An Atheist Delivers an Invocation in Pennsylvania, Eliciting Gasps from the Crowd

This past July, atheist Tracy Jones delivered the invocation address at a meeting of the Chester City Council (in Pennsylvania).

In a video of that speech, which was just brought to my attention, Jones spoke about how “the fact that we have a prayer before we have these meetings, I find it uncalled for,” to audible gasps from the audience:



[Read more…]

Poll: Most Non-Believers Decry CIA Torture, While the Religious Are O.K. With It

Earlier this week, Rachel posted about Bryan Fischer‘s views on torture. Fischer says that when the CIA tortured terrorism suspects, that was OK, because they did so righteously, just like the murderers in the Bible did their work to please God.

For my money, Fischer is the Ann Coulter of the evangelical set: someone with a big mouth, a tiny heart, and a propensity to spout outrageousness. I’ve always considered his views to be on the outer edge of what most Christians find acceptable. But it turns out that at least when it comes to torture, Christians are, overall, broadly in agreement with the man.

Over at MSNBC, Steve Benen scrutinized the results of a recent Washington Post/ABC poll, and concludes:

While many might assume that the faithful would be morally repulsed by torture, the reality is the opposite. When poll respondents were asked, “Do you personally think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists amounted to torture, or not?” most Americans said the abuses did not constitute torture. But it was non-religious Americans who were easily the most convinced that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” were, in fact, torture.



[Read more…]

Headstone Makers in New Jersey Score Victory Against Church-Based Competitors Who Are Tax-Exempt

New Jersey headstone-making companies have won a battle against the Newark Archdiocese over the latter’s hawking of gravesite monuments.

John Burns, a born-and-raised-Catholic owner of a monuments company in North Arlington, NJ, was appalled that the diocese began offering mausoleums and tombstones last year. He argued that the tax-exempt status of the padres gives them an unfair advantage, so he and his colleagues have been trying to get the state to stop the Catholic expansion.

Quoted in the New York Times,

Mr. Burns, 54, said the fight was “hard because it’s the church.” “Where in my life did I ever think I’d go to my state legislator and ask for legislation against the church to keep my livelihood?” he said in an interview. “It’s a shame.” …

Wilson Beebe, the executive director of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, said the archdiocese had captured 25 percent of the Catholic monument market in less than 18 months, and predicted that its share would increase to as much as 50 percent in a couple of years. “They’re carrying on essentially a for-profit enterprise,” he said. “Given their income- and property-tax exempt status, there’s no way that the monument builders can compete with them.”



[Read more…]

Forget North Korean Threats; Center For Inquiry Tells Sony Pictures It’ll Gladly Screen The Interview

Yesterday, as Sony Pictures announced that it would not release the Seth Rogan/James Franco movie The Interview because of threats from North Korea, the Center for Inquiry stepped up and said it would be glad to host screenings of the film:



[Read more…]

A Day After the Nebraska State Capitol Gets a Nativity Scene, an Atheist Sign Becomes Its Neighbor… Temporarily

Late last night, I heard that the Nebraska State Capitol building was home to a Nativity scene:

The small display, a cedar manger about 6 feet across and 4 feet high, was made possible by a Catholic-associated attorneys association that is seeking to place Nativity scenes in state capitols and other public places across the country.

“We want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas,” said Omaha attorney Christine Delgado, who heads the Omaha branch of the Thomas More Society.

Nebraska State Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley said Thursday that he has not fielded any requests for competing displays, but he added that some people have asked if other religions could erect displays.

“Believe me, if we allow a Christian religion to come in, we’d allow any other religion to come in,” Ripley said. “Short of something in poor taste or illegal.”

Great! Because atheists know how to play this game by now. And wouldn’t you know it, just hours later, Scott Braley, a member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, had put up an atheist sign:

[Read more…]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X