Responding to an Almost Fatal Act of Self-Sacrifice, Christians Get Pissed Off Over a Lowercase Letter
In an interview series called “Kind World,” on “kindness and the profound effect that one act can have on our lives,” NPR in Boston broadcast the moving story of a man who sacrificed himself for a near-stranger. It’s the case of sky-diving instructor David Hartsock who, while strapped to his new student, Shirley Dygert, experienced an almost fatal equipment failure when the duo’s parachute didn’t properly deploy. To cushion Dygert’s fall, Hartsock managed to maneuver his body under hers just before the bone-shattering impact. They both lived, but Hartsock is now a quadriplegic.
Here’s the partial transcript of the show:
Dygert: I thought about my mom, I thought about my kids. My kids and my grand-kids — three grandchildren — and my husband and my other son were on the ground watching this. And I just said, god, I didn’t want them to have to see this. …
Hartsock: Knowing that her two sons and her husband could see their mother and wife spinning into the ground, thinking, “Oh my god, she’s going to be dead.” And I wasn’t going to let that happen no matter what.
Neither Hartsock nor Dygert expressed any outright religious sentiments, though both used the word “god” in an exclamatory way, as I probably do a half dozen times a day.
That’s “god” with a lowercase g.
There are times where we post videos of pastors or conservative pundits saying ridiculous things and their defenders will say we’re taking them out of context.
But when Christians lie so clearly, and the evidence is so conclusive, you really have to wonder how brainwashed their supporters are to just ignore the story.
Listen to pseudo-historian David Barton explain President Obama’s recent Thanksgiving proclamation:
Barton: One of the unfortunate things, this is in the past several years, the Thanksgiving message out of the White House no longer even mentions God. When we give thanks, God’s not part of that.
Andrew Wommack: Part of that’s because of who is in the White House.
Barton: That’s a real problem. You check Thanksgiving proclamations of this president with the previous ones and it’s not the same.
That’s an easy thing to factcheck!
Nearly a decade ago, Reed College student Leslie Zukor began a fascinating project. She knew that most prison libraries were full of religious books, often donated by church groups, and she wanted to offer prisoners an alternative. So she contacted a number of atheist authors, many of whom donated their books to the cause, and began sending boxes of freethought books to prisons across the country:
To say the project was a success would be an understatement. For many prisoners used to reading the Bible and books about Jesus because there were just no other options, it was a breath of fresh to get their hands on something like The God Delusion. Ultimately, before the project slowed down due to things like ever-increasing shipping costs, Zukor said she had sent out approximately 1,650 books to a variety of prison-donating organizations across the country.
The Popular Story of the Kansas City Prayer Booths Is False, But the Brilliant Artist Behind the Booth is Genuine
Feast your eyes on this addition to the (sub)urban landscape:
According to Topekasnews.com, “prayer booths” like these have been placed all over Kansas City, Kansas in recent months.
Since the booths were put in throughout town several months ago, Kansas City data tracking confirms that on average, the prayer booths receive over 100,000 callers per week.
“It is therapeutic, that is how we lobbied them through city council,” local pastor Reverend Miles Collier reports. ”We said these prayer booths are not just for Christians, but for any person to take a break to close their eyes, ask out loud for what they need in life and just take a break from it all. It is like having a free counseling session.”
The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, responds to the claim some Christians have made about “dying,” going to Heaven, and then coming back to Earth to tell us all about it through their bestselling books:
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!
This Saturday, JT Eberhard will host an all-day gamethon to benefit the Foundation Beyond Belief and it’s work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The Creator of the Original Atheist Bus Campaign is Back and She Wants Everyone to Give Just One Thing
Ariane Sherine, the British journalist whose idea for the Atheist Bus Campaign nearly five years ago launched all those billboards and bus ads, is back after a long hiatus to launch her latest campaign: encouraging people to give:
Even in the Celibacy Wars, Progressives and Conservatives Fight to Claim Pope Francis for Their Side
He accepts the validity of same-sex relationships… unless he doesn’t. He’s calling on the Church to spend less time talking about contraception and abortion… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still very serious sins. He even tried to get atheists into heaven… or did he?
At every possible opportunity, Catholics who want to see changes in the way the Church functions are getting caught up in rhetorical battles with Catholics who support the status quo, both sides arguing passionately for the claim that Pope Francis is on their side.
The latest issue is the celibate priesthood. For the previous pope, Benedict XVI, the question was closed: priests must continue to be male and celibate (or at least theoretically celibate). Some Catholics see hope for change in the person of Pope Francis. Supporters of celibacy, however, hasten to assure such wayward souls that Pope Francis intends to carry out business as usual in the Catholic Church.
In 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that transit officials could not ban political advertising — it was free speech even if it was controversial, so it had to be allowed. The ruling had the wonderfully unintended effect of opening the door for atheists to place ads of their own on buses across the country.
But that ruling applied to public transportation run by the government. What about billboards? They’re usually privately owned, but often on public property…
That question doesn’t have a clear-cut answer and Pattison Outdoor Advertising (a major billboard vendor in Vancouver, British Columbia) is betting that they have a right to reject atheist-themed billboards.
The reason for the rejection?
The Satanic Temple Wants to Place a Monument Outside Oklahoma’s Capitol Building. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
I did a bit of a double-take when I saw this press release hit my inbox:
The Satanic Temple Offers Donation of Monument to Oklahoma State Capitol
This is the group, you might recall, that performed a “Pink Mass” over the tombstone of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps‘ mother over the summer.
So what were they up to now?
The Satanic Temple, an established New York City-based religious organization, has offered to donate a public monument to Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission for display upon Oklahoma City’s capitol grounds. Described as an “homage” to Satan, the purpose of the monument is to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument that already resides on the North side of the building. The donation offer has been submitted and is currently awaiting the commission’s reply.
When other government buildings have played host to religious displays, atheists have come in to place monuments of their own. This is really no different, so more power to them! What better way to convince public officials that they’re better off not allowing government buildings to become a religious free-for-all?
[According to Greaves], “by accepting our offer, the good people of Oklahoma City will have the opportunity to show that they espouse the basic freedoms spelled out in the Constitution. We imagine that the ACLU would also embrace such a response. Allowing us to donate a monument would show that the Oklahoma City Council does not discriminate, and both the religious and non-religious should be happy with such an outcome. Our mission is to bring people together by finding common sentiments that create solutions that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.”
Sounds downright pleasant, really.
As you can imagine, I had a lot of questions — about the proposed monument and Satanism in general — and Greaves was kind enough to answer them all:
Rhode Island’s Governor Lincoln Chafee just can’t win.
He had good reason for it:
… Chafee, an independent, said the term is in keeping with the state’s founding as a sanctuary of religious tolerance and pointed to the text of Rhode Island’s Royal Charter of 1663.
“The charter, which for the first time in the world gave ‘full liberty in religious concernments.’ Those are the words. First time in the world. It happened right here in Rhode Island,” Chafee said.
Chafee also said the State House is public building paid for by Rhode Islanders of all faiths.
Way to not exclude non-religious citizens!
Perhaps in Response to Bad Christian Tippers, Someone’s Anonymously Leaving Incredible ‘Tips for Jesus’
Perhaps in response to a lot of the stories about Christians who refuse to tip their servers because it’s Sunday or because they’re gay or because they feel it’s immoral, an anonymous person (or persons) is going around the country leaving incredible tips — leaving the identifier @TipsForJesus (which is thankfully not part of some pro-circumcision movement):
Man Survives Shipwreck; He and News Media Play It As a Bona Fide Miracle, Despite the Death of His 11 Colleagues
More than six months ago, a Nigerian man was found alive in a fully submerged shipwreck, three days after his boat went down. The story of Harrison Odjegba Okene is back in the news because now there’s footage of the incredible rescue.