How Christian Hatemongers Hold the Needy Hostage

Last week, the giant Christian charity World Vision announced that they were changing their rules to permit the hiring of employees in same-sex marriages. As an explicitly Christian organization, World Vision requires its employees to be Christian and to obey a code of conduct which includes no sex outside marriage, and they weren't changing either of those rules. As they took pains to say, they weren't even endorsing same-sex marriage. It was merely a statement that they no longer considered a … [Read more...]

What Is #UpForDebate in the Secular Community?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, David Silverman of American Atheists incited a firestorm when he said at CPAC this year that there was a secular argument against abortion rights. He's not the only one: Disappointingly, my Patheos colleague Friendly Atheist gave a platform to an anti-choice atheist earlier this month and then declined to post a rebuttal by the group Secular Woman. In response, SW started a hashtag, #UpForDebate, sarcastically asking what else we should consider negotiable … [Read more...]

History Repeats Itself Yet Again

MarchOfProgress

Last week, Arizona's governor Jan Brewer vetoed the revolting right-to-discriminate bill passed by her state's legislature. Like the similar bill that collapsed in Kansas, this one moved rapidly at first but then stalled when it gained national attention. As Brewer dithered, both Mitt Romney and the state's Republican senators John McCain and Jeff Flake urged her to veto it. Even three Republican legislators who voted for the bill publicly changed their minds about it. It's possible that that … [Read more...]

The New Untouchables

ParisLGBTRights

Last week in Kansas, one house of the state legislature passed the most savagely anti-gay bill to appear in the U.S. in a long time. In the name of "religious liberty", it would have repealed all equal-protection laws as they apply to LGBT people, allowing any business owner to deny service to a gay customer on a whim: restaurants could turn them away, doctors could refuse to treat them, department stores could put up "No Gays Allowed" signs. Even more shocking, the bill also applied to … [Read more...]

You Wouldn’t Believe How Fast Americans Are Losing Their Religion — But the Fundamentalists Have a Plan

Pulses

This article originally appeared on AlterNet. Sometime in 2012, the U.S.A. quietly passed a milestone that demographers had long been predicting: for the first time in its history, this country is no longer majority Protestant. Fewer than 50% of Americans now identify as Protestant Christians of any denomination. This change has come on surprisingly recently, and from a historical perspective, with breathtaking speed. As recently as 1993, almost two-thirds of Americans identified as … [Read more...]

The Mormons Repeat the Errors of History

SaltLakeCityTemple

Last month, a federal judge in Utah ruled that it violated the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection to deny civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. After a few days of joyful chaos in which gay and lesbian couples flocked to county clerks' offices, Utah state officials managed to convince the Supreme Court to temporarily stay the ruling pending a full hearing by an appeals court. In the meantime, the state announced that they'll refuse to recognize the more than 1,000 marriages their … [Read more...]

The Actual Victims of Discrimination

The dominoes keep falling in the U.S., as this month courts ruled in favor of marriage equality in New Mexico and Utah (!!). Until this decision, New Mexico was the only state that had no law either permitting or prohibiting same-sex marriage, creating a legal ambiguity that the state's highest court has now resolved. But it's the shock decision in Utah that could be far more significant in the long run. In that case, a federal judge struck down an anti-gay amendment to the state … [Read more...]

No Segregation in the Marketplace of Ideas

Last month, Universities UK, an umbrella organization representing institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom, published guidelines for how colleges could host controversial speakers on campus in a way that respects both free-speech and anti-discrimination laws. Among their case studies was the hypothetical example of a fundamentalist religious speaker who wanted his audience to be segregated by gender. Shockingly, Universities UK concluded that such a demand can and should be agreed … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 9

Coffee

• Following the resignation of the previous team, CFI has announced the new hosts of their podcast Point of Inquiry, one of whom is my friend Lindsay Beyerstein. Congratulations! • This week's entry in the WTF Department: Richard Cohen, an awful columnist for the Washington Post, saw the movie 12 Years a Slave and was shocked to learn how bad slavery was. I wish I were kidding about that. • Three cheers for science! A new antiviral therapy can cure hepatitis C without a … [Read more...]

Congratulations, New Jersey!

NewJersey

As a born-and-raised New Yorker, I reserve the right to make fun of New Jersey every so often, but this week I have nothing but congratulations for my neighbors in the Garden State: As couples across New Jersey began marrying on Monday after the stroke of midnight, Gov. Chris Christie abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage, concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him. His decision not to appeal a judge's ruling that allowed the weddings … [Read more...]