My Interview on the Jesse Lee Peterson Show

OnAirSign

Earlier today, I was on a radio show hosted by Jesse Lee Peterson, an ultra-right-wing black conservative minister who's defended slavery and advocated an end to women's suffrage. We talked about how I became an atheist, my book, and my petition to advance feminism and diversity in the atheist community. You'd better believe it was a lively hour! If you didn't get the chance to listen live, you can hear an archived version through iTunes … [Read more...]

How Influential Is the Religious Right?

My latest column on Alternet, about the failed predictions of the religious right, has gotten a reply from a writer calling himself suburbXn who identifies himself as a liberal Christian, and who thinks I'm vastly exaggerating the influence of the people whose prophecies I cited:You can find extremists and crazies behind ANY belief who will take things to the edge. But please don't write off millions of Christians because of a few extremists, not even if you still disagree with those … [Read more...]

Should I Cash a Christian Charity’s Check?

My desk has a drawer full of free address labels, pens, and other cheap gimmicks sent by charities who hope that sending a gift would make the recipient of their letters feel obligated to give something back. (It doesn't; I plan my giving in advance and never respond to solicitations.) But a letter I got in the mail this week was a new gambit:This mailing came from an evangelical Christian charity (I know - bad targeting on their part). Enclosed with the letter, as you can see, was a $2 … [Read more...]

Book Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

Summary: A personable, good-humored example of the liberal-theist cherry-picking ethic. I recently wrote about the evangelical writer Rachel Held Evans and whether her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, can undo Christianity's entrenched ideals of patriarchy. I still don't think that's likely, but I've read the book now, so I'd like to offer some more thoughts. Evans lives in Tennessee and describes herself as an evangelical Christian, but as evangelicals go, she's hardly typical. She belongs … [Read more...]

Phone-Spam Evangelism

On Friday afternoon, I got a call on my cell phone from an 800 number I didn't recognize. I let it go to voicemail, and I'm glad I did, because that means I had a recording of this wonderfully bizarre call so I could transcribe and share it with you:God bless you, this is [unintelligible, but sounds like "Tom from NASA"]. I'm calling you because I know that you are going through one of the most toughest times of your life [sic], and this is why I'm calling you because prayer does bring … [Read more...]

The Blinding Fog of Religious Moderation

The author Sam Harris was, to my knowledge, the first of the New Atheists to make a novel and important observation about the way religious privilege operates in our society. Religious moderates talk a good game about peace, democracy, freedom of conscience, equal rights for women and minorities, and so on. But when push comes to shove, they almost always side with their fundamentalist brethren in arguing that faith is a good thing and shouldn't be criticized, even when faith is directly … [Read more...]

The Evangelist’s Funnel

Through some odd stroke of coincidence, when I was in San Francisco earlier this year, I encountered more than the usual amount of religious nuttiness. I've already written about the woman who gets divine communications in God's actual handwriting. There were also Scientologists handing out pamphlets on a street corner, advertising something called the "Purification Rundown":One or two of these questions, like the one about drug flashbacks, would only apply to people with genuine … [Read more...]

The Necessity of Hell

After my earlier post on this subject, Slacktivist has written several follow-up posts about the evangelical freak-out over the news that one of their own may not believe in Hell:For Mohler, as for most of Team Hell, we can see that there are two distinct categories. On the one hand there is what is "clearly revealed in the Bible... teachings... doctrine." And on the other hand there's this evasive, fuzzy-wuzzy, extra-biblical, anti-biblical notion of "the character of God."...this is not … [Read more...]

Yes, Virginia, The Bible Does Teach Hell

Slacktivist, my favorite progressive Christian blog, has been reporting on how the religious right has been in a tizzy over the news that prominent evangelical pastor Rob Bell may no longer believe in eternal damnation. (I know, I know - he doesn't believe that God will torture billions of people in a lake of fire for all eternity? Horrors!)This is a view Slacktivist himself holds, and to defend Bell, he quotes three passages commonly used to support belief in Hell, Luke 16:19-31 (the parable … [Read more...]

The Religious Right Hates Women

Last month, I wrote about the awful callousness of Catholic hospitals when a woman arrives needing an emergency abortion. As long as there's a fetal heartbeat, the clergy-run ethics committees of these hospitals often deny doctors permission to operate, even if the woman is hemorrhaging and dying before their eyes. Some doctors end up struggling desperately to keep their patient alive until the fetus dies, so they can operate and save her life. Others send these women to the nearest secular … [Read more...]


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