California School District Apologizes to Student Reprimanded for Sitting During the Pledge

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a seventh grader in the San Jacinto Unified School District in California. He was reprimanded by his teacher after remaining seated during the Pledge of Allegiance. As usual, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center was on it:

[Read more...]

This Video, Drawing on Pew Research Data, Claims That the “Tiny Minority” of Radical Muslims Is Actually a Majority

Ben Shapiro probably isn’t Ben Affleck‘s favorite person, but that’s OK – the feeling is mutual.

Shapiro, who co-founded the conservative media-watchdog group TruthRevolt, put together a video in which he painstakingly tallies (using Pew data) what proportion of Muslims worldwide subscribe to ideas that most people in the West would most likely consider radical — things like favoring Sharia law, expressing support or understanding for al-Qaeda and other terrorists, saying that “honor killings” can be permissible, and so on.

Shapiro comes up with a truly eye-popping number: More than 800 million Muslims are “radicalized,” he says, or more than half of the world total of approximately 1.5 billion.

[Read more...]

Is It the Year 2014 A.D. or 2014 C.E.? One Hard-to-Offend Atheist Offers an Alternative (of Sorts)

When I say that we all have gaps in our knowledge, of course that’s meant to make my knowledge deficits sound no worse than yours. But sometimes I wonder.

A few weeks ago, I beheld the term C.E. (coupled with a four-digit calendar year) for the first time. Oh, I’d seen it before, and had easily inferred from the context that it meant the same as A.D., but I suddenly realized I didn’t know what the two letters stood for. So I Googled it.

Common era. Also, B.C.E.: Before Common Era. Right.

They did strike me as fine inventions on one level: I can appreciate that they offer neutral alternatives to what I and probably billions of other people have been taught in school over the generations: the quintessentially Christian terminology of B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini = the Year of the Lord).

But both sets of terms still take as their zero point the birth of the (possibly fictional) Christian savior, so I couldn’t quite see how we’d booked real progress in disassociating ourselves from normative Christianity.

And neither, it turns out, can this guy.

[Read more...]

False Statements Under Oath: One More Sin in the Catholic Church’s Abuse Scandals

During a deposition in April 2014, Archbishop John Nienstedt (below) of Saint Paul and Minneapolis testified to his lack of knowledge concerning a priest’s prior conviction of child abuse, saying he had only discovered that sordid history “during the last six months” and that he had never known much about the abuser’s past.

The evidence suggests otherwise.

[Read more...]

NYPD Confirms That Man Who Smashed an Axe Into Police Officer’s Face Is a Convert To Islam

On Thursday night, the New York Police Department still described hatchet-wielding attacker Zale Thompson as “just an angry man,” downplaying the possibility that he was a terrorist.

Then the cops looked at his Facebook page and searched his computer, and whaddaya know – the would-be murderer is a fan of Allah, with a fondness for violent jihad.

A man who attacked New York City police officers with an ax had converted to Islam in recent years and the assault appears to have been a lone-wolf terror attack. … One officer who was struck in the head with the ax by Zale Thompson on Thursday is in critical but stable condition, Police Commissioner William Bratton said. A second officer was also injured. Thompson, 32, was shot and killed by two other officers as Thompson charged them with the ax, Bratton said.

[Read more...]