There’s No Reason Atheists Should Be Excluded in These Cases

Yesterday, the Washington Post‘s On Faith section published an article I wrote about how atheists exclusion occurs in the unlikeliest of places, from the memorial for the Boston Bombing victims to the revamped Boy Scouts of America. Even the “Atheist Church” isn’t immune from prejudiced thinking:

In all of these instances, kind, well-intentioned atheists were excluded on the basis of their beliefs, by people who often claim their faith makes them more moral, more noble, and more generous than those who don’t possess it. Indeed, we are finding that faith is not a virtue. If it were, you would not see atheists being banned from an interfaith (or, to phrase it more accurately, interthought) event meant to honor people of all backgrounds and beliefs. You would not see atheists kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America when scouting organizations around the world (not to mention the Girl Scouts of the USA) have accepted atheists in their ranks without a problem. And I doubt you would see church groups renege on their contract at the last second if they were dealing with another religious group.

You can read the entire piece here. Please comment there if you have anything to say! [Read more...]

Memo to Scott Stantis: Tim Tebow Is No Jason Collins

Scott Stantis, a conservative cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, drew this in response to Jason Collins‘ coming out:

The idea, of course, is that the media is celebrating Collins for telling the world he’s gay, while they were mostly annoyed by Tim Tebow for telling the world he’s Christian.

If that sentence seems weird to you, that’s because the cartoon makes no sense.

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The Problems with Male Circumcision: An Interview with the Producer of American Secret

Francelle Wax is the producer of a film called American Secret: The Circumcision Agenda which takes a close look at the problems with male circumcision. More broadly speaking, it addresses the ideas of how ideas spread, why we believe in rituals that serve relatively little or no benefit, and what it would take to change our beliefs.

Francelle was kind enough to answer my own questions as well as those solicited from friends:

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Members of Congress Voice Support for National Day of Reason

Well, two of them, anyway.

Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA) recently declared his support for the National Day of Reason into the Congressional record (PDF):

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Liberty Counsel’s Annual Push for Christian Students to Pray at Public School Graduations

Public school graduation ceremonies are supposed to be celebrations for everyone involved, which is why it’s so frustrating when Christians try to use the venues as an opportunity to proselytize to a captive audience.

This year, like they’ve done many times before, Liberty Counsel is encouraging Christian students who get a chance to speak onstage to pray to Jesus and they’re making sure students know all the legal loopholes (PDF) to make it happen:

“The key to expressing any religious viewpoint in public school, including graduation prayer, is that the school should remain neutral — neither commanding nor prohibiting it,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

“Students do not lose their constitutional right to free speech when they step to the podium at graduation,” Staver said. “To allow a variety of viewpoints except religious viewpoints at graduation is religious hostility and unconstitutional. While schools should not force people to pray, neither should they prohibit them from praying.”

This is part of their “Friend or Foe” campaign, a title they also use when pointing out retail stores that use the word “Christmas” (or don’t) in their holiday advertising.

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