The Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar

In November, I wrote about Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, the Egyptian student and atheist who posted nude photos of herself as a protest against Islamist suppression of women's bodies and voices. Her explanation of what she was seeking to achieve is so perfect, I have to quote it again:"Put on trial the artists' models who posed nude for art schools until the early 70s, hide the art books and destroy the nude statues of antiquity, then undress and stand before a mirror and burn your bodies that you … [Read more...]

The Continuing Battle Over Blasphemy Laws

I'm surprised to still be writing about blasphemy laws, but it seems the idea just won't die. At the United Nations this week, the elected leaders of newly democratic Egypt and Yemen called for restrictions on free speech, in addition to similar demands from Turkey and other Islamic-majority nations. Russia, too, is advocating for laws that would criminalize criticism of religion, saying that "the feelings of the faithful must be protected by the state" (HT: IHEU). Unfortunately this doesn't … [Read more...]

The Sphere of Permitted Ideas

This week, there's been a flurry of stories about Muslim groups trying to suppress criticism of Islam, both by law and by force. It's worth summarizing them briefly to show how these aren't isolated incidents, but parts of a larger and more disturbing trend. First up: I mentioned earlier the story of a campus secular group in London that came under pressure from Muslim students and the university union to remove this image from the webcomic Jesus and Mo from their Facebook page. (Muslims claim … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: January 14

• Here's the top story for this week: After Jessica Ahlquist's court victory over illegal state-sponsored prayer in her high school, she's been receiving a torrent of vicious hate mail and threats of violence, presumably from good and pious Christians who support prayer. Here are some of the most appalling; some of the threats were sufficiently serious that police are investigating them. This isn't a surprise, unfortunately - it almost always happens to atheists who speak up. As disgusting … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 5

On my old site, I had regular link roundups for all the stories I saw that interested me, but that I didn't have the time to write about at greater length. And I've had a lot of those stories this week, so here's some things to read over your Saturday morning coffee: • I've previously reported on whether the American Cancer Society turned down a big donation because it came from atheists. Now the redoubtable Greta Christina has written a lengthy follow-up piece for AlterNet, laying out the … [Read more...]

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...]


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