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...]

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...]

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...]

Mitt Romney's Kennedy Moment?

Last Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave a speech in which he argued that his Mormon religious beliefs should not prevent Americans from voting for him.I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions... I will put no doctrine of … [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...]

I Don’t Like to Brag…

...and I also wouldn't normally use this blog to inflict personal photos on you all, especially vacation photos.But today I'm going to make an exception to both rules.Anyone care to guess where I was last week?Yes, you guessed it: after a three-hour plane flight and a two-hour drive along narrow, winding backcountry roads, I arrived at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the largest radio telescope in the world.Here's me at the observatory complex's front … [Read more...]

The Religious Right Hates America

Via Talking Points Memo, I've come across a story I still find almost unbelievable. It happened at the "Values Voter" debate for Republican presidential candidates that took place last week in Fort Lauderdale.This event was skipped by the major candidates, Rudolph Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mitt Romney, which left seven minor candidates who spent the evening attempting to one-up each other in competing for the Republican base. If you, readers, have ever wondered about the roughly … [Read more...]

The One-Reason Worldview

"Most well-meaning creationists would agree in principle that things that are not carefully documented and researched should not be used. But in practice, many of them are very quick to accept the sorts of evidences mentioned here, without asking too many questions. Why this seeming urge to find a startling, exciting 'magic bullet'?"—Ken Ham for Answers in Genesis, "Searching for the magic bullet"There's a tendency that I've noticed is very common in fundamentalist religious groups, … [Read more...]

Why Do They Care?

In the summer of 2006, Republican Senator David Vitter (about whom you might have heard some news lately) said the following about a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage:"I don't believe there's any issue that's more important than this one," said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. "I think this debate is very healthy, and it's winning a lot of hearts and minds. I think we're going to show real progress."No issue is more important than the drive to ban gay … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Assault on Reason

Summary: A blistering, brilliant counterattack on the forces that have conspired to undermine American democracy.Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's The Assault on Reason is a passionate, scathing book that paints a clear picture of where America has gone wrong. Our democracy is far from dead, but as events of recent years have shown, it is ill - perhaps gravely so. The appalling levels of ignorance of basic scientific and political facts among the voting public; our heedless and disastrous … [Read more...]


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