Freethought Today · Vol. 28 No. 2 March 2011

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard March 2011

Jane tried to convert me [to religion] and I tried to introduce her to Freud.
Marilyn Monroe, on starring with Jane Russell, who died Feb. 28, in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in 1953
Reuters, 3-1-11

Expressing support for designation of Feb. 12, 2011, as Darwin Day and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.
Part of Rep. Pete Stark’s U.S. House resolution in support of Darwin Day, 2-9-11

I don’t think he gives a good reason of why someone like Charles Darwin needs to be celebrated and recognized by the federal government. It’s a waste, I think, of taxpayers’ time. [Congress should instead honor Booker T. Washington or Thomas Edison,] who actually invented things, not just threw out theories.
Tom McClusky, Family Research Council [who appears to confuse Booker T. Washington, an educator, with George Washington Carver, the inventor]
Contra Costa Times, 2-10-11

I’m sure there are people out there who’d say I’m the devil’s advocate, but I’ll give the devil as much chance as any god that people choose to deal with. To say some unknown god up there in the stratosphere directs all of our lives and our development is naive.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., on his resolution to honor Charles Darwin
Contra Costa Times, 2-10-11

It literally leaves a bad taste because I know the people who are putting this food in my mouth actively loathe me. I’m all for freedom of religion. It’s just that I know where I want my money to go, and where I don’t want my money to go.
Douglas Quint, New York City gay resident, on boycotting the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain for its affiliation with anti-gay evangelical Christians
New York Times, 1-29-11

Of course, sins only exist if you actually believe in the dreadful concept, which means you also probably believe you are a flawed, miserable fleshball who can do nothing but sin, and therefore God — who is, sadly, way, way out there, completely separate from you — is ever staring down with those giant, disapproving eyes. Good thing so many people believe such nonsense, or we’d have nothing to work with, would we?
Columnist Mark Morford, asking sinners “What are you guilty of today?”
San Francisco Chronicle, 2-9-11

The app also tailors the questions if you sign in as  “religious.” For instance, if you say you’re a female and try to select “priest” as your vocation, a dialogue box appears that says “sex and vocation are incompatible.” So much for modernity.
Columnist Maureen Dowd, on an Indiana company’s “Confession: A Roman Catholic App”
New York Times, 2-9-11

At times it didn’t feel like there was a line between sexual abuse and corporal punishment. Every Friday one of the brothers would take a boy in front of the class and, whichever way he hit you, he’d always put his hand on your testicles. We would laugh, but in fact you were in a permanent state of fear. I would vomit in the morning before going out to school. They would hit you across the face if you got a sum wrong. I suppose they did teach me to read and write and that I should be grateful, but I’m not.
Irish novelist Colm Toibin, on attending a Christian Brothers school
New York Times, 2-9-11

One of the saddest parts of Obama’s speech was his reference to his mother, who, in his words, “grew up with a certain skepticism about organized religion.” Obama felt obliged to justify his mother’s indifference to religion by indicating that she was “one of the most spiritual people I ever knew. . . somebody who was instinctively guided by the Golden Rule.” It is indeed a bad day for secularism when a president feels obliged to tell his audience that even though his mother didn’t take him to church, she was still a good person.
“Spirited Atheist” Susan Jacoby, on the president’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast
The Washington Post, 2-10-11

If you’re from New York City and find yourself working for a company in Dallas, Texas, you are a gaijin. If you’re an atheist running for political office in Missouri, you’re a gaijin. If you’re a lesbian trying to work as a Girl Scout leader anywhere in America, you are a gaijin.
Robert McKinney, Winona, Mo., on living in the Ozarks after 24 years in Japan (gaijin means non-Japanese)
Japan Times, 1-18-11

While Americans worry about the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt or Muslim terrorism here at home, we face a far greater actual threat: Unhinged manipulative (greedy and power-besotted) religion invading millions of lives and covering up, even propagating, a multiplicity of abuses. Religious freedom means freedom to worship in the church of your choosing and to believe anything you want or not to believe. But before a child reaches 18, society should protect her or him from people hiding behind our overly religion-friendly laws. Our American idea of open-ended religious freedom is dumb. We need freedom from religion as much as we need freedom of religion.
Frank Schaeffer, author and former evangelical
Huffington Post, 2-14-11

If you value freedom, you should flee from religion as the antelope flees the lion. Religion is the very antithesis of freedom, insisting on our complete subjugation to the unachievable demands of an invisible but supremely powerful overlord. Think of Islam, whose very name means “submission.” Think of Christianity, which claims it is disobedience that brought original sin into the world, with all that entails in terms of suffering and injustice and even earthquakes and tsunamis. Imagine!
Paula Kirby, writer and consultant to secular groups, “Religion: the ultimate tyranny”
Washington Post, 2-15-11

One wouldn’t say that one lacks a belief in fairies and leprechauns. I prefer to describe myself more positively as a scientist who struggles to understand the world as it is.
Richard Dawkins, calling the question why doesn’t he believe in God “bad phrasing”
Miami Herald, 2-17-11

I’m not a religious person, but I am very fortunate to have a really good job, and I think it’s my duty as a human being, when another human being is going through a hard time, I need to step up to the plate and help. I think if we as Americans or neighbors or friends took the time to get to know someone and take on someone’s cause, well, imagine if everybody did that?
Lee Castillo, 34, a Virginia IT systems engineer who saved his friend from losing his home in an unscrupulous loan deal
Huffington Post, 2-18-11

I’m very much in favor of learning what the bible says. But the problem is that I don’t believe that’s how they’re going to teach it. They’re going to teach it as truth and religion.
FFRF member Edwin Kagin, opposing a Kentucky “teaching the bible as history” bill
Louisville Courier-Journal, 2-21-11

They refused to use the medical system to save their daughter, but they sure love to use the legal system.
Comment by “J3girls” on legal appeals by a Wisconsin couple convicted of reckless homicide in the faith-healing death from diabetes of their daughter
Wausau Herald, 2-22-11

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