Atheists and Believers Respond to Westboro Baptist Church with Unity, Positivism, and Resolve

On their way to Hollywood to peddle their drug of addiction, hate, outside the Academy Awards Sunday night, half a dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church paid a morning visit to my home town 50 miles north of Los Angeles. They targeted five churches in a series of brief picket protests for the sin of having female pastors and other doctrinal practices that they abhor. Armed with their typically vile signs and antagonistic rhetoric, they timed their demonstrations to be seen by the parishioners as they arrived for or left Sunday services.

A few of us from the Santa Clarita Atheists and Freethinkers (SCAF) joined 200 to 300 members of the community to counter-demonstrate at each of the churches, despite the drizzle of much-needed rain. Groups from other churches and faith organizations, many students from Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at high schools and the community college, military veterans, and plenty of families and individuals turned out to overwhelm the little sidewalk bigot squad with a flood of harmony, acceptance, and love.

Here’s a small sampling of the nasty and rather goofy messages of the WBC:

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Rapper Common May Have Thanked God After Winning an Oscar, but John Legend Has Religious Doubts

If you’re watching the Oscars, you just saw rapper Common and John Legend (or, rather, Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens) win an Academy Award for their song “Glory” from Selma.

When they accepted the award, Common immediately thanked God, making him only the fifth person (and fourth black person) to do so over the past 12 years.

You might be interested to know, though, that John Legend has doubts about his faith.

Or had them, anyway.

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Don’t Let “God’s Plan” Circumvent Your Own Abilities

J. D. Brucker has written a short-but-powerful e-book called God Needs To Go: Why Christian Beliefs Fail (Atheist Republic, 2015):

In the excerpt below, Brucker explains how God isn’t going to fix your problems; it’s up to you:

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In 1830, One Pious American Railed Against Trains and Their Breakneck 20-MPH Speeds

Maybe you can’t stop progress, but by golly you can try:

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Patheos Blogger Loses Book Deal With Nori Publishing After Pro-Gay Advocacy

Brandan Roberston was excited when he signed a book deal with Nori Media Group last year, while he was still a student at Chicago’s conservative Moody Bible Institute. Nori represents a range of religious authors, from Michael Brown on the right to Benjamin Corey on the left. The publisher is home to popular Christian authors including T.D. Jakes, an abstinence-promoting megachurch pastor, and Bill Johnson, a fifth-generation pastor of a charismatic church in California who happens to be a faith-healing aficionado. The company’s goal is “to deliver Spirit-filled, Biblically-sound resources that help bring Christians into their God ordained destiny.”

Robertson seemed like a shoe-in at Nori. He stood to bring the publisher his own audience, which he’d been building at his Patheos blog, Revangelical. After graduation, he managed to raise his profile considerably:

Robertson, now 22, became the national spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, an initiative started by millennials to help evangelicals support civil gay marriages. He spoke at a Reformation Project conference, an effort by fellow evangelical activist Matthew Vines to raise up affirming evangelicals in every evangelical church in the country, last fall. … Time featured Robertson in January in a magazine story, “Inside the Evangelical Fight Over Gay Marriage.

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