MIT May Be the Next School to Have a Humanist Chaplain

Last month, MIT announced that graduation ceremonies would no longer have a religious invocation:

In response to recent requests that the Commencement Committee reconsider the nature of the invocation that opens the Exercises on Killian Court, we first gathered input from the student body via a survey that yielded nearly 600 responses. The next step was a meeting to review the survey data that included student leaders Anika Gupta and Sid Rao as well as representatives from the Secular Society of MIT. From this conversation and from the responses of students to the survey, consensus emerged that a neutral, non-religious invocation would be welcome and broadly appealing. Chaplain to the Institute Robert Randolph was engaged to discuss the universal nature of this message, and the desires expressed by a wide range of student voices.

The committee thanks the students who participated in the process and all those who shared their thoughts via the survey. In 2014 and beyond, Dr. Randolph will deliver an inclusive, secular invocation in which he calls on graduating students to reflect on their education with gratitude and hope as they commence to work wisely, creatively, and effectively toward the betterment of humankind.


Chancellor Eric Grimson, Chair
Professor Les Norford, Commencement Marshal
Ms. Gayle Gallagher, Executive Officer for Commencement
Commencement Committee
May 9, 2014

The impetus for that change was an opinion piece in the The Tech written by the former president of the Secular Society of MIT, Aaron Scheinberg.

Now, Scheinberg is off and running on his next big project: Creating MIT’s first Humanist Chaplaincy.

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Blind Atheist Congressional Candidate Urges Voters to “Restore America’s Vision”

In April, James Woods announced that he would be running for Congress in Arizona’s District 5, hoping to replace Republican Matt Salmon. (Salmon opposes federal funding of abortions, gay marriage, and gay adoption, despite his own son being gay. He even voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.)

It’s worth pointing out that Woods, who is legally blind, is also openly non-religious.

In an ad just released by his campaign, Woods lays out his five guiding principles and brilliantly urges voters to help “restore America’s vision“:

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My Book About Young Atheists Was Handed Out at Kentucky High Schools Yesterday

Earlier this year, Gideons International requested and received permission to leave Bibles at a Kentucky public elementary school in Casey County so that interested children could pick them up.

In response, the Tri-State Freethinkers group decided they also wanted to play the game by leaving books promoting Humanism at the same school. The district had no choice but to allow them to do it.

Since the Gideons group has reach beyond just that district, the Freethinkers made similar requests elsewhere — and they received permission from the Boone County school system to give away copies of a book that I wrote: The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide.

Yesterday, on the last day of classes, the book was distributed at a few different high schools in the district (much to the chagrin of Christians like Ken Ham):

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This May Be the Most Mismatched Debate Over God’s Existence You’ll Ever See

Over the weekend, Matt Dillahunty (host of The Atheist Experience) debated Christian Presuppositional apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate on the existence of God. The debate took place in Memphis, Tennessee and was moderated by Dogma Debate‘s David Smalley.

Seth Andrews has the video:

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Center For Inquiry Launches Campaign to “Keep Health Care Safe and Secular”

A new campaign launched by the Center For Inquiry aims to educate the public on the importance of keeping health care “safe and secular“:

I can’t stress how broad this campaign is — and it needs to be. Atheists and skeptics should be concerned with any number of health care-related issues.

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