The Child Brides of Islam

The New York Times published an article last week, Tiny Voices Defy Child Marriage in Yemen, about a stunning act of courage and feminism: in the nation of Yemen, a 9-year-old girl named Arwa Abdu Muhammad Ali, on her own initiative, sought and obtained a divorce from the abusive, violent 35-year-old man she had been forcibly married to. Her success echoes that of a 10-year-old girl, Nujood Ali, who escaped a similar arranged marriage a month earlier.Having just finished Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi … [Read more...]

A Riotous Diversity

Much head-scratching has been occasioned by the Pew Forum's latest report from its U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which found, among other things, that 21% of atheists claim to believe in some sort of god. I've linked to a press release from the Secular Coalition for America on this finding, and I'd like to add some comments of my own.To explain this, one could make a sarcastic quip that 21% of atheists either didn't hear the pollster correctly or else need to consult a dictionary for the … [Read more...]

A Free Speech Outrage

Geert Wilders is a Dutch politician, an elected member of that country's Parliament, infamous for his right-wing views on immigration and social policy. In 2008, he released a short film, Fitna, which criticizes Islamic radicalism by interspersing video footage of terrorist attacks with quotes from the Quran and from prominent Islamic religious authorities praising the use of violence. The film can be viewed here - caution, contains some graphic images.Now there's some news that's incredible … [Read more...]

Two Poles

While reading Richard Sloan's book Blind Faith, I came across a passage that jumped out at me:[Gallup Polling] also indicates that from 1939 to 2005, 37 to 49 percent of those surveyed reported that they attended church or synagogue in the week before they were surveyed. From the period to 1992 to 2005, those who reported that they attended once per week ranged from 28 to 36 percent. For those reporting attendance almost every week, the range was 9 to 14 percent.What I noticed is that the … [Read more...]

Respectable Infidels

The Volokh Conspiracy has a fascinating excerpt from the writings of Anthony Comstock (HT, Dispatches from the Culture Wars):The respectable infidel is not even referred to, but simply those who stand in the forefront, zealous to be known as opposed to God and religion, and who by their blasphemous speeches and publications are putting to shame honest infidels. Every person must respect the infidel who says, "I cannot see nor understand these matters of religion as you do; I wish I could." … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on Abortion

Last month's post on the morality of abortion generated - as one might have expected - a wide variety of impassioned responses. Happily, the debate remained mostly civil, which is a rarity when it comes to this issue and one that's entirely due to the thoughtful, rational commenters here at Daylight Atheism.There were several issues I didn't get into in that post, since I wanted to focus on the core issue of whether and under what circumstances obtaining an abortion can be judged a moral or … [Read more...]

Why I Am Not a Communist

Last summer, I wrote a three-part post series, "Why I Am Not a Libertarian", which explained my disagreement with this political philosophy. However, I've realized that despite writing an essay addressing the crimes of communist regimes as they reflect on atheists, I've never written a post on my differences with communism per se. This one will do that.I have many objections to communism, not least of which is last year's news that, in Russia, the Communist party is now teaming up with the … [Read more...]

Michael Medved: Clueless Dominionist

I don't make it my mission to slap down every loudmouth religious-right crackpot on the internet. Really, I don't. If I wanted to make it my mission, I could do nothing else, but it wouldn't accomplish anything and it wouldn't make for a very interesting site.However, the other day, this giant, flaming meteor of stupidity landed in my inbox, and it was just too tempting not to have a go. The author of this benighted epistle is Michael Medved, nationally syndicated right-wing radio host. In it, … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch XIII: "You Have No Right to Be Here"

Recently, the state government of Illinois proposed a $1 million grant to rebuild the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church, which was destroyed by a fire earlier this year. Atheist Rob Sherman testified before the House State Government Administration Committee to oppose this blatant violation of the separation of church and state.What happened next was difficult for me to believe. Here's a transcript of an exchange between Sherman and state representative Monique Davis, as reported by Eric Zorn of … [Read more...]

Legal Thuggery Against Neurodiversity.com

Kathleen Seidel, author of the Neurodiversity weblog, writes extensively about issues related to autism. Among other things, she gives the scientific perspective on claims that autism is caused by vaccination. One of her recent posts, The Commerce in Causation, concerns the career of one Clifford Shoemaker - a lawyer who's represented hundreds of clients making this allegation, including an ongoing suit, Sykes v. Bayer. Many of these cases have come before the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation … [Read more...]


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