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...]

Notes on Pregnancy and Privilege

In a previous thread, again buried in a huge pile of comments, there was one I wanted to highlight:Now you talk of pregnancy as a real life threatening thing to do like crazy acrobatic motorcycle tricks. Pregnancy is natural, women's bodies are prepared for it.I'm bringing this remark to the forefront because it reveals an attitude that I think is common among anti-choicers, and because I have some relevant knowledge that bears on it. As I mentioned before, I just recently turned 30, … [Read more...]

The Bishops Versus Birth Control

I don't think I've ever written this sentence before, but here goes: There's been so much good news on the pro-choice front lately, it's hard to keep up! Since my last post, developments have come so rapidly that they demand a follow-up. First, an update on the Komen story. As you've probably heard, the Komen Foundation withdrew its policy barring grants to Planned Parenthood after a firestorm of criticism. This is great news, but the cherry on top is that Karen Handel, the anti-choice … [Read more...]

The Religious War on Reproductive Health

When it comes to reproductive health in America, progress often seems like a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of situation. But let's start with some rare good news: in January, the Obama administration announced that most employers would have to cover birth control in their employee health plans with no co-pay - enraging religious groups, which had hoped for a broad exemption for church-run businesses. This rule is a straightforward application of anti-discrimination law. Churches, which … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Teaming Up with Liberal Theists

My latest article has just been published on AlterNet, Why Is America's Most Progressive Voting Block Often Overlooked? In it, I discuss the strong progressive leanings of American nonbelievers, what we could accomplish if we worked together with liberal religious believers on causes we held in common, and what the obstacles to that alliance are. (It's also been reprinted on Salon, if you'd rather comment there.) Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:In America, … [Read more...]

Birth Control Can Save the World

The world population, by U.N. estimates, has just surpassed seven billion, and it's growing even faster than demographers' predictions. Nicholas Kristof has an insightful column (though I depart from him on one major point, as explained below) on what this means for humanity's future. "Overpopulation" is a taboo word in some circles, not entirely without reason, but the simple truth is that an extremely large population makes every other problem worse. It accelerates the depletion of natural … [Read more...]


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