Podcast Ep. 85: Michael De Dora, CFI Public Policy Director and UN Representative

Our latest podcast guest is Michael De Dora, director of the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy and CFI’s representative to the United Nations. He’s currently the president of the UN’s NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

I spoke with him about what we can do about the bloggers currently under attack in Bangladesh, whether our government is doing anything to protect atheists overseas, and what his conversations are like with the Saudi Arabian representatives at the United Nations.

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Take the Quiz, and Prove the Times‘ Nicholas Kristof Wrong About Secularists’ Knowledge of Religion

Last year, the New York TimesNicholas Kristof wrote about religious illiteracy, and told the world that secularists know next to nothing:

Secular Americans are largely ignorant about religion.

To be fair, he didn’t have a very positive impression of religious Americans’ knowledge, either, but the slam against secularist ignorance wasn’t just gratuitous, it was wrong. In truth, back in 2010, a 32-question Pew survey on U.S. religious knowledge asked respondents about the beliefs of various faiths. The highest-scoring group? Atheists and agnostics.



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Icelanders Turn to Religion to Get Away from Religion (and the Taxman)

Ever heard of Zuism? It’s based on Sumerian religious texts, and thousands of Icelanders are bringing back a version of the ancient faith, albeit it with tongue planted firmly in cheek — and palm outstretched.



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Town Rejects Solar Farms After Complaints That They Would “Suck Up All the Energy from the Sun”

One of the reasons skeptics fight so hard to defend science education is because we recognize the value of understanding the basics of the subject. You don’t have to be an expert to realize the consequences of science illiteracy. When one of the GOP frontrunners is a brain surgeon who believes in Creationism, we have problems.

That’s why it’s frustrating to hear that the Woodland Town Council in North Carolina rejected a solar panel farm in part because of how badly people in the community understood what that meant.

Just listen to residents Bobby and Jane Mann:

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Franklin Graham Trashes Atheist Billboard, Then Says Christianity Is “Not About Being Good”

Leave it to Christian scion Franklin Graham to explain the real reason American Atheists is telling people to “skip church” in the group’s new billboards:

The real answer, of course, is that there’s pressure to attend church this time of year. American Atheists wants you to know that you’re not alone if you don’t find that worthwhile. You don’t need to attend church to be a good person.

Graham’s explanation? The atheists are just afraid of the “power” of church:

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