Does Barney Frank Really Deserve to Be ‘Humanist of the Year’?

The American Humanist Association announced last night that former Congressman Barney Frank would receive its 2014 “Humanist of the Year” award:

… In 1987, Frank became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as openly gay, and in 2012 he married his longtime partner, becoming the nation’s first congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office.

After sixteen terms in Congress, Frank’s legacy as a champion of civil rights and financial reform, as well as his ability to simplify any issue at hand in a clever and witty way, will be sorely missed.

What the description notably leaves out — even though it’s probably why Frank was chosen to receive this award at all — was that he came out as an atheist this past August. The way in which he did it, though, makes me wonder whether he truly deserves this particular honor.

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House Stenographer, In Bizarre Outburst, Rants About God and the Devil; Says the Holy Spirit Made Her Do It.

When the House of Representatives, after a 16-day standoff, finally decided to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling last night, it was only fitting that more crazy was on tap.

As the vote was coming to a close, House stenographer Dianne Reidy, 48, took to the speaker’s podium and started an unprecedented rant about God. On the recording, she can be heard yelling

He will nоt bе mocked! This iѕ nоt оnе nation undеr God! It nеvеr was. Hаd it been… It would not have been… No. Thе Constitution wоuld nоt hаvе bееn written bу Freemasons, thеу gо аgаinѕt God! You cannot serve two masters. Praise be God Lord Jesus Christ.

She was also heard to say something about the devil before security officers forcibly escorted her out of the room.



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Do We Really Need Chaplains in Congress?

Earlier today, Fox News Channel’s Gretchen Carlson hosted a discussion of Senate Chaplain Barry Black, the man who’s been in the news lately — and parodied on “Saturday Night Live” — for his morning reprimands of Congress.

Carlson’s “diverse” panel included a Catholic priest (who supports what Black is saying), a Jew (who opposes the comments but used his time to rail against ObamaCare, nonetheless), and American Atheists’ Dave Silverman (who thinks the whole idea of a government chaplaincy is silly, if not downright illegal).

The discussion went exactly as you would expect — in all different directions since they all had different talking points.

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Malaysian Court Rules That Non-Muslims Are Forbidden from Using the Word ‘Allah’

Malaysia isn’t considered a progressive country for a number of reasons. Last year, its Education Ministry issued guidelines to identifying gay or lesbian children so that their “symptoms” could be corrected (Example: Gays wear “V-neck and sleeveless clothes”).

The International Humanist and Ethical Union noted that Malaysia requires its citizens (over the age of 12) to carry ID cards that list their religion. And while officials would argue there’s religious freedom, two states in Malaysia passed laws prohibiting anyone from leaving Islam (though they theoretically can’t be enforced):

Amending the penal code is the exclusive prerogative of the federal government. Despite contradicting federal law, the state governments of Kelantan and Terengganu passed laws in 1993 and 2002, respectively, making apostasy a capital offense. Apostasy is defined as the conversion from Islam to another faith. No one has been convicted under these laws and, according to a 1993 statement by the Attorney General, the laws cannot be enforced absent a constitutional amendment.

Yesterday, one of the country’s Court of Appeals took the largest backward step yet:



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The Cause of the Republican Shutdown: Melanocytes

Mike Stanfill explains what’s really behind the GOP shutdown:

As if there’s a reason any more logical than that. [Read more…]


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