Changing Minds Takes Empathy (and Civility)

I used to follow the liberal writer Matt Bruenig's columns on politics and economics, but I stopped reading a while ago. Although I agreed with him more often than not, he radiated an attitude of aggressive contempt for anyone who disagreed with him that I found insufferable. That's why I wasn't surprised to hear about this:After multiple conversations, Matt Bruenig and Demos have agreed to disagree on the value of the attack mode on Twitter. We part ways on the effectiveness of these … [Read more...]

Vote for Harm Reduction, Not Purity

North Carolina's appalling HB2, which I wrote about on Monday, is just one bill in a parade of awfulness from state legislatures. In the last few weeks alone, Indiana has outlawed abortion if the fetus has a defect or disability, and Utah requires women getting abortion to receive unnecessary anesthesia against their will. A South Carolina bill would make anyone who sponsors a refugee criminally liable if that refugee commits a crime. Mississippi wants to grant shoot-to-kill authority to … [Read more...]

On Not Ceding the Moral High Ground

This already-bizarre campaign season has taken an ugly turn, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump encouraging violence at his rallies and even promising to pay his supporters' legal bills if they were arrested. That's why many people feared the worst last week, when Trump announced he would hold a rally in Chicago, on the campus of the University of Illinois.A massive counterprotest quickly sprang up, and at the last minute, the campaign called off the event. They claim that the police … [Read more...]

A Response to Cracked’s “5 Atheist Arguments Which Aren’t Helping Anyone”

I admit, I spend a lot of time browsing Cracked. From its origins as a comedy website about dick jokes, it's grown into one of the most subversively intelligent and thoughtful sites on the internet, commenting not just on pop culture, but on politics, philosophy and religion. Among other things, they've published harrowing personal essays about life in Muslim theocracies, religious honor-killing cultures and the Quiverfull cult.Which brings me to this column by Luke McKinney, 5 Atheist … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Can There Be an Atheist Vote?

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "We atheists can use growing clout to beat evangelicals at their own political game".Trying to organize atheists politically is often compared to herding cats. The conventional wisdom is that, while evangelical Christians and other religious groups march in lockstep and can be counted on to vote as a bloc, atheists are all cussed individualists who argue constantly and will never speak with anything like a unified voice, so there's no point in … [Read more...]

Should We Reach Out to Conservative Atheists?

Last month, American Atheists sought to rent a booth at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference. Surprisingly, CPAC accepted their money at first, only to change their mind at the last minute.That entirely foreseeable outcome would have been more than sufficient as free publicity, but American Atheists president Dave Silverman decided to attend as an individual. While he was there, he gave several interviews asserting that atheism should have a bigger place among conservatives. … [Read more...]

A Reply to James Croft

My new Patheos colleague, James Croft, has written a post welcoming me to the site and inviting me to a rhetorical face-off. I'm never one to pass up an invitation to a cordial debate, so let's have at it!James' post concerns my speech at the 2012 SSA conference, where I laid out my strategy for effective atheist activism. He has responses to several of the points I made, which are under the headings below:The Importance of AngerI spoke about why anger is a valid and important … [Read more...]

Growing the Secular Community

While attending the 2012 SSA convention, I had some thoughts about the future of the secular movement and what shape it will likely take in the coming years. As atheism expands and becomes organized, it's acquiring a political affiliation and a corona of associated beliefs - generally left-leaning, socially progressive, and increasingly identifying as pro-social justice and pro-feminist - and this is a development that we should definitely encourage. Some people assert that atheism means … [Read more...]

Politics Is the Art of the Possible

After writing my previous post chastising the National Atheist Party, I thought (and hoped) that I'd be done writing about Reason Rally drama. Alas, it was not to be. Apparently, the organizers are now getting an earful of complaints about the speakers list: partially with reference to Bill Maher (who's supported deplorably irrational anti-vaccine kookery), but more specifically about Senator Tom Harkin, who'll be greeting the Rally in a brief videotaped message. The complaint is that Harkin … [Read more...]

A Blunder by the National Atheist Party

I'm getting excited for the Reason Rally next weekend in Washington, D.C., which promises to be the largest and most spectacular atheist gathering in recent history - possibly the largest ever. Given the numbers of people likely to show up and the corresponding amount of media coverage it could receive, it's to be expected that the rally would be targeted by Christians trying to exploit our efforts for their own publicity. We've already heard about proselytizers who intend to come and preach at … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X