An Open Letter to Ellen Johnson

I was away last weekend and came back to an astonishing story: Ellen Johnson, Madalyn Murray O'Hair's successor as president of American Atheists, has proudly announced that she didn't vote in the recent presidential primaries. Even more jaw-dropping, she's urged atheists not to vote in the general election either. Here's the video, which is still linked from American Atheists' homepage at the time of this writing.Friendly Atheist, Atheist Revolution, and others have discussed this story, and … [Read more...]

The Stained-Glass Ceiling

Back in November, U.S. senator John Kerry made some probably accurate, if rather unfortunate, remarks about the probability of an atheist being elected to national office:"The vast majority of Americans say they believe in God," Kerry said, responding to a question about the likelihood of an atheist or agnostic winning the presidency. "The vast majority of America, at some time, goes to church, and I think it matters to people. When you are choosing the president of the United States, people … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church: An Immoral Organization

The Roman Catholic church is the oldest and largest Christian denomination on the planet. Although its influence in the Western world is declining, it still exercises great power over the lives of millions of people every day. All too often, that power is used in the service of superstition, of perpetuating irrational and dogmatic beliefs about how human liberty should be restricted in order to please God. Whatever charitable and humanitarian work the Catholic church performs must be balanced … [Read more...]

Crazy for God: The Apostasy of Frank Schaeffer

Ask any observer of American politics today to name the most influential figures of the religious right, and some familiar names are likely to come up - Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, James Dobson, John Hagee, Tony Perkins, Roy Moore, and others. But one name that's not as likely to appear is Francis Schaeffer. That is a regrettable oversight, because even though Schaeffer died in 1982, he is possibly the one person most responsible for the existence of the religious right as we know it … [Read more...]

In Defense of Free Speech

In the last few days, both Ed Brayton and Glenn Greenwald have written about the story of Ezra Levant, a Canadian conservative who's currently under investigation by the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Levant's "crime" was republishing the Mohammed cartoons first printed in 2005 in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which spurred the filing of a complaint by a Canadian imam named Syed Soharwardy.Before saying anything more, let's get this out of the way: if Levant's political views are as … [Read more...]

Why Atheists Shouldn't Vote for Ron Paul

With the 2008 presidential primary season soon to be in full swing, I figured it was worth the effort to write a post like this. I've received several pieces of unsolicited e-mail in the past few weeks, some from atheists, exhorting me to support the libertarian Republican candidate for president, Ron Paul. This, I believe, would be a grave error for any nonbeliever.I've written in the past about why I'm not a libertarian, but my differences with Paul go far deeper than his advocacy of that … [Read more...]

Saudi Arabia's Biblical Justice

Lately in the news, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has pardoned a rape victim who had been sentenced to prison and 200 lashes. This brutal sentence was handed down because the woman in question was meeting a male friend in public without an escort - violating the country's repressive sharia laws - when she was attacked and raped by a gang of men. Although the rapists were also arrested and sentenced, the punishing-the-victim ethic of Saudi Arabia's antiquated and backward laws had caused an … [Read more...]

Pat Robertson's Pathetic Predictions

At the beginning of last year, I mentioned a prediction made by Pat Robertson:As reported by Americans United, Pat Robertson has joined in the fun, predicting "mass killings" to occur on American soil due to a terrorist attack sometime this year. (Robertson said he expected this to come in the form of a nuclear attack, but emphasized that this was only his educated guess - as opposed to the rest of this prophecy, which was clearly straight from God's mouth and not at all just made up.)The … [Read more...]

How Not to Fight the War on Christmas

Lately, there have been some encouraging signs that believers of conscience are more willing to stand up to the religious right than they once were. But this effort, though well-intentioned, is not the right way to do it.It's time for a ceasefire in the Christmas culture wars....We invite Messrs. O'Reilly, Gibson and Donohue to join us in a new campaign of civility and conscience that restores our focus on the common good during this holy season.This letter, signed by a number of liberal … [Read more...]

The Witch Children of Nigeria

I've written on several past occasions about how belief in malignant supernatural forces causes real harm to real people. There are examples of this from every region of the world, but some of the most wrenching are from Africa, where Biblical beliefs about demons and evil spirits still run rampant.In January, I wrote about the witch camps of Ghana, where people suspected of using black magic to harm their neighbors are exiled as if they were lepers. In April, there were the Pentecostals of … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X