Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 9 November 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard - November 2010

I think I would have asked [Tony Blair] one question, perhaps, and I’d have asked it repeatedly. I’d have asked him about his faith, because we were told, when journalists asked about Blair’s faith, the reply was, “We don’t do God here.” Well, of course, he does do God, and he reports that his actions have been put before God and confirmed, as if somehow God has signed a chit for him.
Author John Le Carré, who declined to interview the former British prime minister, 10-11-10

Osama bin Laden tricked this nation into an expressly religious war, and we fell for it. Humans on the altar once more. The fault lies not with bin Laden, but with our own shallow readiness to match jihad with holy war, to attribute all evil to others, and to worship a God who saves by killing. Such is the real meaning of religious ignorance.
James Carroll op-ed, on the Pew Forum religious quiz
Boston Globe, 10-18-10

1. Which holy book stipulates that a girl who does not bleed on her wedding night should be stoned to death?
a. Koran; b. Old Testament; c. (Hindu) Upanishads
Nicholas Kristof religion quiz (correct answer: b. Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
New York Times, 10-9-10

I’m not quite sure why of all the sciences, it is evolution that should be singled out for this remarkable treatment. Amateurs who know nothing of science don’t attempt to dictate what goes into chemistry or physics textbooks, as far as I am aware. But in the case of my own subject, biology, it’s a free-for-all where anyone can say what they think as a personal opinion. These are not matters of personal opinion; these are matters of fact.
Biologist Richard Dawkins
Houston Chronicle, 10-9-10

I wouldn’t say that religion is a form of mental illness, but I will say that religion allows perfectly sane and neurologically healthy people to believe things by the millions that only mentally ill people could believe on their own. The social support of doctrine allows for quite crazy beliefs in the 21st century to be held and operated upon by perfectly sane people.
Sam Harris, discussing his new book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
A.V. Club, 10-11-10

I am here because this is a secular state and I want to defend it.
Nuria Barrachina, 34, a Barcelona office worker protesting the pope’s visit to Spain
The Straits Times, 11-5-10

Under no persuasion could I be made to believe that a human sacrifice several thousand years ago vicariously redeems me from sin. Nothing could persuade me that that was true, or moral, by the way. It’s white noise to me.
Christopher Hitchens, speaking at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
National Public Radio, 10-13-10

We really do not depend on God for our physical security. We really continue to believe we can master that on our own with arms and spending about 50 cents of every tax dollar to the federal government to build up the American military-industrial complex. That to me is a bit of idolatry right there.
Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, a Catholic and one of only seven Kentucky legislators opposing the state Office of Homeland Security’s official “dependence on Almighty God”
Louisville Courier-Journal, 10-2-10

The study’s findings are true. We tend to be anti-intellectual in America. We don’t really care to investigate beyond whether it feels good. While some are very well-versed in their faith, some can’t tell you much about it. They believe in a magic book. They don’t necessarily want to investigate.
Rev. Bob Towner, rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo., on nonbelievers’ top rank in the Pew Forum religious quiz
Southeast Missourian, 10-15-10

There are pastors openly calling for members to vote a certain way. That’s a serious breakdown in the principle of separation of church and state.
Former President Jimmy Carter, “Religion, politics getting too cozy”
Salt Lake Tribune, 11-1-10

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