Spokesperson for Irish President: It’s ‘Inappropriate’ To Ask Him About His Religious Beliefs

When Michael Higgins was running to become the President of Ireland in 2011, he told Atheist Ireland of his desire for a country more inclusive of the non-religious perspective, including the re-examination of the presidential oath with its godly language (“May God direct and sustain me”):

Do you personally agree that, as a President elected by the people, many of whom do not believe in a god, you should be required to publicly ask a god to “direct” you in your work as our President?

Clearly, if I am elected President I will take the oath: I embarked upon this campaign in the knowledge that this would be expected of me if elected. There is to be a constitutional convention in the new year — which I fully support — and it is at this forum that matters such as the oath ought to be examined. It is of great importance that the Presidency and all surrounding it ought to be fit for purpose for a modern state with a population comprising a large number of different religious beliefs as well as none.

In the time since his election, he appears to have lived up to his words. Even his last three Christmas addresses have included no mention of Christ or Christianity.

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The Pastafarian Politician Explains Why He Wore a Colander at His Swearing-In Ceremony

Christopher Schaeffer was recently elected to the Pomfret Town Board in New York. The image of his swearing-in went viral after pictures of him wearing a colander on his head (he’s a Pastafarian, after all) were published online in The Observer:

I had a chance to speak with Schaeffer last night to get more insight into what he was hoping to accomplish, what message he hoped to convey, and what the response has been like for him.

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How to Ruin Your Gay Kid’s Life: Inside Linda Harvey’s Book ‘Maybe He’s Not Gay’

Right-wingers are up in arms this week after Maybe He’s Not Gay, a horrific “guide” to homosexuality written by extreme homophobe Linda Harvey, was removed from the digital bookshelves of Amazon.

It’s not entirely clear why the book’s no longer available on Amazon. Back2Stonewall initially reported that Amazon made the decision themselves after reviewing the book’s borderline abusive content, while Queerty says the publisher made the final call. The anti-gay Illinois Family Institute and the Christian Post say that Harvey herself asked for the book to be taken down after it received an influx of critical reviews from, you know, intelligent and reasonable people.

“I saw the rotten reviews, a smear campaign by those who had not read the book, and the publisher attempted to get Amazon to pull the ad hominem reviews, but they were not immediately responsive,” said Harvey.

“So, since the book is brand new and I didn’t want it to be harmed by this uninformed and vicious campaign stimulated by ‘gay’ bloggers, I decided to pull the page for now.”

Harvey also told CP that Amazon left the option open to put it back online and that she and her publisher “will probably re-post it in the near future.”

Jeremy Hooper reported that while the book costs around $10, the toll it will take on the LGBT kids who have to deal with bigoted, toxic parents who read Harvey’s vitriol is far greater.

While this is an easy book to judge by its cover, I decided to buy it and dive into it so that 1) no one else has to and 2) we can all see just what we’re dealing with.

Is the book really as vile as it sounds? Let’s find out.

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Remember the Pastor Trying Out Atheism for a Year? He Just Got Fired by His Christian Employers. Let’s Help Him Out

Last week, I posted about Ryan J. Bell, an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary and a former pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist church. Bell decided to run an experiment where he would live like an atheist for a year while documenting his journey:

I criticized the methodology — I don’t think you can even pretend to be an atheist simply by reading books by atheist authors and attending atheist gatherings when your religious beliefs are still somewhere in the back of your mind — but I still applauded the fact that he was exploring atheism and wanted to learn more about it.

Unfortunately, exploring faith with a critical eye, as Bell was attempting to do, was a little too much for his employers. Just days after he made his announcement, they fired him until he rededicates himself to Jesus:

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At Yesterday’s Interfaith Prayer Service for Boston’s Mayor-Elect, a Humanist Delivered the Final Remarks

Later today, Marty Walsh (below) will be inaugurated as the new mayor of Boston and he was also the guest of honor for an interfaith prayer service yesterday hosted by Rev. Jeffrey Brown:

“I think what you’ll see in the celebration tomorrow will be the width and depth of support within the city for the new mayor,” Brown said. “It’s not just the communities of color — it’s also part of that — but it is the big tent of supporters. People may have different ideas for the city but coming together we can find ways we can be one in the city.”

We’ve seen these sorts of events before, with atheists pushed to the background as people of faith come together and offer words of encouragement to the new leaders. Even in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings this year, atheists were excluded from the city’s major interfaith service.

But this ceremony was different.

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