Weekly Link Roundup

• Despite the good sense shown by the British Medical Association in lambasting homeopathy at their annual conference last month, the UK National Health Service has announced that it will still pay for water and sugar pills passed off as medicine.• A court in Utah has thrown out the rape conviction of Mormon cult leader Warren Jeffs, due to a legal technicality, and ordered that the case be retried. Texas is still seeking to have him extradited to face similar charges, so it seems … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup: Net Drama Edition

The intertubes are exploding with drama this week! I'm still catching up on a backlog of reading material myself, but I thought I'd post about the more notable news items.• First off, I just have to mention this because it's such delicious schadenfreude: Chris Mooney, atheist-basher extraordinaire, had a commenter earlier this year named Tom Johnson who claimed to be a scientist and wrote about how rudely and viciously he'd seen atheist professors treat their Christian colleagues. Mooney … [Read more...]

Christianist Professor Calls for Religious McCarthyism

Although I've learned not to expect much from the right-leaning Supreme Court, I've been pleasantly surprised by some of their recent decisions. First was Holy See v. John Doe, in which the court upheld a ruling that the Vatican isn't immune from lawsuits over its protection of pedophiles. The second was Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, in which a Christian student group sued a California law school to demand - what else? - the legal right to discriminate against gays.The law school has a … [Read more...]

Breaking News: Catholic Church Not Above the Law

In the past two months, the Catholic pedophilia scandal has largely dropped out of the headlines. But it was still simmering, and it looks poised to erupt into public consciousness again after this raid by police in Belgium:The declaration to the police set off four raids in which the authorities seized hundreds of case files from the commission's current leader, detained a group of bishops for more than nine hours and disturbed the tomb of a cardinal where construction work had recently been … [Read more...]

Simo Says

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)The other night I fled for my life. I fled a brawl in Paris. No, I didn't get entangled in a drunken bar fight. Again. Actually, I was in an elementary school.Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS – Neither Whores Nor Submissives), the women's rights organization in Paris where I have been working as a human rights fellow, organized a public debate on the issue of the anticipated public burqa ban in Fra … [Read more...]

Why Atheists Should Do Jury Duty

I've never served on a jury, although I've had at least two jury duty notices sent to former addresses after I no longer lived in the area. But I'm certain the courts will catch up with me sooner or later, and truth be told, I'm actually looking forward to it. I know that being on a jury is likely to be exceedingly boring, and most of the cases that go to trial probably aren't all that consequential or all that difficult to decide. Still, I think it would be worthwhile to serve, both to play my … [Read more...]

Yes, That’s Me in the Burqa

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)I am an incipient First Amendment lawyer and a staunch church-state separatist. I surpass even my most progressive friends and colleagues in my unflinching and unwavering support of the freedom of speech and expression, including religious expression. I am pretty much the only person I know who hates hate crime legislation as little more than bald-faced thought crime legislation. I am not i … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Embraces Reform?

Since I've written a fair amount lately about the child-rape scandal engulfing the Catholic church, it would be unfair of me to overlook any steps they've taken toward reform. Well, you all know I'm nothing if not fair, so I have to report on this tiny, hesitant step:Last week, the Vatican for the first time issued guidelines telling bishops they should report cases of abusive priests to police where civil laws require it.Marvelous! At long last, the Vatican has bravely decided that its … [Read more...]

Beware of Pastors Bearing Gifts

Late last year, an evangelical Christian pastor in Brooklyn announced that he had secured a major grant totaling millions of dollars from the massive evangelical charity World Vision. The pastor, Isidro Bolaños, promised to use this money to hire people from the community to do faith-based social work:Mr. Bolaños, pastor of the Christian Church of El Dios Vivo, has reassured employees that the enterprise, called Community Project, Brooklyn Pilot Program, is ready to send them into n … [Read more...]

Demanding the Right to Discriminate

The Supreme Court heard arguments recently in a case out of California, in which a Christian student group at a public law school sued because they were denied recognition and funding by the school. The reason for this denial is that the school requires student groups to be open to all members, and the Christian Legal Society wants to ban - you'll never see it coming - people who are guilty of "unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle". That means gays and gays … [Read more...]


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