Freethought Today · Vol. 28 No. 8 October 2011

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard October 2011

This is sheer bigotry. If the country club had said, “I’m not having Dawkins speak because he’s a Jew, or because he’s black, or because he’s gay,” they would never get away with it.
Richard Dawkins, on the Wyndgate Country Club’s refusal to host a Center for Inquiry dinner in Rochester Hills, Mich., because Dawkins was a guest speaker
Detroit Free Press, 10-12-11

I think being an atheist is something you are, not something you do. I’m not sure we need to be honored. We don’t need positive reinforcement. On the other hand, we do need to stick up for ourselves, especially in a place like Texas, where they have laws, I think, that if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ you can’t run for sheriff.
Christopher Hitchens, interviewed at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston
New York Times, 10-9-11

I hope he doesn’t pray for jobs!
Dan Schulz, Florida FFRF member, about a Weather Channel map showing Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry has been publicly praying for rain for months amidst wildfires and drought, as “excessively dry”
Email comment, 9-21-11

Religion teaches you to be satisfied with nonanswers. It’s a sort of crime against childhood.
Richard Dawkins, profile headlined “An Original Thinker Who Bashes Orthodoxy”
New York Times, 9-20-11

Rev. Martin E. Marty, a Lutheran minister and one of the most distinguished religious scholars in this country, once suggested to me that all of these seemingly symbolic battles over matters such as school prayer and displays of the Ten Commandments in courthouses are really about “ownership and dominion” rather than faith. These symbolic acts are saying to religious minorities and atheists, “This is our country. Whatever the Constitution says, whatever you may believe, we Christians are the ones in charge.”
Author Susan Jacoby, “The Spirited Atheist”
Washington Post, 9-14-11

I wish we were back in the day when we worried about foreign policy experience or whether somebody dodged the draft when we sorted through presidential candidates. That way, I wouldn’t feel like a bigot because I don’t want somebody like Governor Perry, who orders his staff to pray for rain to end a drought and thinks God controls Earth’s thermostat.
Columnist Susan Reimer, “Are they running for president or pastor?”
Baltimore Sun, 9-19-11

Casting him as a director or star of Judah Maccabee is like casting Bernie Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, Simon Wiesenthal Center, on the possibility of Mel Gibson portraying the Judean priest who commanded the resistance to Greek forces c. 165 B.C.E.
CNN, 9-8-11

We’ve got girls!
Chant by Cincinnati Colerain High School students to football opponents from St. Xavier, a Jesuit all-male school
Cincinnati Enquirer, 9-9-11

We’ve got Jesus!
Response chant by St. Xavier fans to Colerain fans
Cincinnati Enquirer, 9-9-11
Like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts have been exposing children to sexual predators for decades. In the process, they’ve also exposed themselves to enormous financial liability.
Grier Weeks, director of PROTECT, a child abuse prevention group, commenting on suits by 35 individuals who allege molestation by Scout leaders in 11 states since 2007
Reuters, 9-13-11

I’ve worked with many creationists and I can honestly say that most of them are not ignorant about science. In fact, Mr. Cantor, the founder of the ministry that runs the museum, started a successful biotech company out of his gar-age and recently built a state-of-the-art plasma donation center. They’re just delusional when it comes to creationism.
Chemist John Viggiano, San Diego New Atheists and Agnostics, organizing a “positive protest” of the Creation and Earth History Museum, Santee, Calif., 9-7-11

I run around the stadium looking for Jews. I get a lot of them here at the hot dog stand.
David Goldis, Hollywood, Fla., accountant, on trying to get a quorum of 10 men in order to have a public prayer minyan at Florida Marlins baseball games
Miami Herald, 9-18-11

God might not be able to stop death, but it seems pretty good at getting taxes down for the clergy.
Editorial supporting FFRF’s “parish exemption” lawsuit
The Spectrum (SUNY-Buffalo), 9-18-11

The still-common claim that nine out of ten Americans still believe in God is an outright falsehood. When asked if they believe in God or not, about 90 percent say yes, but when asked about whether or not they believe in God or a higher power or universal spirit, the actual God-believing theists drop to eight in ten. Two Harris polls also show that a fifth of Americans are atheistic to a greater or lesser degree.
Researcher Gregory Paul, “Atheism on the upswing in America”
Washington Post, 9-20-11

For years and years, I would prostrate myself on the floor and ask God to change me. Maybe if I just pray more, fast more, do more “works of charity,” the male attraction will go away. After more than 30 years of trying to “burn” the evil out of me, I finally came out at age 54.
Ron Bates op-ed, “Growing up Catholic and gay in Minnesota”
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8-31-11

Mixing politics and religion is like mixing manure and ice cream. It doesn’t do much to the manure, but it surely does ruin the ice cream.
Quote attributed to Will Rogers in editorial by Assistant City Editor Kevin O’Hanlon, “Pray that prayer of the day doesn’t stray”
Lincoln [Neb.] Journal Star, 4-1-11

According to a [Michigan State University] survey, in a scant two decades, the number of Americans “uncertain” about evolution has tripled. What’s worse, roughly a third of the nation believes evolution to be “absolutely false.” Only Turkey ranks lower in such basic smarts. Thanks, megachurches!
Columnist Mark Morford, “How to make a creationist weep”
San Francisco Chronicle, 9-21-11

In today’s column you advised a 16-year-old to consult with a pastor about how to tell his parents he does not want to be a part of their church. Another option for him would be to contact the Freedom From Religion Foundation for help. Many members have gone through exactly what this young man is experiencing and can offer ideas other than consulting a pastor, who has a vested interest in keeping his flock together.
Carolyn Kerr, Denair, Calif., response to syndicated columnist “Ask Amy” Dickinson’s advice to “Teen churchgoer finds faith faltering”
Chicago Tribune, 10-9-11

We’re here to counter the majority view of the people that are here in the Values Voter Summit, which is more of an arrogant, morally presumptuous point of view where they feel that it’s OK for people in a public sphere to proselytize their religious beliefs and introduce it into government.
An atheist named Jeff, helping staff an information table outside the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.
New York Magazine, 10-8-11

I didn’t want to talk. I was terrified of saying I was an atheist. When I spoke, I heard a gasp. I knew then that people didn’t share my beliefs. It was an unwelcoming atmosphere. People belittled me and treated me like a little kid.
Jessica Ahlquist, 16, on objecting to a school board committee to a Christian prayer banner in the auditorium at Cranston [R.I.] High School West
Providence Journal, 10-11-11

That is ill-considered by any school, public or private. It should be at the cost of losing their public funding.
Lori Johnson, executive director of the Klinic Community Health Centre and the Sexuality Education Research Centre, on students at Christ the King Catholic School, which gets half of its funding from taxpayers, getting community service credits for attending abortion protests in Winnipeg, Canada
National Post, 10-12-11

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