Weekly Link Roundup

The storm may rage and the winds may howl, but I'm still here! (So far.) Here's a couple of interesting stories I didn't have time to write more about this week:• Following Rick Perry's urgent prayers for rain in his drought-stricken state, Tropical Storm Don formed in the Gulf, headed toward Texas, and then dissipated before dropping any significant rain. The drought continues. How long will it be before Perry's Christian supporters start to seriously consider if God is punishing him for … [Read more...]

Be Careful What You Wish For (Why I Hate Hate Crimes Legislation, But I Love Hate Speech)

By Sarah Jane Braasch-JoyIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 - 02/02/10)I saw a woman in niqab on the UC Berkeley campus the other week. I was shocked. I didn't approach her. I didn't speak to her. She was with two other women in hijab, on the opposite side of a wide walkway.But, I was shocked. And, appalled. Here was a woman (or, at least, I assume she was a woman), in the heart of what is arguably the most politically liberal university campus and city in … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

Some scattered thoughts to contemplate on a Saturday morning:• Earlier this year, my post on urban agriculture drew some spirited disagreement. Now there's a study from Ohio State University which concludes that Cleveland could supply all its own produce, poultry and honey if the many vacant lots in the shrinking, post-industrial city were converted into gardens.• A Missouri high school, in response to a complaint from a homeschooling parent who doesn't even have kids in the … [Read more...]

6 Ways Atheists Can Band Together to Fight Religious Fundamentalism

This essay was originally published on AlterNet.If atheists were as politically organized as the religious right, we could accomplish a world of good in combating theocracy and standing up for human rights and secularism. But whenever an atheist political alliance is proposed, the objection is inevitably raised that "atheists don't all agree," and that this would be an insurmountable obstacle to forming a unified political movement.I believe, however, that this objection overstates … [Read more...]

To Win, We Just Have to Show Up

In the wake of marriage equality's victory in New York State last Friday, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler posted the following to Twitter:Now, fully 1 in 9 Americans will live in a state with legalized same-sex marriage. Our mission field is getting more complicated.On the surface, this is a strange statement. Mohler apparently believes that the legalization of same-sex marriage will make it more difficult for Christians to win converts. Why would he think … [Read more...]

I Am An Atom of Atheism

The blog Ungodly News has created a whimsical periodic table of atheism, and I was surprised and pleased to find out that I'm on it:(click for larger version)I'm an actinide, if you can't find me - one of the green rows on the bottom, labeled as "The Wicked of the Web". I'd never have counted myself as one of the basic and indivisible elements of atheism, but given the distinguished company I'm listed among, this is a true honor! You may now commence the jokes about making compounds … [Read more...]

Photo Saturday: Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Circle

This past week, on a sunny spring day, I went on my lunch hour to see a new public art installation in midtown Manhattan:This exhibit, "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads", is noteworthy for being created by the internationally famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. After being chosen to design the "Bird's Nest" stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he was considered a national hero; but when he used that prominent platform to speak out against government corruption and censorship, … [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...]

On Qur’an Burning, Redux

A few months ago, I wrote briefly about an obscure Florida pastor who had the idea of burning a Qur'an. At the time he backed off under intense pressure, but later changed his mind and went through with it. This would have gone nowhere, except that some Islamic mullahs in Afghanistan (aided by Hamid Karzai, who cynically fanned the flames), incited their worshippers to frenzy. The mob proceeded to storm a U.N. compound, brutally killing a dozen U.N. employees. Protests and riots are still … [Read more...]

Some Atheist Victories of Note

I wrote last month about the Fort Worth atheist bus ads and how the city decided to ban all religious messages in the future, so as not to have to deal with us again. At the time, I observed:It was only when groups who aren't in the majority want to exercise their equal rights that people get angry... Still, as hypocritical as this is, I'm not bothered as long as the new policy is applied equally and fairly. Atheists have plenty of other places to advertise, and if that's what it takes to … [Read more...]


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