Analyzing the Rainbow Just Wouldn’t Be As Effective

Richard Dawkins wrote this memorable passage in Unweaving the Rainbow:

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?

It’s a beautiful passage that really celebrates the joy of life in a non-religious way. But John Danaher at h+ Magazine isn’t moved by it:

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This Weekend, Pastors Will Dare the IRS to Revoke Their Churches’ Tax-Exemptions by Talking Politics from the Pulpit

For years now, the biggest IRS scandal may have been how churches that pay no taxes in return for not endorsing political candidates were breaking those rules openly but receiving no punishment at all. (Some pastors even sent the IRS videos of their sermons.)

It happens on “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” where more than 1,000 pastors speak out on political issues and/or endorse specific candidates.

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Rhode Island Catholic School Removes Pro-Choice Politician from Its Hall of Fame, but Plans to Induct Ex-Con

La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island is one of those Catholic schools that’s been around forever, with the current building dedicated in 1925. You can imagine that its Hall of Fame (“Wall of Notables”) is pretty stacked given all the alumni the school has had, but that’s been a source of controversy recently.

First, they removed the painting of Gina Raimondo, the Democratic candidate for governor, because she cares too much about the rights of women:

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After Speaking Out Against “In God We Trust” Display, Alabama Atheist’s Next Target is Religious Veterans’ Monument

Back in August, several non-Christians spoke in front of the Mobile County Commission (in Alabama) to request they put up displays reading things like “In Reason We Trust.” It was in response to a vote to put “In God We Trust” on a plaque in the city’s Administration Building. Despite the pushback, the Commission denied those requests, saying only the Christian phrase would go up.

Amanda Scott, a member of the Mobile Atheist Community, was one of the people who fought against the Christian privilege:

Her willingness to speak up also made her the target of several online threats, including one from a correctional officer.

But Amanda isn’t backing off. In fact, she has a new mission involving a veterans’ memorial at the Baldwin County Courthouse:

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Illinois Group’s Billboard Targets Senator Dick Durbin for His “A” Grade from Atheist Lobby

When the Secular Coalition for America decided to create election voter guides several years ago, there was some internal discussion about whether that was a good or bad idea because we didn’t want our reputation (the “atheist lobby”) to hurt candidates who supported our values. That thought was quickly laughed off, though. Like we have that sort of power!

Turns out we have that sort of power.

If you drive through central Illinois right now (near Exit 72 on I-55), there’s a billboard sponsored by the Lake County Right to Life Committee, Inc. targeting Senator Dick Durbin who just received an “A” grade from the SCA:



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