April 6, 2018

Earlier this week I was quoted in a VICE article by Humanist and interfaith activist Chris Stedman which argued that “Too Many Atheists Are Veering Dangerously Toward the Alt-Right.” The article, which suggests that there is a disturbing link between the alt-right and movement atheism, provoked a lot of predictable push-back, including a rather defensive piece on this very network by David McAfee and Hemant Mehta. The tendency, whenever anyone criticizes problems within a movement, is to dismiss those problems… Read more

April 3, 2018

Among the arguments people make in support of a “right to bear arms,” one of the most persistent is the idea that an individual right to gun ownership derives from the right of a citizen to defend themselves against an oppressive government. This argument takes two main forms: in one, the concern is that the US government itself will become tyrannical, and that armed civilians will be able to resist the tyrannical turn; in the other, the imagined threat is… Read more

April 2, 2018

I want to defend a simple proposition: gun ownership is not a human right. Nations which severely restrict their citizens from owning firearms are not infringing upon a basic human right in the same way that nations which severely restrict freedom of speech or freedom of movement are. Gun ownership is, rather, a privilege, which people must demonstrate fitness and good reason to exercise. (SE Smith has made a similar argument in The Guardian.) This argument has its foundations in this simple… Read more

April 2, 2018

On Saturday April 7th, All Souls Church Unitarian in Washington D.C. will host the Secular Social Justice 2018 conference! Exploring the connection between secular humanist values and social justice activism, the conference prioritizes the liberatory visions of activists of color who believe social progress must come through human intervention. This is exceptionally important. For far too long secular and humanist spaces have been white-dominated and have excluded the voices and presence of people of color. This conference, by foregrounding the voices of exceptional thinkers and… Read more

March 14, 2018

A while back I wrote about the far-right hate groups mobilizing in the Parkway School District, trying to elect their preferred candidates to school board positions. With the Parkway School Board elections coming up next on April 3rd, I thought I’d offer an update on the activities of these groups, and talk a little bit about the two candidates they support in that election: Jeanie Ames and John Taylor. Hate-Group Supports Candidates Jeanie Ames and John Taylor Jeanie Ames is… Read more

December 27, 2017

Not long ago at all, in a galaxy very close to home, a war rages: is Star Wars: The Last Jedi an assault on everything true Star Wars fans hold dear, or a triumphant strike against oppression of all kinds? On one side, Star Wars fans fueled by anger and rage complain that the new entry in the series was designed to infuriate them, a personal middle finger to the face. “The Last Jedi trolled fans from start to finish…. Read more

December 26, 2017

Aesthetics – the philosophy of art – is a passion of mine. I love thinking about art in general, and about specific artworks in particular. When I go and see a play or a movie, much of my pleasure comes from the discussion afterward. What worked? What didn’t work? What did I like or dislike, and why? What themes were prominent or missing? This discussion is a big part of the fun of art, for me. I get frustrated, though,… Read more

November 8, 2017

In the Parkway School District “MassResistance Missouri,” the local branch of a national hate group, is trying to sway school board elections to promote unsafe, homophobic, Christian-based sex education. This is not hyperbole: right now an organization based on hatred of LGBT people, which promotes that hatred in the USA and around the world, wants to decide what is taught to children in the Parkway school district. What is MassResistance? MassResistance, founded by anti-LGBT extremist Brian Camenker, is an intensely… Read more

September 24, 2017

I was raised on Star Trek. This is not hyperbole. Some of my most treasured memories are sitting with my mother watching episode after episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The crew of the Starship Enterprise feel like extended family to me, their stories parables which have indelibly marked my moral outlook. The ethical discourse Star Trek presents – discussion about what it means to be human, how to be good in a strange and hostile universe, where to find grace and hope when confronted… Read more

September 5, 2017

In a recent article for The Daily Beast, reporter Brandon Withrow writes about a piece of new research published in the journal Nature Human Behavior (I’m quoted in the article, actually!). The research is pretty interesting: it shows that, even in highly secular societies, people seem to unconsciously associate atheism with immorality. This is an interesting finding. We know that anti-atheist prejudice is widespread in America, but to find that intuitive biases against atheists persist in Finland, New Zealand, and the Netherlands (for… Read more

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