Barack Obama and Church-State Separation

Although the first hundred days of President Barack Obama's term haven't ended yet, this seems like a good time to examine his record in office so far and see how it's lived up to his own campaign pledges and to freethinkers' expectations. These past few months have been a roller-coaster ride - from the exhilaration of Election Day to the disgraceful selection of homophobic bigot Rick Warren to preside at the inauguration. Now that the euphoria has faded and the Obama administration is getting … [Read more...]

Catholicism Kills

In January, I wrote about how the Vatican had decided to lift the excommunication of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson. After a worldwide avalanche of criticism, the church backtracked somewhat on this decision: Williamson is still welcomed back, although he's been ordered to recant his views, which to my knowledge he has not done.But last week brought some news that eclipses even that outrage: on his first papal trip to Africa, Joseph Ratzinger, a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI, said that … [Read more...]

Elizabeth Dole’s Campaign Manager: We Regret Nothing

Regular readers of Daylight Atheism may recall how this site became involved in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina last October. Trailing in the polls and running low on money, Republican senator Elizabeth Dole quoted Daylight Atheism in anti-atheist smear ads in a last-ditch attack aimed at her Democratic challenger Kay Hagan. Thankfully, Dole's brazen appeal to bigotry was an utter failure, and Election Day saw her defeated and Hagan victorious.Now Dole's campaign manager, Marty Ryall, … [Read more...]

Atheist Action Items

If we're going to create a world more friendly to reason, we need to raise our voices and speak out for the atheist viewpoint. This week, there are several ways in which you can help:• Two Texas state legislators have been courageously fighting back against creationism by proposing legislation to increase oversight and disclosure of the creationist-dominated State Board of Education. Take a moment to sign this petition and thank them.• The city of Ottawa has rejected the … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Ann Dunham

Past entries in "The Contributions of Freethinkers" have discussed nonbelievers and dissenters whose lives made a direct and lasting impact on the world in any number of ways: in politics, in science, in the arts and culture. But it's worth remembering that sometimes - in fact, often - our greatest effects on the world are indirect, in the ways our lives influence the lives of those we come in contact with and those who come after us. Today's post is meant to be a reminder of that. You may never … [Read more...]

The Sewers of Hate

Last week, James Adkisson was sentenced to life in prison. Adkisson was the right-wing terrorist who went on an armed rampage against the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville last July, killing two parishioners, Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger. He had intended to kill many more, but the people of the congregation, showing uncommon courage and heroism, swiftly subdued and disarmed him and held him until the police arrived.Adkisson's manifesto has just been released (HT: … [Read more...]

The Liberty to Blaspheme

Considering how often I've written about this topic in the past, I had some reluctance to return to it, fearing I wouldn't have anything new or unique to say this time around. But the right of free speech is once again under assault, and whenever that happens, I believe friends of liberty around the world have a moral duty to man the barricades and raise our voices against the barbarous fanatics who would take it away.So, here's the story in a nutshell (HT: Andrew Sullivan). Johann Hari, the … [Read more...]

Full Faith and Credit

Why don't we already have gay marriage in all of America?I mean this as a simple question of law, not a matter of fundamental rights or justice. The reason I ask is because we already have legally recognized gay marriage in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and because Article IV of the U.S. Constitution contains the following clause, commonly known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause:Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of … [Read more...]

What We're Up Against

This past week, the Times ran a story about the extent of the gains made by the reconstituted Taliban, not just in Afghanistan or in the semi-autonomous tribal regions on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, but well within Pakistan itself:Using a portable radio transmitter, a local Taliban leader, Shah Doran, on most nights outlines newly proscribed "un-Islamic" activities in Swat, like selling DVDs, watching cable television, singing and dancing, criticizing the Taliban, shaving beards and … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Welcomes a Holocaust Denier

I knew the Catholics were having trouble finding enough people to be clergy, but I didn't think things had gotten this bad (HT: Pam's House Blend):I believe that the historical evidence — the historical evidence — is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolph Hitler... I believe there were no gas chambers.Those are some choice words from Richard Williamson, one of four bishops excommunicated 20 years ago after being app … [Read more...]