Its Sunday April 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1967, Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. military. The self-proclaimed "Greatest Fighter of All Time" cited religious reasons for staging his most important fight; a fight against institutionalized, senseless killing. Take a moment to process these statements - yes, a fighter by profession and religious person (Ali converted to Islam in 1964) refused to go to war! Ali was fined $10,000, sentenced to 5 years in prison, and was stripped of the world title he had won by beating Sonny Liston. He avoided prison while appealing all the way to the highest court, and lost his heavyweight title the first time the same year he won his case in 1971. Muhammad Ali is the only three-time boxing world champion, and is still one of the most intriguing figures in American history. His reason for refusing conscription was because "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong." Amazing that the government of a "Christian nation" would seek to take everything from a person who was acting exactly in the manner that Jesus would have prescribed. Read more
It’s Sunday October 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act providing the enforcement of Prohibition which became the law of the land with the 18th Amendment to The U.S. Constitution. If you’re not sure why Prohibition didn’t work, open a history book and take your pick from the myriad of reasons. We’re looking at you, organized crime. And speaking of reason, it’s never a good reason to legislate religious beliefs. If you’re not sure why legislating religious beliefs doesn’t work, open a history book and take your pick from the myriad of options. We’re looking at you, Prohibition. And speaking of options, it’s nice to have them. Who wouldn’t want to have choices when it comes to life’s big decisions? If you’re not sure why limiting choice doesn’t work, open a history book and take your pick from the myriad of examples. We’re looking at you, back-alley abortions. In this country (and by extension this world), one size certainly does not fit all. Read more
Though we are religious or not, most of us understand that using religion as a tool to commit violent acts against innocent people, such as young Malala Yousufzai, a brave young intelligent girl from Pakistan, is not godly at all, in any since of the word. It does not matter if you are Christian, Muslim or Jewish; committing violent acts is only evil, nothing more and especially nothing close to godliness.
Malala was recently shot on a bus with two other girls, her being the target. Because she championed Pakistani girls’ rights to an education, she now lies in a hospital bed, trying to recover after being shot in the head and neck. My last update I heard was that she was recovering well and for that, we can give thanks to God.
There are hundreds of millions of religious people and there are many who are fervent about their beliefs. There is nothing wrong with someone being fervent about his or her beliefs; I certainly am. However, there is a very small minority of religious zealots or fanatics, you might say, that use their religion as a tool for evil. Read more
There is a rather disconcerting idea touted by so-called progressives on the order of: Islamophobia is on the rise in the West: most particularly in Europe and the United Sates. The idea itself presupposes that there is such a phenomenon as Islamophobia and that it is some nefarious and specious contaminant in our cultures and, that if left unchecked, would see the unrelenting evisceration of the dignity of Muslim peoples. Read more
Ave Maria University campus
"White House Leading Attack on Religious Liberty" was the title of an article by Jim Towey, President of Ave Maria University, a Catholic liberal arts college located just south of Immokalee, Florida. The article appeared in the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) last Saturday.
A bit of information is in order. Read more
More precisely, if we say that theistic evolution is a form of intelligent design, then we have to stop saying that intelligent design is a form of creationism.
Over at HuffPo, Victor Stenger writes: Read more
[Attention Conservation Notice: About 3,500 words on the factual, scientific, and philosophical problems of a paper which was surely not intended to be taken seriously as science or philosophy. Nick Matzke comes at it from a different angle at The Panda's Thumb, and more briefly.] Read more
At Passover, we celebrate the Israelites' Exodus, as they marched without a permit across the Red Sea… today Occupy marchers without permits are faced with police netting, pepper spray and mass arrests.
At Easter, we remember a man wrongfully judged & crucified, while today we make indefinite detention a national policy & conservatives defend "stand your ground" laws which are excessive, unjust and extremely dangerous.
This weekend, we'll be honoring dissidents & protesters, yet today our police go undercover to infiltrate peaceful protest groups and student organizations.
Moses would have been strip searched. Jesus would have been stopped and frisked. The NYPD definitely would've had them under surveillance. Read more
We are at war. I do not refer to the war in Afghanastan (though that too) but rather to the war between the religious right, Republicans, the 1% and various anti-science forces on one hand and everybody else on the other. Indeed, it is standard political wisdom that Fundamentalist Christians and Republicans constitute an overlapping (and where not overlapping, highly cooperative) group standing in opposition to science.
Right? Read more
It was cold, and it was pouring rain for much of the afternoon, but the rally was a huge success nevertheless. The official estimate from the Park's Department was 20,000, which seems about right to me. I'm not generally a real social person, and I'm not much of a joiner. But given that I live in a culturally conservative part of the country, and spend so much time reading and thinking about religious right propaganda, it was with a sense of physical relief that I spent the afternoon standing in solidarity with my fellow atheists.
And make no mistake, this was an atheist rally. A New Atheist rally in fact. Condemning religion was certainly high on the priority list for most of the speakers. The general attitude was well summed up by rally host Paul Provenza: Read more
The Denver Post reports on a talk by hyperconservative Justice Antonin Scalia at a religious conference:
The 75-year-old Scalia said that today one can believe in a creator and the teachings of Jesus without being the brunt of too much ridicule, but that to hold traditional Christian beliefs that Jesus is God and He physically rose from the grave is to be derided as simple-minded by those considered leading intellectuals.... Read more
Republicans – because they’ve figured it out that they’re losing on the economic politics of this next election, they’re returning to one of their old standbys – social issues. We’re back to the same wedge issues that they’ve used in the past to divide us and to change the subject. Read more
There is a joke expression about surgeons, "sometimes wrong, never in doubt." Depending on how you feel about surgeons I've heard it begin "sometimes right" and "even when wrong." Applied to Rick Santorum, I think it has to be "usually wrong" if not "always wrong" given the serious of ridiculous distortions, lies, and made up statistics in the last week. Read more
Is there a difference between a religious person and someone who isn’t religious when it comes to having compassion? Does religion make someone care about others or is it that one cares though they’re religious or not? Read more
Image via Wikipedia Read more