Republican-Led House Approves Amendment Banning Non-Religious Military Chaplains

Last month, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) suggested an amendment (PDF) to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow Humanist, ethical culturist, or atheist chaplains in the Army Chaplains Corps:

The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist.

The amendment made so much sense that, of course, Republicans were quick to condemn it:




There’s some first class ignorance for you:

They don’t believe anything,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) “I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it — your son’s just worms, I mean, worm food.’”

“This I think would make a mockery of the chaplaincy,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.). “The last thing in the world we would want to see was a young soldier who may be dying and they’re at a field hospital and the chaplain is standing over that person saying to them, ‘If you die here, there is no hope for you in the future.’”

You can see the full debate on the issue in my previous post.

Needless to say, the amendment failed on a 43-18 vote.

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The Frustration of Debates

Fred Clark has a great explanation of why debates — especially about God’s existence — aren’t as useful as they appear to be:

When Ray Comfort challenges someone to a debate over the truth of Christianity, I wince because I am a Christian and I know that Comfort is most likely going to “lose” that debate, leading some to the mistaken conclusion that this indicates something meaningful about the truth or untruth of what I believe. When William Lane Craig challenges someone to a debate over the truth of Christianity, I wince because I am a Christian and I know that Craig is most likely going to “win” that debate, leading some to the mistaken conclusion that this indicates something meaningful about the truth or untruth of what I believe.

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Part Three of The March of Reason, a Film About Atheists, Is Now Online

A couple of months ago, filmmaker Scott Burdick posted parts one and two of The March of Reason. The footage comes mostly from the Reason Rally and individual interviews with atheists, many of whom are familiar to readers of this site.

Burdick has now posted part three of his film (some of the footage, involving body painting, may be NSFW):

Burdick plans to create an edited 90-minute “documentary-style” version of the film after all five parts are posted. [Read more...]

Someone Has To Go See This Movie With Me…

You know a Christian movie is going to be good when a lesser Baldwin brother shouts out “This guy is the biggest drug trafficker in all of California which is exactly why we want to nail this guy.”

Wait, no, my new favorite line comes from the evil mob boss who tells drug dealer Ja Rule: “Oh, that’s Vanessa. She goes to Bible study every week with my wife.”

Wait, no! It’s when Ja Rule says to Vanessa, “Right now, I’m kinda in between churches.”

Wait, no! It’s when — oh, just watch the trailer:

I’m in Love with a Church Girl comes out in October.

(via The American Jesus) [Read more...]

An Excerpt from Magnificent Mistakes in Mathematics

Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann, who previously wrote the excellent book The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers (1997), have teamed up once again to write Magnificent Mistakes in Mathematics (Prometheus Books, 2013).

It’s a book with a self-explanatory title, and you only need a high-school-level background in math to understand it.

The following are excerpts from the book, reprinted with permission of the publishers:

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