Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 10 December 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard Dec. 10

In our more diverse and secular society, the place of religion has come to be a matter of lively discussion. It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the well-being and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and of none.
Queen Elizabeth II, addressing the General Synod of the Church of England
BBC News, 11-23-10

At first I feared if I lose my faith, I’m going to become some terrible person. As I lost my faith, I realized that really had no bearing on who I am and my character and my actions. I live no differently than I did when I was a fervent believer.
“Adam,” pastor of a small church in the bible belt who conceals his atheism
ABC “World News,” 11-9-10
A girlfriend of mine recently took a driving trip through the small towns of the South. And at 6 p.m. on Fridays, no matter what town she was in or what kind of radio station she was listening to, they stopped the music and the talking to say a prayer for the high school football teams playing that night.
Freelance writer Alison Bonaguro
Country Music Television News, 11-8-10

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s offensively peppy calvacade of effete heathens.
Story on how FFRF’s “Out of the Closet” campaign is making Christmas more godless, 11-10-10

The event begins with the Pledge of Allegiance, to the flag and the republic. After the final words, “with liberty and justice for all,” the Catholic participants add, “for the born and the unborn.”
News story on Northern Virginia Tea Party meeting in Falls Church, Va., 10-29-10

It’s time for secularists to stop sucking up to Christians — and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and any others who claim they have some sacred right to decide what kind of society the rest of us must live in — what a human being can do with her own body. The good news is that young people are joining the rising atheist movement in increasing numbers. I have not met one yet who is an accommodationist. I have great hope that in perhaps another generation, America will have joined Europe and the rest of the developed world in shucking off the rusty chains of ancient superstition.
Victor Stenger, professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, addressing the Conference of Free Inquiry
Huffington Post, 10-28-10

Creationism is a religious doctrine based on a literal reading of the first chapter of Genesis. Are these office-seekers so ignorant they do not know this? Or, and this is more likely, were they dodging the question in order to avoid the wrath of the creationists? In either case, it was a sorry performance. Falling back on one’s Christian faith is no answer. While creationists are Christians, most Christians are not creationists.
Editorial berating all five state House candidates at a North Carolina forum for not ruling out teaching creationism in public schools
Asheville Citizen-Times, 10-30-10

Calvary Lutheran Church in Allendale invites any member of the Allendale area to be a part of its new Prayer Shawl and Hat Knitting group. The “Knit Wits” will meet in The Lounge area from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday mornings. You do not need to know how to knit.
Town Journal meeting announcement, 11-4-10

If a majority of the Supreme Court justices accepts the Obama administration’s position, which directly contradicts decades of precedent giving taxpayers the right to seek injunctions against unconstitutional religious expenditures, such violations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause can no longer be challenged in court. Depriving taxpayers of standing to sue governments for funding religious institutions and activities facilitates the right wing’s ongoing efforts to dismantle “the wall of separation between church and state,” to use Thomas Jefferson’s famous 1802 description of the purpose behind the First Amendment’s religion clauses.
Civil rights attorney John Burton, Pasadena, Calif., on President Obama’s intervention in Arizona cases allowing tax credits to fund private schools, 11-19-10

I’m thanking, first, the universe for allowing me to be alive. I’m thanking my family for being with me, and I give thanks to the turkey that gave its life, the plants on our table, to the Earth itself for being abundant.
Ken Guthrie, Salt Lake City Pagan Pride board member, on Thanksgiving Day
Salt Lake Tribune, 11-18-10

I’ve had people come in and want to talk about Jesus Christ and I’ve had people come and say, “Where are those diamond earrings? I want to buy them for half off.”
Larry Falter, LTD Jewelers, Superior, Wis., on his store’s “Second Coming Sale”
Minnesota Public Radio, 11-30-10

I never remember all Ten Commandments off the top of my head, but there should be one that says, “Thou shalt not cheat while voting on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ ” Polls have shown that the majority of tea party members are conservative Christians. Are these Christians who are voting 300 times and not using valid e-mail addresses? Doesn’t it offend their sense of fairness, if not ethics and morals?
Sally Quinn, On Faith columnist, on how Bristol Palin kept returning to the show despite low marks by judges
Washington Post, 11-22-10

The founding fathers did not want religious zealots of any kind dictating the laws of their new country. And, believe it or not, a Constitution based on Judeo-Christian principles, without restraints, could eventually be almost as bad as shariah. We are thankful that the founders had the foresight to keep religion out of our government.
Editorial, “Religion and law”
Tulsa [Okla.] World, 11-23-10

No. I believe the universe is far more wonderful than just assuming it was made by some higher power. I think the fact that these cells are software-driven machines and that software is DNA and that truly the secret of life is writing software, is pretty miraculous. Just seeing that process in the simplest forms that we’re just witnessing is pretty stunning.
Microbiologist J. Craig Venter, whose team has created a synthetic bacteria designed on a computer with humanmade DNA, answering if he believes in God
CBS “60 Minutes,” 11-21-10

He was no match for Hitchens, who is more intelligent, articulate and funny. More to the point, Hitchens has been a noisy atheist for so long that he could make his case asleep or awake, drunk or sober, ravaged by cancer (as he is) or in the pink of health.
Fr. Raymond de Souza, columnist, on the Toronto debate on religion between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair
National Post, 12-2-10

Hitchens may not have long to live. But he will not go gently. A few days ago he debated religion with Tony Blair, comparing God to “a kind of benign North Korea.” By audience consensus, Hitchens handily won the match with the former British prime minister.
Columnist Timothy Egan
New York Times, 12-3-10

Turning people into Christians is typically not very beneficial, in our opinion, because religion tends to be irrational.
Samantha Snyder, Students for Freethought chair, Ohio State University, on evangelists visiting campus
The Lantern, 12-1-10

The same people who believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old cannot be allowed to control what I learn in biology, because they have obviously never seen a fossil or heard of carbon dating. This is one issue I simply cannot be nice about, because radical religion attempts to hamper the advancement of students’ knowledge, and we let it happen every day in school. A separation of church and state applies to our public schools, which means any form of creationism being taught in school is a major offense in my eyes.
William Hoffman, opinion column, Roosevelt High School newspaper, Kent, Ohio
The Colonel, 12-1-10

It is precisely because of the ongoing, and untrue, claim that America is a Christian nation that atheists direct most of their criticisms at Christians. Muslims may be committing acts of violence around the world, but it is not the Muslims in this country that are trying to legislate morality or bring about a religious theocracy. The atheists are pointing to the Christian Nationalists, Dominionists, Evangelical Right and Left Behind nutjobs that are doing their best to legislate morality and bring about a Christian theocracy. Pointing to Muslim terrorists doesn’t make these other unconstitutional and un-American God botherers go away.
Marcus Brown, Los Angeles, responding to “When Atheists Attack”, 12-3-10

Other than being nontheists, we are no different than you. We love this town, this state and our country. We work, we pay taxes, and we send our children to local public schools. We hurt when we are excluded simply because we hold a different belief. And believe me, prejudice starts at ground level. When it is further condoned by the government, it destroys a community.
Carol Everhart Roper, West Chester, Pa., on the county barring the Freethought Society’s holiday Tree of Knowledge
Chester County Daily Local News, 11-18-10
[Jon Stewart] is obviously really, really smart. He openly admits he’s sort of an atheist and a socialist. He once told me he would’ve voted for Norman Thomas.
FOX News Chairman Roger Ailes interview with Howard Kurtz
The Daily Beast,  11-18-10

Spud is very possessive. Every time I hold hands with my husband, it causes him to go into a frenzy. It was good to bring him to church.
Helen Toole, Belen, N.M., on bringing her dachshund to be blessed at St. Matthew’s Episcopal
Valencia County News-Bulletin, 10-9-10

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