Sunday, July 15, 2012
More and more atheists are done with standing in the background, biting our tongues while giving religious folks the “respect” to proselytize, evangelize, preach, badger, and interject their beliefs into our secular schools and government (and even our personal space). The time has arrived when atheists are finally speaking up loudly and firmly — we have had enough! Sitting back and being polite has gotten us nowhere except in the mess we now find ourselves in the political realm (generally the Republicans, though the Democrats don’t have a chance without some form of sky daddy beliefs). Fundamentalist Christians are running rampant throughout our local, state and Federal government. Being “tolerant” has only encouraged the willfully ignorant to try and take over and attempt to turn this free nation into an intolerant theocracy where homophobia is rampant, where women do not have a say about their own health and sexual issues, and those who are not Christian are considered to be unpatriotic and a threat to “Christian values”.
As stated in Wikipedia:
“New Atheism is the name given to the ideas promoted by a collection of 21st-century atheist writers who have advocated the view that “religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.”
When an atheist speaks up, especially when she or he is making a point that a believer cannot provide adequate argument against, they go into persecution mode and start the name calling…”angry atheist” being one of the most common accusations. “You’re so angry, why are you so angry? What has happened in your life to make you so angry against God?”
And when we try to explain that it is THEIR intolerance and their pushiness and attempt to assimilate that we disagree with, the persecution mode kicks on in their brains and their ears close and they don’t want to hear anything that might put a seed of doubt into their “faith”.
It’s a free country…people can believe whatever they choose to believe. But when those beliefs are being forced upon others, when that faith causes discrimination and oppression of others, when that faith interferes with the principles this country was founded on and interferes with the freedoms and happiness of others, then those believers need to be put in their place. It’s time to say ENOUGH.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
This video is an excellent find by a new friend, Lee D. It is worth trying to get every believer we know to watch. There will be resistance, but it contains a powerful message as to the beliefs humans have held and why they cling to them. Fear…fear of each other, fear of death.
the story about the NC pastor who encourages parents to punch kids who show “effeminate” behavior and to crack their wrists and “butch” girls should be “reined in”.
American Atheist reports a protest against pastor Sean Harris tomorrow, May 6 in Fayetteville, NC.
American Atheist reports a protest against pastor Sean Harris tomorrow, May 6 in Fayetteville, NC.
Fayetteville, N.C. Police are expecting 500-600 people to attend our protest of the local pastor who told his congregation to ‘beat their gay kids.’ *shudder*He is of course retracting what he had stated, but we know that he is just trying to save face in the media while still clinging to his bigoted beliefs. These people must be shown that we will not accept child abuse and discrimination in any way, shape or form.
Are YOU too busy to take a stand against this monster? RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/305729822834613/
Are you too far away to attend? You can still help by sharing this and temporarily setting your facebook timeline cover photo to THIS picture:
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Monday, January 02, 2012
Another year is over, and a new one begins, and it is yet another election year with the Religious
From the halls of Congress, where the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly urged public schools to post “In God We Trust” displays in classrooms, to the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., that was attended by 3,000 fundamentalist Christian activists, the Religious Right’s influence loomed large.Since 2012 is an election year, we expect the Religious Right to use this growing influence to wage an all-out war to shape the U.S. government into a body that will do its bidding.
Here are 10 of the biggest challenges, issues and concerns that Americans United is expecting to confront in the coming twelve months
Improper Involvement of Religion in the 2012 Elections
Religion has infiltrated the run-up to the 2012 elections on an unprecedented level. Virtually all of the Republican presidential candidates have spent considerable time courting votes from the Religious Right. Nearly all of the major contenders spoke at the Values Voter Summit, and most of those candidates also appeared at a forum in November focusing on “questions of the soul” that was held at a fundamentalist church in Iowa.The Religious Right is also making a serious push to pick the Republican candidate for president. The Alliance Defense Fund held its annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” in October, an event designed to encourage churches to engage in illegal campaign intervention. Last year’s version featured a record number of participants, and activists assume that even more will join in fray in 2012. The Religious Right is also planning to hold voter turnout drives and distribute “voter guides” that pretend to be unbiased but are not.Religious Right strategists dream of forging fundamentalist and evangelical churches into a disciplined voting bloc to effectively dominate the democratic process.Sadly, the presidential campaign has already included expressions of religious bigotry. Influential Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress said in October that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, is a member of a cult and cited his affiliation as a reason not to support his candidacy.Critics have also questioned President Barack Obama’s status as a Christian, charging falsely that he is a Muslim or at best an opponent of the Christian faith.Article VI of the U.S. Constitution forbids religious tests for public office, and church-state separationists regard attacks such as these as a violation of the spirit of that provision.
School Voucher Onslaught in the States and Congress
The Associated Press reported that 30 states explored voucher subsidies for religious and other private schools in 2011, and that number is expected to grow this year. These efforts have been driven by wealthy right-wing organizations, such as the Alliance for School Choice, which advocates for vouchers nationwide and is run by right-wing activist Betsy DeVos. Her organization and its allies provide vast resources and public relations expertise to push for school vouchers in many states.DeVos has lots of help from the Religious Right and the Roman Catholic hierarchy because parochial schools and fundamentalist academies would be the primary beneficiary of “school choice” programs.There is an especially sneaky attempt at voucher legislation underway in Florida, where a ballot initiative set to be considered in 2012 would allow the state to give taxpayer money to religious organizations.Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, president of the Americans United Board of Trustees, is a plaintiff in a case filed by AU and its allies to get the initiative off the ballot. He and others involved in the litigation say the proposed constitutional amendment misleads voters about its true effects.Voucher bills may come up on the federal level as well. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) railroaded a voucher program for the District of Columbia through Congress in March, so it’s clear Americans United will have to carefully monitor federal legislation as well in 2012.
The Catholic Bishops’ Crusade for ‘Religious Liberty’
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a formidable new lobbying unit known as the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The committee claims to be defending religious liberty, but critics say it actually seeks to preserve taxpayer funding for church-affiliated agencies while maintaining overly broad exemptions from various laws.A representative of this committee testified in October before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution regarding the issue of religious liberty in America and made the case that Catholic-run organizations should be exempt from providing birth control or recognizing same-sex marriages but should still receive government contracts and funds. Republicans on the committee seemed willing to consider this position, but Democrats were very resistant to offering such broad religious exemptions and government money.The Pew Research Center found that Catholic lobbying organizations are the most powerful among Washington religious lobbies as they comprise 19 percent of all faith lobbying. As a result, the Ad Hoc Committee will certainly be one to watch in 2012.
Improper Religious Proselytizing in Public Schools
Some elements of the Religious Right hate the public school system because it doesn’t allow them to indoctrinate students with their version of Christianity. As a result, they look to add prayer or other religious activities to the school schedule whenever they can.In Missouri, for example, voters will face a religion amendment on the 2012 ballot that, if passed, would open the door for religious activities on any and all public property, including schools. The proposal is so open-ended that school children might have the right to refuse to do homework on religious grounds.In Florida, a bill is advancing through the state legislature that would let local school boards allow students to offer prayers at school events. Originally the measure stated that the prayers must be non-sectarian but that language was removed. The legislation has been offered several times before and could pass, although AU’s Florida chapters, the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League all oppose the measure.Moreover, the Religious Right is always trying to stack public school curriculum and textbooks with religious material and going on creationism crusades, which observers expect will continue in 2012.
‘Faith-Based’ Funding and Hiring Bias
Despite pleas from Americans United and allies, President Obama has yet to act on his campaign promise to make major civil rights and civil liberties improvements to the Bush “faith-based” initiative. Speaking in Zanesville, Ohio, in 2008, he said, “If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them – or against the people you hire – on the basis of their religion.”Americans United has written to Obama asking him to keep his promise, but he has yet to do so. This issue is likely to remain an ongoing concern in 2012.Related faith-based funding controversies are also likely. For example, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is considering a new rule allowing the use of taxpayer funds for the construction and repair of religious buildings overseas.AU has submitted comments to USAID urging the agency to withdraw the proposed rule.
Government Promotion of Religious Symbols
In an election year, politicians often look for easy ways to show their religiosity and that has already begun at both the state and federal levels.The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution in November that reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States and encouraged its display in public schools and other public buildings. The action came even though, as Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) pointed out, no one had suggested that this is not the motto of the United States.That same month, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), introduced a bill that would order the Secretary of the Interior to add a Franklin Delano Roosevelt prayer to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Roosevelt offered that prayer on D-Day as the United States began the military operation that liberated Europe.Another religious display issue has arisen in Montana, where a large statue of Jesus erected by the Knights of Columbus sits on national forest land. The U.S. Forest Service had planned to remove the statue, but is facing resistance not only from the Knights but also from U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who wants to save it.In Georgia, the state legislature will consider a bill that would require all vehicle license plates to be emblazoned with “In God We Trust” unless drivers pay extra to cover up the message.As election season heats up this year, it is likely these types of efforts will only increase.
Attacks on Religious Minorities
The Religious Right says frequently that America is a Christian nation (despite ample evidence to the contrary), so anyone who doesn’t share that movement’s belief in its special brand of Christianity is often marginalized.The best example of attempts by the Religious Right to marginalize minorities is anti-sharia legislation. In 2010, Oklahoma passed the so-called “Save Our State Amendment,” which bars enforcement of Islamic law. It received 70 percent of the vote.Church-state experts note that the U.S. Constitution already bars government support for religion in most cases, so such legislation is unnecessary.The law has been challenged in court on the grounds that it singles out Muslims for discrimination. Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in May, and it is now before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.While Oklahoma has taken one of the rashest stances in discriminating against Muslims, it is clear that many other elements of the Religious Right would like to see similar laws enforced nationwide and could make a push for that in 2012.
The Marriage War
The Religious Right, along with the Catholic hierarchy and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), are out to fashion state marriage policy so it reflects their doctrinal teachings. They are firmly committed to the idea that marriage is between one man and one woman only, and they are fighting in the courts, in the statehouses and in Congress to make sure the law continues to define marriage according to their theology.The highest profile case is the challenge to California’s 2008 ban on same-sex marriage that is working its way through the federal court system. More than 40 states have already banned same-sex marriage, but the outcome of this case could set a precedent for reversing that trend. The Supreme Court may take up the issue in 2012.There is also a referendum in the works in North Carolina that could be on the ballot in May and would, if passed, put a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution.A referendum banning same-sex marriage is also on the November ballot in Minnesota.
‘Personhood’ Amendments Here, There and Everywhere
Multiple states have faced attacks from groups seeking to pass “personhood” amendments, and that trend looks to continue in 2012.The latest state to consider one of these amendments is Mississippi, which voted it down in November. Had the measure passed, it would have declared fertilized eggs to be people, made abortion illegal in virtually all instances, including cases of rape and incest, and it would have banned some forms of birth control. So broad was the language of the amendment that women who miscarried could have been subjected to criminal investigations.Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA, which is a sponsor of these amendments, has said that his organization may attempt another shot at a Mississippi ballot initiative and that his organization is pushing for “personhood” amendments on the 2012 ballots in Ohio, Florida, Montana, Oregon, California and Nevada.Religiously Based CensorshipThe Religious Right is always on the lookout for books, movies, artwork and other aspects of culture to ban based on their religious convictions.In late 2010, Speaker John Boehner and his allies called for the removal of an exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery after they learned that it contains a short video of a crucifix with ants crawling on it, as well as works of art with sexual themes. The museum bent to Boehner’s pressure and removed the video.In Missouri last summer, a school district banned Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Oeckler’s Twenty Boy Summer because a local professor complained that the books advocate principles that are contrary to the Bible.
These are only a few of the issues we are expected to go up against in the coming year. We can expect to see many similar efforts by the Religious Right in an attempt to get their way and more claims are made that a candidate’s god chose him or her to lead our nation.
This election year, we must remain as vigilant more than ever and not take anything for granted.AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn said, “This could be a uniquely challenging year for Americans United, with political candidates claiming God’s endorsement and lawmakers poised to vote on all manner of unconstitutional affronts to the First Amendment.”
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
M27: The Dumbbell Nebula
Explanation: The first hint of what will become of our Sun was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of diffuse objects not to be confused with comets. The 27th object on Messier's list, now known as M27 or the Dumbbell Nebula, is a planetary nebula, the type of nebula our Sun will produce when nuclear fusion stops in its core. M27 is one of the brightest planetary nebulae on the sky, and can be seen toward the constellation of the Fox (Vulpecula) with binoculars. It takes light about 1000 years to reach us from M27, shown above in colors emitted by hydrogen and oxygen. Understanding the physics and significance of M27 was well beyond 18th century science. Even today, many things remain mysterious about bipolar planetary nebula like M27, including the physical mechanism that expels a low-mass star's gaseous outer-envelope, leaving an X-ray hot white dwarf.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Explanation: For the last time, the US Space Shuttle has approached the International Space Station (ISS). Following a dramatic launch from Cape Canaveral last week that was witnessed by an estimated one million people, Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-135 lifted a small crew to a welcome rendezvous three days ago with the orbiting station. Although NASA is discontinuing the aging shuttle fleet, NASA astronauts in the near future will be able to visit the ISS on Russian space flights. Pictured above, Atlantis rises toward the ISS with its cargo bay doors open, showing a gleaming metallic Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Over 200 kilometers below lie the cool blue waters of planet Earth. The much-anticipated last glide back to Earth for the Space Shuttle is currently scheduled for next Thursday, July 21.
While some of these threats may just be trolls, there are many god botherers who really believe that atheists are deserving of being killed for our non-belief. I have seen people raised in rational, loving homes turn into gay-phobic, gun-toting, literal Bible-believing crazy ass lunatics who seem like they would love to shoot the people who refuse to have an imaginary friend called God. I have lost count of the number of posts and threads I have read which contain these sentiments from those who call themselves “true Christians.” Some “moderate” Christians in these threads point out that the violence promoters represent only a small minority of so-called Christians who make verbal death threats to non-believers and others who they deem (based on their ancient book of barbaric stories and fables) deserving of harsh punishments and death. But the moderates believe in the same book, and many believe in the same hell and that we are deserving of eternal torment as much as the fundamentalists do.Here is the article that sparked a recent, very heated FB thread on Fox news' FB page:
FOX News readers on Facebook started going off after Blair Scott, Communications Director for American Atheists, appeared on America Live with Megyn Kelly. Blair reports that when he returned home from his local FOX station for the interview that his voice mail was full of messages and his inbox had almost 200 hateful messages. “I can always tell when someone from American Atheists is on FOX news, because my Inbox explodes with hate email,” said Blair.
We can talk about the issues about this, but our friend William Hamby has put it well over at the Examiner.
Moderators on FOX News’ Facebook page had been trying diligently to delete the violent threats, but not before they were screen-captured by a diligent American Atheists member named Robert Posey.
Here are the screen captures of the death threats and threat of violence posted against atheists. We have left their screen names in place. If you’re devoted enough to make the death threat then you should be devoted enough to have your name attached to your hatred. How many did FOX News delete before they could be captured? There are over 8,000 comments on their post related to Blair’s appearance on FOX News.Fox News can hardly keep up with deleting the vitriol. Moderates state that they denounce the death threats and verbal or any violence against atheists and others, however, they still believe we are deserving of some sort of violent repercussions from their imaginary friend….for simply not believing in it/his/her existence. All believers in the God of Abraham learn from a young age that those who hold beliefs different from their own are somehow flawed, evil, to be pitied and “prayed for”. They are taught that there is a place of eternal torment and torture and suffering for us. And by believing such nonsense is one step away from supporting the folks who would have us killed and justified as some sort of “supreme justice”.
These threats are not to be shunned or taken lightly, especially in these times when there are so many “Tea Baggers” and fundamentalist nutjobs working hard to seize control of our democratic society and turn it into an oppressive, hateful, bigoted, unreasonable, theocracy. Just look at the “war” that is going on in our government as of right now. Call me a pessimist, but I have a bad feeling things will only get uglier before they get better.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
While catching up with recent news in the atheist circuit, I found this article at The Daily Beast and it brings up a good point that Michelle Bachmann is an extreme “true believer” and that makes her very dangerous and her political clout should not be underestimated. While we may find much to laugh about with the likes of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, Palin we can assume safely that she is just plain ignorant of many things and her stupid comments are genuine. However, there is a difference with Bachmann…she knows exactly what she is saying and to whom she is saying it. And many people…too many of the radical Christian right love her.
Belief is the key to understanding Michele Bachmann, who announced her presidential candidacy during Monday’s Republican debate. Herimpressive performance, which catapulted her close to the front of the presidential pack, surprised some, who perhaps expected her to be as inarticulate as Sarah Palin, to whom she’s often compared. But in Minnesota, even those who don’t like her politics say she shouldn’t be underestimated. “The fact that she’s not a heavy lifter, the fact that she’s relatively unconcerned about the substance of legislation, does not mean that she’s not crafty, that she’s not intelligent and she’s not fast,” says former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican. Her ideological radicalism should not be mistaken for stupidity.And this incident reconstructed in the article shows just how devious she can be:
On Monday, Bachmann didn’t talk a lot about her religion. She didn’t have to—she knows how to signal it in ways that go right over secular heads. In criticizing Obama’s Libya policy, for example, she said, “We are the head and not the tail.” The phrase comes from Deuteronomy 28:13: “The Lord will make you the head and not the tail.” As Rachel Tabachnick has reported, it’s often used in theocratic circles to explain why Christians have an obligation to rule.
Indeed, no other candidate in the race is so completely a product of the evangelical right as Bachmann; she could easily become the Christian conservative alternative to the comparatively moderate Mormon Mitt Romney. “Michele Bachmann’s a complete package,” says Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition wunderkind who now runs the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “She’s got charisma, she’s got an authentic faith testimony, she’s a proven fighter for conservative values, and she’s well known.” She’s also great at raising money—in the 2010 cycle, she amassed a record-breaking $13.2 million in donations.
In April 2005, Pamela Arnold wanted to talk to her state senator, Michele Bachmann, who was then running for Congress. A 46-year-old who worked at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Arnold lived with her partner, the famed Arctic explorer Ann Bancroft, on a farm in Scandia, Minnesota. Bachmann was then leading the fight against gay marriage in the state. She’d recently been in the news for hiding in the bushes to observe a gay rights rally at the Capitol. So when members of the Scandia gay community decided to attend one of Bachmann’s constituent forums, Arnold, wanting to make herself visible to her representative, joined them.
A few dozen people showed up at the town hall for the April 9 event, and Bachmann greeted them warmly. But when, during the question and answer session, the topic turned to gay marriage, Bachmann ended the meeting 20 minutes early and rushed to the bathroom. Hoping to speak to her, Arnold and another middle-aged woman, a former nun, followed her. As Bachmann washed her hands and Arnold looked on, the ex-nun tried to talk to her about theology. Suddenly, after less than a minute, Bachmann let out a shriek. “Help!” she screamed. “Help! I’m being held against my will!”This is a dangerous woman who appeals to a group of people who are a threat to our secular government, human rights and freedoms, and anyone who does not adhere to “Christian values.” She is one for us to keep on our fundie watch list.
Arnold, who is just over 5 feet tall, was stunned, and hurried to open the door. Bachmann bolted out and fled, crying, to an SUV outside. Then she called the police, saying, according to the police report, that she was “absolutely terrified and has never been that terrorized before as she had no idea what those two women were going to do to her.” The Washington County attorney, however, declined to press charges, writing in a memo, “It seems clear from the statements given by both women that they simply wanted to discuss certain issues further with Ms. Bachmann.”