There Will Be a Satanic Display in Florida’s Capitol Building This Holiday Season

Last year the Florida State Capitol Building became home to a Nativity scene, a Festivus Pole, three signs from atheist groups, and an homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

Despite the cultural smorgasbord, Capitol officials drew the line when it came to the Satanic Temple’s proposed display, calling it “grossly offensive”:

[Read more…]

Pastor Steven Anderson: “If You Executed the Homos Like God Recommends,” the World Would be AIDS-Free by Christmas

My wife and I were in the car a few days ago, listening to a recent episode of This American Life, when we heard a segment by reporter Debbie Nathan about border patrol checkpoints and the people who disregard the agents’ wishes. These people eventually get let through anyway because the agents have no actual legal authority — and that’s the point of the story. Nathan added that some people even videotaped their conversations with the agents just to prove that you didn’t have to listen to them.

At one point, we both perked up when Nathan mentioned one of the people who found a clever way to get around dealing with the agents.

My wife asked me, “Isn’t that the crazy pastor you always post about?”

I believe I responded with, “I DON’T POST ABOUT HIM THAT MUCH!!!” and “Yes” and “I think I need help.”

It was our friend, Pastor Steven Anderson (who has a long history battling the border patrol agents).

He actually came out looking pretty good in that episode.

I doubt Nathan had any idea that Anderson is the same guy who’s under fire this week for a sermon in which he told his congregation his plan to cure AIDS:

If you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.

[Read more…]

James Watson Wants to Sell His Nobel Prize; If Only He Had Some Dignity to Add to the Auction Block

About seven years ago, I heard that James Watson, the man credited with discovering the structure of DNA along with Francis Crick, was speaking in Chicago. I had to see him — who knew when that opportunity would come up again? The event itself was fine. I remember his making jokes about the silliness of religion and saying that he was hesitant about being quoted on the back of Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion so he wrote a blurb that was so bad, it was unusable. I’m sure I laughed at that.

But I also remember being a little taken aback by some of the politically incorrect statements he was making. (I don’t remember specifics.) It wasn’t so bad that I felt compelled to walk out of there; I was just surprised that someone so intelligent would just say whatever came to mind with no filter whatsoever.

And now he’s auctioning off his Nobel Prize because, he says, he needs the money:

He said he is selling his prized medallion because he has no income outside of academia, even though for years he had served on many corporate boards. The gold medal is expected to fetch between $2.5 million and $3.5 million when it goes to auction Thursday… Watson said that he will use the money to purchase art and make donations to institutions that have supported him, such as the University of Chicago.

Man, it must be nice to need money so badly… so that you can buy a painting. I hope I’m that needy one day.

There’s a reason no one is eager to hire him, though. His public comments over the past several years have been racist, sexist, and just generally disturbing. (To be sure, they may have always been that way, but I didn’t start noticing it until a few years ago.)

Slate‘s Laura Helmuth explains:

[Read more…]

City Council Votes Down Mosque Saying It Can’t Be in Retail Space… Months After Approving Church in Retail Space

On Monday night, the Kennesaw City Council (in Georgia) voted down a proposed Islamic center located in a strip mall… but even that was an obstacle in itself:

… when the time came, Kennesaw Mayor Mark Matthews had trouble getting the council to take a vote at all. No member would second the motion to proceed.

After several very awkward pauses, the council finally voted. Four of the five members voted “no”.

Why would they say no when the Muslims fulfilled all the requirements of any group looking to acquire the space? Council member Debra Williams (below) made clear this had nothing to do with anti-Islamic prejudice:

[Read more…]

Many Christmas Traditions Have Little To Do with Christianity

Seth Andrews explains how atheists can celebrate Christmas even though we don’t believe in the Christian myth — and it’s the same reason we don’t care about the origins of the days of the week. In fact, there’s a lot of history behind Christmas traditions that aren’t Bible-based at all:

[Read more…]