This Godless Iraqi Citizen Has the Nickname ‘Baghdad’s Converter’

There’s something absolutely inspiring about atheists who are outspoken about their non-belief in countries where you expect that to be more of a death-sentence. Whether it’s in an Islamic nation where apostasy is punished or an African country where the percentage of atheists is somewhere in the low single digits, I root for anyone who has the courage to speak out.

That may be why I enjoyed hearing about Omar Al-Baghdadi, a pseudonym for a guy known as “Baghdad’s Converter”:



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Australian Journalist Asks About Ken Ham: ‘How Did He Get Out?’

A few days ago, we saw the Secular Coalition of Australia (SECOA) issue a tongue-in-cheek press release apologizing for Ken Ham in advance of his debate against Bill Nye the Science Guy.

But I don’t think John Birmingham, writing on his Brisbane Times blog, is joking in his apology to the state of Kentucky titled “For God’s sake, how did he get out?“:



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Todd Starnes of Fox News Lies Again: A School Did Not Cancel ‘Merica Monday’ Because It Would Offend Non-Americans

Fox News’ Todd Starnes has a nasty habit of parroting every story of Christian persecution he hears… even if there’s no truth to them.

He was on a roll in December, writing about a Georgia school that confiscated Christian cards (even though they didn’t) and a Texas school that banned Christmas trees (even though they didn’t).

Starnes is back in top form now, writing about Fort Collins High School in Colorado because administrators supposedly decided to cancel a spirit day honoring America because they didn’t want to offend non-Americans:

The student council at Fort Collins High School had proposed having a day to celebrate the United States during next week’s Winter Spirit Week. The young people pitched “’Merica Monday” and invited their classmates to dress in patriotic colors. Their proposal was promptly shot down by administrators.

“They said they didn’t want to be exclusive to any other country,” a 17-year-old member of the student council told me.

The irony, said the students, is that they are required to participate in Cinco de Mayo celebrations. One member of the student council pointed out the hypocrisy — and noted that students were not being forced to dress in red, white and blue for “’Merica Day.”

“We were confused why we couldn’t do one day that was for America,” the student told me.

Of course, the reality of the situation is that Starnes chose to ignore the school’s side of the story because it didn’t fit into his jingoistic narrative.

Here’s what really happened.



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The British Government Will Soon Take Action Against Female Genital Mutilation

The British government will soon be announcing plans to deal with the problem of female genital mutilation, likely requiring doctors to report any instances of FGM that come their way.

Even though the practice has been illegal for nearly 30 years, it’s still happening and medical professionals know it. Even worse, no one has ever been prosecuted for the crime, but that may be changing soon now that an FGM case is finally going to trial for the first time:

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9 Things Atheists Should Stop Saying

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, lists 9 things atheists should stop saying:

Vic Wang inspired the video and you should check out his extended list here!

I should point out that, for #2, I didn’t mean to suggest that those who make extraordinary claims shouldn’t be held to high standards of evidence, only that they never seem to meet even very basic standards of evidence.

Matt Dillahunty offers his criticism of the list here, though I think it’s worth mentioning that the video was intended to be about how these statements came across to Christians; Matt’s critique focuses on how accurate the statements actually are. I think there’s a noteworthy difference between those perspectives.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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