In Lake Worth (Florida), An Atheist’s Invocation Offered Thanks to Allah, Zeus, Satan, Buddha, Krishna, and Thor

Earlier this week, atheist activist Preston Smith delivered the invocation at the Lake Worth (Florida) City Commission meeting.

Not only did four of the five commissioners walk out before he had said a single word, Smith showed what happens when the door to giving invocations is wide open thanks to Christians wanting to pray at government meetings. (Blogger Lynn Anderson said that Commissioner Christopher McVoy remained in the room, as did the city manager and city attorney.)



[Read more…]

There Are Humanists in Ferguson: The Humanist Social Justice Tradition

In the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Humanist movement has received a battery of well-deserved criticism. Sarah Jones writes that while “communities are organizing themselves to effectively fight for change… Atheist communities tend to be absent.” Anthony Pinn insists, “It’s time for humanists to stop being so lazy regarding issues of race violence.” Sikivu Hutchinson laments that “when it comes to anti-racist social justice, even the ‘kinder, gentler’ Humanist community often nods its head in well-intentioned sympathy, issues a press release, then shuffles into oblivion.”

I agree with the critique Jones, Pinn, and Hutchinson are offering. I believe they strike at the core of a fundamental problem with today’s organized atheist movement: a limited focus on a narrow slice of issues at the expense of a broader perspective committed to fighting injustice whatever its form. I’m with Pinn when he argues that “all too often, humanists… are simply content to tackle issues of science education, separation of church and state, and a variety of similarly arranged policy issues,” while taking a pass on anti-racism work. I cheer when I read that “Race and the consequences of our racist society must become a priority within the humanist movement.” It must. I’ve struggled within my own movement — my own congregation — to convey the urgency of acting now to end racial injustice. I could be doing more, the Ethical Society could be doing more, and the Humanist movement could be doing more.

Yet these excellent articles do not tell the whole story: they miss the work that is being and has been done by humanists to combat racial injustice and to further equality and dignity for all. If they give the impression that there are no organized Humanist groups, and no individuals motivated by Humanist values, working to end racial injustice, then they do Humanism a disservice. That narrative is not just wrong — it’s damaging, because it reinforces the popular idea that the only way to achieve lasting change and to find ethical improvement is through traditional religion.

That isn’t true. I know it’s not true because in the months since the killing of Michael Brown I have seen numerous examples of moral courage and commitment to change from people who have no traditional religion, and who are members or friends of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, where I work. As far as I am aware, we — a non-theistic congregation dedicated to Humanist values — are the only organization that might plausibly be referred to as an “atheist community” in the Ferguson area, and, far from being absent, we have been engaged — as an organization and through the efforts of individual members and friends — at multiple levels, from on-the-street civil disobedience to behind-the-scenes legal support.

Yes, the Society issued a statement on the shooting (the first public statement we’ve made on any issue in quite some time), which is hosted on the website of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, our region’s biggest newspaper: just for this we were denigrated as “race apologists.” But we did not then “shuffle off into oblivion,” as Sikivu Hutchinson fears we might.



[Read more…]

Once Again, a Todd Starnes Tale of Anti-Christian Bias Doesn’t Hold Up After All the Facts Are In

Something you notice when you follow Fox News’ Todd Starnes is that he’s always very quick to write about a particular story. And there’s a simple reason for that: He puts out his side of the story (the Christian Persecution version) before the other side even knows what the hell is going on.

By the time they’ve corrected the misinformation or even offered their perspective, it’s too late. The bullshit has spread everywhere.

Starnes knows this perfectly well. A real journalist would give the other side a fair amount of time to respond before moving forward with a story. But Starnes isn’t a real journalist.

That explains why he was so eager to complain about Disney when he received an email about a girl named Lilly… without waiting to hear their side of the story:



[Read more…]

Arkansas Homophobes Paint Slurs On Signs Promoting Tolerance

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, a civil rights ordinance has brought out some people’s least civil sides.

Chapter 119 of the city code is a measure that protects people from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation. In Fayetteville’s upcoming special election, voters will have a chance to repeal the ordinance (because why wouldn’t they hold an election just to strike down a pro-equality law?), and a few brave Arkansans are stepping forward to support the law staying put. Early voting on the measure began Tuesday.

In a true example of how classy the anti-gay activists are, a Fayetteville man found the word “FAG” spray-painted over the sign in his yard promoting the anti-discrimination bill. Other signs have reportedly been stolen and otherwise destroyed.



[Read more…]

Bus Shelter Ads Call Out Canada’s Publicly-Funded Religious Schools as a “Human Rights Disgrace”

Beginning in the last week of November, a series of ads focused on public funding for Catholic religious schools showed up in Winnipeg bus shelters. The ad campaign, deliberately distributed mainly in the vicinity of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to target its visitors with food for thought, has been financed and assembled by OneSchoolSystem.org, an Ottawa-based advocacy group.

The four ads appearing in Winnipeg are as follows:



[Read more…]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X