When Families Argue Over Religion…

I’ve never had this sort of conversation with my parents… mostly because we don’t discuss religion anymore. I don’t know if silence is better than an ongoing, constantly-frustrating dialogue that at least has a chance of persuading them I might have a point about this whole religion thing, but it may be the best I can hope for:

(via The Thinking Atheist) [Read more...]

Republican-Sponsored Legislation to Establish a State Religion in North Carolina Has Been Indefinitely Tabled

Just days after two North Carolina Republican legislators (Rep. Harry Warren and Rep. Carl Ford) filed a bill that would establish an “official religion” (thereby letting the Rowan County Board of Commissioners open their meetings with specifically-Christian prayers), the Speaker of the House’s office is reporting that the bill will thankfully not be voted on:

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Roger Ebert: ‘There is Nothing on the Other Side of Death to Fear’

Roger Ebert passed away today at the age of 70 after a long battle with cancer. I can’t begin to express how disappointed I was to hear the news… besides being a hometown legend, he was someone whose perspective I only began to appreciate a few years ago when he began writing essays on his website. After that, I wouldn’t watch a movie without following it up by seeing what Ebert had written about it.

Ebert grew up a Roman Catholic — he was even an altar boy — but he later stopped believing in God. Still, he never used the label “atheist” to describe himself:

[More…] [Read more...]

New Creationist Research Shows That We Were All Immortal Until Adam Sinned

This isn’t a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it’s a completely serious joke.

You know how Creationists often complain they can’t get published in peer-reviewed journals? Well, Answers in Genesis (the Creation Museum people) began their own “journal” a while back so they could say, “Creationists get published, too!” The idea is that if it looks professional, gullible children (and adults) will think AiG does real science!

And the latest published, peer-reviewed paper is a perfect example of how Creationists approach big questions. Simon Turpin tackles the question we’ve all been wondering: “Did death of any kind exist before the Fall?” (PDF)

[Read more...]

Arkansas State Representative Who Called Eight-Year-Old Atheist a Fool: ‘I Regret’ the Comment

On Tuesday, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law a bill that will force all public school students in the state to observe a 60-second-long “moment” of silence.

It’s a horrible decision, it’s 60 seconds longer than any school needs, it accomplishes nothing that can’t already be done at home, and everyone knows it’s just a way to sneak prayer into public schools.

Earlier this week, I posted a message from state Rep. John Payton to a mother concerned about the effect the legislation would have on her atheist daughter:

As I summarized the message then:

A concerned mother writes to her state representatives urging them not to vote for legislation that will inevitably lead to the bullying of her atheist child… and one of the representatives writes back to say the eight-year-old girl is a fool with a darkened heart for not believing in God.

It’s not just insensitive. It’s a form of bullying from a high-ranking government official. He doesn’t give a damn what the little girl has to deal with at school because she doesn’t believe in his imaginary god.

It’s been a few days, but Payton has finally responded to the posting. A local paper got him to comment on his message (the article is unfortunately behind a paywall):

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="200"]Rep. John Payton[/caption]

Arkansas’ bill gained attention outside of the state Monday when the “Friendly Atheist” blog posted an e-mail from one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. John Payton, R-Wilburn, to a mother who had written several lawmakers with concerns about how the legislation would affect her daughter, who does not believe in God.

“Romans 1:19-25 and Psalm 14:1 address your concerns,” Payton wrote in that e-mail, citing two verses that address disbelief. In the New International Version of the Bible, Psalm 14:1 says: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

Payton said Tuesday the e-mail was “a sarcastic and unmeasured reply, and I regret making it. But I think they’re using an 8-year-old girl as a pawn.”

More like he regrets his email going public.

But the eight-year-old girl isn’t a pawn. She’s a student who doesn’t believe in God and, because of this useless drawn-out-”moment” of silence, she’s going to have a hard time dealing with her “loving” Christian classmates.

He doesn’t care, though. The bill passed. He’s Christian. He’s thrilled.

For what it’s worth, I had an email conversation with the girl’s mother last night — she told me Rep. Payton hasn’t apologized to her at all, despite only being an email address away.

Class act, that man.

Arkansas State Representative Who Called Eight-Year-Old Atheist a Fool: ‘I Regret’ the Comment

On Tuesday, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law a bill that will force all public school students in the state to observe a 60-second-long “moment” of silence.

It’s a horrible decision, it’s 60 seconds longer than any school needs, it accomplishes nothing that can’t already be done at home, and everyone knows it’s just a way to sneak prayer into public schools.

Earlier this week, I posted a message from state Rep. John Payton to a mother concerned about the effect the legislation would have on her atheist daughter:

[More…] [Read more...]


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