About a month ago, the Satanic Temple made nationwide headlines when they said they wanted to donate a monument to be placed in outside the Oklahoma State Capitol building, where a Ten Commandments monument already stood: That was soon followed by a request from a Hindu group that wanted to erect a monument of Lord [Read More...]
When Michael Higgins was running to become the President of Ireland in 2011, he told Atheist Ireland of his desire for a country more inclusive of the non-religious perspective, including the re-examination of the presidential oath with its godly language (“May God direct and sustain me”):
Do you personally agree that, as a President elected by the people, many of whom do not believe in a god, you should be required to publicly ask a god to “direct” you in your work as our President?
Clearly, if I am elected President I will take the oath: I embarked upon this campaign in the knowledge that this would be expected of me if elected. There is to be a constitutional convention in the new year — which I fully support — and it is at this forum that matters such as the oath ought to be examined. It is of great importance that the Presidency and all surrounding it ought to be fit for purpose for a modern state with a population comprising a large number of different religious beliefs as well as none.
Christopher Schaeffer was recently elected to the Pomfret Town Board in New York. The image of his swearing-in went viral after pictures of him wearing a colander on his head (he’s a Pastafarian, after all) were published online in The Observer:
I had a chance to speak with Schaeffer last night to get more insight into what he was hoping to accomplish, what message he hoped to convey, and what the response has been like for him.
Remember the Pastor Trying Out Atheism for a Year? He Just Got Fired by His Christian Employers. Let’s Help Him Out
Last week, I posted about Ryan J. Bell, an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary and a former pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist church. Bell decided to run an experiment where he would live like an atheist for a year while documenting his journey:
I criticized the methodology — I don’t think you can even pretend to be an atheist simply by reading books by atheist authors and attending atheist gatherings when your religious beliefs are still somewhere in the back of your mind — but I still applauded the fact that he was exploring atheism and wanted to learn more about it.
Unfortunately, exploring faith with a critical eye, as Bell was attempting to do, was a little too much for his employers. Just days after he made his announcement, they fired him until he rededicates himself to Jesus:
At Yesterday’s Interfaith Prayer Service for Boston’s Mayor-Elect, a Humanist Delivered the Final Remarks
“I think what you’ll see in the celebration tomorrow will be the width and depth of support within the city for the new mayor,” Brown said. “It’s not just the communities of color — it’s also part of that — but it is the big tent of supporters. People may have different ideas for the city but coming together we can find ways we can be one in the city.”
We’ve seen these sorts of events before, with atheists pushed to the background as people of faith come together and offer words of encouragement to the new leaders. Even in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings this year, atheists were excluded from the city’s major interfaith service.
But this ceremony was different.