Boycott the Boy Scouts

In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America, as a private membership-based organization, had the right to discriminate against gay people by expelling them or barring them from joining. Since then, the BSA has been enforcing that policy with gusto, expelling gay and lesbian scouts and scout leaders all over the country. (They're equally prejudiced against atheists, as atheist Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert found out when he too was kicked out as punishment for being honest about … [Read more...]

The Twitter Report: Nice Guys Finish Last

Once again, I've gotten enmeshed in a debate on Twitter. This time it wasn't with a theist, but with two atheists, Daniel Loxton and Reed Esau. It started with these two posts, which I happened to overhear: I'd support a focussed movement to counter bigoted "atheists as hostile outsiders" stereotype. That mvnt wld be useful for me as an atheist —@Daniel_Loxton, 2:27 PM - 18 Apr 12 @Daniel_Loxton Taking atheism out of the nutty, angry fringe and into the no-big-deal territory can … [Read more...]

Why Is Atheism a Bigger Obstacle to Political Office Than Mormonism?

This piece was originally published on AlterNet. When America was founded, it was the first modern nation to throw off the rule of absolute monarchy and prove that democracy was feasible. But at the same time, when America was founded, it was hardly a democracy at all. The vote was denied to women, to millions of enslaved human beings -- to everyone except a relatively small number of its citizens. Despite the Constitution's prohibition on religious tests, many states had their own established … [Read more...]

Some Friendly Advice for Rick Perry

You've probably already heard that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, sinking in the polls as primary season approaches, is making one last bid for relevance with a new campaign ad: Here's the transcript: I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I'll end … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on Gelatogate

I was going to update my previous post, but this got long, so I'm spinning it off into a separate post. Read the other one first if you need more background. So, the Gelatogate story continues to unfold. The owner of the store has posted a longer apology, and it's rapidly becoming the subject of the latest all-consuming atheist blogosphere flame war. Here are some of my fellow atheists' thoughts, in rough order from least to most conciliatory: PZ, JT, Jen and Hemant. First things first: I … [Read more...]

Skepticon Impressions: Gelatogate!

I'm back! As you may know, I've spent the last three days in Springfield, Missouri, having a blast at Skepticon IV. The convention was a weekend of great talks that ran the gamut: atheism, skepticism, sex, politics, feminism, math, science. There was no overarching theme at all, and I think it was better for being eclectic: since there was very little overlap, each and every talk offered something new and different. Best of all, I got to get together with some of my atheist blogger friends whom … [Read more...]

Anti-Atheist Prejudice at the Polls

My latest article has been posted on AlterNet, Why Is Atheism a Bigger Obstacle to Political Office Than Mormonism? In it, I look at poll results showing that American voters remain prejudiced against atheists, and ask why it is that Mormons and other groups have managed to avoid the brunt of similar bigotry, despite holding beliefs that are equally incompatible with mainstream Christianity and arguably far more bizarre than ours. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest: In … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 5

On my old site, I had regular link roundups for all the stories I saw that interested me, but that I didn't have the time to write about at greater length. And I've had a lot of those stories this week, so here's some things to read over your Saturday morning coffee: • I've previously reported on whether the American Cancer Society turned down a big donation because it came from atheists. Now the redoubtable Greta Christina has written a lengthy follow-up piece for AlterNet, laying out the … [Read more...]

Did the American Cancer Society Refuse Atheist Money?

Charities that depend on donations and fund-raising to survive have it hard enough in the best of times. But in this depressed economy, it must be more difficult than ever. The obvious conclusion, I would think, is that if you represent a charity and a donor gets in touch offering to give you a lot of money, you don't delay, you don't put obstacles in their path, you don't make excuses: you do everything in your power to make that donation happen! Unless, it seems, the money is coming from … [Read more...]

The Foo Fighters Outsmart Fred Phelps

Last week, the Westboro Baptist Church (which is choosing increasingly random and bizarre protest targets, including a Swedish vacuum cleaner store) decided to picket a Foo Fighters concert in Kansas City, Missouri. As is their usual strategy, they were no doubt hoping to provoke police or counterprotesters into assaulting them or otherwise violating their constitutional rights, so that they can win a legal settlement to support their continued spreading of hate. But instead, the WBC was on … [Read more...]


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