Megan Doesn’t Want Your Public Prayers. Thanks Anyway.

Megan, 22, is a recent Duke University grad and a gifted writer. Because she was born with a rare connective-tissue disorder called epidermolysis bullosa, she’s had to get used to people asking “What’s the matter with Megan?” Hence the name of her new blog.

Sometimes, strangers pray on her. Not just for her. On her.

”Having a visible disability is like shark bait for ignorant people lacking scruples,” she explains. “I swear, the mere sight of crutches is like blood in the water.”

So when she’s out and about, the faithful approach her. Well-meaning folks. Kindness in their hearts. Filled with the spirit. And they really, really want their Lord to perform a miracle. One time, Megan got caught in what she describes as an “unholy prayer sandwich”:

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Andrew Brown Has It Wrong; ‘New Atheism’ Isn’t All About Deconverting People

Over at the Guardian, Andrew Brown writes about a conversation he had with philosopher (and New Atheist author) Daniel Dennett. One of the topics that came up was how Dennett feels compelled to help people think rationally — out of religion — while Brown see no reason to do that. As the title of the piece says, he’s “an atheist but… [he] won’t try to deconvert anyone.”

That’s one hell of a straw man argument, of course, intended to make Brown appear more tolerant and rational than Dennett:

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Ask Richard: Caught Between Jewish Parents and a Christian Boyfriend: Painful Choices Ahead

Note: Letter writers’ names are changed to protect their privacy. Hello, I have read some of your advice letters and they have been really helpful, however I still need help! I am seeking advice about my relationship. I am 18 years old and turning 19 in August, I will be going to college in August [Read More…]

Australian University Bans Satirical Piece on Islam from Student Paper, Citing Likelihood of Religious Violence

For a while now, the editors of Woroni, a student newspaper at Australian National University (ANU), have run a satirical series called “Advice from Religion.” The articles have so far made light of Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism, Judaism, and — finally — Islam.

Predictably enough, perhaps, the piece on Islam was the only one that caused immediate paroxysms of fear and cowardice, resulting in the university chancellor’s successful demands for a retraction and an apology.

The Woroni article, presented as an infographic, asked “How should I value women?” It answered with references to Aisha, the nine-year wife of the prophet Muhammad (PBJLOL) and to the 72 big-bosomed virgins who, according to the Koran, will be awaiting the male faithful after death. The Woroni editors observed that the Koranic passages read like “a rape fantasy.”

I was hoping it didn’t need to be said, but the normal give-and-take in an advanced democratic country (let’s say Australia rather than Saudi Arabia) calls for anyone who doesn’t like an editorial piece to respond in ways that contribute to the discussion, rather than shut the author up. If something sufficiently offends you, you may start a Facebook page or protest website, send requests for a rebuttal piece, fire off letters-to-the-editor, stage a demonstration, and so on. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas.

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New Legislation Will Allow Iowa’s Homeschooling Parents to Not Teach Their Children

This past week, the Iowa legislature passed House File 215, a bill that changes the way homeschooling is regulated. In short, it removes a good chunk of state oversight, leaving the education of homeschooled children completely in the hands of their parents — and Christian homeschooling families couldn’t be more thrilled (emphasis theirs):

HF 215 is truly a gift from God for homeschool families. [Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators] deserves a huge “THANK YOU” from the entire Iowa homeschool community for their awesome work spanning many years on [Independent Private Instruction].

So what are the big changes for homeschooling parents because of this bill?

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