Shades of Black Atheism #13: Abused and Ignored by God, Tierra Hammond

Tierra Hammond is a 23-year-old Californian. She describes her mother as “religious” but not “overly so.” She was a seasonal Christian, attending church on Easter and Christmas, but didn’t mind going there… until she was seven and her mother entered the army leaving Tierra with her very devout aunt.

If she deemed a cartoon unacceptable, my younger sister & I were not allowed to watch it. She didn’t let us listen to the radio, unless it was gospel, & had a heart attack at any mention of sex. I went to church 3 times a week until I was 9. Around that time, I began to read the Bible. This was the beginning of my non-belief.

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My Talk at SkepTech

I didn’t think it would be up that fast! My talk from this past weekend’s SkepTech conference is already up! It’s about fact-checking and following up with stories:

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Some Shameless Self-Promotion

I was recently a guest on The Left Hemispheres Podcast and the episode has just gone up! Give it a listen and subscribe to the podcast.

Also, a talk I gave at the Freethought Festival in Madison, Wisconsin was posted as well. It’s about how atheists should fact-check and follow-up on stories a lot better than we do right now. The talk has been revised a few times since I gave it here, and I hope to give it again in the future, but if you’re interested, here you go:

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New California Legislation Would Remove Tax Breaks from the Boy Scouts for Discriminating Against Atheists

The Boy Scouts of America are still considering letting in gay members and leaders — but even if their rules change, they would still forbid atheists from joining their organization. Katherine Stewart said as much in a recent article:

… the questionnaire, like much of the coverage surrounding it, is silent about the role of religion in shaping the Boy Scout’s discriminatory policies in another area, one that is distinct from and yet intimately connected with its bigotry toward gay people.

Adult leaders in the Boy Scouts must sign a Declaration of Religious Principles, and Scouts must take an oath “to do my duty to God”. Both adults and children can and have been excluded from the organization for lack of belief in a supreme being (or beings).

Now, California lawmakers may punish any group that discriminates against LGBT individuals or atheists. Sen. Ricardo Lara recently introduced Senate Bill 323 and it’ll have its first committee hearing tomorrow:

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It’s About Damn Time: ‘Progressive’ Christian Jim Wallis Finally Voices Support for Marriage Equality

Jim Wallis is one of the best-known “progressive” Christians and the founder of Sojourners (“Christians for Justice and Peace”).

Despite being a registered Democrat and a frequent critic of the Religious Right, he has never really been a champion of LGBT rights.

This is Wallis in 2008:

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