Freethought Today · Vol. 28 No. 5 June July 2011

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard June July 2011

Hi, this is Mike Huckabee, and I want to thank you for taking my call. I’m calling today because the nation’s largest atheist organization, the Freedom From Religious [sic] Foundation, has claimed that our historic National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. This is gonna prevent the time-honored tradition from taking place ever again. Look, my friend, this just isn’t right. Can you imagine our children and grandchildren growing up in a society where we are forbidden to pray as a nation? It’s unthinkable, but the reality is that all public mention of God would be erased if the Freedom From Religion Foundation wins this case. If they see a victory here, there’s gonna be a renewed effort to rewrite our national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance, both of which refer to our Creator. That’s why we have to speak out against this right now. As a Christian, I’ve joined the National Committee for Faith and Family, which is dedicated to keeping God alive in our society and defend our God-given right to pray for our country. With so much at stake, I need you to be involved now more than ever. Please stay on the line to add your name to the committee and help us protect the National Day of Prayer. Thanks and God bless you.
Robo-call received by FFRF member Dave Miller, Washington
National Committee for Faith and Family

Jesus must be so proud! Seriously, crucifixion wasn’t cruel enough?
Randy Dojutrek, commenting on teen singer Justin Bieber’s vertical “Yeshua” tattoo on the side of his torso
Los Angeles Times, 5-25-11

It must be strongly emphasized that our intention is not to “remove God from history and [Christians’] lives.” Nothing on our billboard indicates such a desire, and no one in our organization shares it. We simply believe that sectarianism and religious warfare have no place in a government which is supposed to represent everyone, a point on which many Christians agree. The 2010 State of the First Amendment poll reports that 66 percent of Americans support the separation of church and state.
Francois Tremblay, North Central Washington Freethinkers, responding to criticism of an FFRF billboard his group co-sponsored
Wenatchee World, 5-19-11

The measure of successful military chaplaincy is not theological correctness or the number of converts made, it is the number of people served. On that basis, there must be room for a secular chaplain in the military.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, “Should atheist chaplains serve the military?”
Washington Post, 5-4-11

‘Free thinker’ denies God but still hugs his grandchildren.
Headline on letter to the editor from FFRF member Glenn Hardie, refuting
a pastor’s claim that “disbelief in God is for those with hard hearts”
Vancouver [B.C.] Sun, 5-18-11

I didn’t run for office to express my spirituality. When I come into this building, it is not related to spirituality. The purpose of this buiding is to pass laws. It is not a church.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, a Catholic, opposing a Ten Commandments display at the Louisiana Capitol
New Orleans Times-Picayune, 5-18-11

It was our intent to begin our coverage of this U.S. Open [golf] championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being here in our nation’s capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.
NBC Sports’ apology for omitting “under God” from the pledge in a pretaped segment
Yahoo! Sports, 6-19-11

Someone has to stay behind to make sure the sinners eat veggies, recycle, wash behind their ears and tip servers.
“Man on the street” Zak Oliver, answering why he’s still in Montana after the Rapture
Missoula Independent, 5-26-11
For all those homosexuals who daren’t tell their parents they are gay, for all those young girls who want to have an abortion, he absolutely deserved it.
Unnamed activist at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, where four custard pies hit Belgian Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, who called AIDS “a sort of intrinsic justice”
Agence France-Presse, 4-6-11

The show is about me growing up an atheist. It’s very personal, and it’s not that challenging to religious people unless they are very po-faced [piously humorless] about their religion. Then, they might not want to see it.
British comedian Richard Herring, on his solo show “Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming”
Highland News, 5-5-11

If the state bestows legal recognition on religious groups, then the state must also give the same privileges and benefits to nonreligious groups. As for prayer, it’s time to take the “national” out of the National Day of Prayer and let Americans organize a multitude of prayer days, or no prayer day, according to dictates of conscience, not proclamations of governments.
Charles Haynes, director, Religious Freedom Education Project
First Amendment Center, 5-5-11

We live in a democracy which values free conscience and free thinking. That’s the kind of education I want for Australian children, and that’s the kind of education the national curriculum is aimed at.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an atheist, backing a proposed curriculum that omits mention of the bible
The Australian, 3-22-11

You know what’s wrong with religion? They all lie.
Lyric from “They Lie,” a song pulled from the Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon” as being too negative for the Broadway play
New York Times, 5-15-11

We live in a great country and a great state which allows people from Kansas to come here and exercise their right of free speech, just like the women here have their right to free medical choice without the interference of the state or federal government.
Dr. Brent Blue, Jackson, Wyo., on three days of protests by Operation Rescue America
Caspar Star-Tribune, 5-17-11
[Editor’s note: Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Mississippi and Arkansas have only one abortion provider each.]

Many of us say that it is good to come out. It has helped the gay community. Now everyone is comfortable with gays. I know I should come out. I know it’s good. But I don’t. I don’t find sense in fighting with my family, arguing with my family all the time. So I compromise.
Lalit Mohan Chawla, 19, Delhi Freethinkers, on challenges atheists in India face, 6-1-11

Jack Magnan, commenting on a bill naming “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” Oklahoma’s official gospel song, 4-28-11

Ours is just one of at least 60 New York City schools that have doubled as rent-free houses of worship — the vast majority of them evangelical Christian churches — in their off-hours. Many have little connection with the school communities. It’s hard to imagine, for example, that the Village Church at Public School 3 in the West Village — a church that runs a Gender Affirming Ministry Endeavor associated with the movement to “cure” gay men and lesbians — is representative of the neighborhood.
Katherine Stewart, author of “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children”
New York Times, 6-11-11

I support intelligent design. What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.
Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans
CNN, 6-17-11

There is a massive, irreconcilable conflict between science and religion. Religion was humanity’s original cosmology, biology and anthropology. It provided explanations for the origin of the world, life and humans. Science now gives us increasingly complete explanations for those big three. We know the origins of the universe, the physics of the big bang and how the basic chemical elements formed in supernovas. We know that life on this planet originated about 4 billion years ago, and we are all descendants of that original replicating molecule. Thanks to Darwin we know that natural selection is the only workable explanation for the design and variety of all life on this planet. . . . It is no longer a question of whether religion shall wither away, just when.
J. Anderson Thomson, Virginia psychiatrist, author of Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith
Austin American-Statesman, 6-17-11

I like to believe in the big-bang theory and, you know, the evolution of humans throughout time.
Alyssa Campanella, 21, newly crowned Miss USA, one of just two contestants in the pageant who “unequivocally” supported teaching evolution
USA Today, 6-20-11

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