Freethought Today · Vol. 28 No. 7 September 2011

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

In the News September 2011

Secular studies journal set for 2012 launch

The world’s first journal dedicated to the exploration of secularism and nonreligion will debut in January 2012. Secularism and Nonreligion is a joint venture of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and the Non-religion and Secularity Research Network, an international and interdisciplinary network of researchers founded in 2008.

Co-editors are Ryan Cragun, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Tampa, and Barry Kosmin, research professor of public policy and law at Trinity.

Articles, written in English, will be accepted from experts in the social science disciplines of psychology, sociology, political science, women’s studies, economics, geography, demography, anthropology, public health, public policy, law and religious studies. Contributions also will be considered from researchers in the fields of history, neuroscience, computer science, biology, philosophy and medicine.

Articles published in the new journal will focus on the secular at one of three levels: the micro or individual level, the meso or institutional level, or the macro or national and international level.

All articles will be freely available and able to be downloaded on the journal’s Web site: The editors are now accepting submissions of academic articles and book reviews. Information on how to submit papers and publication procedures can be found on the Web site.

Female rabbi presides at Bush wedding

Lauren Bush, granddaughter of President George H.W. Bush and daughter of Neil Bush, was married Sept. 4 in a ceremony presided over by a rabbi. Bush and David Lauren, son of designer Ralph Lauren, were married at a ranch in Colorado.

Angela Buchdahl, senior cantor at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue and also an ordained rabbi, presided. Born in Korea to a Jewish father and a Buddhist mother, she’s the first Asian American to be ordained as a rabbi.

The bride’s grandparents were unable to attend because of the altitude at the ranch, according to the New York Post. Bush will now be known as Lauren Bush Lauren.

Foxhole atheist’s brother advocates for him

FFRF member Stuart Bechman’s efforts to get Simi Valley, Calif., to remove a City Hall “salute to troops” poster display that says “God Bless America” and “God Bless You” were rebuffed, but he’s not giving up. Bechman, 51, has asked the city to display a second poster to honor “atheists in foxholes” like his brother Kevin, who’s been in the Air Force for 25 years.

In a written complaint in July, Bechman argued the poster “ignores those soldiers and their families who hold no religious beliefs.” Bechman told the Ventura County Star that he estimates, going by national averages, that about 18,000 Simi Valley residents are “Nones.”

‘Trust in God’ legislator loved the view

A Republican Indiana legislator who co-authored the bill to create an “In God We Trust” license plate refused to resign and denied he’s gay after admitting he met an 18-year-old at a hotel for a “casual encounter.”

Emails given to the Indianapolis Star showed that Rep. Phillip Hinkle, 64, answered a Craiglist posting and offered the man, Kameryn Gibson, $80 plus tip for “a couple hours of your time tonight” at a Marriott hotel.

The Star reported Aug. 12 that Hinkle didn’t contest sending the emails and admitted meeting Gibson but denied they had sex. Hinkle allegedly told the paper that they just talked about “baseball and the view” from the room. “I went to the edge,” Hinkle told the Star, “but I didn’t fall over the edge.”

Gibson’s ad said, “I need a sugga daddy.” “Cannot be a long time sugar daddy,” Hinkle allegedly answered, “but can for tonight.” The email, sent from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., added, “I am an in shape married professional, 5’8”, fit 170 lbs, and love getting and staying naked.”

Gibson said after he learned Hinkle’s identity, he got “cold feet.” His sister went to the newspaper with the emails.

Hinkle lists his occupation as coordinator for community partnerships for Wayne Township Schools on the Indiana House website.

Judge clears way for atheist ads

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled Aug. 11 that the Central Arkansas Transit Authority and its ad agency shouldn’t have denied the Coalition of Reason $5,000 worth of ad space on 18 city buses in Little Rock on Memorial Day weekend.

The ad said, “Are you good without God? Millions are.” The transit authority and On The Move Advertising had required payment of a $36,000 deposit. The group then changed that to a $3 million insurance policy in case of bus vandalism by angry Christians, Reuters reported.

Wright ruled that a $15,000 bond be put in place for the Coalition of Reason. If a bus suffered any damages, the bond would cover the costs.

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