An Iraqi Refugee Becomes a Secular Humanist Leader

Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, who will be speaking at the opening of the Humanist Hub near Harvard’s campus this weekend, is an Iraqi refugee whose Secular Humanism is very much at odds with his cultural background.

Ken Chitwood of Religion News Service tells Al-Mutar’s powerful story:

[Read more...]

An Atheist Group’s URL Redirects to a Popular Church’s Website, so What Do They Have to Say About It?

If you wanted to visit the website for the Atlanta Freethought Society, all you have to do is go to

It was brought to my attention recently that if you typed in — maybe you didn’t know any better — it would redirect you to the website for nearby North Point Community Church:

It even shows up that way in Google when you look up “”:

Your call: Savvy marketing ploy or total dick move?

I contacted North Point a few days ago to find out if they seriously purchased the atheists’ domain name just to trick people looking for their site to visit the church’s instead.

[Read more...]

West Virginia City Council Approves ‘In God We Trust’ Display Because the ‘Country’s Going to Hell in a Handbasket’

The Clarksburg City Council in West Virginia unanimously approved a motion this week to display “In God We Trust” in City Hall. We’ve gotten used to these resolutions by now. There’s always talk about how it’s our nation’s motto and how it’s patriotic… but the council members here didn’t even bother to hold back their contempt for church/state separation and anyone who would advocate for it:

Councilman Jim Malfregeot said council decided to take the action after learning about a nationwide initiative to put those words in all city halls.

Malfregeot said he thinks other cities will get on board as well.

They’re taking God out of everything. The country’s going to Hell in a handbasket, so I thought, ‘wow. What a great thing to do.’ And to be the first city hall and city chambers in the state of West Virginia to have In God We Trust,” said Malfregeot.

Say what now? Who‘s taking God out of everything? Certainly not atheists or First Amendment groups that simply want God to remain separate from government. Want to pray in your home? Your church? Your office before a city council meeting? Have at it. Go wild.

But Malfregeot didn’t just stop there…

[Read more...]

After Putting His Initials on a Lawsuit Against a Preaching Teacher, a Young Atheist Outs Himself and Explains Why

Last week, we learned about a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association against Fayette High School’s district in Missouri.

The problem was pretty clear: Gwen Pope, a math teacher at the school, led Christian devotional prayers in her classroom every Friday morning, prayers that were announced over the loudspeaker.

In addition to all that, Pope’s husband Michael would attend the meetings and Pope was quoted as telling her math students that “God will punish them if they are not good.”

The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff was a student at the school, G.H.:

Now, that student — a junior this year — has outed himself. His name is Gavin Hunt and he explains in Humanist Network News why he decided to step into the spotlight:

[Read more...]

Seven Years Later, Ted Haggard and His Old Church Are Fine, but What About the Man Who Exposed Haggard’s Hypocrisy?

In a cover story for December’s Christianity Today, Patton Dodd explores how New Life Church in Colorado Springs is doing several years after founding pastor Ted Haggard had a dramatic fall from power:

Over the first weekend of November 2006, New Life’s meteoric rise came to a crashing halt. Haggard resigned from his church and the [National Association of Evangelicals] in the wake of accusations of drug use and a sexual relationship with a man in Denver.

New Life was left with $26 million in debt, dwindling resources, and uncertainty at every turn. More accusers came forward. In the coming months, reports of Haggard’s recovery and restoration popped up, usually putting both church and former pastor in a bad light…

The Haggard revelations were like catnip for so many of us since he was arguably the most influential evangelical leader of the time and a key voice for the anti-gay-rights movement.

Dodd writes that, while the church is bouncing back, it’s still trying to reclaim its identity:

[Read more...]