Despite Silent Protests, Bill Maher Encourages Berkeley Graduates to Be Freethinkers and “Fight Oppression”

A couple of months ago, we learned that comedian Bill Maher was invited to deliver the commencement address at University of California, Berkeley’s winter graduation ceremony.

The problem was that students were petitioning to stop him from speaking there:

Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for. In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment. Bill Maher’s public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities. Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities.

It was a pointless effort from the start. Maher’s job is to share his opinions and make jokes about touchy subjects. As far as opinion-leaders go, his biggest liability is that he talks about topics (like religion) most people want to avoid at all costs. While the bigotry charge was over-the-top, the racism charge was just baseless.

[Read more…]

More New York Fire Departments Are Now Wishing Jesus a Happy Birthday

People always argue that groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation go after “petty” church/state separation cases, and they should just let some things slide.

Like New York’s Utica Fire Department Station 4 with a “Happy Birthday Jesus” sign outside its building. What’s the harm, right?

Well, not only are they selling shirts promoting Christianity, other fire departments are now following their lead, like the Whitesboro Fire Department (also in NY):



[Read more…]

Forget North Korean Threats; Center For Inquiry Tells Sony Pictures It’ll Gladly Screen The Interview

Yesterday, as Sony Pictures announced that it would not release the Seth Rogan/James Franco movie The Interview because of threats from North Korea, the Center for Inquiry stepped up and said it would be glad to host screenings of the film:



[Read more…]

Male Shame, the Root of Female Shame

This is an article by Darrel Ray. It appears in the current issue of American Atheist magazine. American Atheist magazine is available at Barnes & Noble and Book World bookstores in the U.S. and at Chapters/Indigo bookstores in Canada. Go to Atheists.org to subscribe or to join American Atheists. Members receive free digital subscription. It’s also available from iTunes.

For thousands of years, religions have used shame as a method of control. It is easy to see how shame is detrimental to females in patriarchal religions, but it has grave consequences for males as well. We hear a good deal today about the shaming of women and girls, but we don’t hear as much about male shame. Male shame is all around us and starts at infancy. Its message is strong and consistent: males must act a certain way or they are not really male. Males must always be seen as distinctly different and superior to females. From male shame comes a wide range of behaviors designed to oppress women and ensure male dominance. Understanding the interplay and dynamics of shame makes it possible to explain much of the misogynistic behavior we see in the religious and non-religious alike.

[Read more…]

“America’s Doctor” Doesn’t Seem to Care About the Scientific Merits of His Claims, Says New Study on Dr. Oz

This past June, Dr. Mehmet Oz was called to testify before Congress at the request of Senator Claire McCaskill because of one particularly egregious scam that he, among others, promoted.

Now, the British Medical Journal has weighed in with more substantive charges against the sell-out doctor. A study published on Wednesday shows that his recommendations are far from scientifically sound:

[Read more…]