Unitarian Pastor: If My Religious Liberty is Protected, Then Don’t Refuse My Right to Marry Same-Sex Couples

As I posted a couple of days ago, Kentucky recently passed House Bill 279, allowing for discrimination in the workplace, housing, and even public facilities if the justification involves “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Governor Steve Beshear vetoed the bill, but the state’s other elected official had the numbers to override the veto.

So discrimination against gays, lesbians, atheists, Muslims, and everyone else who doesn’t believe what the Christian majority does is about to become commonplace in the state.

As tragic as that is, I have to appreciate this letter from a local Unitarian pastor in response to the bill:

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How Chris Stedman’s Faitheist is Helping Me Discover a More Effective and Compassionate Atheism

This is a guest post by Marcus Mann. Marcus is a graduate student in Religion at Duke University. He studies contemporary atheist and secular humanist social movements and has contributed to the blog NonProphet Status. You can follow him on Twitter at @mannmarcus.

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Near the end of his book Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, Chris Stedman urges us, the readers, “to step boldly and defiantly across dividing lines of religious and nonreligious identity and share our experiences in hope that we might build understanding through relationships of commitment and cooperation.” Rather than write a review for this important and affective book or take part in the controversy that it has engendered, I want to take this cue from Stedman and share a bit of my own story and of how both atheism and religious pluralism became values central to my worldview. In doing so, I hope to contribute in some small way to the broader exercise of building the kind of understanding Stedman writes about.

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Texas A&M Student Body President Nixes Religious Exemption to Student Fees

Religious students at Texas A&M University have spent the last few weeks coming up with creative ways to scare off GLBT students once and for all. Earlier this month, they nearly succeeded.

As a sneaky way to eliminate any and all support for gay life on campus, some students authored a measure that would allow anyone with “sincerely held religious beliefs” to opt out of paying the portion of their student fees allotted toward the school’s GLBT Resource Center, used by more than a thousand Aggies each semester.

Of course, the bill’s language was altered at the last minute to make it appear less discriminatory and more oriented toward “religious freedom.”

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Congressman Cites Biblical Flood As Proof That Global Climate Change Isn’t Human-Made

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act which deals with the Keystone pipeline. If approved, the pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada into the U.S. Many environmentalists don’t want to see the pipeline approved because they fear that the increased access to petroleum products could accelerated global climate change. Whether you agree that the pipeline is a bad idea or that the benefits outweigh the risks, the scientific consensus regarding global climate change is that the current spike we’re seeing is, at least in part, caused by human activities.

But Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) disagrees. He believes that Noah’s Flood is proof that global climate change is not human-made:

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Kay Warren’s Struggle with Doubt

Kay Warren is the co-founder of Saddleback Church, along with her more famous husband Rick. As the Warrens are now dealing with the soul-crushing fact of their son’s suicide only days ago, the Washington Post has re-posted an interview from last year that Mrs. Warren gave to Sally Quinn, and it’s extremely revealing — and rather touching, even for a heartless atheist like myself:

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