A Dangerously Incurious Pope

This is a guest post written by Herb Silverman.

I can’t say I’m surprised that Pope Francis (above) was Time magazine’s Person of the Year. And as an atheist, I’m not particularly disappointed by the decision. While Pope Francis hasn’t changed Church doctrine, he has at least changed its emphasis. I prefer a pope like Francis who focuses more on poverty and economic inequality than on birth control and gay marriage. I would have been more enthusiastic about Time’s choice had the Pope also acknowledged that birth control can help reduce poverty and that loving couples should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. In such an anachronistic and powerful institution, I would welcome small but significant reforms to Catholic Church doctrines that affect many outside the institution.

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Bill de Blasio May Be One of the Highest-Ranking ‘Nones’ in America

We already know that Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) refuses to talk about her religious faith publicly, making her the only member of Congress currently labeled as a “None.” She’s not openly atheist — but she’s not openly theistic, either.

Now, it appears that newly-elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is following in her footsteps, as Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports:



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The Money That Was Rejected by the Morton Grove Park District and Public Library Has Finally Been Accepted

For more than two months now, I’ve been trying to give the community of Morton Grove, Illinois over $3,000 that readers raised after a local American Legion post withheld a significant amount of money from the Park District when board Commissioner Dan Ashta wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Park District rejected the donation saying they didn’t want to get “embroiled in a First Amendment dispute” (which was weird, since that was precisely what they were doing by accepting money from the American Legion on the condition that everyone stand for the Pledge).

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How Should We Teach Religion in Public School?

Religion & Politics asked an excellent question — “Should we teach religion in public schools? And if so, how?” — and got responses from a variety of panelists:



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The Secular Safe House: A Refuge for Those Coming Out of Religion

Troy Fitzgerald, who grew up in a religious cult and is now out and proud about his atheism and sexuality, has embarked on a neat project that could really help a lot of people: It’s called Secular Safe House and it’s designed to help those atheists and LGBT individuals who have been kicked out of their homes or just need someone to talk to:



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