Overheard

My parents did not practice any organized religion, although my father was raised Roman Catholic and my mother was Jewish. But there was always an ethical context to our lives, a very strong notion of individual moral responsibility. 
--Actor Harrison Ford 
Parade, July 7, 2002
Our father was not a religious man. The faith that many people place in god, we place in science and other human endeavors. 
--Children of baseball legend Ted Williams 
Reuters, July 25, 2002
.
. . In India, as elsewhere in our darkening world, religion is the poison in the blood. Where religion intervenes, mere innocence is no excuse. Yet we go on skating around this issue, speaking of religion in the fashionable language of "respect." What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion's dreaded name? 
--Writer Salman Rushdie 
"Slaughter in the Name of God" 
Washington Post, March 8, 2002
I am all for the death of God. . . . [I am against] every religion and fundamental organization where there is one truth and they will kill you if you don't believe it. In the Middle East, we are delivering each other to hell. If President Bush unleashes hell on Iraq in the next weeks, it will tell us something about human nature's capacity for monstrous wrongs. Hell is our own creation. 
--Award-winning children's author Philip Pullman 
Edinburgh international books festival 
The Guardian [UK], Aug. 12, 2002
I never really believed in God. Not even for a week, not even between the ages of 6 and 10, when I was an agnostic. 
--Author Tariq Ali 
The Clash of Fundamentalists: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity
I'm not a practicing anything. I've been brought up around Buddhism and I'm very interested in it, and if I have any leaning I would lean toward Buddhist feelings. But as I have seen so many devout people, I wouldn't categorize myself as a practicing person. 
--Actress Uma Thurman 
Biography Magazine, Aug. 2002
Just when we wish to flee to religion for sanctuary, we find ourselves fleeing from religion for sanctuary. 
-Columnist Maureen Dowd 
New York Times, April 7, 2002
If the United States of America really wants to fight these terrorists, . . . it needs to strike at the source of their fanaticism--the human need to invent deities to explain our existence. It needs to join the cause of striking down superstition and mythology with appeals to reason and the evidence of science. 
--Columnist Rex Wockner 
San Antonio Current 
Dec. 20-26, 2001
Imagine you woke up one day and found that Jehovah's Witnesses had taken over your government. That's like what happened to us [in Sudan, where Islamic Sharia is being imposed]. 
--Rebel Taisier Ali 
New York Times, April 30, 2002
The US is one of the most extreme fundamentalist cultures in the world, not the state, but certainly its culture. 
--Author Noam Chomsky 
Book 9-11
Schoolchildren should never be forced to appear to be patriotic by standing for a pledge or by mumbling words because their classmates do so. 
--State Rep. John White 
D-Manchester, NH 
World War II Veteran 
Union Leader, March 8, 2002
Public schools should provide a secular education. They should focus on the things that humans have explored, discovered, invented, created and done. Yes, students should be told that evolution is a scientific theory, but they should also be instructed in the definition of a scientific theory. The theory of evolution is a cousin of the theories of gravity and relativity. 
--Former Denver Broncos player Reggie Rivers 
Denver Post columnist 
April 11, 2002
No matter where it appears, government-sponsored Christocentrism, or even religiocentrism, undermines this nation's ideals. . . . The single most important phrase in the Pledge is not "under God." It is "liberty and justice for all." 
--Attorney Marci Hamilton 
findlaw.com, Aug. 6, 2002
The Religious Right has spent more than 20 years chipping away at the wall of separation between church and state, trying in Taliban-like ways to inject religion into public schools and the operations of government. In former crusades the technique was "religion by the sword." For the Religious Right, it is "religion by the ballot box." The legislation under consideration in Congress [to remove the ban on politicking by churches and religious groups] would move that goal to within reach. 
--Columnist Robyn Blumner 
St. Petersburg Times 
April 12, 2002
For some reason, we don't read about mobs of atheists stoning and burning alive human beings who do not share their non-beliefs. So far, no agnostics have blown themselves up in discos, taking someone's children with them. . . . Moral relativists are not organizing militias for the purpose of putting people in jail for possession of the Ten Commandments; . . . More to the point, confronted on an almost daily basis with the dangerous capacity of religious belief to drive people off the deep end (to induce a woman to murder her children, for example), why does belief continue to be encouraged, protected and accorded a special place in North American society? 
--Columnist John MacLachlan Gray 
"Do we have a misplaced faith in religious belief?" 
Toronto Globe & Mail, March 13, 2002
[Religion itself] has caused more harm than any other idea since time began. 
--Larry Flynt 
The State of the Union 
New York Post, June 11, 2002
Until browbeaten in recent years by huge lawsuit settlements, some of the leaders of America's largest single body of faith, the Catholic church, appear to have struck a bargain with the devil. They have opted to protect predatory, child-molesting priests, and to conceal, lie about and wish away the wretched consequences of their deeds. 
--Arizona Republic editorial 
February 13, 2002
The only reason they're still priests and not prisoners is because the church is protecting them. 
--Attorney Jeffrey Anderson 
San Francisco Examiner, June 5, 2002

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