FFRF at the Supreme Court

Tomorrow, February 28, will be a date of tremendous importance for all friends of church-state separation in the United States of America. For tomorrow, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom from Religion Foundation will be presenting oral arguments before the nine justices of the Supreme Court, in the case of Hein v. FFRF. The principle at stake is whether American citizens, by virtue of their status as taxpayers, have the right to bring suit against the executive branch of the … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch IX: A Religious Police State

I have written in the past about the paranoid, twisted obsession that most religious fundamentalists have with sex. Rather than viewing it as a natural, healthy part of human life, and a source of pleasure and emotional connection when engaged in responsibly, excessive religious devotion leads some believers to view sex as a menacing and ever-present temptation to sin that must be resisted at all costs. Some of these go even further and view sex not only as a great sin, but seemingly the only … [Read more...]

The War on Christmas: Here We Go Again

In a post earlier this week, I wrote about how retailers and advertisers play on the sentiments associated with the holiday season as a way to make money, and how the religious right is actually, unbelievably, accelerating this trend by demanding the commercialization of their most sacred symbols. However, I failed to note at that time that the religious right is not stopping at encouraging others to commercialize Christmas. On the contrary, they are actively taking part in it themselves. As … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch VIII: Religious Tests

Meet Keith Ellison:Ellison is one of the new Democratic representatives elected in the November midterms, the winner of an open seat in Minnesota's 5th District. Representative-elect Ellison is also a Muslim, the first member of that religion ever to be elected to the United States Congress. As such, when he takes his oath of office, he intends to do so on a copy of the Qur'an.And there the story would end... in a world more rational than our own. In our world, the religious right, still … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch VII: Season's Warning

With the Democratic victories in the recent midterm elections, I am hopeful that I will have to write considerably fewer Theocracy Watch posts in the near future. This is not to say that the Democrats do not also pander to religion, which they do, but only that they usually show less interest than Republicans in integrating it materially into our government. However, this does not mean that unconstitutional establishments of religion are no longer continuing, and this post will examine one of … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch VI: Thoughts in Captivity

There have been many pieces of good news for atheists in November, and I'm happy to be able to report another one. As reported in the November issue of Freethought Today, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has done it again, winning a major victory against the creeping theocracy that is infiltrating our government due to the unconstitutional actions of the Bush administration.Specifically, an FFRF legal challenge has persuaded the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to cancel its plans for five … [Read more...]

Religious Bigotry Caught Red-Handed

November has been quite the month for feeling schadenfreude. Between Kent Hovind's conviction, Ted Haggard's spectacular fall from grace, and the Republicans' crushing loss in the midterm elections, atheists have had much to rejoice over, and our political adversaries much occasion to mourn. And now, there is another encouraging piece of news where the good guys win.According to the Lippard Blog, which came to my attention via Pharyngula, a religious bigot who is a high-school teacher has been … [Read more...]

The Keys to Heaven

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.—Matthew 16:18-19 (RSV)Temptation's strong (Salvation's gone) I'm on my way To Hell's half acre How will I ever (How will I ever) Get to Heaven now...—The Dixie Chicks, "Lubbock or Leave … [Read more...]

Tax the Churches

In the United States of America today, churches and religious groups are treated with enormous sensitivity and deference by politicians and the media, a deference they have not earned. Far too often, the government and society in general bends over backwards to accommodate and encourage religious beliefs even when there is no rational reason why they should do so. The most egregious example of this is the sweeping tax exemptions granted to religion.It is not just one tax that religious … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch V: Court-Stripping

In a worrying development for every citizen concerned about protecting state-church separation, the so-called "Public Expression of Religion Act" passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week on a largely party-line vote of 244 to 173. Sponsored by Republican representative John Hostettler, this bill's purpose is to make it too expensive for private citizens and public interest groups to sue the government to compel it to cease actions which violate the Constitution.With the law … [Read more...]


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