Austin City Council Candidate Says Her Atheist Opponent is Ineligible to Hold Public Office

A couple of days ago, I posted about a runoff race for the Austin City Council in Texas. Normally, it’d be off my radar, but candidate Laura Pressley had posted a graphic on her website explaining the differences between her and her opponent Gregorio Casar. She implied that his atheism was a problem:

Except he’s not an atheist. He’s a self-described Catholic.

More importantly, why would it make a difference even if he were an atheist?

Pressley never apologized for making that unnecessary distinction. Instead, she told the Austin American-Statesman his atheism disqualified him from hold public office:

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This Alternative to Natural Selection Makes Perfect Sense

Matthew Inman, the cartoonist better known as The Oatmeal, recently spoke at Zach Weinersmith‘s BAHFest, “a satirical conference on evolutionary biology” in which you present bogus theories using credible research.

Inman’s brilliant and hilarious speech offered an alternative to natural selection:



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In Lake Worth (Florida), An Atheist’s Invocation Offered Thanks to Allah, Zeus, Satan, Buddha, Krishna, and Thor

Earlier this week, atheist activist Preston Smith delivered the invocation at the Lake Worth (Florida) City Commission meeting.

Not only did four of the five commissioners walk out before he had said a single word, Smith showed what happens when the door to giving invocations is wide open thanks to Christians wanting to pray at government meetings. (Blogger Lynn Anderson said that Commissioner Christopher McVoy remained in the room, as did the city manager and city attorney.)



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Responding to the Creationist Mother Who “Audited” an Evolution Exhibit at the Field Museum

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses the Creationist mother who recently “audited” an evolution exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum and how we can channel our frustration into something positive.



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Why We Can’t Be Sure If We Can Believe Yusuf Islam When He Sings “Peace Train” On His Current U.S. Tour

Via the Huffington Post’s religion channel, we learn that the folk-pop artist formerly known as Cat Stevens is currently on a tour of the United States. What we inexplicably don’t pick up from the article is why Stevens, who has gone by Yusuf Islam since the late 1970s, is persona non grata among many people who care about free speech (the HuffPo just gives us some vague allusions to “dragon-sized myths” and “unsavory controversies”).

I’d like to correct that oversight. We’re going to have to time-travel back to 1989.

Only a week after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued an Islamic death sentence against Salman Rushdie for publishing the supposedly blasphemous novel The Satanic Verses, Stevens/Islam was asked about the affair.

Before an audience of London college students, he answered:

“[Rushdie] must be killed. The Qur’an makes it clear — if someone defames the prophet, then he must die.”

The next day, he walked back that statement by explaining that he had only meant to illustrate what the Qur’an says about blasphemers and apostates. Mr. Islam hadn’t personally advocated Rushdie’s execution, he said.

And at that point, he might still have deserved the benefit of the doubt (although why anyone would follow a religion with such barbaric, illiberal precepts remains, as always, an open question).



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