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Freethought Today · May 2013

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard

I feel like you shouldn’t force your religion upon anybody. And a lot of people are saying if there are prayers at graduation, you don’t have to participate, you can sit there and not listen, close your ears. Well, one, it’s my graduation. I shouldn’t have to close my ears. This is a place for school, not a church. I feel like I’m graduating from Lincoln County High, not Lincoln County Church.

Atheist Bradley Chester, Stanford, Ky., one of six seniors who helped convince school officials to substitute a moment of silence for graduation prayer

Advocate-Messenger, 5-2-13 

 

There’s simply no polite way to tell people they’ve dedicated their lives to an illusion.

Daniel Dennett, FFRF Honorary Director, whose 16th book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, was just released 

New York Times, 4-30-13

 

Freedom of expression and freedom of religion were in no way under attack in the Jackson City Schools. The First Amendment, as interpreted in case after case, is about protecting the right of all citizens to worship as they see fit. The sound doctrine of the separation of church and state is designed to prevent the state from promoting one particular faith over others. Many of the founders were, indeed, deeply religious. But they were determined not to let anyone, particularly the government, trample on their right to practice religion as they saw fit. Last week, the Jackson City Schools relearned that history.

Editorial, “History relearned,” supporting the FFRF/ACLU challenge to a Jesus portrait in Jackson, Ohio

Akron Beacon Journal, 4-6-13

 

I frankly am not comfortable with calling it the Mayors Prayer Breakfast, whether there’s an apostrophe on the “s” or not. It’s still indicating it’s something the mayor is behind, and in fact, it is not.

Santa Clarita, Calif., Mayor Bob Kellar, who supports the National Day of Prayer and questions the conservative politics that always seem to accompany the local event

KHTS-AM, 4-24-13

 

I haven’t spent my post-Catholic decades in a sulk, wishing the church would come around on the issue of homosexuality so that I could start attending Mass again. I didn’t abandon my faith. I saw through it.

Columnist Dan Savage, co-founder of the “It Gets Better” project

New York Times, 4-11-13

 

BILL DUNN [reading a Toronto Star headline]: “The next pope should be a pastor with a deep and profound love of people.” SCOTT COLSON: “Peephole?”

FFRF editor and webmaster cubicle conversation, 2-25-13

 

I have seen the future of religion in America, and its name is “none.” Yet another survey just recently published and publicized is emphasizing what is now an undeniable trend on the American religious landscape: Increasing, if not historic, numbers of Americans are claiming no religious affiliation when asked to state their religious identity, and more and more are embracing “spirituality” as an alternative religious brand that is not tradition-specific, but is more in line with the democratic spirit of individual tastes.

Gary Laderman, chair of the Department of Religion, Emory University

Huffington Post, 3-20-13

 

He said I should kiss it because I’d be kissing the hand of God.

Testimony in the trial of retired Anglican priest Gordon Rideout, 73, by a woman alleging he wanted genital contact when she was 12 or 13

The Guardian, 4-9-13

 

Belief in a punitive God . . . facilitates threat assessments that the world is dangerous and even that God poses a threat of harm, thereby increasing psychiatric symptomology.

Finding in a study, “Beliefs About God and Mental Health Among American Adults,” by psychologists at Marymount Manhattan College

Real Clear Science, 4-16-13

First of all, I’m an atheist. The second thing is I know that name was a kind of joke and not a very good one. I think [physicist Leon Lederman] shouldn’t have done that as it’s so misleading.

Peter Higgs, British theoretical physicist and University of Edinburgh emeritus professor, on calling the Higgs boson “the god particle”

The Telegraph, 4-8-13

 

Unless Tim Tebow is willing to change positions, his next NFL job appears likely to be team chaplain.

News story on the lack of interest by NFL teams in evangelical quarterback Tim Tebow, who was released by the New York Jets

New York Post, 4-30-13

 

Young people also are the least religious (more than a quarter specify no religion when asked), and they are an increasingly diverse group of voters.

Columnist Charles M. Blow

New York Times, 4-6-13

I was locked in, so I feel kind of close to you. I was locked in the Sistine Chapel, which is a lot nicer than here.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, one of two cardinals deposed in a probe of the cover-up of Catholic Church pedophilia, speaking to inmates at Shawangunk Correctional Facility near Wallkill, N.Y.

New York Times, 3-28-13

 

I would point out that if you’re a believer in the bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, supporting the Keystone XL pipeline

BuzzFeed, 4-10-13 

 

Would it be for the government to decide whether a person believes in God or not? I’ve committed no crime.

Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say, given a suspended 10-month prison term in absentia for insulting Islam on Twitter, including poking fun at the afterlife 

New York Times, 4-16-13

 

Days before I helped my mother die in 1983, when physician-assisted suicide was neither an issue nor a movement, I noticed a change in her. She became herself again. Once she knew she would be able to “get out of of life,” as she put it, her terror about suffering through an impending cancer death left her, and she was suddenly calm.

Betty Rollin, board member of the Death with Dignity National Center and author of Last Wish

New York Times, 3-31-13

 

Congress has passed no federal protections for gays on employment, housing and education. In 29 states, it is perfectly legal to fire someone because of his or her sexual orientation. Thirty-one states have enacted constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court should know that civil rights are not supposed to be determined on the whims of the people.

Columnist Maureen Dowd

The New York Times, 3-31-13

 

There is no such thing as Egyptians in Egypt. There are only Muslims and Christians.

Emad Thabet, a Coptic Christian locked in a church for hours while four Christians were killed in sectarian violence in Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral

Associated Press, 4-8-13

 

According to a photo of Brownback’s desk shot by the AP, the words “JESUS + Mary” are scrawled across the top of the governor’s notes on the bill, like two lovers’ names carved into a tree.

News story on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signing one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bills

gawker.com 4-20-13

 

As Christians, my family and I remember the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us — how He took on the sins of the world and extended the gift of salvation. And we recommit ourselves to following His example here on Earth. To loving our Lord and Savior. To loving our neighbors. And to seeing in everyone, especially “the least of these,” as a child of God.

President Barack Obama, “President Obama Offers Easter and Passover Greetings”

whitehouse.gov, 3-29-13

 

The only way this is going to stop is if God’s people get together and pray.

Mayor Donald Kile, Kemp, Texas, also an elder at River of Life Church, on God telling him to start a prayer group outside the office of slain Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia

Dallas Morning News, 4-1-13 

 

From my experience, pedophilia is actually an illness. It’s not a criminal condition, it’s an illness.

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, Catholic Archbishop of Durban, S.A., radio interview

Reuters, 3-16-13

 

Boston College doesn’t care how students handle their private lives. You can have condoms in your room. But it has become an attempt to make a mockery out of Catholic values. If these students had been circumspect, discreet, private, it never would have come to a head.

Jack Dunn, spokesman at Jesuit-run Boston College, which is threatening to discipline students who distribute condoms on campus

NBC News, 3-27-13

 

Just as Nehemiah built a wall around Jerusalem, we want to build a wall of prayer around our nation’s capital.

Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., co-chair with Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which prays weekly in a room next to the floor of the U.S. House

Charisma News, 4-10-13

 

Prayer and WD-40.

Hattie Schneider, Molino, Fla., on what got her to 104 years old March 31

northescambia.com, 4-1-13

Loud pipes may save lives, but Jesus Christ saves souls.

Insignia on the vest of A.K. Kinard, Inspiration Riders Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association

Janesville [Wis.] Gazette, 4-21-13

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