Reflections on #AAcon13

AAConvention

I'm writing this in the airport, on my way home from a weekend in Austin, Texas for the 50th anniversary convention of American Atheists. New York is all bare gray branches, still; it's too early in the season even for buds. By comparison, Austin was a startling riot of green, with tree-lined streets and forested riverbanks that bloomed explosively in the perfect, gorgeous warm weather. The branches were thronged with big, sleek black birds (grackles, according to a thread on B&W) that kept up a … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: March 16

Coffee

• As you all know, there's a new pope in town: Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires. He talks a good game on poverty, although like all Catholic hierarchs, he doesn't seem to grasp that his opposition to birth control perpetuates the very problem he claims to want solved. As if there was any doubt, he's also a staunch social conservative who's called same-sex marriage "a move by the Father of Lies".More worrisome, though, is the accusation of Bergoglio's complicity in the Dirty … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Is Not a Democracy

Pope Benedict's surprise resignation has set off a frenzy of speculation as to who the next pope will be and what changes he might bring to Catholicism. Benedict was well-known as an enforcer of orthodoxy, cracking down harshly on nuns, supporters of same-sex marriage and other progressive factions within the church, and the beleaguered liberals in Catholicism are hoping that the next pope will bring a change of direction.However, the odds of this are slim. All of the cardinals who'll elect … [Read more...]

Why the Petition Matters

Cloudbreak

Earlier this week, I posted a petition asking the leaders of atheist and secular organizations to support feminism and measures to improve diversity and stop harassment. The petition went up at 9:30 PM on Thursday night, and as of this writing, on Saturday night, it has around 1,300 signatures and is still accumulating more at a healthy clip. I think that's a very good response, and I'm grateful for the attention it's gotten and the many messages of support people have left along with their … [Read more...]

Petition: Support Feminism and Diversity in the Secular Community

AtheismPlus

You may have heard that the video blogger "Thunderf00t"* recently published a video titled "Why 'Feminism' is poisoning Atheism", which he's been sending to the heads of atheist and skeptical organizations. In this video, he attacks named individuals who've been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement, describing them as "whiners" and "ultra-PC professional victims" who are "dripp[ing] poison" into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to … [Read more...]

Diversity Doesn’t Just Happen: A Response to Michael Shermer

We're talking about diversity in the skeptical community again, this time occasioned by some unfortunate and ignorant comments from Michael Shermer about atheism and skepticism being "a guy thing", which drew a predictably sharp response. As Jacques Rousseau said, it's just barely possible that Shermer might have meant this statement descriptively, rather than normatively. But he then proceeded to dig the hole much deeper with this comment on Twitter which leaves absolutely no room for … [Read more...]

Support African Americans for Humanism

As NPR recently reported, there's a high price to pay for being a black atheist in America. African Americans who come out of the closet as nonreligious may be cut off by their own families, may be labeled a "race traitor" or an "apostate", or accused of lacking morals or having "holes in their souls" - this despite the fact that atheism, humanism and freethought have a strong and lively tradition within the African-American community. That's why I was glad to hear about African Americans for … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Asa Philip Randolph

The civil rights movement in America is often identified with Christianity. In large part this is because of the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was a Baptist minister and worked the language and cadence of sermons into his most famous speeches - especially the famous paraphrase of the Book of Amos, "We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."But the civil rights movement wasn't organized or led solely by Christians. As … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• Greta Christina posts her completed list of atheists of color.• In early 1981, Carl Sagan sent this letter to the Explorers' Club - an international society dedicated to scientific exploration - regarding their men-only admission policy. Several months later, the first female members were admitted. (HT: Geek Feminism Blog)• Johann Hari writes about "the myth of the panicking disaster victim" and what it implies for humanity's inherent moral sense.• Catholic … [Read more...]

Atheist Action Items

• We've all been following the news about the massive earthquake and tsunami that's devastated Japan, and I won't waste your time rehashing the details. Help on an international scale is urgently needed, and the Foundation Beyond Belief has stepped in and is raising funds for the Japanese Red Cross. They've already collected almost $10,000, but that's just a drop in the bucket compared to what's needed. Visit their ChipIn page and contribute if you can.• On another note, my good … [Read more...]


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