Weekend Coffee: January 10


• A can't-miss account of Charlie Hebdo's first editorial meeting since last week's horrific attack.• One-man outrage band Bill Donohue didn't kill anyone at Charlie Hebdo, but he's understanding and sympathetic towards the Muslims who did. They made fun of the Pope, after all!• "The right to blaspheme religion is one of the most elemental exercises of political liberalism."• The "radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: Help Us Solve This Problem We Created


As I've written before, I get a huge quantity of junk mail from charities begging for money, some of which are religious. (Poor targeting.)Lately, I've gotten several of these come-ons in a row, and most of them are either ironic, galling or both. Here's an example, a solicitation from a group called the Catholic Medical Mission Board. Take a look at what they have the chutzpah to ask:Dear friend,I wish I could send you a box of greeting cards or some personalized … [Read more...]

Let’s Not Be Uncivil Here


Can't we have a calm, reasoned, civil discussion about whether I should stop punching you or not?I mean, sure, I may currently be sitting on your chest aiming one punishing blow after another into your head, neck and shoulders. I'm willing to grant that reasonable people may differ about the ethics of this behavior. But the important thing is that we work it out politely. Why are you being so hostile? I'm inviting you to join me in a serious, sustained dialogue about the continuance of said … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 14


• 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...]

New on AlterNet: Catholicism’s Demonic Revival

My latest column is up on AlterNet, Why Do Many Christians Still Literally Believe in Demons and Satan? In it, I sum up the Harvard Black Mass fracas and place it in a wider context, showing how Pope Francis and the Catholic church are pushing a major revival of belief in the demonic. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:The Harvard Satanist fracas shows the immense hypocrisy of the Catholic church and its spokesmen. In their battle against the contraception mandate, … [Read more...]

Sympathy for the Devil

I wanted to write about something important this week, like the Greece v. Galloway decision, but events have conspired to thwart me. The story I covered earlier has had some dramatic new developments that cry out for a followup. So: Satanism.On Monday, I wrote about the Harvard student club that wanted to stage a Satanist Black Mass on campus and the ensuing onslaught of fury from Catholics. Some commenters demanded that the university forbid the event from taking place; others demanded that … [Read more...]

Satan Comes to Harvard


As I've written in the past, I find Satanism silly and juvenile. If you're an atheist, as most of them say they are, then call yourself an atheist, and don't wrap yourself in the mythology of a religion you don't believe in. The only reason I can imagine to identify as a Satanist is as a stunt, to shock and outrage the easily shocked and outraged people whose religious beliefs cause them to jump at shadows. But I have to admit, if that's what they were going for, the Satanists of Harvard have … [Read more...]

Cosmos Upsets the Courtiers


I'm greatly enjoying the new Cosmos, but there are those who are none too pleased by it. Some of the critics are too laughable to take seriously, like the creationists who're whining about not getting equal time. Then there are the ones who represent an allegedly more sophisticated theology, like this post by Andrew Sullivan, in which he straightfacedly asserts that Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson's popularization efforts are giving science a bad name. Why? His complaint stems largely from … [Read more...]

The World Is Changing and the Churches Are Afraid

The Supreme Court will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Last week, a Daylight Atheism commenter (thanks, Nathaniel!) pointed out that my post "Aid in Dying" had been cited on a blog on the Patheos Catholic channel, Public Catholic, whose author, Rebecca Hamilton, is a member of the Oklahoma state legislature. Needless to say, she was perturbed:Last night, when I googled euthanasia, I came across a forever-to-be-nameless blog that was chortling over the rise in public acceptance of medical murder, which polite folk like to call euthanasia. This … [Read more...]