Tuesday, May 29, 2007

God Hates The World

A heartwarming music video brought to you by Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church:


Religious Related Violence 5/29/07

On Monday, 36 people were killed across Baghdad in a wave of attacks, according to an AP tabulation of reports from police officials who said they could lose their jobs if they provided the information. Another 33 bullet-riddled bodies were found dead, tortured and abandoned in different parts of the capital, the apparent victims of ongoing sectarian violence, said an official in an Iraqi ministry who has access to daily reports. The official said he would be dismissed if his superiors knew he was releasing the information to Western media outlets.


This Week's This Modern World

Campaign season on planet Glox!

The Creation Museum

This week, the creationist Ken Ham and his organization, Answers in Genesis, are practicing the Big Lie. They have spent tens of millions of dollars to create a glossy simulacrum of a museum, a slick imitation of a scientific enterprise veneered over long disproved religious fables, and they are gathering crowds and world-wide attention to the grand opening of their edifice of deceit. You can now take a photographic tour of the exhibits and see for yourself -- it's not science at all, but merely a series of Bible stories dolled up in dioramas.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Blind Faith

The United States is the most religious nation in the developed world, if religiosity is measured by belief in all things supernatural -- from God and the Virgin Birth to the humbler workings of angels and demons. Americans are also the most religiously ignorant people in the Western world. Fewer than half of us can identify Genesis as the first book of the Bible, and only one third know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.


Approximately 75 percent of adults, according to polls cited by Prothero, mistakenly believe the Bible teaches that "God helps those who help themselves." More than 10 percent think that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc. Only half can name even one of the four Gospels, and -- a finding that will surprise many -- evangelical Christians are only slightly more knowledgeable than their non-evangelical counterparts.


In Search Of A Political Savior

Evangelicals aren't flocking to the GOP front runners, and don't know where to turn.


'A Lack Of Belonging'

What turns a British Muslim into a radical fundamentalist? A young man who made the conversion discusses the road to fanaticism - and why he walked away from it.


Wiccan Pentacle Will Finally Mark Fallen Soldiers' Graves

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) -- Since Korean War veteran Jerome Birnbaum died in 2005, his grave in a pagan cemetery had been marked with only a pile of stones and U.S. flags.

On Memorial Day, Birnbaum's grave and those of other military veterans will be dedicated with government-issued markers etched with a symbol of their religion -- the Wiccan pentacle.


Turkey: Islam In A Secular Society

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Some Americans say they feel like they are living in a Republican theocracy. They don't like the intrusion of religion into politics or the erosion in church-state separation or presidential candidates who prostrate themselves before religious leaders. They should come to Turkey if they really want to live under a secular government that places freedom from religion ahead of freedom of religion.


Religious-Related Violence 5/27/07

It has come to my attention that my individual posts about various religious-associated violence in the world might appear to some to be taking some "political" position. My posts regarding violence in Iraq have been specifically cited as attempting to present an "anti-war" and "political" position.

This is not the case.

I believe these posts could just as easily be used to present a "pro-war" position because they could be used to demonize the "enemy" and highlight the threat in the same terms the Bush Administration presents it. Certainly, I would be posting an entirely different selection of articles if it were my intention to present an anti-war stance.

Regardless, all that I feel I was attempting to do was post stories that were related to religion on some level. I cannot help the fact that the majority of the major stories of the day have to do with violent, religious-associated conflict in various parts of the world (especially in Iraq). If posting links to these stories is somehow taking a "political" position, then the news itself is "political," since these are the same stories all the major news organizations are also featuring.

I have noticed that many of the other atheist/secular/humanist/freethinker news-sites tend to avoid these stories for the most part. From my perspective, this is a major omission. Why should some of the worst aspects of religious belief be ignored?

Nevertheless, I do understand how someone might misread my intentions (especially when religious belief might only play a debatable degree of relationship to a story).

To what degree does religion play a part when someone blows themself (and others) up in Iraq or some other place? To what extent does religion play a part in violence between Israel and the Palestinians? Providing a precise answer to questions like these is problematic. Are people responding to imperialism, oppression, personal threat, or some other reason that has nothing to do with religion? Is the fact that most of these conflicts occur between people of different religious beliefs not a factor, a partial factor, or is it the essential factor at the heart of the conflict? I tend to think it is the essential factor, although some might argue otherwise.

In order to take due consideration of those that might think otherwise, and especially those that might misunderstand, I have decided to attempt to "frame" these kinds of stories to better represent my intentions in posting them. To better accomplish this, I've also decided to attempt to consolidate these stories (when possible) into one post instead of posting them individually.

Here are some of the religious-related stories of violence since my last postings (I leave it to each individual to decide for themselves to what degree religion might play a part):

Sectarian Violence Rises in Baghdad

Bomb in Turkish capital kills six, injures 80

Nine U.S. soldiers killed in five Iraq attacks

Car bomber kills 27 at funeral in Iraq

Six more U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq

Eight U.S. troop deaths reported

Israeli jets strike Gaza targets

2 Palestinians killed, 4 Israelis injured in attack

Taliban says it launches new operation

Gingrich's War On 'Secularism'

All 43 American presidents - even those who doubted religion - associated themselves with the Christian faith. Today, it is still far easier for a politician from a fringe religious sect, such as Mormonism, to be a serious national candidate than it would be for an atheist or an agnostic.

Yet, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is basing his political comeback, in part, on an assertion that the real bias in America is against those who believe in religion and that "radical secularism" is oppressing them.


National Center For Science Education: Reactions To Creation "Museum"

With the young-earth creation ministry Answers in Genesis scheduled to open its lavish creation museum in northern Kentucky over the Memorial Day weekend, there is a great deal of concern among the scientific and educational communities in the adjacent states about its impact on the public understanding of evolution.


Ralph & The Rabbi: A Thinner Reed?

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews scrubbed co-founder Ralph Reed's name from its website after giving Reed's Century Strategies more than $800,000 in contracts.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Looking For God In All The Wrong Places

When he was 21, a prominent drug policy reformer recalls, he climbed a cliff overlooking Mount McKinley National Park after taking LSD. "God came to me and commanded me to acknowledge Him as the ruler of the universe," he says, "and He was as powerful and as real as any appearance of God is to anybody. I got down on my knees and thanked God for revealing Himself to me. That was a completely authentic, real spiritual experience."


Turns Out Some Dinosaurs Could Swim

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Fossilized foot marks left by a big meat-eater on a lake bed in northern Spain 125 million years ago provide strong evidence that at least some dinosaurs were good swimmers, scientists said on Thursday.


Group Threatens To Sue Pentagon Over Military Role In Evangelical Festival

A scheduled three-day celebration of the US Air Force's 60th anniversary, sponsored in part by evangelical Christian organizations, has prompted a military watchdog group to threaten legal action against the Department of Defense.



Navy Vet: Chaplains Tried Converting Me

Q&A With Lori Lipman Brown

As director of the Secular Coalition for America, former Las Vegan Lori Lipman Brown would like you to know that, actually, there are atheists in foxholes.


Creation Museum: Dinosaurs Used To Tell Earth's Brief History

PETERSBURG, Ky. -- Adam and Eve fall from grace and Noah survives an epic flood at a new Kentucky museum that tells the Bible's version of history on a theme-park scale.


A Study Of The Sociocultural Dynamics Of Faith

Focusing on a little-discussed aspect of African American literature, this full-length analysis of African American atheists' treatment of God fills a huge gap in studies that consistently ignore their contributions. Examining how a belief in God and His "chosen people" necessitates a politics of superiority and inferiority, Lackey implicitly considers the degree to which religious faith is responsible for justifying oppression, even acts of physical and psychological violence.

In their secular vision of social and political justice, black atheists argue that only when the culture adopts and internalizes a truly atheist politics--one based on pluralism, tolerance, and freedom--will radical democracy be achieved. Of primary interest to scholars of African American studies, this volume also will appeal to religious scholars, philosophers, anthropologists, freethinkers, and religious and secular humanists.


Atheism In Ancient India

India is known for tolerance to difference in opinion and thoughts. There were multiple religions spawned in India due to diversity among Indian people. Although, in modern days, most of the Indians remain religious and do believe in God, traces of Indian history shows the existence of Atheism in ancient Indian societies.


An Atheist Family Sues An Oklahoma Town For Violating Separation Of Church And State

Nicole, who is an athlete, was looking forward to being an active figure in sports at her local high school. Things were going well, until basketball season began. Nicole mentioned that after the first basketball game, the girls gathered to recite the Lord's Prayer. Also adding that even the opposite team joined, and the school officials bowed their heads.


Atheists In Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY -- One of life's biggest questions in the world is, "does God really exist?" Ask 95 percent of Oklahomans and the answer is a definitive "yes," but there's a closet community who would argue against a supreme being and some say they've been threatened by Christians because of their [non] belief.


The New Establishment

How Evangelicals Became Part of Washington's Fabric


US Muslims More Assimilated Than British

Muslims in the United States are much more assimilated into society than Muslims in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, according to a poll published yesterday.


Woman - Blame Devil For Infant In Microwave

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- A woman blames the devil, and not her husband, for severely burning their infant daughter in a microwave, a Texas television station reported.

Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.

"Satan saw my husband as a threat," Eva Mauldin told Houston television station KHOU-TV.


Prayer - A Neurological Inquiry

A prayer is, according to The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, "a solemn request to God or an object of worship; a supplication, thanksgiving, or other verbal or mental act addressed to God." Petitionary prayers - messages seeking help or guidance for particular concerns - are common among Christians. They are also a feature of some other religions, such as Islam (Bouquet 1956) and Judaism where prayers expressing devotion and submission to almighty God prevail. But even these are intended communions with God. Although prayers are addressed to a supernatural being, prayer is an empirical behavior and thus accessible to scientific investigation.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

6 Beheadings Blamed On Sect Shock Kenyans

NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) -- Villagers found heads placed on poles and body parts scattered in bushes in six murders the media blamed on Tuesday on an outlawed sect notorious for killing and extortion.


Baghdad Bombers Target Outdoor Market Killing 25

AP: Victims "bleeding and yelling" after market bomb kills 25

Baghdad college hit by mortar fire; 3 dead, 7 hurt

Coalition forces kill nine "terrorists" and free 12 captives in Anbar

Gunmen kill family of six near Khalis, north of Baghdad


Monday, May 21, 2007

Cult Leader Sparks Sikh Riots With 'Guru' Stunt

The Indian state of Punjab has been set alight by some of the worst rioting in a decade after a newspaper advert placed by the leader of a controversial religious sect sparked outrage in the region's Sikh community.


Suspected Taliban Ambush Kills 25 Insurgents

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Suspected Taliban ambushed a U.S.-led coalition and Afghan patrol in the volatile south, sparking a battle and airstrikes that killed 25 insurgents, officials said Monday.


Bomb Kills 1, Injures 5 In Thailand

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) -- Suspected Muslim militants shot dead a Buddhist man on Tuesday, set his body ablaze and left a booby trap which wounded four people, including a British photographer, a Reuters witness said.


Explosion Rocks Beirut; Battles Rage Near Tripoli

...Lebanese forces continued to fight members of an Islamic militant group in the second day of fierce gunbattles at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon....


15 U.S. Soldiers Killed Since Friday In Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military added on Sunday more U.S. soldiers to the list of those who died in attacks on Saturday, bringing the number of American soldiers killed since Friday to 15.


Friday, May 18, 2007

FreeThoughtAction Hero Of The Day - 05/18/07

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell OM FRS (May 18, 1872 - February 2, 1970)

According to Wikipedia, Russell "was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician and advocate for social reform. A prolific writer, he was also a populariser of philosophy and a commentator on a large variety of topics, ranging from very serious issues to those much less so. Continuing a family tradition in political affairs, he was a prominent anti-war activist, championing free trade between nations and anti-imperialism.

"Russell thought it very unlikely that there was a God, and he maintained that religion is little more than superstition and, despite any positive effects that religion might have, it is largely harmful to people. He believed religion and the religious outlook (he considered communism and other systematic ideologies to be forms of religion) serve to impede knowledge, foster fear and dependency, and are responsible for much of the war, oppression, and misery that have beset the world.

"Russell's views on religion can be found in his popular book, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (ISBN 0-671-20323-1)."

Israeli Strikes In Gaza Could Grow Harsher, Envoy Warns

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Israel's response to rockets launched from Gaza into its cities has been "measured" so far but could grow harsher if the attacks continue, Israel's ambassador to the United States said Friday.


13 Die In Mosque Blast, Violence

HYDERABAD, India (AP) -- A bomb ripped through a historic mosque Friday in south India, and 13 people were killed -- 11 in the blast and two in subsequent clashes between angry Muslim worshippers and security forces, police said.


Christian Right Leader Writes Off Giuliani

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Religious conservative leader James Dobson will sit out the 2008 presidential election if former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the Republican presidential nominee, he wrote Thursday in an online column.


Louisiana School District Sued Over Bibles In School

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed its fifth religion-related lawsuit in 13 years against an eastern Louisiana school district, this time alleging that a principal improperly allowed people to distribute Bibles to students.


Relatives Arrested In Girl's Stoning Death

Four people have been arrested in connection with the "honor killing" last month of a Kurdish teen that was captured on cellphone video, authorities tell CNN. Two of those arrested are relatives and police are also searching for the victim's cousin. Dua Khalil, 17, was dragged into a crowd in a headlock and stoned to death in Iraq's Nineveh province. The killing was videoed and broadcast around the world -- throwing 'honor killings' into the public eye.


Stop Teaching Ignorance!

This Memorial Day, the religious right will launch one of the most outrageous campaigns to date in their war on science: the $27 million "Creation Museum" in Petersburg, Kentucky.

The "Museum," which was built by the religious right organization Answers in Genesis (AiG), is dedicated to the falsehood that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, claims that humans and dinosaurs coexisted a few thousand years ago, and has but one goal: to institutionalize the lie that science supports these fairytales.

Click HERE to sign a petition opposing the "Creation Museum" and demand that AiG cease its campaign to confuse our children and undermine scientific understanding.


Texas Parents Challenge Unconstitutional Bible Class In Public Schools

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the Western District of Texas, eight parents are contesting that the Bible course offered in their local high schools violates their religious liberty by promoting particular religious beliefs to children in their community.


Bible Curriculum Dispute Heats Up In Texas Town

Lori White thinks high school students should study a variety of religions, including Christianity. But the Bible curriculum used in Odessa, Texas, and a growing number of other schools, she says, is aimed at instilling faith, not knowledge.


Pope Thinks Indians Were Waiting For Christianity To Arrive

The pope said Sunday that indigenous people of Latin American and the Caribbean were seeking Christ without realizing it. "Christ is the savior for whom they were silently longing," Benedict told a regional conference of bishops in Brazil.


See also:

When Does Genocide Purify?

Father Of Christian Zionism Leaves The Building

OAKLAND, United States, May 16 (IPS) - The right-wing U.S. Christian evangelist Jerry Falwell, who died Tuesday at the age of 73, is perhaps best known for his fundamentalist social positions and tirades against lesbians, gays and feminists, not to mention "pagans", "abortionists" and assorted other miscreants.


See also:

Jerry Falwell dies at age 73

The stone is cast

On a Learjet to hell

Faith-Based Fraud

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rev. Jerry Falwell Dies At Age 73

(CNN) -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell, the television minister whose 1979 founding of the Moral Majority galvanized American religious conservatives into a political force, died Tuesday at age 73.


Jerry Falwell (1933-2007)

In Memory....

"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."

"I hope I live to see the day when we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"

"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah's chariottiers."

"Most of these feminists are radical, frustrated lesbians, many of them, and man-haters, and failures in their relationships with men, and who have declared war on the male gender. The Biblical condemnation of feminism has to do with its radical philosophy and goals. That's the bottom line."

"Someone must not be afraid to say, 'moral perversion is wrong.' If we do not act now, homosexuals will 'own' America!...If you and I do not speak up now, this homosexual steamroller will literally crush all decent men, women, and children who get in its way...and our nation will pay a terrible price!"

"Most American children do not know that this is a Christian nation... [O]ur Constitution won't work in Russia, won't work in Haiti, won't work in Iraq. It only works where the people believe in the Christ of the Bible. The United States of America."

"Modern U.S. Supreme Courts have raped the Constitution and raped the Christian faith and raped the churches by misinterpreting what the founders had in mind in the First Amendment of the Constitution... [W]e must fight against those radical minorities who are trying to remove God from our textbooks, Christ from our nation. We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours."

"The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country."

"The decline in American pride, patriotism, and piety can be directly attributed to the extensive reading of so-called 'science fiction' by our young people. This poisonous rot about creatures not of God's making, societies of 'aliens' without a good Christian among them, and raw sex between unhuman beings with three heads and God alone knows what sort of reproductive apparatus keeps our young people from realizing the true will of God."

"I think Mohammed was a terrorist. I read enough of the history of his life, written by both Muslims and non-Muslims, that he was a violent man, a man of war."

"And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" (Reacting to the events of 9-11-01)

Militants Kill US Soldier In Pakistan

Kabul, Afghanistan - Militants killed a U.S. soldier and a Pakistani on Monday after a meeting held in a Pakistani frontier town seeking to calm the worst clashes in years between Afghan and Pakistani troops policing a border crossed daily by Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents.


5 US Troops Killed in Iraq Violence

Baghdad - Five U.S. troops were killed in attacks in Baghdad and surrounding areas on Monday, while another soldier died of non-combat related causes, the U.S. military said.


Gunmen Attack U.N. Health Office In Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Somalia (Reuters) -- Gunmen attacked a U.N. World Health Organization office in Mogadishu and wounded a guard, in the latest strike near the world body's facilities in Somalia since the weekend, a WHO official said on Tuesday.


Presidential Guards Killed As Cease-Fire Unravels

(CNN) -- For the second consecutive day, a cease-fire between rival Palestinian militias was shattered as the factions clashed in Gaza on Tuesday, with at least 12 dead in related violence.


Blast Kills 25, Northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A hotel blast in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday left 25 people dead and 30 injured, police said.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Insurgent Group Says It Captured, Killed U.S. Troops

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A terror group with links to al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility Sunday for the weekend attack that sparked a manhunt for three missing U.S. soldiers, according to a statement on the Internet.


Five personnel were killed in the Saturday ambush south of Baghdad, including three U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter, military spokesman Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said Sunday.


Two vehicle bombs in Iraq -- one in a small market, the other outside a mayoral office -- killed at least 55 people Sunday, government sources said.


Forty U.S. troops have been killed this month in Iraq. The number of U.S. military personnel killed during the Iraq war stands at 3,384. Seven civilian contractors also have been killed.


3 Killed In Bombings In Somali

MOGADHISHU, Somalia (AP) -- At least 400,000 fled Mogadishu during weeks of fighting that pitted the government and its Ethiopian allies against Islamic insurgents. The fighting between March 12 and April 26 killed at least 1,670 people.


Turks Rally To Support Secularism

IZMIR, Turkey (AP) -- Hundreds of thousands of secular Turks demonstrated on the seafront of Turkey's third-largest city on Sunday, fearful that the Islamic-rooted government is conspiring to impose religious values on society.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

FreeThoughtAction Heroes Of The Day 5/12/07

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 - June 29, 2003)

According to Wikipedia, Hepburn "was a iconic four-time Academy Award-winning American star of film, television and stage, widely recognized for her sharp wit, New England gentility and fierce independence.... A screen legend, Hepburn holds the record for the most Best Actress Oscar wins with four, from twelve nominations). Hepburn won an Emmy Award in 1975 for her lead role in Love Among the Ruins, and was nominated for four other Emmys and two Tony Awards during the course of her more than 70-year acting career. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Hepburn as the number one female star in their Greatest American Screen Legends list.

"Her paternal grandfather, Sewell Hepburn, was an Episcopal clergyman, but on the subject of religion, she told a Ladies Home Journal reporter in October 1991, 'I'm an atheist and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people.'"

Today is also the birthday of comedian, actor, and author George Carlin (born May 12, 1937 in New York, New York).

According to Wikipedia, Carlin is "a staunch atheist, Carlin has often denounced the idea of God in interviews and performances, most notably with his 'Invisible Man in the Sky' and 'There Is No God' routines. In mockery he invented the parody religion Frisbeetarianism for a newspaper contest. He defined it as the belief that when one dies 'his soul gets flung onto a roof, and just stays there', and cannot be retrieved.

"Carlin has also facetiously stated he worships the Sun, because he can actually see it, but prays to Joe Pesci because 'he's a good actor', and 'looks like a guy who can get things done!', and praying to him has approximately the same 50% success rate as praying to God."

Friday, May 11, 2007

FreeThoughtAction Hero Of The Day 5/11/07

Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 - February 15, 1988)

According to Wikipedia, Feynman "was an American physicist known for expanding the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, and particle theory.... He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb and... is credited with the concept and early exploration of quantum computing, and publicly envisioning nanotechnology, creation of devices at the molecular scale. He held the Richard Chace Tolman professorship in theoretical physics at Caltech.... As well as being an inspirational lecturer, bongo player, notorious practical joker, and decipherer of Maya hieroglyphs, Richard Feynman was regarded as an eccentric and a free spirit. He liked to pursue multiple seemingly independent paths, such as biology, art, percussion, and lock picking.

U.S. Officials In Germany Get Terror Warning

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An alleged plot by a group of Islamic extremists against U.S. facilities in Germany led officials to increase security last month, a senior federal official told CNN on Friday.


Webb Telescope To Look Back In Time

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The James Webb Space Telescope, intended to peer deep into the cosmos from beyond the moon, is progressing well in development and is on track for a planned June 2013 launch, officials said on Thursday.


Coffee Customer: Hold The Religion

SPRINGBORO - A southwest Ohio woman who loves Starbucks coffee has decided to drop the Starbucks habit because she was offended by a religious-related statement the company printed on the side of a cup.


Hindu Zealots Thrash Christians

MUMBAI -- Hindu hardliners attacked two Christian missionaries in public in western India on Tuesday, the latest violence against priests accused by right-wing groups of trying to convert lower-caste Hindus to Christianity.


Religious Groups Seek To Introduce Bible Instruction To All US Schools

The Chairman of the Texas House of Representatives who in February distributed a memo that linked to a Web site that promoted anti-Semitic themes, and that the sun and universe revolves around the Earth, is being pressured by religious groups to reintroduce a Bible based curriculum bill for Texas Schools without the safeguards agreed to last month. According the the Texas Freedom Network, he has now done just that.


Hamas 'Mickey Mouse' Calls For Muslim Domination On Kids' Show

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hamas militants have enlisted a figure bearing a strong resemblance to Mickey Mouse to broadcast their message of Islamic domination and armed resistance to their most impressionable audience - children.


Atheist Offers To Send Letters Post-Rapture

For as little as $4.99, Witter offers to deliver your letters to friends and loved ones left behind after the Rapture, when some Christians believe they will be whisked up to heaven while everyone else - the "Left Behind" of the popular book series - suffers a series of tribulations.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Police: Suicide Blasts Kill 13 In Ramadi

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Suicide car bombings at a market and at a police checkpoint in Ramadi killed 13 people and wounded 35 others Monday, police said.


A Split Emerges As Conservatives Discuss Darwin

Evolution has long generated bitter fights between the left and the right about whether God or science better explains the origins of life. But now a dispute has cropped up within conservative circles, not over science, but over political ideology: Does Darwinian theory undermine conservative notions of religion and morality or does it actually support conservative philosophy?


See also:

The Rebranding of Intelligent Design

Sunday, May 06, 2007

9 U.S. Soldiers, Journalist Killed; Torture Chamber Found

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military reported nine soldiers died in Iraq on Sunday -- all but one in combat -- bringing to 22 the number of American service members who have died in Iraq in the first week of May.


Coral Ridge Ministries Shuts Down Two Projects

CRM spokesperson claims closing the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ and the Center for Christian Statesmanship is not tied to founder D. James Kennedy's ill health.


Romney Reaches To The Christian Right

VIRGINIA BEACH, May 5 -- Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) did not discuss his Mormon faith as he continued his outreach Saturday to conservative Christians in a graduation speech at Regent University, the school founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.


Deadline Extended On French Hostage

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) -- Afghanistan's Taliban has extended the Saturday deadline for a deal for the release of a kidnapped French aid worker until after presidential elections on Sunday in France, a spokesman said.


Al Qaeda Video Taunts Bush, Iran, Shiites

(CNN) -- Speaking during a period when rivalries and feuds are reported among Sunni militants, he urged the Sunni world to unite and "combine its efforts to make the purified sharia the highest authority."


Car Bomb Kills 27 In Baghdad Commercial District

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A car bomb ripped through a wholesale food market in western Baghdad on Sunday, flattening cars and shops and killing at least 27 people in one of the deadliest attacks in the capital in recent days.


Right And Wrong Is In Our Genes

The argument goes that humans are social animals and depend on group interactions for food and other necessities. Groups work better when members can trust one another and practice reciprocity. Because humans can quickly identify a breach of trust, they can readily punish a transgressor. Over time, those who demonstrate more cooperative and trustworthy tendencies can build a more cohesive society and will have a survival advantage.


Atheists Go On The Political Offensive In God-Fearing US

Mr Zamecki told The Sunday Telegraph: "We are seeing support for atheist groups grow. Those with no religious affiliation are the fastest-growing group in America, more even than Muslims."


Turks Hit Streets Again In Support Of Secularism

MANISA -- Tens of thousands of flag-waving Turks demonstrated on Saturday in the third anti-government protest in a month amid a bitter conflict over the role of religion in the mostly Muslim country's politics.

Marchers called for the presidential candidate of the ruling AK Party, whose roots are in political Islam, to withdraw, demanding Turkey remain strictly secular.


UPDATE: Gul drops Turkey presidential bid

The Great Wall of Baghdad May Be Going Up, But There's Still Carnage On The Streets

The number of tortured bodies, often still in handcuffs, found on the streets of Baghdad is creeping up again. Shia death squads are taking revenge on the Sunni for the gigantic truck bombs that have devastated Shia markets, killing hundreds.


Islamists Smash Mobile Phones

KHAR, Pakistan -- Some 200 gun-toting Islamist militants smashed car cassette players and mobile phone cameras yesterday and ordered tribesmen in a Pakistani region to grow beards, part of a drive to impose Taliban-style values.


Journalists Convicted In Azerbaijan

BAKU -- Two Azerbaijani journalists have been sentenced to prison Friday for inciting hatred with an article criticizing Islam.


Making A Public Splash In Saudi

A new university for women is opening in Riyadh - yet Saudi Arabia remains a country where women cannot vote, drive, dress as they like or go where they please.


Ape Gestures 'Show Human Links'

Researchers in the US say they have firm evidence that apes communicate using gestures - shedding light on the development of human language.


See also:

Bonobos and chimps 'speak' with gestures

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Baghdad Suicide Bomber Targets Police Recruits

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- A suicide bomber killed 15 people, mostly police recruits, outside an Iraqi army base west of Baghdad on Saturday in a fresh attack on volunteers for the U.S.-trained local security forces.


5 U.S. Soldiers Killed In Iraq

BAGHDAD -- American forces broke up a Shiite militant cell believed to be smuggling an armor-piercing Iranian weapon responsible for killing an increasing number of Americans and Iraqis, the military said. Separately, the U.S. announced the deaths of five American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter.


The Christian Right's Global Agenda

After the initial shock of the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding President Bush's abortion ban, it's time to acknowledge the full reality of the decision. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists - which represents 90 percent of OB/GYNs in the US - the ruling is harmful to women's health. But the Court's decision is about much more than a woman's right to safely end a pregnancy. That's because today's Supreme Court is a product of the Bush Administration (newcomer Justices Roberts and Alito tipped the decision); and the Bush Administration is a product of the Christian Right. Anyone who has been watching the Christian Right chip away at abortion access and the separation of church and state knows that criminalizing abortion is just the tip of the Christian-fundamentalist iceberg and that their agenda is global in scope.


Bush Threatens Veto Of Any Abortion Measure

In a pre-emptive move ahead of likely House action, President Bush vowed Thursday to veto any measure allowing federal funding for abortions or for any organization that encourages them as a means of family planning.


Former Disgraced White House Correspondent Gannon Now Spokesman For Christian Bible Group

Former White House correspondent Jeff Gannon, also know as James Dale Guckert, has a new gig these days, according to a Washington Post report. The one-time reporter for the one-time conservative news site GOPUSA.com has now become a spokesman for a Christian bible group.


Ab-Only Takes Another Hit

One week after highlighting medical inaccuracies in several abstinence-only print and online publications funded by the Bush Administration, the American Civil Liberties Union is now taking aim at an Oregon abstinence-only program, Stop and Think.


See also:

"All I really needed to know I learned in Abstinence-Only Education"

Disinherit The Wind Dept.

Three of the candidates at the Republican debate say they don't believe in evolution.

Watch it HERE.

Friday, May 04, 2007

FreeThoughtAction Hero Of The Day - 5/4/07

Thomas Henry Huxley (May 4 1825 - June 29 1895)

According to Wikipedia, Huxley was an English biologist, known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Thomas Huxley's most famous debate was against the Lord Bishop of Oxford Samuel Wilberforce; afterwards, Huxley called himself an "episcopophagist" (a bishop-eater).... He defended evolution, and advocated scientific education and an agnostic or materialist professional science.

A talented populariser of science, he coined the term "agnosticism" to describe his stance on religious belief.

Latest This Modern World Cartoon

If only the Tillmans had faith


Thursday, May 03, 2007

FreeThoughtAction Hero Of The Day - 5/3/07

Steven Weinberg (born May 3, 1933)

According to Wikipedia, "Weinberg is an American physicist. He was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics (with colleagues Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow) for combining electromagnetism and the weak force into the electroweak force."

His most famous quote on religion is:

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

National Day Of Reason

A consortium of leaders from within the community of reason endorsed the idea of a National Day of Reason. This observance is held in parallel with the National Day of Prayer, on the first Thursday in May (3 May 2007). The goal of this effort is to celebrate reason - a concept all Americans can support - and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.


Military: New Iraqi School Had Bombs Built In

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- American soldiers discovered a girls school being built north of Baghdad had become an explosives-rigged "death trap," the U.S. military said Thursday.


U.S. April Death Toll In Iraq Passes 100

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A suicide bomber struck a crowd of funeral mourners Monday north of Baghdad, taking more than 30 lives at the end of one of the deadliest months of the war so far for U.S. forces. At least 104 American troops were reported killed in April.


U.S. Cites 91 Percent Rise In Terrorist Acts In Iraq

The number of terrorism incidents in Iraq -- and resulting deaths, injuries and kidnappings -- skyrocketed from 2005 to 2006, according to statistics released by U.S. counterterrorism officials yesterday.


The Moment A Teenage Girl Was Stoned To Death For Loving The Wrong Boy

A 17-year-old girl has been stoned to death in Iraq because she loved a teenage boy of the wrong religion.


Wife 'Sentenced To Death' By Mother-In-Law

A grey-haired grandmother sentenced her daughter-in-law to death after finding out she was having an affair, a court was told yesterday.


The God Delusion

Why another book attacking religion? Can't believers and non-believers just get along? After all, the majority of religious people aren't violent or tyrannical. So, do we really need another book documenting the horrors of which religion is capable, or marshalling arguments for God's nonexistence? In a word - yes.


Why The Gods Are Not Winning

The number of nonreligionists.... throughout the 20th century has skyrocketed from 3.2 million in 1900, to 697 million in 1970, and on to 918 million in AD 2000.... Equally startling has been the meteoritic growth of secularism.... Two immense quasi-religious systems have emerged at the expense of the world's religions: agnosticism.... and atheism.... From a miniscule presence in 1900, a mere 0.2% of the globe, these systems.... are today expanding at the extraordinary rate of 8.5 million new converts each year, and are likely to reach one billion adherents soon.


Army To EO Reps: 'Discrimination Against Atheists OK'

Now the Army National Guard is telling its unit level Equal Opportunity representatives that it is OK to discriminate against atheists.


Against All Gods, By A C Grayling

I am impressed by Anthony Grayling's idea of forming a religious group "based on belief in the divinity of garden gnomes". Virtually everything in Grayling's little book (64 pages; small enough to be a Sunday School catechism) makes sense, particularly when he asks if he should be entitled to public money for a school in which children can be brought up in garden gnomism, "together with a bishop's seat in Parliament perhaps?"


Pundit Christopher Hitchens Picks A Fight In Book

Christopher Hitchens is an essayist and pundit who loves a good fight and is never afraid to pick on someone his own size; but this time he's outdone himself. He's picked on God.


Hubble Celebrates Its Seventeenth Birthday With The Birth Of A Star

In celebration of the 17th anniversary of the launch and deployment of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers is releasing one of the largest panoramic images ever taken with Hubble's cameras. It is a 50-light-year-wide view of the central region of the Carina Nebula where a maelstrom of star birth - and death - is taking place.


A Brief History of Disbelief

Jonathan Miller Reveals the Hidden Story of Atheism.

The three-part series premiers May 4 on Public Television.


It's Only Terrorism When They Are Muslim, Right?

Remember the story of the three Muslim men who were arrested because they bought cell phones? How many days of coverage did that non-story rate? Now how much airtime has this story gotten?


Austin Clinic Terrorism Scare Not Terrorism

So, we've got the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and a bomb planted in a high-traffic area. This is certainly worthy of national news, no? Well, not if it's a bomb meant for an abortion clinic obviously.


Official Caught Using Escort Service Demanded Anti-Prostitution 'Loyalty Oaths'

Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution "loyalty oath."


Science In The Eyes Of The Anti-Darwinists

Mark your calendars, because on May 5, former child star Kirk Cameron and "best-selling author Ray Comfort" are going to "prove God's existence, absolutely, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible or faith." Cameron has, like others on the Right, blamed school shootings on the teaching of evolution.


Why The Christian Right Distorts History And Why It Matters

The notion that America was founded as a Christian nation is a central animating element of the ideology of the Christian Right. It touches every aspect of life and culture in this, one of the most successful and powerful political movements in American history. The idea that America's supposed Christian identity has somehow been wrongly taken, and must somehow be restored, permeates the psychology and vision of the entire movement. No understanding of the Christian Right is remotely adequate without this foundational concept.

But the Christian nationalist narrative has a fatal flaw: it is based on revisionist history that does not stand up under scrutiny. The bad news is that to true believers, it does not have to stand up to the facts of history to be a powerful and animating part of the once and future Christian nation. Indeed, through a growing cottage industry of Christian revisionist books and lectures now dominating the curricula of home schools and many private Christian academies, Christian nationalism becomes a central feature of the political identity of children growing up in the movement. The contest for control of the narrative of American history is well underway.