Some Unfinished Thoughts on Syria

Since it looks more likely than not that the U.S. is going to attack the Assad regime in Syria, I wanted to write down some of the thoughts that have been on my mind the last few days. I don't have any particular reason to doubt that Assad used chemical weapons. We know that he possesses them, and he's shown himself to be an extraordinarily brutal dictator with no compunctions about bombing and shelling civilian populations as a form of collective punishment. I also don't think that this … [Read more...]

Theocracy Causes Famine

Recently, I got an e-mail from the Foundation Beyond Belief, which is working with USAID to raise awareness of the continuing drought and famine in the Horn of Africa. The toll in lives is already appalling, including over 29,000 deaths from starvation and outbreaks of measles and cholera, and hundreds more dying every day. The crisis has produced almost a million refugees, including over 400,000 at the Dadaab camp in Kenya. I have to admit that my first reaction to this news was a feeling of … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Madrid

As I've mentioned, my wife and I took a trip to Spain last month to celebrate our first anniversary. I'm not going to inflict all my vacation photos on you, but we did see some sights that are relevant to the kind of thing I usually write about on Daylight Atheism. If you're interested in seeing more, click through to view the rest of the post. … [Read more...]

Free Speech Still Under Attack

Free speech is always and everywhere under attack in the world, and as depressing as it is to have to keep pointing that out, I think it's vital to highlight it when it happens so that this human right is never taken for granted. Unfortunately, these past few weeks have offered a surfeit of examples. First, there's India, whose government has quietly issued new rules allowing for the censorship of any internet content deemed "blasphemous", "hateful" or "disparaging". Apparently, all it takes is … [Read more...]

Open Thread: We Got Him!

I had a post about marriage equality I was going to put up today, but instead, let me just say this: Holy shit, we killed Osama bin Laden. I'm still speechless - this doesn't seem real. My reactions, more or less in order: (1) When I opened my news reader this morning, the first headline was a story from CNN, "Stocks set for higher open after death of Osama bin Laden." I think I did a classic comedy double-take. (2) The Republicans who were planning to run for president must be crying … [Read more...]

Marching for Oppression

Over the past few months, we've seen amazing and inspiring demonstrations of people power erupting across the Middle East, toppling dictatorships that have been in place for decades. It's far too soon to say what form of government will emerge from these movements - whether they'll give rise to true democracies, or whether new dictatorships will replace the old - and the unwelcome news that Egypt's transitional military government has just sentenced a blogger to prison shows that it will take … [Read more...]

What Comes Next For the Middle East?

The last few weeks in the Middle East have been a story of extraordinary courage and heroism. With dictatorships in Egypt and Tunisia lying in ruins and the democratic revolt now spreading to Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, it's not too early to start thinking about what will come next. The omnipresent fear in Western media is that the newly free countries will be taken over by an Islamist majority. This isn't an unreasonable concern (although it hardly justifies the West's decades of supporting … [Read more...]

Wednesday Link Roundup

I may write more about some of these stories over the weekend, but in the meantime, I just had to make quick mention of them: • Prominent evangelical pastor John MacArthur, whom Daylight Atheism readers have heard about before, has a new pearl of wisdom to bestow on us as regards the democratic revolutions currently sweeping the Middle East (HT: Slacktivist): I think there are a lot of ways to approach that but if you just talk about a biblical thing, [the protesters] are all in … [Read more...]

Women Take the Helm in Egypt

I wrote about the massive uprising in Egypt earlier this week, but events are moving so fast that I have to write again, and by the time you read this post, it may well be outdated. The latest development is that the Mubarak administration is apparently sending armed and organized gangs of thugs out onto the streets to masquerade as counter-protesters, probably in the hopes of provoking a violent confrontation that would force the army to intervene. American journalists including Anderson Cooper … [Read more...]

The Beginnings of an Arab Enlightenment?

I've written recently about the vicious, dispiriting murders of human-rights advocates in Pakistan and Uganda. I'm an optimist by temperament, but stories like these are enough to drive me to the edge of despair. In my worst moments, it makes me wonder: is it possible for liberal, secular democracies to survive over the long term? Can free and enlightened nations ever endure, or are they nothing more than a momentary flicker in the dark? No republic can survive if its people don't value it, if … [Read more...]