Protecting the constitutional principle of the separation of state and church
Freethought Radio

Freethought Today

Vol. 20 No. 1 - Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. -
January/February 2003

View the Table of Contents for this issue


Overheard

. . . Bush will be held responsible for the rantings of Falwell, Robertson, Graham and others. After all, they are not peripheral figures. They are now mainstream religious leaders, courted by political leaders . . . and treated with great, if undeserved, respect.
--Columnist Richard Cohen
"Imams of Inanity"
Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2002

As 9-11 showed us, people who mix religion and politics can be dangerous. Governments around the world need to be more secular, not less, especially in the Middle East.
--Columnist Paul Mulshine
[Newark] Star-Ledger
December 2002

In the past 12 months, Westerners have become all too familiar with the incendiary rhetoric addressed at them by radical clergy in the Muslim world. But has as much attention been paid to the gasoline some Christian leaders have thrown on the flames?
    We are fast approaching a situation where influential leaders on both sides of this religious divide are talking the language of apocalypse in a climate where large numbers of people are feeling fearful and vulnerable. Unless we are very careful, Armageddon may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
--Columnist Chris McGillion
"Beware Christ's zealots as they fan the flames"
The Herald (UK), Oct. 15, 2002

Many of our finest European so-called Christian scholars, church leaders, bishops and professors kept their mouths shut or actively endorsed and encouraged the deeds of the Holocaust.
--Wesleyan Prof. Dr. John Warner
Charleston Gazette
Oct. 21, 2002

In our effort to win a war against these religious warriors, we wrap the cloak of religion even tighter around us. This seemingly is a reversion to the atavistic struggles of the past in which "my God is bigger than your God" disputes resulted in some of humanity's most violent struggles.
--Salim Muwakkil
Senior editor, In These Times
Chicago Tribune, July 8, 2002

It makes no difference for us where we will die. We have chosen to die here, in Moscow, and we will take the lives of hundreds of the infidels with us.
--Veiled Chechen woman hostage-taker
Rebel videotape
New York Times, Oct. 27, 2002

. . . With terrorists attacking Israelis in Kenya, Muslims and Christians killing each other in Nigeria, a mission nurse murdered in Lebanon and Hindu worshippers and Muslim assailants shot down in Kashmir, this seems like an especially bad period for the abuse of religion.
--Martin Woollacott
The Guardian, Dec. 11, 2002

Has there ever been a big, powerful country that is as patriotic as America? And patriotic in the tinniest way, with so much flag-waving? You'd really think we were some poor little republic and that if one person lost his religion for one hour, the whole thing would crumble. My feeling is that you're patriotic if you're obsessed with America because it's a democracy and its obligation is to improve all the time, not to stop and take bows and smell its armpits and say, "Ambrosia." --Author Norman Mailer Daily Telegraph interview New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2002 The religious cant that will send American troops into battle is perhaps the most sickening aspect of this surreal war-to-be. Bush has an arm-lock on God. And God has very particular political opinions. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America's Middle Eastern policy, and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist.
--Novelist John le Carre
"The United States of America has gone mad"
[London] Times, Jan. 15, 2003

I'm an atheist, and I'm becoming more and more atheistic as I grow older.
--Scientist Oliver Sacks
San Diego Union-Tribune
Book section, Nov. 24, 2002

As an atheist I have always taken perverse pleasure in watching the slow encroachment of science on the realm of the spirit and the supernatural. . . .
    People often ask me, 'If you don't believe in a god, then what happens when you die?' I don't know, and no one else does, either. The difference between me and them is that I don't care. Even if this is all we get, I'd still rather live here on earth with the knowledge that it's humanity, physics, and chance that chart our course--not some bearded guy sitting on a fluffy cloud watching football while people burn.
--Kris Frieswick, essayist
Boston Phoenix, Nov. 7-14, 2002
(featured in HarperCollins' More Mirth of a Nation)

I have yet to find a sect that treats women like fully fledged human beings. Is this the key? Is religion in its essence a guy thing with a female following that was trained from birth? How easily led must the pope think Italian women are, that he would dare, as he did this year, to order them to have more babies?
--Columnist Heather Mallick
"This Xmas, Keep your religion to yourself"
[Toronto] Globe & Mail, Dec. 14, 2002

The Constitution practically has a circle with a slash over a picture of a shrine. A government clearly can't erect one, particularly in a public place. . . . Moore has practically transformed the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building into a church.
--Journal Sentinel Editorial
Nov. 29, 2002

Atheism . . . is a rational view of the world where you stand up proudly, in your humanity, you look life straight in the face, you look the universe straight in the face, you do your level best to understand it, to understand why you exist, what the universe is about, you recognise that when you die that's it, and therefore life is very, very precious and you devote your life to making the world a better place, to leading a good life so when you die you can say to yourself I have led a good life. Now, that seems to me to be a worthwhile goal to put in place of the medieval superstition which is religion.
--Scientist Richard Dawkins
The Dubliner, October 2002

Almost half the phone calls I get are from women. The Vatican's suggestion that this is a gay priest issue is utterly off the mark.
--Anne Hagen Webb, New England co-director
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Boston Herald, Nov. 7, 2002

The Catholic Church's capacity for denial will never cease to amaze me. Or their cruelty . . .
--Scottish film director Peter Mullan
"The Magdalene Sisters"
Village Voice, Oct. 23-29, 2002

I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist.
--Mother Teresa
Letter, Mother Teresa's Secret
Daily Telegraph, Nov. 2002

[God is like] a spastic child who can communicate nothing but his presence and his inarticulate wanting.
--Archbishop of Canterbury Garry William
"Open to Judgment" (book, 1994)
Telegraph (UK), Oct. 24, 2002

If the moderate voices of Islam cannot or will not insist on the modernization of their culture--and of their faith as well--then it may be these so-called 'Rushdies' who have to do it for them. For every such individual who is vilified and oppressed, two more, then more, a thousand more will spring up. They will spring up because you can't keep people's minds, feelings and needs in jail forever, no matter how brutal your inquisitions.
--Author Salman Rushdie
New York Times, Nov. 27, 2002

[One of] three themes which are utterly taboo as far as most American publishers are concerned is . . . the total atheist who lives a happy and useful life, and dies in his sleep at the age of 106.
--Author Vladimir Nabokov
1956
(Submitted by Steven Denenberg)

We [in Great Britain] are heading toward the worst of both worlds: Elmer Gantry preachers on the radio and an education system handed over to churches that less than 10 percent of the population want to worship in.
--Columnist Nick Cohen
Sunday Observer, Dec. 1, 2002

We won't stone anybody to death for . . . declining to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or for skipping the "under God" addendum. But there are those who would extract a price for these breaches--and evidence that the rest of us might let them--if only for the duration of the "crisis."
--Columnist William Raspberry
"Misplaced Faith"
Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2002

[Bush] declared that he was ending "discrimination against religious groups just because they are religious," a crude misreading of principled support for church-state separation and a cheap shot that plays to the victim-mongering paranoia of the religious right, which absurdly claims Christians are borne down in the country under a crushing burden of discrimination.
--Columnist Tom Teepen
Cox News, Dec. 17, 2002


January/February 2003 Excerpts