Attending a Religious Wedding? Let’s Hope It’s Not As Bad As These

Two quick items related to religious weddings:

Maybe not news, but news to me: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants U.S. members to marry in ceremonies that exclude literally everyone who is not an active Mormon adult. As an apparent form of spite, Mormons who want to have both a civil ceremony (that all their friends and relatives can attend) and a Church-sanctioned one (for sufficiently pious Mormon folk only) will have to wait a year for a temple marriage. Slate quotes a former Mormon, Jean Bodie, who knows whereof she speaks, having spent 35 years in that faith. “Rejecting and excluding your inactive or nonmember family is a mark of being a good Mormon,” she says unreservedly.

For some Mormons, this means soul-searching, awkwardness, and some degree of social unpleasantness:

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A Preacher’s Kid Who Went Through a Rough Childhood Offers Advice to Pastors

Troy Fitzgerald, the author of Cults and Closets, grew up as a preacher’s kid whose parents belonged to a cult.

Being gay only made Troy’s relationship with his father worse:

My father was so committed to the church and his role as a pastor that he rarely spent time with me growing up. He and I never had any quantity or quality time until he taught me to play racquetball and golf when I became a teenager, but the alienation that began in my adolescence could not be made up for and I never felt close to him. Even though he told me he loved me. He had a concept of how a boy should behave and compared me to my brother who was two years older who happened to love playing sports and was more athletic. I was more affectionate and artistic and enjoyed playing with my older sister more. Fearful I would not fit the mold of the boy he thought I needed to fit, he labeled me a “sissy” and warned me in my adolescence that I needed to change my behavior and “walk and talk” more like a “man” — be more like my brother. This saddled me with insecurity and I would struggle with self-confidence into adulthood.

Eventually, when the church transformed itself into something resembling a modern-day megachurch with mainstream evangelical beliefs, his father was laid off with no savings and nowhere else to go:

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Atheist Apparel Store Gives 50% of Profits to Charity

Tyler Koltz has created a business that sells clothing and benefits humanity at the same time. It’s called Absence of Clothing.

The way it works is that when you buy apparel from the online store, like the “Thank God I’m an Atheist” shirt or sticker seen above, “50% of all profits go to a charity or non-profit organization that benefits the world in some way.” Already, he’s given money to the Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of Atheists Helping the Homeless.

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Pope Francis: The Church Has No Right to ‘Interfere Spiritually’ With LGBT People

Building a reputation as the most LGBT-friendly Pope in history, Pope Francis said in an interview published today that the Church should not interfere spiritually with LGBT people, nor seek to cause them any harm.

According to CNN’s highlights of the interview, published in several languages and 16 countries:

“Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

Francis said that someone once asked him if he “approved” of homosexuality.

“I replied with another question,” he said. “‘Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being.”

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This is How An Atheist Got an Entire Transit System to Ban Religious Ads

I posted yesterday about activist Justin Vacula‘s 18-month-long attempt to get an atheist ad on buses in the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) in Pennsylvania.

The ad he submitted to them wasn’t an attack on religion. Hell, it wasn’t really even a promotion of atheism. All the ad did was mention the dreaded “A” word:

(Maybe the COLTS leadership just hates periods?)

On Tuesday, in response to Justin, the COLTS Board of Directors passed a newly-revised advertising policy that bans all forms of religious advertising. The ban is so far-reaching that it effectively bans ads promoting churches, quoting Bible verses, and even mentioning religion.

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