Join My Virtual Light the Night Team for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

This weekend, I’ll be joining a large group of heathens in Chicago for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk. We have a number of Secular Student Alliance teams that will be there, but I’m running the Friendly Atheist Virtual Team!

If you’re not already walking and would like to chip in for the occasion, your donations would go a long way toward my personal goal of raising $2,500 (and your gift will be matched by the Stiefel Freethought Foundation!), so please consider giving something.

Otherwise, if you’re in Chicago, hope to see you Saturday night! [Read more...]

Seth Andrews Interviews Richard Dawkins

Seth Andrews (The Thinking Atheist) recently sat down with Richard Dawkins for an hour-long conversation about his new memoir An Appetite for Wonder and plenty more.

The interview begins at the 7:47 mark:

I haven’t had a chance to listen to the full conversation, but if you hear anything notable, please leave the timestamp and summary in the comments! [Read more...]

Private Christian Schools That Receive Taxpayer Dollars Are (Legally) Expelling Gay Students

Usually, when church/state advocates argue against school vouchers, they’re fighting against tax dollars being used to pay for religious schools that may preach Creationism or revisionist history.

Alex Morris shows us in the latest issue of Rolling Stone that there’s another concern: LGBT students can be legally expelled from schools that are receiving this government cash:

As religious institutions, these schools have the legal right to uphold and enforce any faith-based belief system they please. And parents who enroll their children — if not always the children being enrolled — understand the repercussions of such policies. However, by exploiting recent legislation, Christian schools in Georgia that openly discriminate against gay students have been receiving millions of dollars in diverted public funds as a result of a 2008 law meant to provide funding to help [low­-income] children transfer to private schools. Tristan, Jason and Emily, along with about 500 other students, attend a school that participates in this program.

It’s not just Georgia — 11 other states now have laws that offer tax credits to those who give scholarships for private schools.

[Read more...]

Woman Sues InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for Firing Her (but Not Men) After a Divorce

Alyce Conlon worked as a spiritual director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Michigan for about seven years (and for the company in general for more than two decades) before she got fired following her divorce.

If that sounds unnecessarily cruel, well, what do you expect? IVCF is the same organization that once told a gay Christian he couldn’t be an officer of his campus IVCF group because of his cooties.

Conlon’s now suing IVCF — good for her — claiming that she was treated very differently compared to men who had been in the same position. The more you read about how her situation was handled by the company, the less respect you’ll have for this Jesus-loving group:

“During this leave of absence, plaintiff followed each and every requirement of the Separation and Divorcing Staff Policy including counseling sessions and continuing communication with her supervisors as to her progress.”

During the absence, [IVCF's regional director of the Great Lakes Region Fred] Bailey and [Ohio Valley Division director Marc] Papai contacted her husband, David Riemer, to discuss the marriage — without Conlon’s knowledge, the lawsuit said.

Papai also provided a “Staff only confidential policy” to the husband, then he and Bailey asked him to write a letter about their marriage. They also ordered Conlon to see a counselor of her husband’s choice, the lawsuit said.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit contends, two men who also went through divorces still have their IVCF jobs:

[Read more...]

Today Marks the Release of a Comic Book Series Featuring Atheist Superheroes Battling Supernatural Threats

For the comic book fans out there, today is the publication date of the first issue in the four-part series S.H.O.O.T. First by Justin Aclin with illustrations by Nicolás Daniel Selma:

The title will center around a group of hardcore atheists who protect mankind from the supernatural threats that they do not believe in.

“It’s about a team called the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce, who use the power of their own disbelief (as filtered through sci-fi weaponry) to protect humanity from supernatural creatures that seek to do us harm,” Aclin told Parallel Worlds.

“But for S.H.O.O.T., that means demons, angels and everything in between.”

The team dismiss all the manifestations of ghouls and monsters as ‘Outside Actors’ — extra-dimensional attempts to manipulate mankind’s primal fears.

It’s actually a very fascinating approach to the atheist conversation. We’ve said for a long time that doubt is the enemy of faith, that critical thinking can vanquish religious beliefs, and this graphic novel puts those ideas right at the center of a superhero-genre story:

[Read more...]