What Is #UpForDebate in the Secular Community?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, David Silverman of American Atheists incited a firestorm when he said at CPAC this year that there was a secular argument against abortion rights. He's not the only one: Disappointingly, my Patheos colleague Friendly Atheist gave a platform to an anti-choice atheist earlier this month and then declined to post a rebuttal by the group Secular Woman. In response, SW started a hashtag, #UpForDebate, sarcastically asking what else we should consider negotiable … [Read more...]

More on the Calgary Secular Church

[Author's Note: For my newest AlterNet article on atheist churches, I reached out to some friends and acquaintances who were involved with these organizations, including Korey Peters. Korey has previously written on Daylight Atheism about the Calgary Secular Church, the atheist community organization he cofounded, and was happy to help out for my new column. In fact, he gave me much more material than I could use, so here's the full interview.]When and by whom was the Calgary Secular Church … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: The Emergence of Atheist Churches

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, Why People Are Flocking to a New Wave of Secular Communities: Atheist Churches. In it, I report on the Sunday Assembly and other so-called atheist churches now gaining in visibility and prominence: what they're all about, what's driving their growth, and what benefits they offer us. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:As the broader atheist community becomes larger and better organized, secularists and freethinkers have shown … [Read more...]

The Sunday Assembly’s American Tour

Pippa Evans and the band warm up on stage at NYSEC.

Last Monday night, I attended a meeting of the Sunday Assembly in New York City. It was the first U.S. stop on their 40 Dates and 40 Nights tour, in which cofounders Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans are barnstorming across the country to drum up support and excitement for launching satellite congregations in, as they say, "every town, city and village that wants one".When I attended the NYC Sunday Assembly over the summer, it was at a midtown dive bar called Tobacco Road. It was a good … [Read more...]

When an Atheist Falls From Grace: On Teresa MacBain

ParkZamkowy

I wish I didn't have to write this post, but if I'm going to call attention to religious misbehavior, I can't ignore it when it happens in our own community. So, here's a sad story about Teresa MacBain, a former Methodist minister who dramatically outed herself as a nonbeliever on stage at an atheist convention. (Full disclosure: I've met Teresa and talked to her at several conventions, most recently at Women in Secularism 2 in May.)Earlier this month, she was hired as the new director of … [Read more...]

The Richard Dawkins Facepalm Watch

Facepalm

When I last wrote about Richard Dawkins, it was to report on the backlash over some clumsy, badly-judged remarks that he made about Islam. I was hoping that, at the very least, he'd learned a lesson from all the criticism he received and would watch his words more carefully in the future. But alas:In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called "the mild pedophilia" he experienced at an English school when he was a … [Read more...]

Building a Better Secular Movement

Overlook

This post will have to be my last word on this for the time being, because all this ugliness and nastiness takes an emotional toll, and I really want to get back to writing about happier things. But the events of the last few days have convinced me that our secular community, the one I love and want to see thrive, has some serious problems that need to be confronted and resolved.When I see a problem, my instinct is to fix it. So, what can we do to fix this one? I have three … [Read more...]

That Was the Wrong Answer, CFI

AlpsUponAlps

So, yesterday I wrote a post about the issue of sexual harassment in the secular community boiling over. I cited a post written by Dr. Karen Stollznow, at Scientific American's Mind blog, detailing her experiences with an employer which she says badly mishandled her complaint of harassment, and which was later reported to be the Center for Inquiry (CFI).Then, yesterday afternoon, I discovered that Stollznow's post was mysteriously gone. Shortly thereafter, Stollznow herself said the … [Read more...]

Disillusionment

Cloudbreak

I've been writing about sexism and feminism in the secular community for several years now, and if you'd asked me this question even a few days ago, I would've said that I thought things were getting better. There's certainly evidence I could point to to support that: in just a short time, anti-harassment policies have become standard at our conferences and gatherings, we've had a parade of male leaders speaking out against sexism, we have whole conventions and organizations specifically … [Read more...]

The Sunday Assembly Comes to New York

This past weekend, the Sunday Assembly, an atheist congregation that got its start in the U.K., came to New York City as the culmination of a swing through the United States. I was in attendance, and I'll be happy to tell you all about it!I have to admit that when I first got there, I didn't have high expectations. The venue was a Manhattan dive bar called Tobacco Road, tucked away on a grimy, dingy side street next to the Port Authority that was an obstacle course of … [Read more...]


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