today. Earlier this week, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, an act that future generations will surely list alongside the Alien and Sedition Acts as one of the most heinous and unconstitutional laws ever enacted by a democratically elected government. Both in letter and spirit, this law is the antithesis to the principles upon which America was founded, and it will be remembered for a very long time as a dark blot on the … [Read more...]