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Austin Cline

Austin's Atheism Blog July 2004 Archive

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God is a Person: Personal Relationships with God

Saturday July 31, 2004
For many people in Western religious traditions, the idea that God is a "person" is a necessary and fundamental part of their beliefs. Indeed, the very idea that God might ... Read More

Fading Pop Bands Finding New Life in Churches

Saturday July 31, 2004
Fame can be a fleeting experience, especially in America's modern pop culture. The popularity of bands can come and go very quickly, but many work hard to hold on to ... Read More

Discussion: What Will You Do if Bush Wins?

Saturday July 31, 2004
Ed writes: It depends on how he wins. His poll numbers in each of the 50 states are lower than what he 'won' with 4 years ago. If he takes ... Read More

This Date in History: Catholicism & Gay Marriage

Saturday July 31, 2004
July 31, 2003: Pope John Paul II calls upon Catholic politicians around the world to do all they can to oppose laws that would recognize same-sex unions as valid marriages ... Read More

Ban Godless Marriages

Saturday July 31, 2004
Opponents of gay marriage are largely motivated by their firm belief that such unions are displeasing to God and that only divinely-approved marriages should be permitted. How long will it ... Read More

Malaysia: Non-Muslims Charged for Blasphemy in Islamic Court

Saturday July 31, 2004
Should non-Muslims have to answer religious charges in a Muslim court? Malaysia's Federal Court says so, at least if the alleged offense was committed at a time when those involved ... Read More

Religious Group Protests Godless WWII Memorial

Saturday July 31, 2004
Washington's recent World War II memorial has been controversial for a number of reasons and for a number of aspects of its design. A new controversy has erupted, though, over ... Read More

Muslims in America: Mission Field or Mine Field?

Friday July 30, 2004
For evangelical Christians, a primary duty is to "evangelize" - spread the news of their religious faith in order to convert as many people as possible. This includes Muslims, of ... Read More

Afghanistan: Rebuilding the Bamiyan Buddhas

Friday July 30, 2004
They were built more than 1,700 years ago and destroyed in just a few days by religious fanatics: the Bamiyan Buddhas were once considered wonders of the ancient world but ... Read More

Religion Among Unitarian-Universalists

Friday July 30, 2004
The Unitarian Universalist Church is experiencing something of a division over what direction it should take in the future. Over time it has become much more humanistic and much less ... Read More

Church of Bush

Friday July 30, 2004
A number of conservatives treat George W. Bush with what appears to be almost religious reverence - no matter how often his actions conflict with his words, they insist on ... Read More

God & Gender: Is God Really Male?

Friday July 30, 2004
In many religions throughout history, gods have been portrayed variously as male and female, often embodying important masculine and feminine attributes. The tradition of philosophical theism, however, has had some ... Read More

Blackwashing: What Black Conservative Movement?

Friday July 30, 2004
There are a growing number of black conservative organizations getting attention in the news and in politics - but just how representative are they of blacks in America? That might ... Read More

Florida: Bigots Walk Out on Atheist Invocation

Friday July 30, 2004
In Tampa, Florida, an atheist was allowed to deliver an invocation before the meeting started - but three members (half the council) was so incensed that an atheist could be ... Read More

This Date in History: "In God We Trust"

Friday July 30, 2004
July 30, 1956: The phrase "In God We Trust" was adopted as the U.S. national motto.

Stem-Cell Research: Democratic Wedge Issue?

Friday July 30, 2004
The Republican Party has a number of "wedge issues" - a wedge issue is something that splits the opposition party. They use the wedges of abortion, homosexuality, and prayer to ... Read More

Was the Civil War About Slavery?

Friday July 30, 2004
There is a common myth that circulates in some places that the American Civil War wasn't really about slavery - instead, it was about Northern aggression, taxes, tariffs, that sort ... Read More

Monotheism vs. Polytheism

Friday July 30, 2004
Recently Received: God Against Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism, by Jonathan Kirsch. Today, the dominant religions in the world are monotheistic: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At ... Read More

Thailand: “No Women Allowed” in Buddhist Temples

Thursday July 29, 2004
Should women be allowed into Buddhist temples or even ordained? They aren't (normally) in Thailand, but there are efforts to change things and the "old guard" of Buddhist monks aren't ... Read More

Sundays Changing in America

Thursday July 29, 2004
There was a time in America when Sunday was unique among the days of the week: just about everything was closed, people attended church services, and the rest of life ... Read More

Conflict Within the NRA

Thursday July 29, 2004
The Republican Party typically support gun-ownership rights and the National Rifle Association typically supports the GOP. Now, however, there is some real conflict within the ranks because NRA members don't ... Read More

Married Gay Man Having Passport Trouble

Thursday July 29, 2004
A legal gay marriage in Massachusetts is not, so far, enough to allow one of the men involved to get a new passport. According to the passport center, a marriage ... Read More

Bill Bennett Boondoggle?

Thursday July 29, 2004
Should federal funds designed to enhance "school choice" be directed to home schooling promotion? That's what's happening in Arkansas and through the efforts of Bill Bennett. Americans United explains: Newspaper staffers David ... Read More

God is Creator & Sustainer of Existence

Thursday July 29, 2004
A very common attribute of gods in religious traditions around the world is that of creation - our universe, our world, and indeed our very selves often owe their existence ... Read More

Conservative Islamism Growing in Middle East

Thursday July 29, 2004
As Islamism and Islamic extremism grow in the Middle East, they threaten to pose a greater threat to security and peace around the world. Even worse, they pose a very ... Read More

This Date in History: Pope Urban II

Thursday July 29, 2004
July 29, 1099: Pope Urban II died. Urban followed the lead set by his predecessor, Gregory VII, by working to enhance the power of the papacy against the power of ... Read More

France: First Gay Wedding Annulled

Thursday July 29, 2004
Frances first gay wedding was conducted by a local mayor, but now the marriage has been officially annulled and the mayor has been suspended. The national government is not at ... Read More

Millions Would Declare Christianity America's Official Faith

Thursday July 29, 2004
Most Americans favor religious pluralism, but it's disturbing just how many would support making Christianity the one official religion of the United States. It's more than you might think and ... Read More

Daily Poll: Who Will Win the 2004 Presidential Election?

Thursday July 29, 2004
A significant percentage of people who vote in an election vote for someone who doesn't win. Thus, regardless of how you vote in the 2004 presidential election, the person you ... Read More

Godless Disney World?

Thursday July 29, 2004
Members of the Christian Right have frequently criticized the Disney corporation for failing to adhere to a conservative evangelical set of moral standards. Now they may have a new point ... Read More

Goddess Worship and Religion

Thursday July 29, 2004
Book of the Day: Restoring the Goddess: Equal Rites for Modern Women, by Barbara G. Walker. Is traditional religion inherently patriarchal and hence damaging to women? Is it possible to reconstruct ... Read More

Rediscovering the Etruscans

Wednesday July 28, 2004
Everyone has heard of the Roman Empire, but how many have heard of the Etruscans? Far fewer - and it's no surprise, considering how little we have left from their ... Read More

Whither American Conservatism?

Wednesday July 28, 2004
Consistent with past Republican candidates, George W. Bush is attacking his opponent John Kerry by pasting him with the "liberal" label every chance he gets. Kerry, however, has portrayed himself ... Read More

Andrew Sullivan Endorses Kerry

Wednesday July 28, 2004
Andrew Sullivan is a popular and influential conservative writer. He's also gay, which is a curious fact because it's long been obvious that the Republican Party has no place for ... Read More

Church Erects Ten Commandments Display

Wednesday July 28, 2004
When the government is prevented from promoting a particular religion, some churches take the amazing and unprecedented step of doing the promotion themselves. Imagine that: a church that spends its ... Read More

Against the Christian, Fundamentalist Theocrats

Wednesday July 28, 2004
The Christian Right worries a lot of people in America, religious and non-religious. They are perceived as representing a very real threat to liberties and pluralism because of their almost ... Read More

Prophetic Religions

Wednesday July 28, 2004
A Prophetic Religion is strongly associated with Revealed Religion and there are times when the two terms may be used interchangeably, but the aren't exactly the same. In a prophetic ... Read More

Spinning Obama’s Speech

Wednesday July 28, 2004
A lot of people have been talking about how great Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention was and how he is a "rising star" in the Democratic Party. ... Read More

Right-Wing Attacks on the Kerrys

Wednesday July 28, 2004
Self-righteous conservatives have been up in arms about Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" statement to a reporter from Pittsburgh's notorious Tribune-Review. I say "self-righteous" because they were eager to excuse ... Read More

Is a Fetus a Citizen?

Wednesday July 28, 2004
A Mexican woman deported by the U.S. government and who is 8-months pregnant is hoping that the courts will order her return. She argues that her fetus was viable at ... Read More

This Date in History: Karl Popper

Wednesday July 28, 2004
July 28, 1902: Philosopher and scientist Karl Popper was born in Vienna, Austria.

What Does CAIR Want in America?

Wednesday July 28, 2004
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, is one of the most vocal and visible Muslim organizations in America. Most of the time they are seen as defending the civil ... Read More

Operation Rescue's Tax-Exempt Status Challenged

Wednesday July 28, 2004
Operation Rescue has long played a dominant role in debates about abortion in America. They are a tax-exempt non-profit organization, but Catholics for a Free Choice is challenging this. They ... Read More

Scientology's Town

Wednesday July 28, 2004
As you may or may not know, Scientology's current headquarters are located in Clearwater, Florida. In fact, they own so much land in Clearwater that some are getting the feeling ... Read More

Turkey Getting Tough on “Honor”

Tuesday July 27, 2004
As more light is shined on the practice, more governments are beginning to crack down on the old and barbaric practice of "honor" killings. Whereas before men who murdered female ... Read More

George W. Bush: The Undemocratic President

Tuesday July 27, 2004
There have been a lot of criticisms of President Bush and the manner in which both he and the Republican Party have governed America for the past four years. Some ... Read More

The Sad Fate of Political Protest in America

Tuesday July 27, 2004
One would think that if any form of speech should be given deference, it would be political protest. Although the First Amendment doesn't single out any type of speech for ... Read More

Beating the Moderate Democratic Donkey

Tuesday July 27, 2004
One of the common themes we are hearing this year - and that we hear with every Democratic Convention - is that Democrats are too liberal, constantly needing to position ... Read More

Here Comes the Gay Marriage Industry

Tuesday July 27, 2004
The lines over gay marriage have been drawn and the positions are pretty firm. Perhaps more interesting than that, though, is the possibility that this is a situation that will ... Read More

South Carolina: Sectarian Council Prayers Struck Down

Tuesday July 27, 2004
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Great Falls, South Carolina, city council can't begin meetings with sectarian prayers that invoke Jesus Christ's name. This may ... Read More

Mystical Religions

Tuesday July 27, 2004
A Mystical Religion is one in which mystical experiences play the most important role in terms of understanding nature, learning about the divine, and becoming a religiously devout person. At ... Read More

GOP Anti-Gay Leader Outed

Tuesday July 27, 2004
Jay Timmons is the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and has been heavily involved in fighting for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. He is ... Read More

Discussion: New Baby Dilemma

Tuesday July 27, 2004
Ranger wrote: My husband and I are adopting a baby girl from Guatemala. We are not religious at all. Here is the dilemma:  some friends and family members are very concerned about ... Read More

Florida: Court Rejects Transsexual's Marriage

Tuesday July 27, 2004
If someone has a sex change operation, whom should they be allowed to marry? If a man has the operation to become a woman, would it be a "marriage between ... Read More

This Date in History: Indulgences

Tuesday July 27, 2004
July 27, 1516: Martin Luther preached his first sermon against the practice of selling Indulgences.

Fox “News”

Tuesday July 27, 2004
Everyone knows that despite regular claims to the contrary, there is nothing whatsoever “fair and balanced” about Fox “News,” right? Probably - but it’s nice to have direct confirmation of ... Read More

Bush’s Electoral Strategy

Tuesday July 27, 2004
In most presidential elections, candidates take the support of their "base" for granted and fight it out to get the votes of centrist, independent, and undecided voters. Thus, when campaigning ... Read More

Jamestown Excavation Uncovers Wine Bottles

Monday July 26, 2004
An excavation at Jamestown has come across a wine cellar with 11 unbroken bottles of wine that could date back to the 1680s. Unfortunately, all the bottles were empty - ... Read More

Church of England Might Restructure

Monday July 26, 2004
Both insiders and outsiders of the Church of England are concerned that it is becoming "top heavy" - too many bishops at the top, too few people in the pews. ... Read More

Palestinians Making Millions on Israeli Security Barrier

Monday July 26, 2004
Palestinian leaders have complained loudly about the Israeli security barrier and the International Court of Justice has ruled against it. Many Palestinians, however, have made millions of dollars by supplying ... Read More

Criteria for Muslim Prison Chaplains Being Tightened

Monday July 26, 2004
Corrections officials in the United States are concerned about the growth of Islam in America's prisons - and how they might be able to control it. Without proper "guidance" from ... Read More

Papers Pulling Controversial Doonesbury

Monday July 26, 2004
A "Sunday-comics consortium" that provides the Sunday comics section to 38 papers is dropping Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" after a poll that reveled 21 of the papers didn't like it. No ... Read More

Controversy Over Women Praying at College Mosque

Monday July 26, 2004
In Kerala, India, female students are given the same rights in a student mosque as the male students - that, however, has upset many male Muslims who want the women ... Read More

Tribal Religions

Monday July 26, 2004
A Tribal Religion may be best understood in terms of what it is not: it is not one which claims to have a religious message for all of humanity, it ... Read More

Spain: Government Might Finance Mosques

Monday July 26, 2004
Under a 1979 agreement with the Vatican, Spain's government provides funds for Roman Catholic churches, a benefit now being considered for all religious groups. In particular, they are looking to ... Read More

South Dakota: Bishop Gets PP Link Off State Web Site

Monday July 26, 2004
Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota has removed from the state's library web site to Planned Parenthood - after complaints from Robert Carlson, bishop of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese. ... Read More

This Date in History: Gamal Abdal Nasser

Monday July 26, 2004
July 26, 1956: Gamal Abdal Nasser of Egypt forcibly nationalized the Suez Canal, leading to a violent response from France, Israel, and Great Britain. Nasser's actions were most immediately motivated ... Read More

Bush Looking for Catholic Parish Directories

Monday July 26, 2004
Not content with getting Protestant church directories, the Bush reelection campaign is now trying to get their hands on Catholic parish directories as well. This seems to be sparking similar ... Read More

Minnesota: Judge Openly Advocates Theocracy

Monday July 26, 2004
Tim Tingelstad is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court. He is running on a platform that is against abortion, quotes the Bible, and argues that public schools would improve ... Read More

Daily Poll: How Will You Vote in the 2004 Presidential Election?

Monday July 26, 2004
Many have claimed that the 2004 presidential election is the most important in recent memory - it will decide the course of the war in Iraq, the course of the ... Read More

Fukuyama & Bush

Monday July 26, 2004
Francis Fukuyama is a well-known academic, especially in political science circles because he is considered one of the "founding fathers" of the neo-conservative movement that has come to dominate the ... Read More

Abortion in America

Monday July 26, 2004
Book of the Day: Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History, by N. E. H Hull and Peter Charles Hoffer. Why has the Roe v. Wade decision become ... Read More

Dar al-Harb vs. Dar al-Islam

Sunday July 25, 2004
To put it most simply, dar al-harb (territory of war or chaos) is the name for the regions where Islam does not dominate, where divine will is not observed, and ... Read More

Class Warfare as a Republican Tactic

Sunday July 25, 2004
One of the most common tactics used by Republican politicians and candidates is to accuse Democrats of relying on "class warfare." Whenever Democrats raise the issue of the inequity of ... Read More

Saving Christmas Through Religious Bigotry

Sunday July 25, 2004
Quite a few conservative Christians are upset over the way that Christmas has become less and less a Christian holiday. Today, it is far more a general cultural holiday that ... Read More

This Date in History: Constantine

Sunday July 25, 2004
July 25, 0326: In a public mark of his acceptance of Christianity as the official state religion, Constantine refused to carry out the traditional pagan sacrifices.

Defending Marriage - ALL Marriages

Sunday July 25, 2004
Opponents of gay marriage say that such marriages must be banned in order to "save" marriage - both generally as an institution and specifically in individual cases. But what would ... Read More

Values in the Economy

Sunday July 25, 2004
In America, there are many who act as though discussion about economic systems should be value free - just as there is no point in injecting values into discussions about ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Lewis on Arguments and Christianity

Sunday July 25, 2004
We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a ... Read More

Roman Catholicism & Gay Marriage

Saturday July 24, 2004
The Roman Catholic Church has emerged as a world leader in the opposition to legalizing gay marriage. An organization with global reach, contacts, and influence, the Vatican has made it ... Read More

Marriage Amendment Failure: Deliberate?

Saturday July 24, 2004
Far-right Republicans failed to get the anti-gay marriage amendment passed in the Senate, but is it possible that this failure was deliberate? Yes - there are god reasons to think ... Read More

This Date in History: Free Speech

Saturday July 24, 2004
July 24, 2000: Decided: Free Speech Coalition v. Reno The Ninth Circuit Court found that the Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) violated the First Amendment, particularly with regards to the ... Read More

Complimentary and Alternative Medicine

Saturday July 24, 2004
Book of the Day: The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Accommodating Pluralism, edited by Daniel Callahan. On the one hand, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has become increasingly popular over ... Read More

10 Reasons to Fire Bush

Friday July 23, 2004
The Republican Party is made up of many different conservatives: social conservatives, economic conservatives, religious conservatives, and conservative libertarians. They often disagree on many different things, but they get enough ... Read More

India: Hindu-Muslim Hate Crime to be Retried

Friday July 23, 2004
In 2002, a Hindu mob attacked a bakery Gujarat and killed 14, including two Muslims who were burnt alive in ovens. A 2003 trial resulted in the acquittal of all ... Read More

O'Reilly: Scolds Guest for Out Gays, Labels Judge a "Lesbian"

Friday July 23, 2004
For Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, the operative principle seems to be "do as I say, not as I do." Usually that principle is shortened to just "hypocrisy." O'Reilly had ... Read More

Florida: GOP Involved in Shady Voter Registrations

Friday July 23, 2004
Federal election officials are investigating the Florida GOP for a very unethical practice: trying to register new citizens to vote by using forms where all of the political choices are ... Read More

Denver Archbishop: Pro-Choice People Not "real" Catholics

Friday July 23, 2004
Who is a "real" Catholic? Conservative Catholics in America are pushing hard to make sure that the definition is restricted to those who loyally follow a strict pro-life political agenda, ... Read More

Omnipotence vs. Evil

Friday July 23, 2004
Is the existence of evil compatible with the existence of an omnipotent god with the ability to desire to eliminate evil? That seems unlikely and many atheological arguments have been ... Read More

Future of Same-Sex Marriage

Friday July 23, 2004
How will the debate over gay marriage proceed in the future? The most likely course of action, over the long term, is that gay marriages will be legalized and receive ... Read More

Spain: Bishops Fighting Gay Marriage

Friday July 23, 2004
Spain's socialist government still has plans to legalize gay marriage some time next year, but Catholic bishops are gearing up for a fight to block any such move. They insist ... Read More

This Date in History: Rindfleish Persecutions

Friday July 23, 2004
July 23, 1298: The Jewish community of Wurzburg, Germany was destroyed in what came to be known as the Rindfleish Persecutions.

New York: Mall Security Called on Praying Muslims

Friday July 23, 2004
People in America seem to be growing more and more suspicious of Muslims - a situation not helped by the fact that most Americans don't seem to know anything about ... Read More

Why Postponing Elections is a Bad Idea

Friday July 23, 2004
There has been some discussion about setting up the conditions for postponing federal elections in the event of a large terrorist attack. At first glance this seems like it might ... Read More

“Wisdom” of Dr. Laura

Thursday July 22, 2004
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, famous for berating people who call her advice show and for insisting that irreligious nontheists have something wrong with them, has decided to go visiting - to ... Read More

Arkansas: Pastor's Sermon Challenged as "Too Political"

Thursday July 22, 2004
A complaint has been filed with the IRS against Ronnie Floyd, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Springdale, because a recent sermon allegedly crossed the line separating church and ... Read More

India: Men Held over "Caste Gang-Rape"

Thursday July 22, 2004
Although caste-based discrimination is illegal in India, the government hasn't accomplished much in terms of improving relations between the castes. People of higher castes still think of themselves as superior ... Read More

Virtue vs. Perfection

Thursday July 22, 2004
The God traditionally believed in under philosophical theism must be all-virtuous, but certain virtues (like courage) can only be developed in the context of flawed, fallible creatures. Ergo, a perfect ... Read More

Canada: First Same-Sex Divorce Occurring

Thursday July 22, 2004
Just as gay marriage is becoming a reality, gay divorce must also become a reality. No one expects gay marriages to last any longer (on average) than marriages for straight ... Read More

Michigan: Voters OK Amplified Muslim Prayers

Thursday July 22, 2004
I wrote a number of times about the saga of Hamtramck, Michigan: the council wanted to consider allowing mosques to begin broadcasting calls to prayer in Arabic and lots of ... Read More

This Date in History: Middle East Terrorism

Thursday July 22, 2004
July 22, 1946: Jewish extremists blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 90 people.

Illinois: Atheist Challenges Pledge of Allegiance

Thursday July 22, 2004
Michael Newdow's legal saga against the Pledge of Allegiance ended without success, but it is only a matter of time before a new case is launched. The best candidate right ... Read More

Conservatives Speak Out on Linda Ronstadt

Thursday July 22, 2004
I wrote yesterday about Linda Ronstadt being escorted out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas, without even being allowed to get her things from her room, because she dedicated ... Read More

Daily Poll: Did George Bush Steal the 2000 Election?

Thursday July 22, 2004
Many Americans believe that George W. Bush lost the 2000 presidential election - he received fewer popular votes and the counting of votes in Florida was illegally halted. They say ... Read More

Why Did McCain Sell Out?

Thursday July 22, 2004
Today you can easily find John McCain out working on behalf of the George W. Bush reelection campaign. What few remember, however, are the dirty tricks Bush used to beat ... Read More

American Pope?

Wednesday July 21, 2004
There are quite a few people who are convinced that the American government should be in the business of promoting religion and encouraging religious beliefs. Sometimes a thin veneer of ... Read More

GOP’s Christian Nation

Wednesday July 21, 2004
Many readers may be aware of the platform of the Texas GOP - a platform that is about as extreme as can be. Granted, it's only a state party but ... Read More

Germany: Possible Ban on Religious Symbols in Government

Wednesday July 21, 2004
Concerned with the possibility that government employees might be identified with one religion or another, Berlin's city government is considering a law that would prohibit civil servants from wearing religious ... Read More

Iran: Academic Sentenced to 5 Years Jail

Wednesday July 21, 2004
Iranian academic Hashem Aghajari, charged with blasphemy for calling on Muslims not to blindly follow clerical leaders like "monkeys," has been sentenced to five years in prison. This is actually ... Read More

Republican Definitions of “Real Religion”

Wednesday July 21, 2004
One of the more interesting issues this election year involves "religion" - specifically, the manner in which Republicans and Republican apologists are working hard to convince people that Democrats aren't ... Read More

Chronology of Medieval Christianity

Wednesday July 21, 2004
When did Origen and Jerome write their versions of the Bible? When did Constantine issue the Edict of Milan? When did St. Augustine die? The timelines of medieval Christianity have ... Read More

Linda Ronstadt Censured for Anti-Bush Remarks

Wednesday July 21, 2004
More and more we find that when someone is critical of President Bush, they become the targets of a nasty backlash designed to help silence anyone else uppity enough to ... Read More

Atheists On Trial for Attacking Mosque?

Wednesday July 21, 2004
It seems as though members of a Nigerian "atheist cult" are on trial for attacking a mosque and seriously injuring several Muslims who had been worshipping there. Atheist cults in ... Read More

This Date in History: Scopes Monkey Trial

Wednesday July 21, 2004
July 21, 1925: The infamous "Monkey Trial" ended and John Scopes was found guilty of teaching Darwinism.

U.S. Protestant Majority Eroding, Nonreligious Increasing

Wednesday July 21, 2004
Protestant Christianity has long been a dominant force in American politics, culture, and society. Protestants continue to make up a majority of Americans, but it's a majority that has been ... Read More

Fox's 'Fair and Balanced' Slogan Challenged

Wednesday July 21, 2004
Fox News is well-known for the slogan that they are "fair and balanced," a statement greeted with much derision by critics. Some, though, are going a bit further and are ... Read More

Africans Will Leave Anglican Communion?

Wednesday July 21, 2004
In the debate over whether gays should serve as clergy in the Anglican Communion, African church leaders have been among the most outspoken against gays and gay rights. There has ... Read More

Republicans on Church/State Separation

Tuesday July 20, 2004
Conservative Republicans don't think very highly of the separation of church and state - indeed, they often insist that it doesn't exist and is merely a liberal plot to undermine ... Read More

GOP Bothered by Ron Reagan’s Speech

Tuesday July 20, 2004
The Republican Party naturally wants to position itself as the inheritor of Ronald Reagan's legacy, so of course it bothers many that the only truly tangible sign of that legacy ... Read More

Christians Can’t Be Democrats

Tuesday July 20, 2004
There is an attitude among conservative Christians that it simply isn't possible for a person to really be a Christian yet still hold liberal enough views on political and social ... Read More

How I Got Religion, And Then Lost It

Tuesday July 20, 2004
What's it like to become part of a fundamentalist religion and then leave it again? Many atheists have had such experiences. The story of Doug, an atheist who experienced quite ... Read More

Bush Doesn’t Believe that Islam is a Religion of Peace?

Tuesday July 20, 2004
Throughout the war on terrorism, President Bush has taken great pains to try and reassure Muslims that American intentions in the Middle East do not include a war on Islam. ... Read More

Discussion: Hillary Clinton & The Democratic Convention

Tuesday July 20, 2004
A forum member writes: If Sen. Clinton (D-NY) was to be given a speaking role at the convention, it'd be all the papers could talk about. "She's setting up for ... Read More

Frist Reverses, Supports "Civil Unions"

Tuesday July 20, 2004
In a surprise move, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has voiced his support for "civil unions" for gay couples. This was unexpected because Frist has been such a strong supporter ... Read More

This Date in History: Iran-Iraq War

Tuesday July 20, 2004
July 20, 1988: Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini agreed to a ceasefire with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. After eight years of war, the two sides entered negotiations to end a conflict ... Read More

Obscenity Charges Over Sex Toys Dropped

Tuesday July 20, 2004
Last year Joanne Webb was arrested for selling sexual toys to two undercover officers. Yes, rural Johnson County in Texas has nothing better to police than sex toys. Perhaps the ... Read More

Arab Militants Raping Girls in Sudan

Tuesday July 20, 2004
Rape is all too often used as a weapon of war because it destabilizes social groups and demoralizes the people being attacked. In Sudan, Amnesty International reports that the Arab ... Read More

Lesbian Couple to Challenge Federal DOMA

Tuesday July 20, 2004
It was expected for a while and now it's happening: a gay couple married in Massachusetts but living elsewhere are going to file a lawsuit (in Florida) challenging the constitutionality ... Read More

Trying to End Honor Killings

Tuesday July 20, 2004
Already a serious problem in southern Asia, so-called honor killings are growing in seriousness in the West as well. Britain in particular has a large population of immigrants from India ... Read More

This Novel's a Bomb

Monday July 19, 2004
Charles C. Green is a writer - or at least he'd like to be, in the sense of making writing his profession. Everyone's a critic, it seems, and that includes ... Read More

Canada Nixes Bibles for New Citizens

Monday July 19, 2004
For the past 50 years, the Canadian Bible Society has handed out copies of the New Testament to new Canadians at citizenship ceremonies - but the government has ordered that ... Read More

School Choice, School Fraud

Monday July 19, 2004
Proponents of "school choice" and voucher schemes commonly emphasize the ability of private organizations to be more efficient and thus do a better job at delivering a product than the ... Read More

Battle For Kennewick Man Over?

Monday July 19, 2004
A collection of 380 bones and bone fragments discovered on July 31, 1996, in Kennewick, Washington has been focus of an intense legal battle for nearly a decade. Scientists want ... Read More

Should Atheists Vote for the Republican Party?

Monday July 19, 2004
Should atheists vote for Republican candidates? There's nothing inherently incompatible with being an atheist who is Republican or who votes Republican, so this question may seem rather strange. However, I ... Read More

Christian Terrorist Let Off Lightly

Monday July 19, 2004
Stephen John Jordi has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for plotting to fire bomb abortion clinics, churches he disagree with and gay bars. The government recommended more ... Read More

Bush: God Speaks Through Me

Monday July 19, 2004
I've written before about how George W. Bush believes that God gives him instructions about whom the American military should be told to attack and that he is doing God's ... Read More

This Date in History: Jewish Bias?

Monday July 19, 2004
July 19, 2002: In his regular column for the National Catholic Reporter, John L. Allen, Jr. quotes unidentified Vatican officials who suggest that Jewish bias against the Roman Catholic Church ... Read More

Mormons Officially Endorse Gay Marriage Ban

Monday July 19, 2004
Although there was never any doubt about where they stood, the Mormon Church has made official their opposition to gay marriage and support for a constitutional ban on it. A ... Read More

Maryland Lawsuit Over Gay Marriage

Monday July 19, 2004
The ACLU has launched lawsuits in Maryland to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages on the same basis that heterosexual marriages are recognized. The hope is that courts will ... Read More

French Parliament Bans Human Cloning

Monday July 19, 2004
With a new law France joins a number of other nations that have tried to ban human cloning as a "crime against the human species," though research on human embryos ... Read More

Atheists Endorse Kerry/Edwards

Sunday July 18, 2004
The Godless Americans Political Action Committee has endorsed John Kerry for president - not a surprise, since it's long been obvious that President Bush doesn't have much respect for religious ... Read More

T-Shirt Charges Dismissed, Police Unapologetic

Sunday July 18, 2004
Remember the story from a few days ago when the couple were arrested at a Bush speaking event because they wore anti-Bush t-shirts? Well, the charges have been dismissed - ... Read More

Students to get Religious Exemptions to Education

Sunday July 18, 2004
Should you be able to simply ignore some portion of your education and continue as if nothing happened if you have religious objections to it? Well, you can at the ... Read More

More on the Maryland Christian Bigot

Sunday July 18, 2004
A couple of days ago I wrote about the bigoted Maryland politician who made personal attacks against an elderly woman who simply thought it would be better of there weren't ... Read More

Logic, Skepticism, and Critical Thinking 101

Sunday July 18, 2004
Welcome to Introduction to Logic, Skepticism, and Critical Thinking 101. This course is ongoing, and no matter when you sign up, you'll start with lesson one and move on to ... Read More

Free Speech Battle over Anti-Bush Sign

Sunday July 18, 2004
A few days ago I wrote about a couple arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts at Bush event. In a related story, a man's anti-Bush sign was destroyed - but not ... Read More

Discussion: Athiests [sic] for Bush

Sunday July 18, 2004
David writes: It might seem odd for an athiest [sic] to promote Bush for President 2004, but that's only if you take a superficial, stereotypical view of politics and religion. ... Read More

Judicial Tyranny, Judicial Activism

Sunday July 18, 2004
A common target of conservatives in America is "judicial activism" - at least, it's a target when courts strike down laws that conservatives favor. Is there any validity to the ... Read More

This Date in History: Papal Infallibility

Sunday July 18, 2004
July 18, 1870: By a vote of 533 to 2, the doctrine of papal infallibility was defined as dogma by the Roman Catholic Church.

Dissenting Catholic Politicians & Catholic Universities

Sunday July 18, 2004
One of the issues facing pro-choice Catholic politicians (the Democrats, at any rate) is whether their stance on abortion will mean that they will no longer be permitted to speak ... Read More

Christian Teens: There’s Hope Yet

Sunday July 18, 2004
Evangelical Christianity is something of a growth industry among teenagers, a fact that has led to some concern that the next generation would be even stronger supporters of the Christian ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Kleiman on Being Right

Sunday July 18, 2004
There is no more destructive force in human affairs -- not greed, not hatred -- than the desire to have been right. Non-attachment to possessions is trivial when compared with ... Read More

Secrecy and Honesty for Democratic Governments at War

Saturday July 17, 2004
Is Iraq George W. Bush's Vietnam? Senator Edward Kennedy says so - and conservatives have decried the comparison, saying that Kennedy doesn't want America to win in Iraq. Is that ... Read More

Prince Charles Rebuked over Alternative Medicine Claims

Saturday July 17, 2004
Prince Charles, heir to the English throne, has long been a big supporter of alternative medicines and other non-scientific medical treatments. Now, however, a leading breast cancer surgeon is taking ... Read More

Fascism, New York City Style

Saturday July 17, 2004
The Republican party is holding its convention in New York City this year. As expected, there are plenty of people who want to hold protests in order to send a ... Read More

This Date in History: Coup in Iraq

Saturday July 17, 2004
July 17, 1968: Baathists once again a coup against the Iraqi government was launched, this time ousting Abd-al-Rahman Muhamad Arif. General Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr became president and Saddam Hussein was ... Read More

Reactions to Muslims Complaints of Pledge

Saturday July 17, 2004
Not long ago I wrote about a Muslim family that filed a lawsuit over the use of the Pledge of Allegiance in their public school. Their child wasn’t forced to ... Read More

A Queer Boy Scout Watches Civilization Fall

Saturday July 17, 2004
It’s often amusing to read Hans Zeiger‘s columns. I can almost picture him hyperventilating over the prospect of other people living their lives according to the dictates of their own ... Read More

Adult Children of Same-Sex Couples

Saturday July 17, 2004
One of the arguments frequently used by opponents of gay marriage is that such relationships are harmful to any children who grow up in same-sex households. Therefore, society should not ... Read More

Gay Marriage in Canada’s Yukon

Friday July 16, 2004
Gay couples in Canada's Yukon Territory can now get officially married after a judge there ruled that the common-law definition restricting marriage to a man and a woman was "wrong ... Read More

Abortion Doesn’t Affect Catholic Votes

Friday July 16, 2004
One of the premises of the movement to deny communion to pro-choice Democrats (pro-choice Republicans are acceptable) is the hope that by making a big issue of their support for ... Read More

Media Distortions about Politicians’ Faith

Friday July 16, 2004
The media is playing a game with Americans by distorting what politicians think about religion. In the case of Republicans, they are described as "religious" just so long as they ... Read More

Flag Burning... Flag Waving?

Friday July 16, 2004
Despite a spate of court decisions against them, some people continue to insist that there is no speech interest in flag burning and, therefore, flag burning should not be protected ... Read More

Should Condemned Prisoners Receive Organ Transplants?

Friday July 16, 2004
As the prison population in America grows in numbers and increases in age, questions and debates about the allocation of medical resources to prisoners will grow in urgency. One issue ... Read More

This Date in History: Great Schism

Friday July 16, 2004
July 16, 1054: The Western Christian Church, in an effort to further enhance its power, had tried to impose Latin rites on Greek churches in southern Italy in 1052; as ... Read More

Falwell’s Tax-Exempt Status Challenged

Friday July 16, 2004
Jerry Falwell has apparently endorsed George W. Bush for president and, as a consequence, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has filed a complaint with the IRS asking ... Read More

Missouri Court to Decide on Circumcision

Friday July 16, 2004
Will Ethan Azar be circumcised? His mother doesn't want it. His father, who has full custody of the child, wants it. Now Missouri's Supreme Court will have to make a ... Read More

The Homosexual Movement Has Won

Friday July 16, 2004
Evangelical Christians and other religious conservatives are growing more and more concerned that when it comes to gay marriage, Americans will turn their backs on tradition and embrace quality for ... Read More

Dirty Hands and Moral Obligations

Thursday July 15, 2004
Would you care if you were associated with some unethical project? Most people probably would. What if neither maintaining nor dropping your association would change anything? Sticking around doesn’t make ... Read More

Should the American Revolution Be Celebrated?

Thursday July 15, 2004
Most Americans almost automatically celebrate Independence Day every year on the 4th of July. But should they? It might be arguable that many things in the world would have been ... Read More

Panglossian Libertarians

Thursday July 15, 2004
Not long ago I quoted Ed Brayton‘s comments about Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, describing him as a “yahoo” and stating that he wouldn’t vote Libertarian this year. Turns ... Read More

Morality Doesn’t Evolve?

Thursday July 15, 2004
Many Christians seem to need to believe in a moral order that is safe, secure, and definitely doesn’t change over time. It’s as if the very prospect of shifting moral ... Read More

The "Passion" Had Minimal Impact

Thursday July 15, 2004
It was a major theatrical event. Churches reserved entire theaters for their members. Christians were giving away tickets left and right in the hopes of encouraging profound and life-altering religious ... Read More

Flaws in Reasoning: Avoiding the Question

Thursday July 15, 2004
When trying to make a case for some position or idea, we frequently encounter questions which challenge the coherency or validity of that position. When we are able to adequately ... Read More

Churches Should Not Endorse Political Candidates

Thursday July 15, 2004
More and more people are trying to find ways for churches and church leaders to endorse political candidates. Right now that isn’t possible because of churches’ tax-exempt status, but there ... Read More

This Date in History: Jews & Catholics

Thursday July 15, 2004
July 15, 1205: Pope Innocent III asserted that Jews are doomed to perpetual servitude and subjugation due to role in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

West Bank Rioting Over Peeping Tom

Thursday July 15, 2004
Rioting between Muslims and Christians was sparked in the West Bank over a Peeping Tom - a Muslim man who took pictures of a woman in a dressing room. For ... Read More

Fugitive Friar Hiding in U.S.

Thursday July 15, 2004
Catholic priests sexually abusing children is not a problem limited to the United States - but the United States does appear to allow such sexual abusers to hide out within ... Read More

Study: Gay Unions Don’t Harm Marriage

Thursday July 15, 2004
Conservatives fighting the prospect of gay marriage have been trying to get a lot of milage out of reports (from Stanley Kurtz) that the state of marriage declined dramatically in ... Read More

The Relationship Between Science and Money

Thursday July 15, 2004
Book of the Day: Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion, by Daniel S. Greenberg. Scientific research consumes billions of taxpayer dollars each year. Ideally, this money would be ... Read More

Killing School in Gaza

Wednesday July 14, 2004
Terrorism in Israel and Palestine is a very serious issue, but perhaps even more serious is the manner in which young children are being recruited into the cycle of violence. ... Read More

Flag Desecration

Wednesday July 14, 2004
Every couple of years we see new attempts by members of the Christian Right to pass a Constitutional amendment that would authorize making it a criminal act to “desecrate” the ... Read More

Pondering the Homocons

Wednesday July 14, 2004
There are quite a few gay conservatives - homocons appears to be the new mot de jour for them - but there has been some debate about why they would ... Read More

Religious Freedom Based Upon Christianity?

Wednesday July 14, 2004
It’s not uncommon to find a religious conservative criticizing the idea of separating church and state by claiming that religious freedom in America is based not on strict separation but, ... Read More

Donate a Kidney for Jesus

Wednesday July 14, 2004
Jesus wants your kidney! Well, perhaps not. Dave McKay, leader of the Australian group Jesus Christians has admitted that they used the internet to solicit donations of kidneys and parts ... Read More

Spurning the Vatican Position on Contraception

Wednesday July 14, 2004
Latin America has long been a bastion of Roman Catholicism, but recent polls suggest that people there are moving closer to the northern neighbors regarding contraception - namely, that it ... Read More

Brains, Tumors, and Morality

Wednesday July 14, 2004
In a bizarre case reported in various news outlets, a man who suffered from sexual urges he didn't understand and couldn't control was 'cured' through brain surgery. After surgery, everything ... Read More

Church of England: Christmas is for Christians Only!

Wednesday July 14, 2004
Although it has long been a Christian holiday - and was a pagan holiday before that - in recent years Christmas in the West has been largely secularized. The Church ... Read More

This Date in History: Middle East Terrorism

Wednesday July 14, 2004
July 14, 1947: After Zionist terrorists refused to return two kidnapped sergeants, the British army placed Nathanya and four other Jewish settlements under martial law.

Judge Frees Gay-Marriage Ministers

Wednesday July 14, 2004
When two Unitarian ministers performed same-sex marriage ceremonies in New Paltz, N.Y., the local prosecutor actually and the gall to charge them with a crime. Fortunately, the Town Justice dismissed ... Read More

Atheist Pastor Going to Court

Wednesday July 14, 2004
Last year I wrote several times about Thorkild Grosboell, the Lutheran pastor in Denmark whose statements about the absence of God got him into hot water. He was supported by ... Read More

Ex-Gay Group Seeking Influence in Schools

Wednesday July 14, 2004
Desperate to turn the tide against public school programs that teach tolerance for gays, the Christian Right seems to be adopting a new strategy. Instead of simply opposing such programs, ... Read More

Whistleblower or Hypocrite?

Tuesday July 13, 2004
The Catholic Church has come under a lot of heat for their handling of sex abuse allegations. Unfortunately, when Catholics report priests who have been acting inappropriately they aren’t always ... Read More

California Missionary Unapologetic

Tuesday July 13, 2004
A Christian “missionary” who said that female lawmakers who are single mothers are also sinners and that both Catholics and Muslims follow "false religions“ is completely unapologetic. Indeed, he stands ... Read More

Responses to Ron Reagan’s Interview

Tuesday July 13, 2004
A few days ago I wrote about Ron Reagan’s interview that appeared in the New York Times. People have been writing in to the newspaper and many aren’t very happy ... Read More

Vatican Accused of Child Molestation Cover-Up

Tuesday July 13, 2004
Now the Vatican itself is becoming a target of those who are trying to hold the Roman Catholic Church more accountable for the years of child sexual abuse that were ... Read More

Bigoted Maryland Politician Attacks Atheist Senior

Tuesday July 13, 2004
Maryland resident Margaret Sayre used to enjoy lunches at a local senior center, funded at least in part by the state government, but she was bothered by the regular use ... Read More

Gambling and Christianity

Tuesday July 13, 2004
Is gambling a sin for Christians? There's a lot of debate about this question in Christian circles, and not all Christians agree on whether there is something wrong with gambling ... Read More

Abortion Clinic Managers Quit After Harassment

Tuesday July 13, 2004
Because efforts to criminalize abortion have proven unsuccessful, one of the tactics adopted by the anti-abortion movement has been to make life so unpleasant for abortion workers that they will ... Read More

This Date in History: Communists & Catholics

Tuesday July 13, 2004
July 13, 1949: Pope Pius XII excommunicated all Catholics who were also members of the Communist Party.

Fashion Crackdown in Iran

Tuesday July 13, 2004
Watch out for the fashion police! In Iran right now, that warning really does meaning something: the government is trying to crack down on uppity women who have the gall ... Read More

Postponing Elections

Monday July 12, 2004
It’s been hitting the news media that the American government is considering ways in which the November elections might be postponed in the event of a terrorist attack. Conspiracy-minded people ... Read More

Did Christians Desecrate a Hindu Temple?

Monday July 12, 2004
There has been a lot of conflict in recent years between Hindus and Christians in India - especially when it comes to Hindu fundamentalists upset over Christians converting people. This ... Read More

Intelligent Design, Rev. Moon, and Deception

Monday July 12, 2004
It is a characteristic of Intelligent Design that proponents will say one thing in one place but something radically different elsewhere - all in an apparent attempt to mislead people ... Read More

Court: Oregon Must Register Gay Marriages

Monday July 12, 2004
For a short time, officials in Multnomah County, Oregon granted marriage licenses to gay couples - the county attorney said that refusing to do so would be unconstitutional. Now, the ... Read More

Shroud of Turin Must Be a Hoax

Monday July 12, 2004
People continue to believe that the Shroud of Turin is genuine - that is to say, that it’s really the burial cloth of the Jesus Christ instead of a medieval ... Read More

Army Won’t Distribute Medals with Bible Verses

Monday July 12, 2004
A man named Bob Parker has been distributing honorary medals to the families of fallen soldiers, police, and firefighters that include a reference to Bible verse John 15:13, "Greater love ... Read More

Religion and Reason: Does One Cancel the Other Out?

Monday July 12, 2004
Are religion and reason incompatible? I don't think so, but that isn't always an easy position to uphold. I can't claim that there is any necessary connection between being religious ... Read More

Woman Who Brought Church/State Case Dies

Monday July 12, 2004
Sidney G. Schempp, the woman who helped her son Ellery Schempp launch the Supreme Court case that struck down the recitation of the Bible verses and the Lord's Prayer in ... Read More

Secret Anti-Kerry Orders from Vatican

Monday July 12, 2004
I have written before about a letter sent by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Inquisition) to the American bishops indicating ... Read More

This Date in History: Joseph Smith & Polygamy

Monday July 12, 2004
July 12, 1843: Mormon leader Joseph Smith said that God approved of polygamy.

Lynne Cheney: Leave Gay Marriage Decision to States

Monday July 12, 2004
Lynne Cheney - wife of the vice president, mother of a lesbian, author of a steamy lesbian romance, and now supporter of states’ rights when it comes to gay marriage. ... Read More

Vatican Bank Being Sued

Monday July 12, 2004
It seems like the Vatican Bank is in a bit of trouble. Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale has filed a lawsuit charging officials at the Vatican Bank with violating the ... Read More

DeLay Solicited Corporate Money for Texas Redistricting?

Monday July 12, 2004
Tom DeLay was a major force in the effort to redraw Texas district lines in a way that favored Republican candidates. This received a fair amount of negative attention, but ... Read More

The Problem of Pride

Sunday July 11, 2004
Guest author Lancelot Kirby writes in a new article "Patriotism by its very definition, "love of country," instantly creates a barrier of "us" against "them" that I do not feel ... Read More

Evil vs. Omnipotence

Sunday July 11, 2004
Is the existence of evil compatible with the existence of an omnipotent god with the ability to desire to eliminate evil? That seems unlikely and many antitheological arguments have been ... Read More

This Date in History: Jesuits in China

Sunday July 11, 2004
July 11, 1742: Pope Benedict XIV formally suppressed the practice of Chinese rites used by Jesuit missionaries in China.

Atheists Believe In Nothing?

Sunday July 11, 2004
One common misunderstanding about atheism is the idea that atheists believe in nothing. Apparently, the absence of any beliefs means that when the government fails to promote Christianity, it must ... Read More

Contraception: Access Denied

Sunday July 11, 2004
Although most people aren’t aware of it yet, the fight against abortion also includes a fight against all forms of contraception, including The Pill. This connection is being made increasingly ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Epictetus on Being a Better Person

Sunday July 11, 2004
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. - Epictetus, Concerning such as read and dispute ostentatiously. Chap. xxiii. No one wants to be ... Read More

Why do you think you are right?

Saturday July 10, 2004
Yes, it is true that smarter people than I have accepted theism and religion - but so what? Smarter people than you have rejected your brand of theism and ... Read More

Discussion: I am worse than Osama bin Laden

Saturday July 10, 2004
A forum member writes: ... because I will vote for John Kerry !! So says Neal Boortz. The repugnance of such Republicans is a sure indication of how scared they ... Read More

Islam and Women’s Rights

Saturday July 10, 2004
There has been a lot of criticism of Islam for the way that women are treated in Muslim societies. It is argued that the poor treatment of women reflects the ... Read More

Religious War in Nigeria

Saturday July 10, 2004
There is evidence that Islamic extremists are looking radicalize the religious conflicts in West Africa, especially Nigeria. Christians and Muslims there are been at each other’s throats for a while ... Read More

This Date in History: Inquisition

Saturday July 10, 2004
July 10, 2002: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (better known by its original name, the "Inquisition") warned Romulo Antonio Braschi, founder of a Catholic schismatic movement, and ... Read More

Linking Christianity with Politics

Saturday July 10, 2004
Certain conservative religious leaders are growing concerned about the increasing links between the Republican Party and evangelical churches. There is a sense that the moral authority of churches will be ... Read More

Moderate Muslims Deceiving Media?

Saturday July 10, 2004
Whenever there is violence in the name of Islam, you can count on the media carrying comments from moderate Muslims decrying such violence and insisting that Islam is a religion ... Read More

Religion in the New Iraq

Saturday July 10, 2004
The new government in Iraq has quickly learned how to use religion to political advantage. Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has been invoking the name of God in his speeches, even ... Read More

“In God We Trust” License Plates

Friday July 9, 2004
With a successful vote in the state House of Representatives, North Carolina is now just one step away from having specialized license plates bearing the slogan “In God We Trust,” ... Read More

Europe Rejects Fetal Right to Life

Friday July 9, 2004
Although it’s gotten a lot of attention and support in America, there doesn’t seem to be as much interest in Europe for giving a fetus the same right to life ... Read More

Seeking Political Churches

Friday July 9, 2004
Religious organizations are allowed to promote specific positions on any political or moral issues but they aren’t allowed to endorse or attack any specific candidates. Some are upset by this ... Read More

Limbaugh Denounces Bush as Communist

Friday July 9, 2004
Has Rush Limbaugh really denounced President George W. Bush as a communist? Well, not quite. Actually he’s tried to denounce John Kerry as a communist, but the means by which ... Read More

Vatican Running a Deficit?

Friday July 9, 2004
The Vatican is apparently running a deficit - to the tune of USD $11.8 million, in fact. People often insist that the Holy See is an incredibly wealthy organization, something ... Read More

Is atheism just a phase you are going through?

Friday July 9, 2004
This sort of question is asked much more often of young atheists than of adults, perhaps because young people do go through a number of "phases" during which they ... Read More

Fascism and Homosexuality

Friday July 9, 2004
It seems absurd to think that there could be any sort of link between fascism and homosexuality - after all, thousands of gays were killed in Nazi death camps and ... Read More

Bush-Cheney Calendar of Holy Days and Days of Obligation

Friday July 9, 2004
The recent revelation that the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has set target dates for volunteers to do things with their churches like turn over church directories, hold pot-luck dinners, and so ... Read More

This Date in History: Church of Scientology

Friday July 9, 2004
July 09, 1997: A Florida judge orders the release of internal logs that reveal exactly how Scientologists actually cared for Lisa McPherson while she was in their care. These ... Read More

Couple Evicted Over Witchcraft?

Friday July 9, 2004
An Ohio couple evicted from their apartment are alleging that the eviction was entirely due to the fact that they practice witchcraft, something the owner of the property objected to. ... Read More

Couple Arrested for Anti-Bush T-Shirts

Friday July 9, 2004
Has it become a crime to protest the president and his administration? Has it become illegal to attend a speech by President Bush and express your disagreement with his policies? ... Read More

America a Christian Nation?

Friday July 9, 2004
Many evangelical Christian believe that America is a Christian Nation - founded by Christians for the purpose of advancing Christian goals and promoting Christian ideals. In such a scheme, non-Christians ... Read More

Holding Religious Leaders Responsible

Thursday July 8, 2004
It’s rare that people commit religiously-motivated violence all on their own. Typically, they are inspired to commit violence and whipped up into a frenzy by religious leaders whose pronouncements against ... Read More

Socialism of American Sports

Thursday July 8, 2004
Americans like to see themselves as great defenders of capitalism and stalwart enemies of socialism. It is curious, then, that American sports are so socialist in how things are done ... Read More

No Outcry for Gay Marriage Amendment

Thursday July 8, 2004
Religious conservatives have been wringing their hands over the prospect of gay marriage becoming legalizing in more jurisdictions in America and have hoped that a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage ... Read More

Indian Trains Run by a God

Thursday July 8, 2004
For some reason, Bihar railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has decided to place the safety of trains in India in the hands of Lord Vishwakarma, God of machines. If there ... Read More

Aren't you just rebelling against your family, your church, and/or society?

Thursday July 8, 2004
There is a common perception that atheists are people who are simply looking for some way to rebel. Perhaps they are rebelling against a religious family; perhaps they are ... Read More

Baptists on Church/State Separation

Thursday July 8, 2004
Today in America the most visible representatives of the Baptist tradition are the Southern Baptists. What make this interesting is the fact that contemporary Southern Baptist fight against the separation ... Read More

Shrieks of Joy for “In God We Trust”

Thursday July 8, 2004
When the city council of Oceanside, California, voted to hang a small plaque bearing the words “In God We Trust” under the city seal on the wall behind the council ... Read More

This Date in History: Great Awakening

Thursday July 8, 2004
July 08, 1741: Jonathan Edwards preached his classic sermon, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,' a key step in the beginning of New England's Great Awakening.

Bush Judicial Appointee: Wives Should Be Subservient

Thursday July 8, 2004
Arkansas lawyer J. Leon Holmes has been confirmed by the Senate and, hence, appointed to the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas. President Bush pushed hard for ... Read More

School Rejects Clergy Presentation on Homosexuality

Thursday July 8, 2004
If a school invites people to give a presentation to students encouraging tolerance towards a minority group, should they also invite the “other side” to give a presentation that encourages ... Read More

Preacher Going on Trial in Boy’s Death

Wednesday July 7, 2004
In Milwaukee, Ray A. Hemphill, preacher at his Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, will go on trial for the abuse and death of an autistic 8-year-old in an ... Read More

Kerry Cited in Heresy Charges

Wednesday July 7, 2004
Conservative Catholic outrage at John Kerry seems to increase on an almost daily basis. Why? I would hazard to guess that his public presence as a liberal Catholic makes it ... Read More

Drug Makers Overcharge Regularly?

Wednesday July 7, 2004
The American government has made attempt to reduce the cost of medication through Medicare, but at the same time the prices of many drugs rose and that offset the savings. ... Read More

God no Democrat, Jesus Prefers Bush

Wednesday July 7, 2004
It seems to be a regular occurrence to find someone claiming, explicitly or implicitly, that God and/or Jesus is a support of President George W. Bush and that the godly/Christian ... Read More

Ralph Reed's Gamble

Wednesday July 7, 2004
Ralph Reed has long been an important figure for the Christian Right, a driving force in their moralizing drive to remake America in their own Christian image. Apparently, though, he ... Read More

Tell me, how can someone/you believe in NOTHING?

Wednesday July 7, 2004
This particular question is based upon a misunderstanding of what atheism is. Many theists seem to think that atheists don't believe in anything at all - evidently, we have ... Read More

AmeriCorps Must Stop Funding in Catholic Schools

Wednesday July 7, 2004
AmeriCorps has been financing programs that put volunteers in Catholic schools, even teaching “Christian values“ via programs like University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. Now, U.S. District Judge ... Read More

Discussion: Kerry and Religion

Wednesday July 7, 2004
A forum member writes: It's no secret that the Bushites are attacking the religion flank of Kerry and the Democrats in general. The faith-based monies to black churches is one ... Read More

CAIR Tied to Terrorism?

Wednesday July 7, 2004
The other day I wrote about a recent Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) poll showing strong support for John Kerry over George W. Bush among Muslims in America. Now, a ... Read More

This Date in History: Scopes Monkey Trial

Wednesday July 7, 2004
July 07, 1925: William Jennings Bryan arrived in Dayton, Tennessee, a day before the Scopes Monkey Trial was to start.

Israeli Warnings Over Jewish Extremists

Wednesday July 7, 2004
In all the regular reporting about Muslim extremists and Islamic terrorism, one can forget that there are Jews in Israel who are ever bit as extremist in their ideology as ... Read More

Portland Archdiocese Files for Bankruptcy

Wednesday July 7, 2004
Paying victims of sexual abuse committed by the clergy has been difficult for Catholic dioceses in America. Now, the Portland Archdiocese has announced that the prospect of huge judgments against ... Read More

Religion and the 2004 Election

Wednesday July 7, 2004
Both Catholics and non-Catholics were taken aback when they learned that the American president, hat in hand, approached Vatican officials to ask that they get the American bishops in line ... Read More

Can We Be Good Without God?

Tuesday July 6, 2004
Ethics is a common field of debate between theists and atheist. Perhaps the most basic disagreement is whether a moral system requires a belief in the existence of God. Theists ... Read More

Fundamentalists Protest Tower Dedication

Tuesday July 6, 2004
It seems like you can always count on Fred Phelp’s Westboro Baptist Church to do something silly or obnoxious in public - apparently, it’s all about the propaganda value of ... Read More

Christian Soldiers vs. Mainstream Churches

Tuesday July 6, 2004
By now you have probably read about President Bush’s efforts to enlist the aid of conservative evangelical Christians to get reelected. His campaign is making a major push to get ... Read More

Montana School Board Rejects Creationism

Tuesday July 6, 2004
The Darby School Board in Montana has been considering the inclusion of creationism alongside evolution in biology classes, but in the most recent vote that proposal was defeated. The NCSE ... Read More

My in-laws keep making negative comments about atheism

Tuesday July 6, 2004
Unfortunately, not every family is very accepting of people rejecting their religion. Rejecting belief in a god altogether can be even more problematic. Sometimes, they will even denigrate ... Read More

Bush on Turkey and the EU

Tuesday July 6, 2004
When President Bush recently visited Turkey, he voiced his support for their admission to the EU and made reference to the idea that Turkey has been excluded in the past ... Read More

Discussion: Supreme Court on Censorship & Prisoners

Tuesday July 6, 2004
A forum member writes: The Supreme Court continues to slap the conservatives around, this time with a 5-4 majority that blocks enforcement of the 1998 Child Online Protection Act ...at ... Read More

The Mask Slips

Tuesday July 6, 2004
Some have been complaining for a while that the major news media in America have been acting as little more than the unofficial propaganda arm of the United States government, ... Read More

This Date in History: French Wars of Religion

Tuesday July 6, 2004
July 06, 1573: Huguenot rebels and French Catholics sign Peace of La Rochelle, marking a pause in the French Wars of Religion.

Responses to South African Atheist-Bashing

Tuesday July 6, 2004
A few days ago I wrote about an atheist-bashing letter from John Rowland in Randburg, South Africa and published in The Star. I wasn’t the only one to notice just ... Read More

Officer Disciplined for Following Religious Conviction

Tuesday July 6, 2004
Sometimes a person’s religious convictions causes conflicts with their duties at their job. Forced to choose, many choose their religious principles and if the employer balks, a lawsuit may follow. ... Read More

Doctors Take Bribes for Prescriptions

Tuesday July 6, 2004
Most people have gotten a doctor's prescription at some point in their lives for a medicine they have needed. Some people need prescription medication on a regular basis due to ... Read More

Catholicism and Freedom

Tuesday July 6, 2004
Book of the Day: Catholic Power vs. American Freedom, by George La Piana & John W. Swomley. edited by Herbert F. Vetter. The role of Catholicism in American society has ... Read More

Sex Abuse Lawsuit in Pittsburgh

Monday July 5, 2004
Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh has long enjoyed a positive reputation for his handling of allegations of sexual abuse committed by priests against children. That may be about to change: ... Read More

Plugged In, But Not Tuned In

Monday July 5, 2004
More and more it is possible to find “Christian” reviews of movies, music, and other media. Supposedly these reviews offer a Christians perspective on the media, allowing Christian families to ... Read More

Muslims Win Legal Battle in Prisons

Monday July 5, 2004
Muslim prisoners in California have been fighting rules that allow prison officials to deny sentence reductions or imposing disciplinary measures on Muslims who insist on attending religious services or growing ... Read More

Gay Cleric Installed in U.K.

Monday July 5, 2004
In 2003 Jeffrey John turned down his appointment to become the first openly gay (but celibate) Anglican bishop because of the international outcry. In 2004, he has accepted his appointment ... Read More

Atheism Is A Religion?

Monday July 5, 2004
The idea that atheism is a religion is one of the most common and ridiculous myths that religious believers try to spread. What’s especially annoying about this which separates it ... Read More

My in-laws don't know that I am an atheist - should I tell them?

Monday July 5, 2004
So, you've decided that you cannot rationally or reasonably continue with the religion which you used to follow and to which your spouse's family continues to belong. Your ... Read More

Southern Baptists Angry at Bush Tactics

Monday July 5, 2004
I wrote recently about President Bush and his reelection campaign asking volunteers to turn over church directories to make it easier to contact people. Well, it seems that this and ... Read More

Muslim Voters Favor Kerry

Monday July 5, 2004
Republicans are looking forward to capturing a greater percentage of the Jewish vote in the upcoming election, but what about the Muslim vote? Muslims tend to be very conservative on ... Read More

This Date in History: Dolly the Sheep

Monday July 5, 2004
July 05, 1996: Dolly the sheep became the first mammal cloned from an adult when she was born at the Scottish Roslin Institute.

Taliban Attacks Female Election Workers

Monday July 5, 2004
Americans tend to think that they were victorious in Afghanistan, but the fact of the matter is leading Taliban members are still at large and, even worse, Taliban forces are ... Read More

Ron Reagan on Religion and Atheism

Monday July 5, 2004
A year ago, I don’t think that most people really cared; today, however, Ron Reagan’s atheism and ideas about the relationship between religion and politics has been receiving a great ... Read More

My spouse has gotten more religious since we got married.

Sunday July 4, 2004
For some, the result of the process of intellectual and personal growth may be a deepening of past religious faith or the adoption of a new religion entirely. If ... Read More

United to Smite Homosexuality

Sunday July 4, 2004
Obviously there are many churches which are opposed to homosexuality, but there are few that make that their exclusive focus. One is the Upper Room Church of God in Christ ... Read More

This Date in History: Concordat

Sunday July 4, 2004
July 04, 1933: Under pressure from the Vatican, Heinrich Brüning agreed to end the Center Party in Germany. This paved the way for the signing of a Concordat between the ... Read More

Too Many Christians?

Sunday July 4, 2004
Penn State University recently tried to deny official recognition to a Christian club on the grounds that there were already so many Christian clubs that there was a duplication of ... Read More

Singling Out Catholic Democrats

Sunday July 4, 2004
Catholic bishops who talk about denying communion to pro-choice politicians and voters keep insisting that this is simply a matter of internal church discipline. Don’t they have the right to ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Schopenhauer on Nationalism and Pride

Sunday July 4, 2004
Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready ... Read More

I was a believer when I got married, but now I'm not so sure.

Saturday July 3, 2004
Everyone grows as they go through life. Indeed, they should grow and they should develop - intellectually, psychologically, and emotionally. Part of that growth must entail reconsidering past ... Read More

National Review and White Power

Saturday July 3, 2004
In many ways the National Review is considered an important reference point for modern American conservatism. It was recently announced that William F. Buckley, the man who started the magazine ... Read More

Discussion: Crisis in Sudan

Saturday July 3, 2004
A forum member writes: I'm advocating that they should stay out of everywhere, or at least be consistent. If the US says: "Hey, we want to liberate countries where ... Read More

Christian Politicians

Saturday July 3, 2004
There is an assumption among many Americans that the quality of a politician’s character might be evaluated based upon the nature of their religious beliefs. This stems from the prejudice ... Read More

This Date in History: Theodor Herzl

Saturday July 3, 2004
July 03, 1904: Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, died in Edlach, Austria.

LGBT Kids Unsafe at School

Saturday July 3, 2004
Gay and lesbian students have long had difficulty in schools. Teasing, discrimination, and prejudice all take their toll - it’s no wonder that the suicide rate among gay teens is ... Read More

Honeymoon is Over: Conservatives Go After Arnold

Saturday July 3, 2004
When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for the governor of California, conservatives around the nation rejoiced. They practically swooned over the idea of his achieving political office as a Republican. Now, however, ... Read More

Scalia vs. Thomas on Fascism

Saturday July 3, 2004
Supreme Court justices Scalia and Thomas commonly vote together on various issues, but the recent decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld reveals a stark difference between the two: Scalia comes out ... Read More

Japanese Religious Traditions

Saturday July 3, 2004
Book of the Day: Shinto: Origins, Rituals, Festivals, Spirits, Sacred Places, by C. Scott Littleton. Because the Shinto religion has been integral to Japanese culture for millennia, understanding Japan requires some ... Read More

Religious Backing of Medical Marijuana

Friday July 2, 2004
The debate about whether marijuana should be made available to people for specific medical reasons has been primarily political for a while. Now, however, some religious groups are starting to ... Read More

Stained-Glass Ceiling

Friday July 2, 2004
More and more women are being ordained into various Christian churches in America, but their success stalls because being ordained doesn’t lead to the credibility, respect, or positions of authority ... Read More

Court Rules Against Israel’s Security Barrier

Friday July 2, 2004
The security barrier that Israel is building between them and the Palestinians has generated a lot of negative press around the world but most Israelis seem happy with it. The ... Read More

Virginia’s Blue Laws Revived

Friday July 2, 2004
Oops! In an attempt to finally eliminate the state’s blue laws, Virginia lawmakers in reality only eliminate the amendments which caused the laws not to be enforced. Thus, the original ... Read More

Would two atheists be more compatible in marriage?

Friday July 2, 2004
It is certainly reasonable to wonder whether an atheist and a theist would be as compatible as two people of the same position - two atheists or two theists. ... Read More

Catholics Continue Opposition to Morning-After Pill

Friday July 2, 2004
Massachusetts is considering a bill that would require all hospitals to provide information about morning-after pills (emergency contraception) to rape victims as well as make the pills available upon the ... Read More

This Date in History: Thomas Cranmer

Friday July 2, 2004
July 02, 1489: Thomas Cranmer, English reformer and martyr, was born.

Republicans Plan Catholic Outreach Tour

Friday July 2, 2004
President Bush’s visit to the Vatican and request to get American bishops to fall in line behind him doesn’t appear to have worked, so now Bush is looking to reach ... Read More

Bush Campaign Asking For Church Directories

Friday July 2, 2004
If you attend a church, President Bush’s reelection campaign may soon know a lot more about you than you want. They have sent out a directive instructing volunteers that, by ... Read More

Catholic Confusion on Gay Marriage

Friday July 2, 2004
Catholics have been experiencing some difficulty getting other Americans to go along with their view regarding gay marriage. More and more people are adopting tolerant attitudes towards homosexuality and Catholics ... Read More

Civil Liberties and Government Authority

Friday July 2, 2004
Book of the Day: Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age, by Alan Dershowitz. Currently in the United States, the discussion over the relationship between public security and civil rights ... Read More

What Would James Dobson Do?

Thursday July 1, 2004
James Dobson, founder and leader of Focus on the Family, is a moralistic and self-righteous evangelical Christian who likes to complain about how the rest of American society is far ... Read More

Pro-Choice Catholics Advised to Confess

Thursday July 1, 2004
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a sin - not simply in the sense that getting an abortion is a sin, but also in the sense that voting to ... Read More

Presbyterian Panel OKs Gay Clergy

Thursday July 1, 2004
The Presbyterian panel “Committee on Church Orders and Ministry“ has recommended allowing for the ordination of openly gay clergy. It was a close vote and still needs to be approved ... Read More

Muslim Children Reenact Nick Berg’s Execution

Thursday July 1, 2004
The beheading of American Nick Berg in Iraq continues to generate discussion and debate. Despite the fact that some Muslims, even Hizbollah, have condemned it, others treat it as something ... Read More

Can mixed marriages between theists and atheists work?

Thursday July 1, 2004
This question is asked equally by both atheists and theists. Marriage is one of the most intimate and most serious relationships a person can have in their lives; it ... Read More

Bishops vs. The Bible

Thursday July 1, 2004
Catholic leaders argue that abortion is wrong and should be outlawed. They do not do this simply as a matter of Catholic theology but, rather, as a matter of “natural ... Read More

European Court Upholds Headscarf Ban

Thursday July 1, 2004
According to the European Court of Human Rights, universities may ban Muslim headscarves in order to maintain a division of religion and state. In France? In Germany? In Britain? No, ... Read More

This Date in History: Darwin and Wallace

Thursday July 1, 2004
July 01, 1858: Charles Darwin read Alfred Russel Wallace's paper on evolution to the Linnaean Society along with portions of Darwin's own long-withheld manuscript of The Origin of Species by ... Read More

Death Row Appeal: Prosecutor Used Bible Reference

Thursday July 1, 2004
Robert Karl Hicks does not seem to be a very good man. Convicted of stabbing a woman to death, he was given the death penalty. Now he is appealing that ... Read More

Homeland Security Hunting for “Islamics”

Thursday July 1, 2004
The American government is once again working to get American citizens to spy and report on each other. The latest program involves getting truck drivers to keep an eye out ... Read More

Philosophical Skepticism Reviewed

Thursday July 1, 2004
Book of the Day: Skeptical Philosophy for Everyone, by Richard H. Popkin and Avrum Stroll. It is commonly believed that skepticism is a relatively minor issue in the context of Western ... Read More

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