Freethought Today · Vol. 29 No. 1 January/February 2012

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard Jan/Feb 2012

I hate that “God particle” term. The Higgs [boson] is not endowed with any religious meaning. It is ridiculous to call it that.
Pauline Gagnon, a Canadian physicist working at the Large Hadron Collider to find if the theoretical particle exists
Lansing State Journal, 12-27-11

I understand that if we rent to one religious group, we have to rent to them all. But I still don’t like it. I’m going to put up a sign in front of the gym, “If you don’t pray in my school, I won’t think in your church.”
Richard Sloan, a trustee of the Lagunitas [Calif.] School District, which co-owns the gym where Catholic Youth Organization leaders are asking basketball players to gather at center court to pray before games
Marin Independent Journal, 1-7-12

We convened with the idea that the Founding Fathers had it right. The separation of church and state, the establishment of the U.S. as a secular nation — those two concepts are our watchwords. We don’t want government to impose a religion, and we don’t want government to impose no religion. We want government to be silent with regard to religion.
Troy Boyle, Elsmere, Ky., co-founder of the National Atheist Party
Washington Post, 1-3-12

He even asked me, “Dad, if this guy attacked me, why would they dedicate a tree to him?”
Comment by father of a 14-year-old boy who alleges he was molested by Msgr. Thomas Brady, to whom Good Shepherd Catholic Church dedicated its Christmas tree lighting in Brooklyn, N.Y.
New York Daily News, 1-3-12

You’ve been asked to leave, and you didn’t. You can preach on your own property. You can preach on a street corner. But you’re not allowed to preach here because this is a captive audience.
Darren Meyer, California Highway Patrol officer, before arresting two men at the Hemet DMV office, an action for which he’s being sued
Valley News, 1-6-11

Among the blessings, four Protestant pastors laid hands on the Republican governor, who begins his second term Monday, and prayed for him to lead the state with wisdom and faith.
News story on preinaugural prayer service at a Baton Rouge Catholic cathedral for Louisiana Gov. Piyush “Bobby” Jindal
Opelousas Daily World, 1-8-12

The belief that religious institutions have the right to feed at the government trough while rejecting any government rules is the glue of the lobbying alliance between the Catholic bishops and right-wing evangelical Protestant leaders — an odd coupling that has never before existed in American history.
“Spirited Atheist” Susan Jacoby, in her final column, which she is giving up to concentrate on writing a book
Washington Post, 12-28-11

Governor Romney over a long political career has earned the title: “Dangerous Homosexualist” — one who constantly advances the militant anti-religious, anti-society, immoral homosexual agenda to the detriment of family people.
Rabbi Yehuda Levin, Rabbinical Alliance of America
World Net Daily, 12-30-11

Alcohol does things to people. When you have so much, gin makes you sin. . . . She had a lighter, but it wasn’t like she was trying to light me up or something. She wasn’t trying to kill me. She’s a Christian lady.
Dennis Phinisee, Indianapolis, on being doused with rubbing alcohol by his wife Esther, who has a prior manslaughter conviction and is a registered violent sexual predator
The Indy Channel, 12-29-11

Q: Do you think we’ll ever know if there’s life on other planets? My 8-year-old son (who is fascinated by space travel) asked me this question, but I didn’t know how to answer him. Does the bible say anything about life on other planets? — Mrs. D.A.
A: No, the bible doesn’t directly address the question of whether or not there is life on other planets. It doesn’t say there is, nor does it say there isn’t; it’s simply silent on the subject. Instead, the bible’s focus is on this world, and how we can know God’s will for our lives right now. If there is life elsewhere in the universe, then you can be sure that God created it and put it there.
Q&A in “My Answer” column
Chicago Tribune, 12-28-11

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.
1 Samuel 18:27, “Wednesday-Weird-Bible-Verses and being careful of how we use single bible verses” by Dan Kimball, Vintage Faith Church, Santa Cruz, Calif., 12-14-11

I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented. It’s a worldview and it’s godless. Atheism has been tried in various societies, and they’ve been pretty criminal domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Nazis, China today — they don’t respect human rights. As a general court we should be concerned with criminal ideas like this and how we are teaching it. . . . Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there.
N.H. state Rep. Jerry Bergevin, R-Manchester, on his bill requiring school to teach evolution as a theory and include “the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.”
Concord Monitor, 12-29-11

My answer to that was we always need a Jesus candidate.
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, telling a New Hampshire town hall how he responded to an interviewer saying, “We don’t need a Jesus candidate, we need an economic candidate.”
ABC News, 1-5-11

In order that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen, the governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.
Indiana Senate Bill 251, which directs local boards to choose the preferred version of the prayer but allows students to opt out, 1-9-12

In response to the statement, “I believe the Earth is approximately 6,000 years old,” 34% of pastors strongly disagree. However, 30% strongly agree, 9% somewhat disagree, and 16% somewhat agree.
LifeWay Research 2011 survey of 1,000 U.S. Protestant pastors
Baptist Press, 1-9-12

Exactly what kind of people imprison responsible citizens for using what God said is good?
Letter to the editor from Stan White, Dillon, Colo., “Legalizing marijuana has biblical support,” citing Genesis 1:12, “And the earth brought forth grass, [and] herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed [was] in itself, after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.”
Port Huron Times Herald, 1-8-12

Women should be seen and heard.
New Israel Fund posters advocating equality, singalongs and concerts featuring women to counter ultra-Orthodox Jewish prohibitions against women in public in Israel
New York Times, 1-15-12

One of my neighbors . . . turned to me and asked how I was. “Fair to middling,” I responded. “And you?” I queried. “I’m very sad that Christopher Hitchens died,” he said. “A great loss. There was no one like him,” he said. He uttered a deep sigh and turned back toward the elevator door momentarily before he continued, “Well, maybe Bertrand Russell.”
Metropolitan Diary entry by Harriet Forman, New York City
New York Times, 1-16-12

For lack of a better term, let’s normalize, even secularize, our approach to the next election. Ask all candidates to drop the God talk. Recognize and reject all forms of religious pandering. Punish candidates who make base appeals to religious tribalism. Evaluate candidates according to their past performance and current policy proposals related to the major challenges facing our nation. Read the Declaration of Independence and Constitution for a refresher. Pastors, stay home and preach the Gospel rather than being precinct captains.
David Gushee, Mercer University professor of Christian ethics [don’t laugh!], op-ed, “Christian politics create unholy alliances”
USA Today, 11-6-11

At this point, the archdiocese has become an alumni association for former assistant district attorneys.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia lawyer Robert Welsh, denying that a new policy ordering whistleblowers to talk to church officials before reporting a crime is meant to protect sex abusers
Philadelphia Inquirer, 12-21-11

After months of dedicated prayer and endless negotiation, Our Lady of TMZ has revealed her ultimate secret. She has communed with the tarnished saints, Norma Jean et al.
Description of Lindsay Lohan’s nude pictorial
Playboy, January 2010

Faith had a place in every locker room I was in. When I played for the New York Giants, team owner Wellington Mara, a devout Catholic, invited half the priests in New York City into the locker room before games. Sometimes it was hard to find my teammates among all the priests. I’m sure Mara hoped it would somehow help the team win, but it was never enough to get us into the playoffs.
Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, son of a Pentecostal Holiness minister, “Does God Care Who Wins Football Games?”
Wall Street Journal, 1-12-12

At this point in the game, the candidates in the GOP primary don’t have the time or the money for subtlety. They will light a fire and stand by a burning bush in order to send a signal to evangelicals, “I’m one of you, vote for me.”
Mark McKinnon, Republican media strategist, “Appealing to Evangelicals, Hopefuls Pack Religion Into [Iowa caucus] Ads”
New York Times, 12-28-11

In these difficult times, we cannot abandon the core values that define us as unique — We are One Nation, Under God.
Prepared text of Mitt Romney’s victory speech in the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary
Wall Street Journal, 1-11-12

Will Americans vote for the best candidates, or are Americans just scared of more Obama failures and willing to settle for anything, including Mormon Mitt Romney? Mormonism is a false cult that doesn’t follow the biblical Jesus. Romney brought Massachusetts away from God.
Pastor Steven Andrew, president of USA Christian Ministries, San Jose, Calif., urging people to vote for either Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum for president.
Christian Newswire, 12-28-11

How can you have judgment if you have no faith? How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at a debate in Las Vegas, Nev., 10-19-11

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