Freethought Today ·

Vol. 29 No. 3

April 2012

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard April 2012

I’m good mates with Barack Obama. I tell him, “You think it’s tough being African-American? Try being me. Try being an atheist, childless, single woman as prime minister.”
Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister
Sydney Morning Herald, 4-2-12

[Fr. Michael Hennelly] described working with priests trying to achieve what he called “sexual sobriety.” St. John Vianney, a church-run hospital in Downingtown, had “Sexaholics Anonymous” meetings devoted exclusively to priests. Others attended “Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.”
Hennelly’s testimony in the trial of Msgr. William Lynn, accused of covering up sexual abuse by priests
Associated Press, 3-28-12

I felt helpless and trapped. My parents expected me to work.
Trial testimony by a woman in her 50s, who alleges she, her sisters and other victims were molested as children by Fr. Albert Kostelnick in a Catholic rectory in Roslyn, Pa.
philly.com, 4-1-12

The color of the emblem is fluorescent orange, and our church forbids the bright, loud and gaudy colors. Therefore, we cannot in good conscience use the slow-moving vehicle emblem.
Jacob Gingerich, Mayfield, Ky., asking legislators to approve a bill, which they did, to let Amish use white reflective tape on buggies instead of orange triangles
Associated Press, 2-12-12

Religiosity is higher in lower income states where poverty is prevalent. The share of state residents who say religion is very important to their daily lives is correlated with the poverty rate and negatively associated with state income levels. Education plays a role. Religiosity is higher in less-educated states and negatively associated with the share of state residents that are college grads.
Richard Florida, senior editor, analyzing a Gallup poll on U.S. religiosity
The Atlantic, 3-29-12

Tribes organized around religious belief have rituals, sacred texts and physical spaces that all serve to bind the participants together. Atheism has none of these things. Most of the time it’s an individual choice, made and kept alone.
Contributing editor Paul Waldman, “One Nation, Not Under God”
The American Prospect, 3-2712

Why, in Mexico, did you not want to be close to the victims of that most ignominious priest Marcial Maciel?
Question to Pope Benedict from Juan Jose Vaca, former member of Maciel’s Legion of Christ, when the pope visited Mexico
Latin American Herald Tribune, 3-26-12

He put his hand on my thigh, and he started talking about God.
Kayla Hill, 17, one of three New York models suing Aristeo Tengco, modeling agency owner, alleging he groped them
New York Times, 3-26-12

I’m not sure it is to atheists’ benefit to always present a kinder, gentler face. We certainly want to let people know, again, we’re your friends, we’re your neighbors, we’re good people. But I think it’s also to our benefit to let people know that we’re to be reckoned with, that we’re not going to let ourselves be doormats, and that we’re mobilized, we’re organized, and when people get us angry, we’re going to take action.
Greta Christina, author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off The Godless
National Public Radio, 3-23-12

For many of the people I met, evangelical Christianity represented a tiny island of righteousness adrift in a sea of secular evil. At virtually every conference, one or more speakers would warn of the seductions of “the world’s” wisdom, which is to say the world outside of their own tiny enclave. As they saw it, evolution was just one tool among many in the arsenal of God’s enemies.
Author Jason Rosenhouse, “What one atheist learned from hanging out with creationists”
Huffington Post, 3-21-12

You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, all the things that matter for evolution) weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in stars. So forget Jesus. Stars died so you can live.
Entertainer Miley Cyrus, quoting physicist Lawrence Krauss in an online post which angered some fans
The Daily Mail, 3-9-12

During the last few weeks, we have seen an outrageous attempt to impose sharia law on the U.S. government and the American public. Not Muslim sharia; it is Roman Catholic “sharia” about contraception that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been trying to impose on Americans of all faiths and beliefs who happen to work at a Catholic-sponsored hospital or university.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center, Philadelphia
Huffington Post, 2-27-12

There are more Christians in the USA than in any country in world history, and few of these Christians feel any compunction about mixing faith and politics. If you don’t believe me, just ask the next European visitors you see whether God has been banished from the American public square. I promise they will laugh in your face.
Stephen Prothero, Boston University religion professor, column headlined “Why Santorum is no JFK”
USA Today, 3-4-12

Jews don’t baptize, so instead I will now proxy-circumcise all the dead Mormons.
Stephen Colbert, riffing on the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing everyone
“The Colbert Report,” 2-23-12

On Sept. 12, [2001] I used the word “atheist” for the first time. It wasn’t too long after that my family stopped returning my phone calls.
Alix Jules, 37, a black atheist from Texas, on how hard it is for African-Americans to “come out”
Washington Post, 2-23-12

Contemporary atheists seem loud because for most of human history we were a silent minority or a silenced minority. To use an analogy, the reaction most religious people have to any average atheist proclamation is not very different from the reaction the average male chauvinist has when a woman speaks. The status quo was atheist silence just as it was female silence (and still is in the average theocratic state), and now to hear atheists starting to speak is just unacceptable for so many.
Op-ed by Zubin Adrianvala, University of Maryland doctoral candidate in urban studies and planning
The Diamondback, 3-7-12

As a faculty member at an institution of higher education, and as a scientist, however, I question the basic premise that loss of faith is a bad thing. If it is true that those who are more educated have a greater tendency to question their religious faith, shouldn’t we consider that this might be telling us more about religious faith than about how harmful getting a college degree can be?
Lawrence M. Krauss, Origins Project director at Arizona State University
Washington Post, 2-28-12

I tried many times to educate and talk to them, and let them know we are not second-class citizens. We deserve to be with everybody. It got heated. [The pastor] compared me to a stripper. I get upset just talking about it. He compared me to a stripper and said breastfeeding is lewd and should be covered up and put away.
Nirvana Jenrette, Camden County, Ga., a mother of four who says she was asked to leave church for breastfeeding her baby
WSAV Savannah, 2-29-12

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