Humanist Delivers Godless Invocation at Wilmington City Council Meeting

Back in April, Han Hill delivered a secular invocation at a meeting of the Wilmington City Council in North Carolina. (He was labeled a “Humanist Minister,” though “Humanist Celebrant” would have been more accurate.)

It was short and sweet:

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England and Wales Legalize Marriage Equality… and Churches Are Upset for No Good Reason

Marriage equality officially became law this week in England and Wales, after the British House of Commons passed landmark legislation Tuesday and Queen Elizabeth subsequently granted her royal assent. The bill has had British Prime Minister David Cameron‘s full support since 2011, when he famously called on the Conservative Party to reevaluate its priorities:

Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.

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If a State’s Holocaust Memorial Includes a Jewish Star, Does It Violate Church/State Separation?

Daniel Libeskind is the son of Holocaust survivors and he was thrilled to be selected as a finalist to construct a Holocaust memorial that would be displayed on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse. His eventual submission featured the story of an Auschwitz survivor told on two giant tablets… with a Star of David in the negative space between them:

The monument would mostly be paid for with private donations of up to $2,000,000, but the state would kick in about $300,000 for the preparation of the site.

It raises a very interesting question: How do you oppose a memorial like this without coming off as disrespectful?

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An Underage Bride… in the Bible

There’s a wonderful, hilarious book called Illustrated Stories from the Bible (that they won’t tell you in Sunday School) by Paul Farrell, published by American Atheists Press, that’s pretty self-explanatory. The book tells all those gruesome, despicable, disturbing stories that pastors love to gloss over lest people think the Bible isn’t really a Good Book. [Read More...]

A Ticket to Heaven on Twitter: Pope Francis Offers Social Media Indulgences

These aren’t your great-grandma’s indulgences.

In modern Catholicism, indulgences are typically granted for activities that demonstrate extra faith: certain prayers and pilgrimages, for instance, will get all or part of your currently accrued sin wiped off your slate (assuming, of course, that you confess to a priest and show proper contrition). In September of 2012, Pope Benedict announced a fresh slate of indulgence-worthy acts for the upcoming Year of Faith (2012-2013), where he mentioned the possibility of gaining indulgences by reciting specific prayers “at a moment when the words of the Supreme Pontiff or of the Diocesan Bishops are broadcast via the television or radio” — a bit like a video game player inputting the proper cheat codes at the correct moment of game play.

And if you can do it with television or radio, why not with Twitter or Instagram?

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