Why Is America’s Most Progressive Voting Block Often Overlooked?

This article was originally published on AlterNet. The renowned physicist Max Planck once said, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." And this isn't just true of science: the same principle holds true in the political arena. Most progressive advances don't come about because vast numbers of people are persuaded to drop their … [Read more...]

What the Bishops Have to Say For Themselves

Ireland's Catholic bishops have released an official statement on the death of Savita Halappanavar, to my surprise. It may well be that the outcry was so great, they felt obligated to respond. If so, it would be a rare instance of the church being swayed by external pressure. However, the statement itself doesn't say anything new or specific. Mostly, it just reiterates the church's stance on abortion, which is this:Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put … [Read more...]

Questions for Pro-Lifers

Earlier this week, I answered a set of "tough questions" posed to advocates of reproductive choice. Well, turnabout is fair play. Although millions of religious people want abortion to be outlawed, they're surprisingly vague on the details. What exactly would their ideal society look like? How would they write the law and how would violators be punished? These are plainly important and relevant questions that I've never seen anti-choicers address in a clear and comprehensive way. To help them … [Read more...]

Answering Christian Questions for Pro-Choicers

In an article on the Gospel Coalition website, a Christian writer named Trevin Wax asserts that anti-choice politicians are held to a higher standard than pro-choice ones. He lists ten "hard questions" that he thinks pro-choice candidates aren't asked often enough. I'm not a politician, but I thought I would take a shot at answering them.1. You say you support a woman's right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would … [Read more...]

Catholic Bloggers Don’t Understand Catholic Doctrine

Following up on my post about the preventable death of Savita Halappanavar due to anti-choice theology, three Catholic blogs at Patheos have weighed in: "Savita's tragic death could have been avoided", "Savita's Death and Common Sense", "and Savita Halappanavar's Death". All three of them take the same position: that Savita's death was an avoidable and tragic accident, that her life could have been saved in a way consistent with Catholic law. Here's how one of them puts it:Even if you are … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 3

Coffee

• The big news, of course, is that the U.S. presidential election is on Tuesday. Take heart, progressives: although the media and the Republicans are straining mightily to pretend that the race is a dead heat, the state-by-state polls make Obama a clear favorite for reelection. • Skepticon 5, the amazing free conference for atheists and skeptics of all stripes, is coming up next weekend - but they haven't raised enough money to cover all their costs yet, and they need your help to … [Read more...]

The Pro-Rape-Pregnancy Republican Party

This week, we witnessed another step in the Republican party's long drawn-out national suicide:"I've struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God," Mr. Mourdock said. "And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."This vile remark was made by Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Indiana, explaining why he wants to ban abortion even for women … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: August 12

Coffee

There's a lot of news this week: • Two examples of humanism in action: Charles Feeney, a billionaire philanthropist, plans to give away all his remaining money within a few years, and a new nonprofit helps to crowdfund DNA sequencing for children with rare genetic diseases. • Since we still have a lot of work left to do on this problem, here are two very good articles on sexual harassment: An Incomplete Guide to Not Creeping by John Scalzi, and a post on what "creepiness" means from … [Read more...]

The Atheist-Progressive Alliance

I've long argued that there's a natural alliance between atheism and feminism, for the same reason that there's a natural alliance between atheism and GLBT activism: because we all understand what it's like to experience oppression and discrimination rooted in religion, and we ought to grasp that by cooperating to diminish religion's power, we can achieve goals we all hold in common. And in spite of a few recent, high-profile flamewars over questions of sexism and harassment in the atheist … [Read more...]

The Religious War on Women Continues

It must be a terribly confusing time to be a member of the Vatican hierarchy. In an effort to stem the accelerating exodus of Catholic laypeople, they've been cracking down on suspected heretics left and right - on nuns who help the poor too much, on priests who want to change the rules of ordination, on politicians who don't vote the way the bishops tell them to, on groups that fight bullying of gay teenagers, on ordinary churchgoers who've been divorced or who don't attend Mass every week - … [Read more...]


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