Remembering the Holocaust, Respecting the Constitution

OhioHolocaustMemorial

In Ohio, the state legislature recently approved a plan to build a Holocaust memorial on the grounds of the statehouse, with public money to be contributed towards the cost of construction. The winning design incorporates two tall structures of stainless steel, engraved with the testimony of an Auschwitz survivor, that are shaped so as to create a prominent negative space in the shape of a Star of David. You can see an image of the design above, to get a sense of it for yourself.The Freedom … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Harassment of Church-State Plaintiffs

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, Outrageous Attacks on Supporters of Church-State Separation: Death Threats, Murdered Pets, and Vandalized Property. In it, I report on the campaigns of harassment, persecution, and even criminal violence that are all too often waged against First Amendment advocates in religious areas of the country. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:As often happens in these cases, FFRF plaintiffs asked to have their identities concealed … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: April 14

Coffee

• My wife Elizabeth is raising funds for the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon, and has just one week left and less than $200 to raise to get to her goal of $1,000. Help out!• And if you need some motivation, anti-choicers are harassing and terrorizing the staff of the newly reopened family-planning clinic in Wichita once owned by the murdered Dr. George Tiller. One of them, David Leach from the group Army of God, calls the clinic's existence "a gauntlet thrown down by someone … [Read more...]

Followup on the Atheists of Bangladesh

BangladeshAtheistsLogo

In my post on Monday, I said I'd write an update if I found out about anything else that could be done to help the Bangladeshi bloggers imprisoned for their atheism. I have a few more suggestions for how to do that.The International Humanist and Ethical Union is promoting the #HumanistSolidarity hashtag on Twitter for people to show their support, and has a list of ideas for what to say if you contact Bangladesh's embassy in your country. The American Humanist Association is also suggesting … [Read more...]

Save the Atheists of Bangladesh

BangladeshAtheistsLogo

I've been getting more and more worried by the news coming out of Bangladesh, where there's a climate of steadily increasing hostility and hate against nonbelievers. Earlier this year, there were violent riots against "blasphemous" internet posts, and one explicitly atheist blogger was murdered outside his own home. But as bad as that was, in the last few days things have suddenly gotten much, much worse:Thousands of Islamist protesters marched the streets of Bangladesh's capital, calling … [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...]

What Care Should Doctors Have to Provide?

Stethoscope

My article last week on the increasing problem of church-owned hospitals sparked a debate that I want to address in more detail. Several religious commenters were aghast at the idea that a doctor should have to perform an abortion even if it went against his personal beliefs, like this one from commenter Cheri:Do I understand correctly that people here feel that if someone believes abortion is murder and that there are moral issues with sterilization and contraception, that person has no … [Read more...]

The Increasing Problem of Religious Hospitals

The needless death of Savita Halappanavar last year, after a Catholic hospital refused to terminate her doomed pregnancy, drew a worldwide outpouring of fury against the religious dogmatism that killed her.But as I wrote at the time, Savita's story was only the tip of the iceberg. What happened to her wasn't a fluke or an aberration: it was and is the official policy of the church that if a pregnant woman's life can be saved by abortion, it's better to let two die than to save one.It's … [Read more...]

Christian Activists Demand What They Already Have

CrownOfThorns

This weekend, I saw a story on AU's Wall of Separation blog that was too funny not to share: According to the Jacksonville Daily News, members of the Baysden Chapel Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church trooped down to the Onslow County School Board building in Jacksonville, N.C., this week to demand that students be allowed to pray...."We want to put prayer back into our schools and put God back where he belongs," said David Jarman, pastor of the Richlands congregation. Now, I've written … [Read more...]

Putting an End to Pulpit Politicking

Now that the election is over, it's time for American freethinkers to turn our attention to some unfinished business. And here's one thing that should be at the top of the list. Churches in America receive a broad array of special tax privileges and exemptions, in exchange for which they have just one meaningful restriction: namely, that they can't tell their members to vote for or against a specific candidate. This is a narrowly drawn and easily evaded rule, but for a long time now, right-wing … [Read more...]


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