Why Is Atheism a Bigger Obstacle to Political Office Than Mormonism?

This piece was originally published on AlterNet. When America was founded, it was the first modern nation to throw off the rule of absolute monarchy and prove that democracy was feasible. But at the same time, when America was founded, it was hardly a democracy at all. The vote was denied to women, to millions of enslaved human beings -- to everyone except a relatively small number of its citizens. Despite the Constitution's prohibition on religious tests, many states had their own established … [Read more...]

An Ex-Mormon Story

Editor's Note: After a holiday that's all about gratitude, it seemed appropriate to post this. Please welcome Jessa Jackson as she tells the story of how she went from Mormonism to atheism. We're thankful to have you, Jessa! —Adam Lee One thing I remember hearing repeatedly claimed about ex-Mormons is that they "never really knew the truth." The assumption being that if they knew the truth they never would have left. I want to be absolutely clear that I believed. My mother's family was … [Read more...]

Anti-Atheist Prejudice at the Polls

My latest article has been posted on AlterNet, Why Is Atheism a Bigger Obstacle to Political Office Than Mormonism? In it, I look at poll results showing that American voters remain prejudiced against atheists, and ask why it is that Mormons and other groups have managed to avoid the brunt of similar bigotry, despite holding beliefs that are equally incompatible with mainstream Christianity and arguably far more bizarre than ours. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:In … [Read more...]

You Call That Religion?

This is a guest post by Leah of Unequally Yoked. Adam is on vacation.Spoiler Alert: the post below discusses the final number of the musical The Book of Mormon.The Associated Press, in a review titled "Zany Musical 'The Book of Mormon' Will Convert You" said despite the sacrilege you might expect from a show imagined by the creators of South Park, the production was ultimately "pro-religion."  Or, more precisely: Ultimately, believe it or not, this is a pro-religion musical, or at least a … [Read more...]

The Mormon Test

This is a guest post by Leah of Unequally Yoked.  Adam is on vacation.When in argument with Christians, it can be hard to find a good way to explain why you doubt their precepts.  John Loftus has a good idea with his Outsider's Test for Faith, but most Christians believe that their faith can pass the test; it's hard to show them how their faith looks if you haven't been steeped in it.Sometimes I've tried comparing and contrasting with other, conflicting denominations and asking why I should f … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Secret Religious Teachings

This great comment by Rollingforest in another thread got me thinking:When they go door to door, Mormons like to present themselves as Christians with minor but important improvements on Christian doctrine. These missionaries make sure to forget to mention or to gloss over the huge changes in dogma that becoming a Mormon requires (multiple Gods, belief that polygamy was Godly in the past and could be again in the future, absolute submission to the decrees of the Prophet, baptism of the dead, … [Read more...]

Gender Desegregation Wednesdays

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)Kat and I were working on an English translation of a section of the French website for the women's rights organization, Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS – Neither Whores Nor Submissives). We were struggling with the word mixité. We toyed with "the mixing of the sexes". But, that sounded like one of those speed-dating events. We settled on "desegregation". But, then we included the antecedent "ge … [Read more...]

On the Morality of: Polyamory

The comments in a recent thread on same-sex marriage have been heading in this direction, so I thought I'd offer some thoughts about polyamorous relationships and how we can view them from a humanist standpoint.The reason I (and others) advocate full marriage equality for same-sex couples is straightforward. Marriage is a civil ceremony which confers many legal rights on both partners, rights which are either extremely burdensome or impossible to obtain any other way. At present, the law in … [Read more...]

Baptizing the Dead Is Not a Big Deal

Americablog's John Aravosis is up in arms over the news that the Mormon church reportedly staged a "posthumous baptism" ceremony last year for President Barack Obama's deceased mother:What else to call the Mormon's laughable statement today that their posthumous baptism last year of President Obama's mother was a "rare" mistake that might have been done by "pranksters."...Yes, all one big unfortunate "rare" mistake. Kind of like a clerical error. Except instead of giving you the wrong … [Read more...]

Anti-Gay Bigotry is Anti-American

The past few weeks haven't been good ones for religious bigots. First Iowa and Vermont legalized same-sex marriage in rapid succession; soon afterwards, the state legislatures of New Hampshire and Maine passed marriage-equality bills. (If you live in either state, contact your governor and tell him to sign them!) And now, this stunning poll result from Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com, Two National Polls, for First Time, Show Plurality Support for Gay Marriage:...a new poll from ABC News and … [Read more...]