Creeping Fundamentalism in Israel

Israel, like America, is a modern secular democracy with a noisy religious minority that desires the creation of a theocracy. And as in America, religious fundamentalists in Israel exert political influence disproportionate to their numbers. But Israel's fundamentalist minority, the ultra-Orthodox or haredi Jews, have had some worrying successes lately in imposing their vision on the country. First, there's this article, about the construction of a light rail in Jerusalem. Yair Naveh, the … [Read more...]

Why Atheists Should Be Feminists

I've been writing since the beginning of Daylight Atheism about the unique ways that religion harms women. Although men have also suffered innumerable harms from religious beliefs, they're not singled out, treated as an underclass uniquely deserving of condemnation, the way that women are in almost every major religion's sacred texts. That's why I wrote in posts like 2006's "Religion's Harm to Women": There is only one realistic way to end religion's harm to women, and that is to cut it off at … [Read more...]

Ensuring Access to Abortion

As a neutral observer of religion, one of the most striking characteristics I find is the rampant misogyny in nearly every religion in the world. Worldwide, women are denigrated as lesser beings, barred from positions of leadership, commanded to be subservient, and told that they're weaker or more sinful than men. Even in the relatively few religions where women play a significant role, it tends to be a late-arising development brought about by modern moral progress. By comparison, just consider … [Read more...]

The Bechdel Test for Religion

If you're an informed observer of media, you may have heard of the so-called Bechdel test, popularized by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, that's used to judge the female-friendliness of movies and other media. For a movie to pass this test, it has to have: (1) two or more female characters; (2) who talk to each other; (3) about something other than a man. Despite this being such a low hurdle - it doesn't establish that the movie is in any way feminist, merely that it treats women as something more … [Read more...]

Anarchy in the U.K.: The Anglican Crackup Continues

I've written before about the ongoing schism within the Episcopal church, but those posts only concerned the goings-on in America. Now that battle has spread across the Atlantic and into the heart of Anglicanism, and it's looking more and more likely that the church will be cloven in two at its roots. As reported by the Telegraph, the Anglican General Synod has rejected a last-ditch compromise brokered by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and nominal head of the Anglican church, to … [Read more...]

Simo Says

By Sarah Braasch In loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10) The other night I fled for my life. I fled a brawl in Paris. No, I didn't get entangled in a drunken bar fight. Again. Actually, I was in an elementary school. Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS – Neither Whores Nor Submissives), the women's rights organization in Paris where I have been working as a human rights fellow, organized a public debate on the issue of the anticipated public burqa ban in … [Read more...]

The Reform Against Nature

John Hartwig was the principal of a private elementary school run by the conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Last month, he was fired by a church council. The reasons for his dismissal are murky, but they appear to have something to do with this: Hartwig's father, a former pastor, authored a document years ago questioning Lutheran doctrine that says women shall not have authority over men. Church members say Hartwig, who has been principal since the summer of 2003, was accused … [Read more...]

Book Review: Half the Sky

Summary: A wrenching chronicle of the injustices and preventable evils committed against women around the world. The bright spots are few and far between, but that should only instill readers with a greater sense of urgency to do something about all this. I felt intense pangs of conscience while reading this book; you probably will too. In January, I reviewed Michelle Goldberg's book The Means of Reproduction. That was an outstanding work of consciousness-raising, one which enlightened me to … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• It's about time! The SEC has charged a psychic with securities fraud for claiming to be able to supernaturally foretell the direction of the market. • The staff of IslamOnline, a Cairo-based journalism website that offers a platform for liberal and reformist views, have gone on strike over plans by the Qatari owners to impose stricter editorial controls and force a more conservative viewpoint. • I'm very glad to report that Ireland's government is now backtracking on the … [Read more...]

Fossilized Opinions

Sam Harris is famous for the argument that religion, even moderate religion, does harm by teaching that faith is a virtue that should not be questioned, which encourages militant and violent strains of fundamentalism. Today, I want to talk about another way, subtle but unmistakable, that religion causes harm to human beings. Because of its tendency to treat all the statements of its founders and sacred texts as holy truth, religion has the effect of "freezing" the prejudices in vogue at the … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X