Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Atheists Shout It From The Rooftops

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Two months after the local atheist organization here put up a billboard saying "Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone," the group's 13 board members met in Laura and Alex Kasman's living room to grapple with the fallout.


See also:

Atheist group has foothold in S. Carolina

Are atheists becoming the hot new political force?

40 Million Nonbelievers in America? The Secret Is Almost Out


Atheists campaign by bus in Indiana

Astronomers Spy Oldest Object In Universe

(CBS/AP) Astronomers have spotted a burst of energy from a dying star, setting a record for the oldest and most distant object seen by Earth yet.

The 10-second blast was from when the universe was only 630 million years old.


See also:

Hubble Survey Reveals Formation Of Universe's First Massive Galaxies

Cosmic 'Fountain Of Youth' Spied By Hubble Space Telescope

Charlotte Pop Fest 2009

Pop Fest is a multi-day music festival that will feature well-established internationally known artists in addition to local and regional indie artists in the "power pop" genre. The event will take place in the Fall of 2009 in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.

Proceeds from Charlotte Pop Fest will be used to support rational and scientific education at all ages, and to oppose the subversion of scientific education, for example by the well-financed efforts to teach pseudoscience in science classes. This includes advanced tickets sold through the Charlotte Pop Fest Web site; tickets sold at the door during the event; this year's edition of the compilation CD; and any other event-specific merchandise like t-shirts, posters, etc.


Proposed 'Christian' License Plates In Florida May Spark Lawsuit

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged the Florida Senate to reject a bill creating two "Christian" license plates for state motorists and warned that a lawsuit may result if the measure becomes law.


State/Church Watchdog Objects To Largo Mayor's Prayer Breakfast

After the national Freedom From Religion Foundation lodged a formal objection to Largo's unconstitutional practice of hosting a city mayor's prayer breakfast, the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce announced today it has belatedly taken over sponsorship.


Quebec Parents Protest Ethics And Religion Course

MONTREAL -- Hundreds of parents gathered in Drummondville, Que. Saturday to protest a controversial mandatory ethics and religious culture course that has been taught since the beginning of the school year.


Berlin 'Pro-Religion' Referendum Soundly Defeated

BERLIN (Reuters) - A proposal to give religion lessons the same status as ethics classes in Berlin schools was defeated in a referendum on Sunday, having sparked a debate across Germany on tolerance and the integration of Muslims.


Swastika Priest

A priest has shocked parishioners by welcoming them to church wearing a swastika armband.

Fascist Father Angelo Idi, 51 - who once saw off a charity box thief with a truncheon at his church in Vigevano, Italy - confessed: "I am proud of my right wing beliefs. But people shouldn't care about my politics, they should care about how good a priest I am."


Israeli Official: Swine Flu Name Offensive

JERUSALEM (AP) -- The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and "we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products.


Bomb Blasts Rip Baghdad, Over 40 Killed

(AP) Two car bombs tore through a crowded commercial district in Baghdad's main Shiite district on Wednesday, killing at least 41 people, Iraqi police said.

The blasts went off in quick succession less than a week after bombings claimed more than 150 lives over a two-day span. The attacks have raised fears that suspected Sunni insurgents are regrouping and trying to reignite sectarian strife as the U.S. military begins to withdraw.


See also:

Bombings in Iraq kill at least 50

Another Deadly Day In Baghdad

Iraq: 87,215 Citizens Killed Since 2005

Taliban Threatens Attacks Over U.S. Surge

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A Taliban leader has instructed fighters in Afghanistan to target U.S. and other coalition troops in response to the United States sending more troops into the war.


Pakistan Paramilitary Force Routed As Taliban Militants Extend Control Towards Islamabad

International alarm at the Talibanisation of parts of northern Pakistan near Islamabad was mounting last night after militants ambushed a convoy of soldiers deployed to prevent extremists taking over a district only 60 miles from the capital.


See also:

Taliban Threat Near Islamabad Cools

Pakistan Clamps Down On Border Militants

Pakistani Troops Push Back Against Taliban

Taliban driven from key Pakistani town

Music has died in the Swat valley

Taliban Declares Truce "Worthless"

"Everyone Here Is Happy With The Taliban"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fossil Evidence Of Missing Link In The Origin Of Seals, Sea Lions, Walruses Found

ScienceDaily -- Researchers from the United States and Canada have found a fossil skeleton of a newly discovered carnivorous animal, Puijila darwini. New research suggests Puijila is a "missing link" in the evolution of the group that today includes seals, sea lions, and the walrus.


See also:

Tyrannosaur 'Missing Link' Found In China


Complex molecules seen in space

Lightest Exoplanet Yet Discovered

Features Of Early Martian Environment And Presence Of Water Drive Search For Life Forms

Gore Vidal Accepts Title Of American Humanist Association Honorary President

Washington, D.C. -- Humanist leaders are pleased to announce that Gore Vidal -- the preeminent novelist, essayist, and playwright who is frequently described as America's best-known public intellectual -- has accepted the honorary presidency of the American Humanist Association.

"We're delighted and privileged to have Gore Vidal as our honorary president," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "Vidal is a sharply intelligent advocate for individual liberty, separation of church and state, and reason and rationality. He has a reverence for earthly inquiry -- as opposed to doctrine or dogma -- that embodies the mission of the AHA. We're very excited about working with him."


America Is Not A Christian Nation

Is America a Christian nation, as many conservatives claim it is? One American doesn't think so. In his press conference on April 6 in Turkey, President Obama explained: "One of the great strengths of the United States is ... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."


See also:

Most US Christians don't believe Satan, Holy Spirit really exist

Richard Dawkins At American Atheists 09

Richard Dawkins at the American Atheists 2009 conference in Atlanta, Georgia.


Campaign Officially Launches

Bloomington, IN. --The Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign has formed in Bloomington to spread the word: "You can be good without God."


Americans United Files Suit To Block Public School Graduation Ceremonies In Wisconsin Church

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today filed a lawsuit in federal court to block a Wisconsin public school district from holding graduation ceremonies in the sanctuary of an evangelical church.


Texas School Standards: Age Of The Universe Erased

( -- The fight over the new education and curriculum standards for the public schools in Texas has been long and publicized. Most of the publicity, though, focuses on the school board's focus on "intelligent design" as it relates to the biological question of evolution. Because evolution has long been contested in public schools, it is no real surprise that this has gotten the most play from the media. But one thing that hasn't been mentioned as much is the fact that the Texas school standards also remove mention of the age of the universe. Long-standing ideas of cosmology are being challenged as well.


De-Baptism Gains A Following In Britain

More than 100,000 former Christians have downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" in a bid to publicly renounce the faith, according to the London-based National Secular Society (NSS).


Oh, Ye Of Little Faith

Millions of South Africans may have just celebrated Easter and Passover. Still, there's no denying that atheists are on the rise, says Helen Walne.


Joint NGO Statement On Danger Of U.N. Defamation Of Religions Campaign

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations,

Deeply concerned by the pervasive and mounting campaign by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to produce U.N. resolutions, declarations, and world conferences that propagate the concept of "defamation of religions," a concept having no basis in domestic or international law, and which would alter the very meaning of human rights, which protect individuals from harm, but not beliefs from critical inquiry;

Deeply concerned by the attempt to misuse the U.N. to legitimize blasphemy laws, thereby restricting freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press;

Deeply concerned that "defamation of religions" resolutions may be used in certain countries to silence and intimidate human rights activists, religious dissenters, and other independent voices;

Alarmed by the resolution on "defamation of religions" recently tabled at the current 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council;

Alarmed by the draft resolution on freedom of expression circulated by Egypt, whose amendments seek to restrict, not promote, protections for free speech;

Alarmed by the recently-announced initiative of the U.N. "Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards" to amend the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by adding a protocol on "defamation of religions";

Alarmed by provisions in the latest draft outcome document of the Durban Review Conference that, through coded language and veiled references, endorse and encourage these anti-democratic initiatives;

1. Call upon all governments to oppose the "defamation of religions" resolution currently tabled at the UN Human Rights Council, and the objectionable provisions of the freedom of expression resolution;

2. Call upon all governments to resist the efforts of the "Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards" to alter the ICERD;

3. Call upon all governments not to accept or legitimize a Durban Review Conference outcome that directly or indirectly supports the "defamation of religions" campaign at the expense of basic freedoms and individual human rights.


Is Yemen A New Al-Qaida Haven?

Last month a suicide bomber detonated himself at a crowded archeological site in Yemen, killing four South Korean tourists, and earlier this month CentCom chief Gen. David Petraeus warned that Yemen was becoming a safe haven for Qaeda militants.


Muslim Converts Accused Of Holy War Bomb Plots

Two Muslim converts and two Turks go on trial in a bomb-proof courtroom in Dusseldorf today accused of plotting to blow up German civilians and US soldiers.


Shells Hit Baghdad's Green Zone After 3-month Lull

Baghdad - Suspected militants shelled Baghdad's protected Green Zone on Saturday in the first such bombardment in more than three months.


See also:

Attacker In Uniform Bombs Iraqi Army Base

Iraq study: Executions are leading cause of death

20 Killed At Pakistan Military Checkpoint

(CBS/AP) A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a military checkpoint in Pakistan's troubled northwest on Saturday, killing at least 20 people, officials said.


See also:

Pakistan bows to demand for sharia law in Taliban-controlled Swat Valley

US criticizes Islamic law deal in Pakistan

Taliban Gains New Stronghold In Pakistan

Taliban Territory Growing In Pakistan

World Watch: Taliban Declares Judicial Independence

Taliban claims victory near Islamabad

Pakistani warlord threatens to launch attack on Washington

Taleban 'Kill Love Affair Couple'

The Taleban in Afghanistan have publicly killed a young couple who they said had tried to run away to get married, officials say.


See also:

Mob Stones Afghan Women At Protest

In Depth: The war in Afghanistan

Textbooks go missing in Afghanistan

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Leave No Stone Unturned

An Easter Challenge For Christians from Dan Barker HERE.

And from Time magazine:

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Easter

The Empty Name Of God

The basic doctrines of the major religions have their roots in the superstitions and fancies of illiterate peasants living several thousand years ago.


See also:

The thing that made the things for which there is no known maker

Storm by Tim Minchin (with text)


Hooray for Holy Wood!

Gallup Poll: Religion, Intolerance Related

PRINCETON, N.J. (UPI) -- A series of Gallup polls reveals people in countries with a higher percentage of religious people are more likely to say tolerance for minorities is low.


See also:

Cooperative Behavior Meshes With Evolutionary Theory

The End Of Christian America

The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now -- and what, as a nation, we are about to become.


See also:

US religious Right concedes defeat


Coming Out: An Atheists Dilemma

Church Membership Continues Downward Trend

Membership has waned in the nation's largest Christian bodies -- the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention -- while mainline Protestant churches continue to shrink, according to the "Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches."


Obama: U.S. Not A Christian Nation Or A Jewish Nation Or A Muslim Nation

At a press conference in Turkey, President Obama casually rebuked the old chestnut that the United States is a Judeo-Christian nation.

"One of the great strengths of the United States," the President said, "is ... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."


See also:

Obama: U.S. Is Not At War With Islam


"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion -- as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquillity of Mussulmen -- and as the said states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

-- Article 11, Treaty of Tripoli as presented to Congress, unanimously approved June 7, 1797, signed into law by President John Adams on June 10, 1797

Treaty of Tripoli

"Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof. And to the End that the said Treaty may be observed, and performed with good Faith on the part of the United States, I have ordered the premises to be made public; And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all other citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfill the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof."

-- President John Adams' signing statement

According to Wikipedia:

"Official records show that after President John Adams sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification in May 1797, the entire treaty was read aloud on the Senate floor, and copies were printed for every Senator. A committee considered the treaty and recommended ratification, 23 of the 32 sitting Senators were present for the June 7 vote which unanimously approved the ratification recommendation...

"The Senate's ratification was only the third recorded unanimous vote of 339 taken. The treaty was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York papers, with no evidence of any public dissent."


Teenage Atheism On The Rise

Canada -- According to a new survey, teens who said they definitely believed in God, or a higher power, went from 54% to 37%, between 1984 and 2008, while the number of atheists rose from 6% to 16%. The number of teens who remained uncertain about God remained at 31%.


Scotland's Last Seminary To Close

Centuries of Catholic tradition in Scotland will come to an end this summer, as declining numbers training for the priesthood force the country's last remaining seminary to close.


Atheist 'De-Baptism' Forms Snapped Up In Britain

LONDON -- A secular organization in Britain that backs an atheist ad campaign on London's buses is now producing "certificates of de-baptism" for people wishing to renounce their Christian faith -- and claims it is getting thousands of takers.


Pope's Good Friday Message Warns Of Drift Into A 'Desert Of Godlessness'

Speaking during the Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI said that "religious sentiments" were increasingly ranked among the "unwelcome leftovers of antiquity" and held up to scorn and ridicule.

He used this year's Good Friday meditations at the Stations of the Cross to compare attempts to purge religion from public life to the mockery Jesus Christ faced from the mob as he was led out to be crucified.


See also:

Priest indecently assaulted children

Police: Cantu Was Murdered In Church

(CBS/AP) CBS News has learned that police in Tracy believe 8-year-old Sandra Cantu was murdered in the church where her accused killer was a Sunday school teacher.


See also:

Sunday school teacher arrested in girl's death

Town rocked by arrest of Sunday school teacher

Woman Dies In Forest Hills Church Accident

FOREST HILLS, Pa. -- The Allegheny County medical examiner said Friday night that an 89-year-old woman died at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital after being hit by a car.


Police said the driver of a blue vehicle, who is a retired priest, lost control of his car and crashed into a group of parishioners waiting in front of church.


Texas Man Allegedly Trying to Beat Demon Out Of Son

HOUSTON -- A Houston man who allegedly thought demons invaded his home and family was jailed Monday on charges he beat his 3-year-old son.


Disgraced Baptist Leader Vies To Head Denomination Again

Ten years after he sentenced to 5 1/2 years in state prison for racketeering and grand theft, the former president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., is vying to lead the denomination once again and insists that he's a changed man.


White House Expands Faith-Based Advisory Panel

A Pentecostal bishop who has challenged Democrats on abortion and a representative of a national gay rights group are among nine new members of a White House advisory council.


See also:

AAI Concerned About Makeup Of Obama Faith Council

Department Of Health And Human Services Should Revoke Bush-Era 'Conscience' Rules, Says Americans United

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind a regulation put in place by former President George W. Bush dealing with religious objections to medical procedures, saying the rule could violate patients' rights.


Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage With Veto Override

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont on Tuesday became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage -- and the first to do so with a legislature's vote.


See also:

Iowa court backs gay marriage

Iowa and Vermont: The Politics of It

Iowa Supreme Court Ruling On Marriage Upholds Religious Liberty, Says Americans United


Warren Waver On Prop 8 Stuns Leaders

Humanists File Appeal In Newdow V. Roberts

The lawsuit challenges government infusion of religion into Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies -- specifically challenging the addition of "so help me God" to the constitutionally prescribed presidential oath of office and the inclusion of religious prayers in the invocation and benediction such as those delivered by Reverend Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery at the 2009 ceremony. The plaintiffs contend that these practices constitute a government endorsement of religion, and thereby violate their First Amendment rights.


Christian Resolution Inaccurate

The Alabama Legislature is considering a joint resolution that would designate Easter Week as "Christian Heritage Week." Ostensibly designed to recognize Christianity's influence on American history, the resolution is actually an attack on religious liberty.

The resolution describes "Christian Heritage Week" as one "in which the influence of Christianity on American history is emphasized in the state of Alabama." Yet instead of emphasizing Christian influence on American history, the resolution claims incorrectly that those who settled our nation wished to create a "Christian commonwealth." The assertion is based on selective quotes from a number of historical figures and documents. Whether the resolution is intended to perpetuate the erroneous idea of America as a "Christian commonwealth," or truly is an attempt to recognize Christian influence on history, it is inherently flawed.


'In God We Trust' Plate Moves On

CHARLESTON -- God might have been booted out of America's classrooms, but Jean Boggess came a big step closer Wednesday to putting him on the bumpers of West Virginia motor vehicles.

Without dissent, the Senate agreed to create a special license plate bearing the inscription, "In God We Trust."


Bill Would Put Concealed Handguns In Churches

OMAHA (KPTM) -- Some call it a sign of the times. Others, an unfortunate necessity. Churches and other places of worship could let security guards carry concealed handguns under a bill that advanced Thursday in the legislature.


The Meaning Of Freedom

AT FIRST glance, the resolution on "religious defamation" adopted by the UN's Human Rights Council on March 26th, mainly at the behest of Islamic countries, reads like another piece of harmless verbiage churned out by a toothless international bureaucracy. What is wrong with saying, as the resolution does, that some Muslims faced prejudice in the aftermath of September 2001? But a closer look at the resolution's language, and the context in which it was adopted (with an unholy trio of Pakistan, Belarus and Venezuela acting as sponsors), makes clear that bigger issues are at stake.


Religulous Is Outrageously Good

Snappily edited and intercut with hilariously snide subtitles, this may be preaching to the converted but there's an ark-load of laughs, such as when Arkansas senator Mark Pryor defends creationism only to obliviously add: 'You don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate.'


See also:

Hitchens pitching religion pic at Hot Docs

When Church And State Collide

Malta's march towards nationhood was punctuated and in a sense defined by numerous instances of direct and indirect involvement of the Church in political issues.


Muhammad Cartoon Sold Off In Denmark

A Danish press freedom group it is selling copies of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad that caused outrage across the Muslim World.


Al-Qaeda Terror Plot To Bomb Easter Shoppers

An al-Qaeda cell was days away from carrying out an "Easter spectacular" of co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks on shopping centres in Manchester, police believe.


Muslim Rioters Attack Christian Shops

Hundreds of Muslims have attacked Christian shops and a police station in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, following rumours that a Muslim man was stabbed and killed by his Christian landlords.


Saudi Judge Refuses To Annul 8-Year-Old's Marriage

(CNN) -- A Saudi judge has refused for a second time to annul a marriage between an 8-year-old girl and a 47-year-old man, a relative of the girl told CNN.


See also:

Saudis capture 11 al Qaeda suspects

US Soldier Killed In Iraq Bomb Blast

BAGHDAD (AFP) -- A US soldier was killed in a roadside bomb that targeted a convoy in central Iraq on Sunday, a US military statement said, taking the number of American soldiers killed in recent days to six.


See also:

5 U.S. Soldiers Killed In Iraq Attack

Baghdad car bombs kill 37

7 killed, in blast near Iraq holy shrine

Car Bomb Kills 9 In Shiite Area Of Baghdad

33 Iraqis, 1 U.S. Troop Killed In Violence

Video Of Girl's Flogging As Taliban Hand Out Justice

A video showing a teenage girl being flogged by Taliban fighters has emerged from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, offering a shocking glimpse of militant brutality in the once-peaceful district, and a sign of Taliban influence spreading deeper into the country.


See also:

Women Erased in Israel, Flogged in Pakistan and Restricted in Afghanistan

Taleban-style law for women in Afghanistan is dropped after outcry

Suicide Bomber Kills 22 At Pakistan Mosque

(CBS/AP) The Pakistani government on Sunday ordered a tightening of security across the country, focusing on mosques and other places of worship used by members of the minority Shia Muslim community, after a powerful suicide bomb attack at a Shia prayer congregation reportedly killed 22 people and injured dozens of others.


See also:

Pakistan militants attack NATO supply trailers

In Depth: The war in Afghanistan

Friday, April 03, 2009

Godless Groups Organize Around DFW Billboards

DFWCOR Billboard

Dallas-Fort Worth area atheists and agnostics are organizing around two new billboards going up today on Interstate 35. Seven groups of freethinkers and humanists have pooled their efforts to form the new Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason to educate the public about their worldview and what their groups do. The billboards invite people to visit the coalition's website at


See also:

Atheists put message on high with billboards in Dallas-Fort Worth area

Those atheist billboards are up in DFW

Don't Believe in God? You're Not Alone

Atheists Kick Off Billboard Campaign

North Texas atheist group posts billboards

Atheist Billboards Coming To North Texas

Atheist Billboards Headed to TX Highways

FFRF Unveils New Outdoor Bus Sign: Sleep In On Sundays

The "war of the bus signs" is escalating in Madison, Wis., with the debut this week of the Freedom From Religion Foundation's first exterior bus sign, advising: "Sleep in on Sundays."


See also:

Atheists plan to take Seattle for a ride

Atheist Bus Campaign Coming to Finland

Signs on the German and Finish buses

Entire Cosmos Series Is On Hulu (In US)

Cosmos was groundbreaking and still stands today as perhaps the greatest science/astronomy TV documentary ever made.


Christian Book Expo Attracts Few Customers

Stacks of unsold books and glum publishers stood for three days inside the cavernous Dallas Convention Center this past weekend at the Christian Book Expo, a first-of-its-kind event designed to connect publishers and authors directly with readers in the evangelical Christian market. Only problem was there were few readers to connect with, despite the show's location in Dallas, the buckle of the Bible Belt and a top market for Christian publishers. The show, sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, attracted 1,500 consumer attendees; it had hoped for 15,000-20,000.


Maryland 'Cult Mom' Plea Linked To Child's Resurrection

BALTIMORE -- Prosecutors agreed to some unusual terms to win a guilty plea from a former religious cult member charged with starving her 1-year-old son to death: If the child is resurrected, her plea will be withdrawn.


See also:

Experts: Cult member not insane despite odd plea

Vermont House Gives Preliminary OK To Gay Marriage

The bill has already cleared the state Senate. It passed on Thursday in a 95-52 House vote -- enough for approval but not enough to override a promised veto by Republican Gov. Jim Douglas.


See also:

NH House endorses gay marriage

Tax Funding For Baptist University Violates Kentucky Constitution, Says Americans United

The Supreme Court of Kentucky should strike down a $10 million state appropriation for a university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.


See also:

AZ Supreme Court shoots down voucher programs


Americans United Issues Statement On Tony Dungy Appointment To Obama Faith Council

Judge Dismisses Attempt To Remove 'One State Under God' From Texas Pledge

A judge has dismissed the claims of an atheist parent who sought to remove the words "one state under God" from the Texas pledge of allegiance.


Texas Education Board Approves Science Standards

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- State education leaders forged a compromise Friday on the teaching of evolution in Texas, adopting a new science curriculum that no longer requires educators to teach the weaknesses of all scientific theories.


See also:

Texas ed board's vote a mixed bag for evolution

Texas board comes down on 2 sides of creationism debate

Defeat and Some Success for Texas Evolution Foes

Creationism in the classroom - Evolution is a scientific fact

Richard Dawkins' awesome computer skills baffle Information Theorists of intelligent design


Evolution study focuses on snail

Dispute Evolves On OU Speech By Scientist

State lawmakers hit the University of Oklahoma with a barrage of paperwork earlier this month, crafting resolutions to condemn the school for inviting a noted evolutionary biologist and requesting reams of information about his visit.


YouTube Has Banned The James Randi Educational Foundation!?!?

This is insane: YouTube has become an overzealous nanny, protecting kooks from offense, now banning the eminently respectable JREF.


U.N. Rights Council Passes Religious Defamation Resolution

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A U.N. body has passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation.


See also:

State Department Releases Religious Freedom Blacklist


A Man's Existentialism, Construed as Blasphemy (U.S.)

Way Paved For Red Crystal Symbol

A new "red crystal" humanitarian symbol will gain the same status as the "red cross" and "red crescent" emblems under legislation going through the Commons.


Mexican Catholic Sex Abuse Probe Could Uncover More Victims

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's probe into an influential Roman Catholic priestly order could uncover more cases of sexual abuse similar to those committed by its founder, a victims' group in Mexico said on Wednesday.


See also:

Bishops were warned of abusive priests

Bishop dogged by abuse allegations dies

Apostasy Move Stirs Emotions In Quebec

MONTREAL -- Like most Quebecers of her generation, Sylvie Drouin was born into a Catholic family but stopped practising her religion years ago. "I was neither for nor against the Catholic Church," said the interior designer, now in her 50s.

That was until a few weeks ago, when she and her husband were driving to the ski hills and heard a report on the Pope's comments discouraging condom use in Africa.


See also:

Facebook users wage condom campaign against Pope

Following Atheist Trend, Britons Seek 'De-Baptism'

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming "There's probably no God."


Second Coming For Brian

Thirty years after his comic crucifixion in The Life of Brian had religious leaders in Aberystwyth so hot under the dog collar that screenings of the film were banned in their town, Brian has finally beaten his censors. And so, one of the longest-delayed premieres in cinema history took place at the 120-seat Aberystwyth Arts Centre last night.


See also:

The Richard Dawkins of Hollywood

Losing his religion, finding his material

'Crucifix' Killing In French Pilgrimage Town

A woman who thought she was the devil killed her elderly mother with a crucifix and other objects in the French Catholic pilgrimage town Lourdes, officials and press reports said Wednesday.


Abortion On Demand A Step Too Far For Spanish Right

A move to allow abortion on demand for Spanish women is ushering in perhaps the most virulent clash yet between the conservative clergy and the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose gay marriage law drove hundreds of thousands of people on to the streets.


See also:

Abortion video used in fight against law change in Spain


Contraception Pill Strictures Are Eased by a Judge (U.S.)

Religious Fundamentalism Spreads... Beyond Islam

In the same week that Hindu fundamentalists obliterated plans to build a Charlie Chaplin statue, on the grounds that Chaplin was a Christian who made no contribution to India, video clips of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Varun Gandhi surfaced online, showing him glorifyingly speaking of "cutting the throats" of Muslims, and mocking their "scary" names.


See also:

Gandhi arrested for 'inciting violence against Muslims'

'Hindu Taliban' threatens Goa bars

Israel FM: 'If You Want Peace, Prepare for War'

Israel's new foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman wasted no time in grabbing the headlines. The controversial and ultra nationalist politician has a reputation as a hardliner and a tough talker. He didn't disappoint on either front.


Bomber Attacks Afghan Police Headquarters

(CBS/AP) A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up inside a police headquarters in southern Afghanistan on Monday, killing nine people and wounding eight others, an official said.


See also:

Afghan soldiers kill 20 militants

Bomb kills 3 Afghan Army commandos

Afghan, coalition forces kill 12 militants

Afghan soldier kills two coalition troops, U.S. says

Attack in Afghanistan kills 9 police

Afghan leader accused of bid to 'legalise rape'

Deadly Blast Hits Pakistan Mosque

A bomb has exploded at a mosque near the town of Jamrud in the Khyber agency in north-west Pakistan, killing at least 50 people, officials say.


See also:

2 arrested over Pakistan mosque bombing

Suicide bomber kills 11 in Pakistan

Gunmen Rampage At Pakistani Police Center

Four gunmen die in attack on Pakistan police

Taliban blocks UN polio treatment in Pakistan

Pakistani region where the brutal Taleban have taken control

Taleban: we will launch attack on America that will amaze world

Iraq Bombing Leaves 22 Dead

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 22 civilians were killed and 38 other people were wounded Thursday in a Baghdad car bombing, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.


7 Filipino Soldiers Slain In Separatist Attack

(CNN) -- Seven soldiers were killed Friday when they were attacked by Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines, the military said.