The 2014 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism Goes to…

The “Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism” is given out by the Humanist Community at Harvard, the American Humanist Association, and the Harvard Community of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics.

This year, the award will be given to former Congressman Barney Frank:



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Republican House Candidate Who Said Autism Was the Result of God’s Anger Over Gay Marriage Just Won Her Primary

Susanne Atanus, the 55-year-old Republican who told a local newspaper that God put autism and dementia on Earth as punishment for marriage equality and abortion, just won her primary for a seat in the House of representatives. She will face off against incumbent Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky this November:

Voters in the Republican primary will have two very different candidates to choose from in the 9th Congressional District, as David Earl Williams III and Susanne Atanus vie for the right to face Rep. Jan Schakowsky in the fall…

“I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus said. She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as punishment for gay rights and legalized abortions.

Party leaders in the state urged her to drop out of the race, but she didn’t. Worked out for her (and maybe the rest of us, too); she came away with a narrow victory over her opponent David Earl Williams III:

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It’s Been 14 Years Since the Mass Murder/Suicide of an African ‘Ten Commandments’ Cult That Took 788 Lives

Most people have at least a passing familiarity with the 1978 Jonestown massacre. But few have heard of the remarkable similar events that shocked the world 14 years ago today, a continent away, in Kanungu, Uganda.

Close to 800 people perished, and maybe more, some 530 of them in locked church that was set ablaze. The rest were stabbed, strangled, beaten, and very likely poisoned to death. The carnage was the handiwork of an all-black Christian doomsday cult that had split off from the Roman Catholic Church, and that called itself the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, or MRTC. (Note: We’ll have to assume that “Thou Shalt Not Kill” had somehow been temporarily suspended when the cult members murdered their prey.)

From the get-go, in the late eighties, the Vatican wanted nothing to do with the group, but the MRTC was nonetheless based on Catholic doctrine: members venerated Catholic icons, and the leadership consisted predominantly of defrocked priests and nuns. At the peak of their influence, they managed to attract around 5,000 members.

Followers’ dedication to the Decalog was obsessive:

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The History of the Westboro Baptist Church: Onion Edition

The Onion informs us of the history of Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church:

And that’s only the beginning

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Blood Drive: After Crashing Into Church, God-Besotted Woman Stabs Her Husband at Altar for ‘Worshiping NASCAR’

On Sunday, like millions of Americans, Tennessee resident Stephanie Faye Hamman drove to church. The reason you’re reading about it is that she deliberately kept on driving when she got there — crashing right through the double doors.

Ms. Hamman could have walked; the church is across from the apartment she shares with her husband, Steven. But something — God, she said later — told her on Sunday evening to grab a knife, get in her Toyota Celica, drive through the church entrance, lay down by the altar, call her husband, and wait for him to arrive. And then:

Mr. Hamman stated he found his wife lying in front of the altar, and as he checked on her, she stated, ‘The devil is in me’, and stabbed him on the right side of his chest with a large kitchen knife, [police chief Mark] Johnson said. “Mr. Hamman stated he pulled the knife out of his chest and fled the scene. He went back to the apartment where he waited on police and EMS assistance.”


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