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Austin's Atheism Blog December 2004 Archive

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Newsletter 12-31-04

Friday December 31, 2004
This week we'll take a look at some of the most interesting news stories of 2004 dealing with religion, politics, and ethics. We'll also examine a quote from Lucretius on ... Read More

Taking Back Christmas as Engineered Hate

Friday December 31, 2004
What do you suppose is behind the recent campaign to "take back" Christmas from the "godless" hordes of liberals and secularists? It's an important question because we haven't seen this ... Read More

'Happy Holidays' As Atheist Plot

Friday December 31, 2004
Quite a few religious conservatives have acted as though there is some plot among atheists, liberals, and secularists to take Christ out of Christmas - indeed, to eliminate Christianity from ... Read More

This Date in History: Ramadan Terrorism

Friday December 31, 2004
December 31, 1997: To celebrate the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims, Islamic militants kill 80 villagers in Shair and Sidi al-Antar in Algeria on ... Read More

Holiday Wishes from the Christian Right

Friday December 31, 2004
Religious conservatives have complained about how the "true meaning" of Christmas has been subverted by godless liberals. It would be valid, then, to wonder just how these same conservatives have ... Read More

No Mandatory Minimums of Religion

Friday December 31, 2004
Some religious conservatives complain when religious beliefs and history are not introduced in public schools. In some cases, the absence of any mention of religion may be unwise from a ... Read More

Interesting Stats from Barna

Friday December 31, 2004
The Barna Group is an evangelical Christian organization that does surveys and research to better understand what Christians believe and how they behave. Many times their results run counter to ... Read More

Christianity, Atheism, and Suicide

Thursday December 30, 2004
Christians sometimes wonder why atheists don't commit suicide, as if life weren't worth living in the absence of their god and their heaven. They don't commit suicide in order to ... Read More

Agitating for a Fascist Takeover?

Thursday December 30, 2004
One of the features of a fascist state is that power tends to be concentrated in a few centralized hands. In America, power is spread out among three branches of ... Read More

This Date in History: Raid at Tyre

Thursday December 30, 2004
December 30, 1187: Conrad of Montferrat, commander of the Christian defenses of Tyre, launches a night raid against several Muslim ships participating in the siege of the city. He is ... Read More

Creationism vs. Imagination

Thursday December 30, 2004
One of the interesting aspects of teaching creationism or "Intelligent" Design is the way in which it would, if adopted, inhibit the principles of imagination and wonder that are so ... Read More

Pennsylvania: Board Stands Behind Intelligent Design

Thursday December 30, 2004
The Dover, Pennsylvania, school district that wants to teach "Intelligent" Design in science classes isn't backing down from their decision. On the contrary, they continue to insist that their decision ... Read More

Anti-Abortion Supporter Gets Treatment - From Aborted Fetuses

Thursday December 30, 2004
Van Golden is a Christian anti-abortion activist from Texas. He is also an anti-abortion voter who has sold his home and moved to China so he can be treated for ... Read More

Newsletter 12-29-04

Wednesday December 29, 2004
News items from the past week include heterosexual marriage certificates being rejected, attempts to eliminate the separation of church and state in Florida, the high costs of poor sex-ed in ... Read More

Nebraska: Math Teacher Fired for Teaching Religion

Wednesday December 29, 2004
The board of Papillion-La Vista High School in Nebraska voted unanimously to fire Robert Ziegler, a second-year math teacher. His offense? He openly admitted to sharing his Christian faith with ... Read More

Harry Potter is Improper Christmas Viewing?

Wednesday December 29, 2004
On Christmas, the BBC aired the movie "Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone." Kids probably enjoyed it, but the Church of England didn't. According to the church's leadership, movies that ... Read More

This Date in History: Thomas Becket Murdered

Wednesday December 29, 2004
December 29, 1170: Archbishop Thomas Becket is murdered in the Canterbury Cathedral by four knights who believe that they are executing the wishes of King Henry II.

Religion & the Death Penalty

Wednesday December 29, 2004
Do religions support or oppose the death penalty? The truth is that there is no unified position on capital punishment, even within any religions much less among them. Because of ... Read More

Texas: Muslim School Gets Hostile Letter from 'Christian' Group

Wednesday December 29, 2004
Dar-Ul-Arqam is a private Muslim school in Texas that wanted to join the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. This would allow it to compete with other private schools ... Read More

Yasser Arafat: Bowling for Bar Mitzvahs?

Wednesday December 29, 2004
Now that Yasser Arafat is dead, investigators are just beginning the plumb the depths of his financial situation. He diverted money donate for the Palestinians to corporate investments all over ... Read More

High School Conservatives

Tuesday December 28, 2004
Conservative political movements have been growing in numbers and influence in high schools across the country. There may be a time in the near future when conservative political clubs are ... Read More

Austin Cline, Anti-Christian

Tuesday December 28, 2004
There are quite a few theists who dislike what I write and what I do with this site. Some even comment on the site, though most have the sense to ... Read More

This Date in History: Equality for All Citizens?

Tuesday December 28, 2004
December 28, 1878: Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Quod Apostolici, rejected the idea that citizens in a state should be equal and have full political freedom, writing that "If ... Read More

Public Servants and the First Amendment

Tuesday December 28, 2004
I've already written about the Alabama judge who has embroidered the Ten Commandments on his robe. There is no excusing or justifying what he has done, although some have tried ... Read More

7,000 Years of Religious Ritual in Mexico

Tuesday December 28, 2004
One thing that hampers religious studies is the fact that we don't have detailed records of the very long-term development of many ancient religions. When we do have anything, it's ... Read More

Blogsnark: Atheism - What's the Point?

Tuesday December 28, 2004
Some people wonder what the point of atheism is, but I tend to wonder what the point is of complaining about atheism when you admit that you don't actually understand ... Read More

Newsletter 12-27-04

Tuesday December 28, 2004
News items from the past week include an atheist arguing that "Intelligent" Design can legitimately be taught in public school science classes, a claim that Democrats are anti-God, the means ... Read More

Faith-Based Law Schools

Monday December 27, 2004
Can a religious law school turn out better and more moral lawyers? Some think so, that's why Jerry Falwell has opened Liberty University Law School. Not everyone agrees, though, and ... Read More

Wing Nut Daily and Dragons

Monday December 27, 2004
Many critics tend to refer to conservative internet publication "World Net Daily" as "Wing Nut Daily." I have resisted the trend, even though I almost always disagree with them, because ... Read More

This Date in History: Christian Temperance Movement Strikes

Monday December 27, 2004
December 27, 1899: Carry Nation, a leader of the American Christian temperance movement, raided and wrecked her first saloon in Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

Scientology Giving "Stress Tests" In NYC

Monday December 27, 2004
For some reason, Scientologists have started hitting the streets in New York City to recruit members. They've also been seen in the subway system, but apparently that's illegal and if ... Read More

Israel: Settlers Compare Gaza-Pullout to Holocaust

Monday December 27, 2004
Israeli Settlers in the Gaza Strip really don't want to leave but the Israeli government is likely to take them out by force if they don't go willingly. This is ... Read More

France: Catholics Denounce Books on Mary

Monday December 27, 2004
Roman Catholic leaders in France that condemned two recent books on the Virgin Mary because they criticize traditional Catholic dogmas about whether she was a virgin and whether she gave ... Read More

Darwinism Fails?

Sunday December 26, 2004
I think that the intellectual emptiness of "Intelligent" Design can, in part, be demonstrated in part by the intellectual emptiness of the arguments used by supporters. If there really were ... Read More

Atheism, Theism, and Violence

Sunday December 26, 2004
Quite a few religious believers try to argue that religion and theism are necessary for morality; the implication is that atheism is incompatible with morality in some fashion. Why is ... Read More

This Date in History: First Cloned Human?

Sunday December 26, 2004
December 26, 2002: According to Brigitte Boisselier, a chemist and CEO of Clonaid, on this day the first cloned human being was born. Clonaid is a company created by the ... Read More

Fundamentalist Opposes Christian Right

Sunday December 26, 2004
We normally think of the Christian Right as enjoying strong support among evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. While that may normally be the case, it isn't true for everyone. Some conservative, ... Read More

New Theories Questioning Dead Sea Scrolls

Sunday December 26, 2004
Everyone knows that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by a community of Essenes living at Qumran... right? Well, maybe not. Recent research suggests a very different story about the ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Lucretius on Mortality

Sunday December 26, 2004
There is no murky pit of hell awaiting anyone ... Mind cannot arise alone without body, or apart from sinews and blood ... You must admit, therefore, that when then ... Read More

Blogsnark: Defending the Alabama Judge

Saturday December 25, 2004
You've probably read about the Alabama Judge who had the Ten Commandments embroidered on this robe. As you can imagine, he does have his supporters - so let's take a ... Read More

Blogsnark: Secularism is Unreal

Saturday December 25, 2004
Secularism is treated as a serious threat by those who would like their society to be aligned according to Islamic law. This is a justified perspective because when a state ... Read More

Blogsnark: Atheist Quiz

Saturday December 25, 2004
Many religious theists simply have no understanding of atheism. If they don't know any atheists and haven't read up on the topic, that's understandable. What's not so understandable, however, is ... Read More

This Date in History: Pope Adrian I

Saturday December 25, 2004
December 25, 0795: Pope Adrian I died. A popular pope, Adrian's reign was one of the longest in papal history. He also presided over the important Second Council of Nicea ... Read More

Blogsnark: Why Are Atheists Atheists?

Saturday December 25, 2004
It's sadly common to find religious believers attacking atheism in a manner that betrays absolutely no understanding of what they are talking about. They don't even understand why an atheist ... Read More

Blogsnark: Christmas Message from the ACLU

Saturday December 25, 2004
One of the curious facets of the contemporary "war" over Christmas is how religious conservatives keep blaming liberals and groups like the ACLU for all of the alleged "problems." They ... Read More

What is Blogsnark?

Saturday December 25, 2004
Readers may have noticed the title "Blogsnark" on a number of posts. What does it mean? I took the inspiration from Websnark, a blog that offers commentary on webcomics. I ... Read More

Blogsnark: Getting Rid of Christmas

Friday December 24, 2004
Is there a secularist conspiracy to get rid of Christmas? Some Christians seem to think so. They can't point to any examples of this occurring or the slightest bit of ... Read More

Massachusetts: Nativity Scene Removed from Elementary School

Friday December 24, 2004
In South Norwood, a nativity scene that has stood in front of the Balch Elementary School every Christmas for 75 years has been removed. The display gave preference to Christianity ... Read More

Bishop Blasts Sunday Shopping

Friday December 24, 2004
Helping to demonstrate just why his diocese is the most "godless" in Britain, Bishop of Manchester Nigel McCulloch has attacked stores that open on Sundays so people can shop. Presumably, ... Read More

Newsletter 12-24-04

Friday December 24, 2004
Welcome to issue #6.51 of Free Thought Now!, the Agnosticism / Atheism site newsletter. This week we'll take a look at some of the top news stories from 2004 dealing ... Read More

What Would Jesus Do? Evict Homeless Pregnant Woman

Friday December 24, 2004
In North Carolina, the Rev. Oliver S. Robinson, director of the Tabernacle of Faith Church Outreach Center is putting into practice the principle of following what Jesus would do: he's ... Read More

This Date in History: Edessa Recaptured

Friday December 24, 2004
December 24, 1144: Muslim forces under the command of Imad ad-Din Zengi re-capture Edessa, originally taken by Crusaders under Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098. This event makes Zengi a hero ... Read More

Christ-less Christmas at the White House

Friday December 24, 2004
For all of the conservatives' complaining about how our secular culture is making Christmas less religious (thought they blame godless liberals, not the culture), it's interesting that the White House's ... Read More

Lou Dobbs: 'Happy Holidays' Excludes Christmas, Christians

Friday December 24, 2004
Lou Dobbs has been known to take some very bizarre positions in the past but this time he has raised the bar. During a discussion with CNN business correspondent Christine ... Read More

Gay Marriage Is An Attack on Society

Thursday December 23, 2004
Some might think that gay marriage is about gays having the ability to create a public commitment to one another and establish familial or kinship ties with one another in ... Read More

Sex-Ed in Texas

Thursday December 23, 2004
A recent report shows that Texas' limitations on teens' right to confidentiality when obtaining things like birth control has significant costs - around $44 million a year, due mostly to ... Read More

Florida: Hanukkah Songs Replace Christmas Songs, Christians Outraged

Thursday December 23, 2004
The choral concert at the Independence Middle School in Jupiter, Florida, had to be changed when a Jewish student pointed out that all the songs and none Jewish. Administrators checked ... Read More

This Date in History: One True Church vs. Atheism

Thursday December 23, 2004
December 23, 1949: In his Christmas address, Pope Pius XII called upon all Orthodox Christians, Protestants, and Jews to unite under "the one true church" (meaning the Roman Catholic Church) ... Read More

California to Challenge Federal Anti-Abortion Provision

Thursday December 23, 2004
A provision in a federal spending bill requires states to exempt health care providers and insurers from any state laws that would force them to provide abortions, make abortion referrals, ... Read More

Florida: Christians Break Law to Erect Nativity Scene

Thursday December 23, 2004
In Florida, Christians who didn't like a County Commission's decision not to erect a nativity display took matters into their own hands. They snuck over to the county's administration building ... Read More

SSA Rejects Heterosexual Marriage Certificates

Thursday December 23, 2004
In September, 2004, the mayor of New Paltz, New York, issued marriage certificates to a number of gay couples. Now the Social Security Administration is refusing to recognize any marriage ... Read More

Saint-Making Pope to Abandon Miracle Clause?

Wednesday December 22, 2004
Pope John Paul II has created more saints than any other pope in history - in fact, he's created more saints than all previous popes combined. Now he may be ... Read More

Site of Jesus' First Miracle Found?

Wednesday December 22, 2004
Just in time for Christmas, news media are reporting that archaeologists have found the site of Jesus' first miracle: turning water into wine. Anyone who reads the reports closely, however, ... Read More

Georgia: Faith-Based Cheerleader Won't Return

Wednesday December 22, 2004
A cheerleading coach fired by the University of Georgia for religious discrimination won't be returning to work. A judge agreed with the university, finding that Marilou Braswell did cross the ... Read More

Britain: Sikhs Riot, Protest Play, Theater Closes

Wednesday December 22, 2004
A Birmingham theatre tried to put on a production of Behzti, a play that involved sexual abuse and murder occurring in a Sikh temple. British Sikhs were so outraged at ... Read More

Newsletter 12-22-04

Wednesday December 22, 2004
News items from the past week include questions about just what it means to "support the troops," calls from some for Republican politicians to purge their offices of gay employees, ... Read More

Ireland: Priests Defrocked for Sex Abuse

Wednesday December 22, 2004
The scandal of priests sexually abusing children made headlines in America, but it wasn't something that only affected America - similar stories have cropped up elsewhere in the world. Now, ... Read More

This Date in History: Dominicans Founded

Wednesday December 22, 2004
December 22, 1216: Pope Honorius III gave official approval for the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), founded in 1216 by St. Dominic. Its purpose is to convert Muslims and Jews and ... Read More

Pennsylvania: School To Fight Intelligent Design Lawsuit

Wednesday December 22, 2004
The Dover school district in Pennsylvania has apparently decided to fight the ACLU lawsuit challenging their move to teach "Intelligent" Design in science classes. This will eat through a great ... Read More

Michigan to Fund Theological Studies

Wednesday December 22, 2004
Michigan's governor has signed a bill that will provide state scholarships for theology students. People who become ministers or priests still won't get scholarships, but people studying theology as an ... Read More

Minnesota: Cross Removed from Hospital Chapel

Wednesday December 22, 2004
Regions hospital in Minnesota has removed a large cross from its chapel and many Christians are upset. Apparently, they believe that a hospital chapel exists for the exclusive use of ... Read More

Blogsnark: Church vs. State, Religion vs. Atheism

Tuesday December 21, 2004
I've noticed that many conservative evangelicals writing on the web have little understanding of basic concepts like church, state, religion, and atheism. They sometimes even have less understanding of basic ... Read More

This Date in History: First Battle of Harenc

Tuesday December 21, 2004
December 21, 1097: First Battle of Harenc: Because of the size of their forces, Crusaders besieging Antioch are constantly running short of food and conduct raids into the neighboring regions ... Read More

Blogsnark: Systematic Communisation of America

Tuesday December 21, 2004
As I have noted before, conservative evangelicals with poor imaginations often resurrect the boogeyman of communism because they can't come up with a better insult to hurl at others. Communism ... Read More

Anti-Gay McCarthyism

Tuesday December 21, 2004
George W. Bush's reelection as president has already started to have one cultural effect: people are running scared from anything that is supportive of homosexuality and gay Americans. There is ... Read More

Rainbow Sash in Minneapolis

Tuesday December 21, 2004
The Rainbow Sash movement is made up of Catholics working for equality for gays within the Catholic Church. Most bishops deny people communion when they show up wearing rainbow sashes, ... Read More

Britain: Cities Shun Church at Christmas

Monday December 20, 2004
Churches in British cities don't see much of an increase in attendance on Christmas - but churches in rural Britain do. Rural increases can be as much as 200%. What ... Read More

Virginia: School Can Prohibit Religious Songs at Graduation

Monday December 20, 2004
Is it appropriate for a public school to include a religious song during a graduation ceremony? No, not if the song is an official part of the program rather than ... Read More

Florida Jews Hostile to Christianity?

Monday December 20, 2004
Whenever people try to prevent Christians from appropriating the power of the government to promote their religion, they are attacked for being anti-Christian and anti-religion. It seems that no smear ... Read More

Ohio: Christian Concert in Public School Cancelled

Monday December 20, 2004
Is it appropriate for a public school to sponsor a program that includes a Christian group singing religious songs that encourage belief in their religion? Certainly not - there's no ... Read More

Evangelical Filtering and Censorship

Monday December 20, 2004
How do conservative evangelicals deal with "worldly" books, movies, and other forms of entertainment that don't reflect (or even contradict) their religious values? Evidently, they are taught to avoid such ... Read More

Religion & Mothers Who Kill

Monday December 20, 2004
Why is it that so many mothers who kill their children - especially those who do it in ways that capture media attention - are also so religious? People like ... Read More

Oklahoma: School Loses Funds for Removing Nativity Scene

Monday December 20, 2004
The superintendant of the elementary school in Mustang, Oklahoma, decided to remove a Nativity scene from the school's Christmas program. Local voters retaliated by voting down a bond measure that ... Read More

Newsletter 12-20-04

Monday December 20, 2004
News items from the past week include questions about just how racist someone has to be before their columns become too "reprehensible" for Creators Syndicate to distribute, some interesting (but ... Read More

Florida: Voters May End Church/State Separation

Monday December 20, 2004
Many states have constitutional provisions separating church and state that are stricter and more explicit than what is in the U.S. Constitution. Florida is one of them and their constitution ... Read More

This Date in History: Pius XI & Mussolini

Monday December 20, 2004
December 20, 1926: Pope Pius XI praised Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, stating that he was "the man sent by Providence."

Iran Executing Mentally Ill Girls

Monday December 20, 2004
The Iranian mullahs' treatment of women and girls keeps sliding deeper and deeper into depravity. Now they have sentenced a teenage girl with the mental age of 8 to death. ... Read More

Half of Americans Favor Cutting Muslims' Civil Liberties

Monday December 20, 2004
America may be better prepared for fascism and totalitarianism than many realize. A recent survey has found widespread support for cutting the civil liberties of Muslims and people from the ... Read More

Only American Christianity Will Survive

Monday December 20, 2004
Christianity in America is vital, powerful, and constantly renewing itself. Christianity in Europe appears to be moribund and faltering. What's the cause of these differences? Why is America so much ... Read More

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Sunday December 19, 2004
For over a hundred years Christmas has been transforming from a religious to a secular holiday. Pagan elements always abounded but they have gained new importance alongside many secular aspects. ... Read More

AmeriCorps Cannot Fund Catholic School Programs

Sunday December 19, 2004
The AmeriCorp program, funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, has been ordered to stop funding programs that pay for volunteers in Catholic schools. Accoding to the judge, ... Read More

This Date in History: Hans Küng Censured

Sunday December 19, 2004
December 19, 1979: The Vatican's Congregation for the Faith rescinded the authority of University of Tübingen theologian Hans Küng, preventing him from teaching theology at any Catholic institution. This action ... Read More

Australia: Axe Attack on Atheists

Sunday December 19, 2004
On November 18, 2001, Ashley John Appoo killed John Leslie McDonald and seriously injured his wife, Alois McDonald, in Brisbane. Why? Because he discovered that they were atheists. Yes, being ... Read More

Blogsnark: Democrats vs. God

Sunday December 19, 2004
There is a common conceit among religious Republicans that because liberals and Democrats disagree with them over certain religious doctrines and what role the state should have in religious matters, ... Read More

Gay Marriage Supporters Deny Authority of God

Sunday December 19, 2004
Religious conservatives have been reacting to Canada's decision to authorize gay marriages - and they aren't happy. Their predictable complaints generally center around the fact that allowing gay marriages separates ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Tolstoy on Freethought

Sunday December 19, 2004
Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of ... Read More

Inbred Racist Mormons?

Saturday December 18, 2004
Many conservatives have been complaining about Democrat Harry Reid's negative comments about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. According to one, columnist Mychal Massie, Reid's views are to be expected from ... Read More

God Endorses Moe's

Saturday December 18, 2004
In Orlando, Florida, Moe's Southwest Grill has erected a billboard suggesting that God endorses them. The white text ("Welcome to Moe's! - God") on a black field echoes those "inspirational" ... Read More

This Date in History: Johann Gottfried von Herder

Saturday December 18, 2004
December 18, 1803: German philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder died in Weimar, Germany. Herder was an important influence on the German literary movement known as Sturm und Drang and on ... Read More

France: Church/State Separation Cuts Both Ways

Saturday December 18, 2004
France's decision to ban headscarves in schools doesn't just affect Muslims. The policy is worded broadly so as not to appear to single Muslims out for discrimination, which means that ... Read More

Blogsnark: Atheists for Teaching Intelligent Design in Science Classes?

Saturday December 18, 2004
Can an atheist believe that it is appropriate to teach the religious beliefs of "Intelligent" Design in public school science classes? I wouldn't have thought so, but I would have ... Read More

Mormon Author Disciplined for Questioning Church's Origins

Saturday December 18, 2004
Grant Palmer is a Mormon author who has been suspended from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He could have been excommunicated but they stopped short of this ... Read More

No Atheists in Foxholes?

Saturday December 18, 2004
When I last wrote about the claim that there are no atheists in foxholes, that time from Navy Chaplain McAlexander, I received a response from a veteran who knows all ... Read More

When is a Philosopher Not a Philosopher?

Friday December 17, 2004
Differentiating good philosophy from poor philosophy can be difficult, but it's a bit easier to differentiate between a person who doing a good job at being a philosopher and one ... Read More

Newsletter 12-17-04

Friday December 17, 2004
Welcome to issue #6.50 of Free Thought Now!, the Agnosticism / Atheism site newsletter. This week we have an extended analysis of the meaning, history, and implications of each of ... Read More

California School & Declaration of Independence: The Truth

Friday December 17, 2004
When I first wrote about claims that the Declaration of Independence had been "banned" in a California school, I pointed out that the truth would probably be radically different than ... Read More

This Date in History: Inquisition Established

Friday December 17, 2004
December 17, 1526: With the decree Cum ad zero, Pope Clement VIII established the Inquisition.

Religion in the Public Arena

Friday December 17, 2004
One of the more dishonest tactics used by those who want the state to support their religion is to complain about how their beliefs are excluded from the "public arena." ... Read More

Pro-War Christians

Friday December 17, 2004
There are complaints about how some Muslims proclaim Islam as a "religion of peace" even as so many other Muslims advocate war and violence. But what about Christianity? Jesus was ... Read More

Illinois: Controversy in Methodist Church over Mary Statue

Friday December 17, 2004
Roman Catholics often pray to and venerate the Virgin Mary; Protestants do not. Why, then, did the Amor de Dios United Methodist Church in Little Village, Illinois, introduce a "Virgin ... Read More

Assessing Justice Clarence Thomas

Thursday December 16, 2004
Senator Reid's criticisms of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have received a lot of negative press, especially from conservatives. The question is, were his criticisms justified? Did he have a ... Read More

Pennsylvania: Board Member Pressured To Support Intelligent Design

Thursday December 16, 2004
Angie Yingling used to be on the School Board in Dover, Pennsylvania. She was one of the board members who voted to approve teaching "Intelligent" Design to the poor students ... Read More

This Date in History: Oliver Cromwell

Thursday December 16, 2004
December 16, 1653: Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Culture Wars Continue

Thursday December 16, 2004
Religious conservatives continue to be incensed that liberals have the gall to criticize their religious dogmas, not to mention their attempts to use those dogmas as the basis for American ... Read More

Theo-Cons in Europe

Thursday December 16, 2004
Religious conservatives in Europe are beginning to take lessons form religious conservatives in America. Europe is becoming increasingly secular but there are a lot of religious believers who find this ... Read More

Does it Matter if Zoroastrianism Dies Off?

Thursday December 16, 2004
Zoroastrianism has had a significant impact on the major western religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Much that is part of those religions would be unthinkable without the prior influence ... Read More

Christian School Uses Slavery Apologetics

Thursday December 16, 2004
Original Image:National Archives The Cary Christian School in North Carolina has been teaching students from a booklet that portrays slavery as "a life of plenty, of simple pleasures." The booklet was ... Read More

New: Book Reviews: Books from Oxford University Press

Wednesday December 15, 2004
Just added is a page listing reviews of books published by Oxford University Press. Oxford University Press publishes some of the most interesting and informative books currently being written on ... Read More

Britain: Muslim Fathers Sell Daughters For Arranged Marriages

Wednesday December 15, 2004
In Britain, many women in immigrant families from Southeast Asia are suffering - their families are forcing them into marriages with Muslim men who treat them abhorrently. Physical abuse, psychological ... Read More

Antony Flew, Atheism, and Theism

Wednesday December 15, 2004
A lot of people have been writing about Antony Flew's apparent conversion from atheism to theism, but everyone is focusing far more on who Flew is rather than on why ... Read More

Racism Not All That Reprehensible?

Wednesday December 15, 2004
You may have heard about the recent flap over Sam Francis' column where he railed against the immorality of interracial relationships. Francis' columns are carried by Creators Syndicate and, apparently, ... Read More

Newsletter 12-15-04

Wednesday December 15, 2004
News items from the past week include the nascent gay Muslim movement, a rebuttal to the claim that "hate crimes" provisions are attempts to criminalize thoughts or beliefs, defenders of ... Read More

Massachusetts Churches Oppose Being Treated Fairly

Wednesday December 15, 2004
Non-profit organizations in Massachusetts have to release their financial records to the public. Churches are exempt from this provision and attempts to force them to toe the line with everyone ... Read More

This Date in History: Lisa McPherson & Scientology

Wednesday December 15, 2004
December 15, 1997: After an investigation of nearly two years, the Clearwater Police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement finish and recommend that criminal charges be filed against the ... Read More

Judge's Robes Display Ten Commandments

Wednesday December 15, 2004
Presiding Circuit Court Judge Ashley McKathan in Covington County, Alabama, has begun appearing in his court wearing a robe embroidered with the Ten Commandments. He did it with his own ... Read More

Pakistan: Child Abuse At Madrassas

Wednesday December 15, 2004
Clerics in Pakistani Madrassas are being accused of sexual abuse of male children. Their response is to issue death threats against the the minister responsible for revealing the allegations. The BBC ... Read More

Colorado: Stand on Pledge Spurs Recall Effort

Wednesday December 15, 2004
I've written before about how the Estes Park Town Board in Colorado has been opening meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance and how one member has refused to stand or ... Read More

Creepy Solutions to Stem-Cell Debate

Tuesday December 14, 2004
People object to stem-cell research because they sincerely believe that destroying an embryo in order to harvest its stem cells is tantamount to murder. People are working on ways to ... Read More

Economic Fascism

Tuesday December 14, 2004
Many feel that any suggestion that America is or is moving towards a type of fascism is overblown rhetoric. Most, however, don't really understand what fascism is. They think that ... Read More

Vatican Campaigning for 'Christophobia'

Tuesday December 14, 2004
In what appears to be an effort not to fall behind in the victimization arms race, Vatican leaders are trying to push for international adoption of the term "Christophobia," an ... Read More

Bush Monkey Exhibition Closed

Tuesday December 14, 2004
President George W. Bush has often by compared to a primate by certain critics, but a recent and popular juxtaposition of Bush's image with monkeys has been closed down in ... Read More

This Date in History: William James

Tuesday December 14, 2004
December 14, 1891: William James published his book Psychology: Briefer Course. This was used as a basic university text for decades and is still on many reading lists of classic ... Read More

Southern Baptists Shunning Public Schools

Tuesday December 14, 2004
Recent calls for the Southern Baptist Convention to have all Southern Baptists start pulling their kids out of public schools didn't succeed. The movement hasn't died, however, and individuals appear ... Read More

ACLU Suing Over Intelligent Design

Tuesday December 14, 2004
I've written before about the misguided decision to teach "Intelligent" Design in Dover, Pennsylvania. The ACLU has announced a lawsuit against the school district to challenge their authority to teach ... Read More

Canada: Sailors Can Keep Hats On During Prayer

Tuesday December 14, 2004
Until now, Canadian sailors all had to take off their hats during prayers, even if they didn't believe in or accept those prayers. The Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada ... Read More

Law & Economics

Monday December 13, 2004
There is an established school of thought in the law today that treats the law as if it were a subset of economics. Legal decisions should be guided by cost/benefit ... Read More

Newsletter 12-13-04

Monday December 13, 2004
Welcome to a supplemental edition of Free Thought Now!, the Agnosticism / Atheism site newsletter. News items from the past week include the claim that the world needs more self-righteous ... Read More

This Date in History: Raelians

Monday December 13, 2004
December 13, 1973: According to Claude Vorilhon, 4-foot-tall, dark-haired, olive-skinned extraterrestrials calling themselves the Elohim appeared to him at a volcano in France and informed him they had created human ... Read More

Loss of Freedom in America?

Monday December 13, 2004
Many conservative evangelicals lament the loss of the "freedom" in modern America. Those "freedoms" were, though, actually privileges that were unjustifiably bestowed upon them by the state. It's rather like ... Read More

Kierkegaard, God, and Atheism

Monday December 13, 2004
Conservative evangelical Christians seem to be generally unfamiliar with the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. This is unfortunate because he pioneered many of the themes important to them: the central importance ... Read More

Wisconsin: Policy on Teaching Creationism Clarified

Monday December 13, 2004
The Grantsburg school district in Wisconsin recently adopted new science standards that many feared would lead to teaching "Intelligent" Design and/or creationism in the schools. Mindful of this, the school ... Read More

Secularization & American Religion

Sunday December 12, 2004
Religious conservatives often complain about the secularization of America. It is true that the government is secular, but that's the way it is supposed to be. The rest of society ... Read More

Republicans Shouldn't Employ Gays?

Sunday December 12, 2004
The Christian Right's war on gays continues as the call goes out for Republican politicians to stop hiring or employing gays. Apparently being gay is so contrary to Republican principles ... Read More

This Date in History: Sunday Laws

Sunday December 12, 2004
December 12, 1712: The colony of South Carolina passed a "Sunday Law" which required everyone to attend church each Sunday and to refrain from both skilled labor and traveling by ... Read More

O'Reilly to Jews: If You're Offended, Go To Israel

Sunday December 12, 2004
In the past, Protestant domination of American culture tended to make religious minorities feel like outsiders. For example, the presence of overt Christianity in public schools (organized prayers, Bible readings) ... Read More

Pakistan Passes Honor Killing Law

Sunday December 12, 2004
A problem that plagues South-Asian nations like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh is a concept of "honor" that keeps women secluded and validates the murder of female relatives if they besmirch ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Boudreaux on Facts and Faith

Sunday December 12, 2004
A belief that is founded upon a compelling theory and that is consistently supported by plenty of empirical evidence is not properly described as "faith." As I understand the meaning ... Read More

Godless Communists

Saturday December 11, 2004
Communism was supposedly defeated with the fall of the Soviet Union, but for some conservatives the loss of the "godless communist" boogeyman is simply too much to bear. Instead of ... Read More

Sweet Little Prairie Muffins

Saturday December 11, 2004
Would you like to be a Prairie Muffin? You can, if you are a woman who is willing to have just as many kids as you possible through your life ... Read More

This Date in History: Kingdom of Jerusalem

Saturday December 11, 2004
December 11, 1100: Baldwin of Boulogne (also Baldwin of Edessa) is crowned King of Jerusalem (Baldwin I). The position is grander in name than in practice. The "kingdom" is divided ... Read More

Macho Jesus?

Saturday December 11, 2004
One of the more interesting trends in conservative Christianity in America today is the attempt by some to construct a more "macho" and "manly" version of Jesus. It seems that ... Read More

Real True Christians?

Saturday December 11, 2004
Can a "real" Christian support religious tolerance and diversity? If you listened to the Christians most often heard in the media, one might think "no." There are, however, Christians who ... Read More

Faith of Unbelievers?

Saturday December 11, 2004
As Christmas becomes more and more secularized, conservative evangelicals grow more and more defensive. After all, Christmas is supposed to be "their" holiday and every time they see a secular ... Read More

What Makes America a 'Christian' Nation?

Friday December 10, 2004
There are many who claim that America is a "Christian Nation," but what exactly makes America so "Christian"? Something about America's social policies? Something about America's international policies? In reality ... Read More

Canada: Gay Marriage Approved

Friday December 10, 2004
The Canadian Supreme Court has, as expected, given the government approval to recognize same-sex marriages on an equal basis with heterosexual unions. Religious officials won't be forced to perform the ... Read More

Social Conservatism vs. Economic Conservatism

Friday December 10, 2004
One thing that many conservatives seem unaware of is the presence of a very serious tension between social and economic conservatism. Social conservatism involves opposing radical social changes that alter ... Read More

Excess Verbiage: Flaws in Reasoning and Arguments

Friday December 10, 2004
This less a flaw in the reasoning process than a flaw in the argument or deliberation process. Just because too many words have been expended on explaining an idea or ... Read More

Newsletter 12-10-04

Friday December 10, 2004
This week we'll take a look at the Ten Commandments: what are they and what do they really mean? We also have a review of a very good book on ... Read More

Colorado: Charter School Accused of Religious Harassment

Friday December 10, 2004
Peak to Peak, a charter school in the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, has been accused of allowing children to be religiously harassed. Three families thus far have come ... Read More

Israel: Same-Sex Couples Covered by Common Law

Friday December 10, 2004
The Israeli government will allow same-sex couples to be covered by statutes that regulate common-law marriages. This isn't quite the same as same-sex marriage, but it does provide a level ... Read More

This Date in History: Book Burning

Friday December 10, 2004
December 10, 1520: Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon burned books which supported the authority of the pope along with a recent papal bull threatening excommunication for Luther. Luther was actually ... Read More

Single Group Dominates FCC Complaints

Friday December 10, 2004
People may be aware of the FCC getting complaints about "indecency" on television or radio, but what most probably aren't aware of is the fact that nearly all of these ... Read More

New: Roy Moore: Ten Commandments & the Law in Alabama, America

Friday December 10, 2004
A new page organizing articles about Roy Moore, his Ten Commandments monument in Alabama, and his various court battles has just been added. Roy Moore is a celebrity for the ... Read More

New: Ten Commandments & Law: Social, Political, and Legal Issues

Friday December 10, 2004
A new page organizing the various political, legal, and social debates over the Ten Commandments has just been added. The Ten Commandants are first and foremost a religious document, describing ... Read More

Fears for European Muslim Women Who Speak Out

Friday December 10, 2004
Islam is not very kind towards women, especially when compared to the rights and freedoms women in the secular West have. Unfortunately, even Muslim women in the secular West experience ... Read More

New: Ten Commandments: Religious Issues, Religious Debates

Friday December 10, 2004
A new page organizing articles on religious beliefs, debates, and disagreements about the Ten Commandments has just been added. Because the Ten Commandments establish a covenant between the Jews and ... Read More

New: Analysis of the Ten Commandments: Background, Meaning, Implications of Each Commandment

Friday December 10, 2004
A new page organizing articles that analyze the meaning, background, and implications of the Ten Commandments has just been added. Most people know the Ten Commandments - or perhaps it ... Read More

New: User Polls: Vote in Polls on Religion, Politics, Ethics, Atheism, and More

Friday December 10, 2004
A new page organizing all of the user polls on this site has just been added. Here you can vote in some of the dozens of polls dealing with: separation ... Read More

New: Women and Religion: News on Women, Sexism, and Feminism in Religion

Friday December 10, 2004
A new page organizing news stories about women and religion has just been added. It's frequently the case that religions treat women as inferior to men - women have been ... Read More

New: Ancient Religions in the News: Ancient, But Still Making News

Friday December 10, 2004
A new page has been added for organizing news and information about ancient religions. The religions we see today didn't pop out of nowhere - they evolved gradually from more ... Read More

Bangladesh Halts Female Swimming

Friday December 10, 2004
Muslim extremists in Bangladesh have managed to put a halt to a women's swimming competition. According to the religious fundamentalists, it would have been offensive for women to wear swimsuits ... Read More

Humanism in Ancient Greece

Thursday December 9, 2004
Although the term 'humanism' was not applied to a philosophy or belief system until the European Renaissance, those early humanists were inspired the ideas and attitudes which they discovered in ... Read More

Cal Thomas Promotes Biblical Education in Public Schools

Thursday December 9, 2004
It's common for members of the Christian Right to advocate bringing more of their religion into public schools - but they're usually not too blatant. Most often they talk about ... Read More

Whose Creationism Shall We Teach?

Thursday December 9, 2004
Conservative evangelicals in America often complain about the teaching of evolution in public schools because they think that science contradicts their religious doctrines. They would like to see their creation ... Read More

This Date in History: The Witch Hammer

Thursday December 9, 2004
December 09, 1484: With the papal bull "Summis Desiderantes Affectibus," Pope Innocent VII appointed Heinrich Kramer and Johann Sprenger to be inquisitors in northern Germany. Kramer and Sprenger wrote a ... Read More

Robertson: Gays & Lesbians are Self-Absorbed Hedonists

Thursday December 9, 2004
The Christian Right really doesn't like gays. It's difficult to attack people who simply want the right to love and develop relationships with people they love, so one of the ... Read More

Hate Crimes & Thought Control

Thursday December 9, 2004
There are many who argue that "hate crimes" provisions amount to a form of thought control, criminalizing speech and ideas unnecessarily. A crime is a crime, they argue, and a ... Read More

Atheists Are Terrorists - For Challenging Traditions

Thursday December 9, 2004
People get very attached to their cultural traditions - so much so, in fact, that those who challenge or overturn traditions are treated with a great deal of hostility. People ... Read More

Newsletter 12-08-04

Wednesday December 8, 2004
News items from the past week include questions about how "Intelligent Design" is supposed to be distinguished from evolution, allegations that an insurance company lied about the connection between lawsuit ... Read More

Death Row Organ Transplants

Wednesday December 8, 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

The End of Israel As We Know It

Wednesday December 8, 2004
When Israel was founded, it was conceived of as a Jewish state more in the ethnic than the religious sense - Zionism was for most Jews a political rather than ... Read More

Coming European Christian Coalition?

Wednesday December 8, 2004
The Christian Coalition was set up in America in order to push a Christian agenda that opposed modernity and secularism. Something similar may be in the works in Europe as ... Read More

This Date in History: Condemning Modernity

Wednesday December 8, 2004
December 08, 1864: In his encyclical Quanta Cura ("Syllabus errorum"), Pope Pius IX complained about the spread of ideas like freedom of press, religion, and conscience, saying that "By holding ... Read More

Gay Muslims Speaking Out

Wednesday December 8, 2004
It can be difficult to be gay in America. It can also be difficult to be a Muslim in America. Gay Muslims, however, are faced with even more problems than ... Read More

Defense of (Boy Scout) Bigotry Act

Wednesday December 8, 2004
Efforts to force the government not to support Boy Scouts' bigotry and discrimination is creating the predictable backlash. Senate Republicans are hoping to pass legislation that would assert that no ... Read More

Black Pentecostals Oppose the GOP

Wednesday December 8, 2004
American Pentecostals are a generally conservative group, especially when it comes to social issues, but black Pentecostals are not staunch supporters of the GOP. On the contrary, they have become ... Read More

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Wednesday December 8, 2004
Recently Received: The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry, by Gerd Lüdemann. Publisher: Prometheus Books. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is generally considered to be the most fundamental and central aspect ... Read More

Analysis and Critiques of Attacks on Atheism, Reason, Freethought

Tuesday December 7, 2004
It isn't too hard to find people attack or criticizing atheism and atheists. There are websites devoted to it, people who write columns about it, and you can even find ... Read More

South Africa: Lesbian Marriage May Be Validated

Tuesday December 7, 2004
Once a bastion of racial segregation and discrimination, South Africa has not only reformed on racial matters but is actually leaping ahead on a variety of civil rights issues - ... Read More

This Date in History: Reconciliation, but not Reunion

Tuesday December 7, 2004
December 07, 1965: The Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches formally reconciled (but did not reunite) by reversing a mutual excommunication of each other which was originally instituted in July ... Read More

Sexy Evolution

Tuesday December 7, 2004
Apparently, male swallows are growing longer and longer tails. Why? Female swallows seem to like long tails quite a lot, to males with longer tails have a better shot at ... Read More

There's Not Enough Self-Righteous, Religious Hate in the World

Tuesday December 7, 2004
Many people believe that one of the root causes of all the problems in the world is hatred - especially hatred that is motivated by religion. Others, however, disagree and ... Read More

Humanity Flickers in Israel?

Tuesday December 7, 2004
Israeli soldiers' treatment of Palestinians rarely receives praise, but recent reports have been especially bad. Most outrageous to Israelis has not been the shooting of a 13-year-old-girl by an officer ... Read More

Da Vinci Code: Truth? Fiction?

Tuesday December 7, 2004
Recently Received: Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine, by Bart D. Ehrman. Publisher: Oxford University ... Read More

Religion and Democracy

Monday December 6, 2004
To what degree are religion and democracy compatible? Some argue that in order for a democratic state to function, religion should be kept separate from the government. Others argue that ... Read More

Utah: Atheists Criticize School Board Prayers

Monday December 6, 2004
Atheists in Utah are complaining about the policy of the state's Board of Eduction to begin meetings with prayers. According to the complaint, such prayers are only legal if the ... Read More

Evangelicals on Social Structures vs. Individual Change

Monday December 6, 2004
One of the criticisms being leveled against conservative evangelicals today is that they are more concerned with private actions (like sodomy) than public problems (like injustice, poverty). This is contrasted ... Read More

Atheists Are Not True Atheists

Monday December 6, 2004
It's amazing how many people try to criticize atheism by arguing that there is on "true" atheism or that there are no "true" atheists. Rather than deal with atheism as ... Read More

California: Record Priest Abuse Settlement

Monday December 6, 2004
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California, has agreed to settle 87 sex-abuse claims against various priests (past and present) - to the tune of $100 million dollars. This ... Read More

Black & White Thinking

Monday December 6, 2004
Human beings have a strong need to categorize everything; this is not a fault but rather an asset. Without our ability to take isolated instances, gather them together in groups, ... Read More

Knights Templar Demand Apology

Monday December 6, 2004
King Philip the "Fair" of France and Pope Clement V accused the Templars of things like atheism, sodomy, blasphemy, and worse. Knights were tortured, forced to confess to all kinds ... Read More

Newsletter 11-06-04

Monday December 6, 2004
News items from the past week include questions about what is "real" conservatism and "real" liberalism, sexist comments form an Imam in Michigan, the evil people who actually don't want ... Read More

South Carolina: Show Depicts Gays as Human, Outrages Legislator

Monday December 6, 2004
South Carolina Educational Television aired a documentary about the lives of gays in the South. This program included information about how they lived and the difficulties they experience. This was ... Read More

This Date in History: Ayodhya

Monday December 6, 2004
December 06, 1992: Thousands of militant Hindus in Ayodhya destroyed a mosque with sledgehammers and their bare hands; local police did little to stop them. It is believed by some ... Read More

Christians Feel Slighted Over Lack of Christ in School Pageant

Monday December 6, 2004
There was a time when Christian conservatives complained if their religion didn't dominate public discourse. Now they are starting to complain because their religion isn't even being taken into consideration ... Read More

New Jersey: Christians Outraged that Muslims Used School

Monday December 6, 2004
The federal government's "equal access" policy requires public schools that open their doors to any community group to also open their doors to religious groups. If a book club can ... Read More

Mystery of Marriage?

Monday December 6, 2004
I recently attended a marriage ceremony in a Presbyterian church and, while I was certainly happy for the couple, I must say that I could have done without that service. ... Read More

Origins and Beliefs of Hinduism

Monday December 6, 2004
Recently Received: Hinduism: Origins, Beliefs, Practices, Holy Texts, Sacred Places, by Vasudha Narayanan. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Hinduism is a religion followed by a significant percentage of the world's population. Its ... Read More

Barnum Effect

Sunday December 5, 2004
A common reference point as to why people believe the advice of psychics and astrologers - not to mention many other nice things said about them - is the 'Barnum ... Read More

Wishing People To Hell

Sunday December 5, 2004
Although it has a long pedigree, hell is one of the doctrines that religious believers don't tend to want to talk about a great deal. The idea of eternal torment ... Read More

Is the Constitution a Godless Document?

Sunday December 5, 2004
Strict separationists like the Freedom From Religion Foundation insist on pointing out that the Constitution is a "godless document" that only discusses religion in ways that are "exclusionary." This seems ... Read More

This Date in History: Jim Bakker

Sunday December 5, 2004
December 05, 1988: A federal grand jury charged Jim Bakker with mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the public through the sale of thousands of lifetime memberships to PTL theme ... Read More

Falwell: Gay Conservatives Should Leave GOP

Sunday December 5, 2004
Conservative panjandrum Jerry Falwell recently said "Well the fact that he's a gay Republican means he should join the Democratic party." Falwell also recently said that conservative evangelicals had taken ... Read More

Weekly Quote: Tillich on Faith & Science

Sunday December 5, 2004
The distinction between the truth of faith and the truth of science leads to a warning, directed to theologians, not to use recent scientific discoveries to confirm the truth of ... Read More

Acropolis Propylaea in Athens, Greece

Saturday December 4, 2004
The Propylaea is the monumental entrance to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The term propylaea is plural for Greek propylaion, meaning fore-gate. The Propylaea is in fact a series of ... Read More

Blood Type Diets

Saturday December 4, 2004
My wife recently purchased some vitamins at a General Nutrition Centers (GNC) store. While there, she overheard one of the employees explaining to a customer that she needed to adjust ... Read More

Israel's Alternatives

Saturday December 4, 2004
Everyone knows that the situation between Israelis and Palestinians is very difficult. Everyone would like to see some sort of peaceful resolution. Not everyone seems to fully appreciate just how ... Read More

This Date in History: Cardinal Richelieu

Saturday December 4, 2004
December 04, 1642: Cardinal Richelieu, famous French statesmen and religious leader, died. He was not, as sometimes depicted, a traitor to King Louis XIII and he did not attempt to ... Read More

Barack Obama, Islam, and Rumor-Mongering

Saturday December 4, 2004
A lot of Democrats find Barack Obama to be an inspiring speaker. Some even hope that he might run for president some day - perhaps in 2008, although that would ... Read More

Making Atheism America's Official Religion

Saturday December 4, 2004
There is a common belief that when the government doesn't endorse or support some particular religion, it is necessarily endorsing or supporting atheism. This not only confuses atheism for something ... Read More

Hell in Germany: Muslim Women Suffering Violent Abuse

Saturday December 4, 2004
A common problem in Muslims communities in many secular Western nations is the presence of violence against women. In Islam, women don't have the same status or rights as men; ... Read More

California: Pastor Used Fear of Devil to Get Sex

Friday December 3, 2004
In California a pastor will go on trial for convincing women in his congregation to have sex with him by using their fear of Satan. Apparently this tactic was relatively ... Read More

Illinois: Mayor Drops Bible Week Declaration

Friday December 3, 2004
For a decade, Wauconda Mayor James Eschenbauch has declared the last week in November as Bible Week - just as happens in more than 400 communities nationwide. This year Eschenbauch ... Read More

Alabama: Banning Books with Gay Characters

Friday December 3, 2004
Republican Representative Gerald Allen in Alabama has introduced a bill that would ban public funding for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an ... Read More

Pennsylvania: 'Intelligent' Design Reflects Religious Beliefs

Friday December 3, 2004
The Pennsylvania community that will start teaching "Intelligent" Design alongside evolution is apparently doing so because it reflects local religious values. This will surprise no one, but it's nice to ... Read More

Oregon: Excluding Boy Scouts from Public Schools

Friday December 3, 2004
One of the problems facing the Boy Scouts is that their discrimination against atheists and gays makes it difficult for the government to help them recruit or endorse their group. ... Read More

The Temple of Zeus Olymios

Friday December 3, 2004
The Temple of Zeus Olymios (Olympieion, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Greek: Naos tou Olimbiou Dios) is the largest temple ever built in Greece. Made of Pentelic marble (marble from Mount ... Read More

Casualties, Deaths, and Attrition in Iraq

Friday December 3, 2004
Many have argued that the situation in Iraq isn't as bad as it seems by relying upon the relatively low number of deaths of American soldiers. Compared with casualties in ... Read More

Progressives Winning the Culture War?

Friday December 3, 2004
It has been said that George W. Bush's victory in his presidential reelection campaign signals that America is moving to the right and that the era of liberal, progressive reform ... Read More

Religion, Science, and Porn Prohibition

Friday December 3, 2004
There is, unfortunately, very little in the way of hard data regarding the use and misuse of pornography. We know it's popular, obviously, but what sorts of effects does it ... Read More

This Date in History: First Papal Encyclical

Friday December 3, 2004
December 03, 1740: Pope Benedict XIV issued what is generally considered the first papal encyclical, Ubi primum, on the topic of the duties of bishops.

Pennsylvania: Lesbian Methodist Minister Defrocked

Friday December 3, 2004
The Methodist Church doesn't permit "practicing" homosexuals in the priesthood - if you are gay and want to be a Methodist priest, you have to remain celibate. Rev. Irene Elizabeth ... Read More

Christians Resisting Seduction of Gay Alexander

Friday December 3, 2004
Was Alexander the Great bisexual? Most historians seem to think that he likely was - it's not absolute and definite, but there is enough evidence to think it likely. It's ... Read More

Ramses II & the 10th Plague

Friday December 3, 2004
If the Old Testament is literally true, then the first-born son of Ramses II may have been struck down in the Tenth Plague that hit Egypt. That's why many are ... Read More

Muslim TV Blames Zionists for AIDS

Thursday December 2, 2004
Muslim anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head once again in France. Arabic-language satellite station Al-Manar broadcast a show saying that Zionists have tried to transmit AIDS to Arab nations. The ... Read More

British Muslims Want Shari'ah Law

Thursday December 2, 2004
A poll of Muslims in Britain finds that 61% wanted Islamic courts based upon the Shari'ah to make decisions on civil matters: divorce, custody, marriage, inheritance, etc. They do not, ... Read More

Acropolis Parthenon in Athens, Greece

Thursday December 2, 2004
By far the most prominent and famous site in Athens and perhaps in all of Greece is the Parthenon on the Acropolis. For many the Acropolis in Athens is a ... Read More

Hatred of Kinsey Grows

Thursday December 2, 2004
A film about the life of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey is coming out and it has conservatives up in arms - despite the fact that they haven't seen it. Why? ... Read More

How Many Atheists in America?

Thursday December 2, 2004
Atheists appear to be a growing segment of the population - but how big of a segment? Decent figures seem hard to come by, perhaps because admitting atheism is as ... Read More

This Date in History: Religious Symbols in Schools

Thursday December 2, 2004
December 02, 1993: Decided: Clever v. Cherry Hill Township How far can a public school go when including religious symbols in school functions? According to a New Jersey District Court, ... Read More

Abstinence Programs Lie to Teens

Thursday December 2, 2004
Abstinence programs are very popular with the Bush administration and his Christian Right base - if sex is going to be mentioned in schools, it's only going to be mentioned ... Read More

Whatever Happened to Conservatives?

Thursday December 2, 2004
Many observers of modern politics have noted the curious manner in which liberals and conservatives have tended to switch positions depending upon what is most convenient at the time. Some ... Read More

Advertisement for Inclusive Churches Inappropriate for 'Liberal' Media

Thursday December 2, 2004
The United Church of Cross wants to launch a nationwide ad campaign to encourage more people to try their church services, but the "liberal" media leaders at CBS and NBC ... Read More

Distinguishing Evolution from Intelligent Design

Thursday December 2, 2004
People in biology don't typically take "Intelligent" Design very seriously - at least, not as a science and not in their day-to-day job. When it comes to their work, evolution ... Read More

South African Atheism

Thursday December 2, 2004
One of the most difficult things about atheism is simply getting people to understand what it is in the first place. Most seem to get all of their information from ... Read More

Psychology of Religion & Theism

Thursday December 2, 2004
Recently Received: The Psychological Roots of Religious Belief: Searching for Angels and the Parent-God, by M.D. Faber. Publisher: Prometheus Books. Gods, angels, and other supernatural spirits that intervene in human lives ... Read More

Ancient Crete & Minoan Religion

Wednesday December 1, 2004
Human habitation on Crete can be traced back to some time during the 7th millennium BCE. No one knows where exactly these settlers came from (Anatolia is often cited as ... Read More

Family Therapy with Rush Limbaugh

Wednesday December 1, 2004
How do conservatives and liberals get along during family holidays like Thanksgiving? Well, if you are an adherent of Rush Limbaugh's school of family values, you ridicule your liberal relatives ... Read More

Offended Muslims

Wednesday December 1, 2004
One source of tension between Muslim communities and the larger secular cultures that they tend to be part of are "offensive" actions, programs, advertising, etc. Things that don't offend the ... Read More

This Date in History: Second Crusade

Wednesday December 1, 2004
December 01, 1145: In the Bull Quantum Praedecessores, Pope Eugene III proclaims the Second Crusade in an effort to retake territory once again coming under the control of Muslim forces. ... Read More

Evaluating the Conservative Revolution

Wednesday December 1, 2004
Eight years of attempted progressive reform didn't produce much; now, conservatives are firmly in control of the government. They are working to restore religious and political purity, led by a ... Read More

Australia: Patients Abandoning Medical Science?

Wednesday December 1, 2004
For some reason, Australians are turning away from scientific medicine and towards unproven, even nonsensical, new age medical treatments. In 10 years, "alternative" treatments could overtake science. The Herald Sun explains: Acupuncture, ... Read More

Conservative Value of Filibusters

Wednesday December 1, 2004
Conservatives in the Senate would like to eliminate the ability of Democrats to filibuster judicial nominees. The fact that Republicans have filibustered judicial nominees doesn't matter. The fact that other ... Read More

Humanism and Politics

Wednesday December 1, 2004
Recently Received: Toward a New Political Humanism, edited by Barry F. Seidman and Neil J. Murphy. Publisher: Prometheus Books. Where does or should humanism stand with regards to major political issues ... Read More

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