New on the Guardian: Real Religious Persecution

Big news today! I'm very pleased to announce that I've published my first original column for the Guardian, the venerable progressive newspaper, in their Comment is Free opinion section.The column is titled "'Help, help, I'm being repressed!': How conservatives make a mockery of the oppression of religious minorities. It concerns those American Christian conservatives who shriek that their religious liberty is being cruelly denied, while steadfastly ignoring those who experience genuine … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 14

Coffee

• Chris Hedges, the left-wing firebrand who really, really despises New Atheists, is apparently a serial plagiarist, according to a lengthy and damning article this week in the New Republic.• In the why-all-atheists-are-Hitler department: Part of the SS oath in Nazi Germany was to swear their allegiance to God and say that atheists are "not one of us".• I wrote in 2007 about José Luis de Jesus Miranda, a kook and would-be cult leader who claimed to be Jesus reincarnated. I … [Read more...]

#800deadbabies: A Fresh Catholic Horror

In the last few years, Ireland has been reckoning with a shameful part of its history: the Magdalene laundries. Established in the 1700s and surviving well into the 20th century, these were church-run institutions, overseen by nuns, where women were sent for transgressing against conventional morality or custom, or simply because they were viewed as a burden to society. Prostitutes, unwed mothers, rape victims, orphans, the mentally and physically disabled, or those who were deemed too … [Read more...]

The FRC’s Bizarre Prayer Barrage

As you probably know, I don't believe in the efficacy of prayer. There's neither empirical evidence nor logical argument to support the proposition that a supernatural being is listening to our requests and can be persuaded to grant them if asked politely enough. Still, when believers pray for the healing of the sick or the welfare of the needy, there's at least a benevolent intention that I can respect.Then there's the Family Research Council.This religious-right group regularly issues … [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...]

The Richard Dawkins Facepalm Watch, Vol. II

So, Richard Dawkins has once again become an unintentional social media star with a sequence of tweets:Bin Laden has won, in airports of the world every day. I had a little jar of honey, now thrown away by rule-bound dundridges. STUPID waste.— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) November 3, 2013And when he received some mockery for this, he got grumpy:Of course I know the airport security rules. My point is those rules are stupid advertising displays of dundridge zeal. Bin … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: The Religious Right Loves Putin

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, Meet the American Religious Right Figures Thrilled by Russia's Brutal Anti-Gay Laws. In it, I report on Russia's sharp turn towards authoritarianism, its government's violent and repressive anti-LGBT laws, and the American religious right figures who couldn't be happier about it all. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:Russia has become a dangerous place for dissent. Its ex-KGB president, Vladimir Putin, has accomplished what … [Read more...]

American Fundamentalists Applaud Russian Eliminationism

I've been writing about Russia's brutally violent crackdown on LGBT people and whether the international community ought to respond by boycotting the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. Incredibly, that situation got even worse last week with the news that Vladimir Putin has decreed a "forbidden zone" around the Olympics where all forms of public demonstration and protest are banned. (Meanwhile, even Adolf Hitler granted a temporary exemption from Nazi Germany's anti-gay laws to foreign athletes … [Read more...]

The Harms of Same-Sex Marriage

MassachusettsWelcomesYou

The Massachusetts anti-gay group MassResistance isn't giving up. Even though same-sex marriage has been legal there for nearly 10 years and is supported by a strong majority of the public, they're still fighting to turn back the clock. And although most people might say that Massachusetts' failure to become a Sodom and Gomorrah-esque den of depravity has disproved the predictions of doomsayers, they're not ready to concede that either.I've been reading one of their leaflets, titled What … [Read more...]

On Tolerating Intolerance

FirstAmendmentArea

Zinnia Jones at Freethought Blogs had a great post last week exposing Matt Moore, an evangelical and so-called "ex-gay" who loudly boasted that Jesus had cured him of homosexuality. It turns out the cure wasn't exactly complete, since Moore had an active profile on the gay hookup site Grindr.When confronted with the evidence of his hypocrisy, Moore admitted the account was his, claiming that he had been "disobedient" and that Jesus had already forgiven him for it (a clear example of … [Read more...]


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