How Liberal is Catholicism, Really?

Last month, I wrote about a Catholic church's attempt to rebrand itself as a hip, welcoming institution. At the time, I noted that the clergy were striving to broadcast an aura of tolerance without changing any of their actual rules.More recently, I mentioned a conservative archbishop urging liberal and moderate members to quit the church. Much debate ensued, but there was at least one person who felt I was being too harsh:Catholic social doctrine is only "conservative" on a very … [Read more...]

Women Deserve Equal Rights, Not Chivalry

Donald Trump's boasting about his ability to "grab [women] by the pussy" has opened the floodgates.Since those remarks came to light, corroborating stories are popping up all over. In a 2005 interview with Howard Stern, Trump chortled about how, at beauty pageants he owned, he would barge into the contestants' dressing rooms in the hope of seeing them naked. Five women in the Miss Teen USA pageant have confirmed that he did this to them - yes, peeping on teenagers.Other women have also … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: July 30

• Yes, the Green Party nominee Jill Stein is an anti-vaxer. Since Stein is an actual doctor, this is especially inexcusable. Note that Hillary Clinton is the only remaining presidential candidate who's pro-vaccine.• In very good news, a federal court strikes down North Carolina's brazenly racist voter ID law. They didn't even try to disguise what they were doing:As the court explains, North Carolina passed its omnibus voting bill, SL 2013-381, almost immediately after the … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Ghostbusters

There's so much darkness in the world lately, I feel like we could all use a break to talk about something light-hearted. So how about that new Ghostbusters movie?I saw it over the weekend, and the theater was packed. If the internet backdraft has hurt the box office at all, which I doubt, it wasn't noticeable where I live.Overall, it was solidly entertaining. There weren't any huge surprises, but it was a fun popcorn movie and it met my expectations. If you liked the original - and if, … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 4

I'm in Washington, D.C. this weekend. If you're here for the Reason Rally, come find me! Meanwhile, here are some worthwhile long reads:• Since she'll very likely be our next president, you ought to read this in-depth profile of Hillary Clinton, the candidate and the person. To understand why she is who she is, you have to understand the male entitlement, sexist double standards, and sheer hateful prejudice that have dogged her throughout the decades of her career in public … [Read more...]

Dawkins Denied: Secular Sexism Finally Has Consequences

As I've said before, I don't make it my mission to chronicle every obnoxious thing that Richard Dawkins says. But this week he hit a low point, even for him, with something so outrageous I couldn't let it go by. More importantly, the response gave me a new and unfamiliar feeling: a glimmer of hope that the wider atheist community is coming around to enlightenment.It started when Dawkins approvingly tweeted a revolting video created by "Sargon of Akkad", a notorious internet misogynist, that … [Read more...]

Beware the Man Who Knows One Thing

OK, let me admit this first and get it out of the way: I used to be a big fan of Scott Adams.In the early 2000s, I regularly read Adams' Dilbert strip and subscribed to his newsletter, "Dogbert's New Ruling Class". I signed up for the jokes, but in retrospect, what I overlooked was the condescension. In between the office anecdotes and corporate-jargon humor, Adams insisted that his fans were naturally superior, that they're the ones who see how the world really is. In Ayn Rand-esque … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: December 13

• An editorial on Charisma News accuses atheists of "the height of intolerance" for, basically, existing during the Christmas season.• Mormon Feminists on the Brink: The LDS church has a long record of fierce and diehard opposition to feminism. Their resistance to LGBT rights is well in line with the church's reactionary history.• Hampton Beach, Virginia is an epicenter of the American religious right, the home of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent … [Read more...]

What the Bible Gets Wrong About Hymens

I appreciated this subversively feminist video from College Humor debunking myths about the hymen (SFW, anatomical talk but no explicit imagery):Watching this made me think of the infamous Old Testament law that decrees what to do if a man suspects the bride he purchased of not being a virgin on her wedding night:"If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and … [Read more...]

The White Man Non-Culpability Squad

There was some rare good news on the sexual-harassment front last week, with the news that Geoff Marcy has resigned. Marcy is a scientific pioneer in the field of exoplanet astronomy, who's often been mentioned as a potential Nobel laureate. He's also long been trailed by rumors of inappropriate, predatory behavior toward women. According to a former graduate student, now Harvard professor, John Asher Johnson:"What's really infuriating about this is that anybody of my generation in the … [Read more...]