Freethought Today ·

Vol. 29 No. 2

March 2012

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard March 2012

It’s almost like making a child get a shot even though they don’t want to. It’s for their own good. I feel like they might see it as a very negative thing right now, but I’m defending their Constitution, too.
Jessica Ahlquist, Cranston, R.I., on suing her school district over a Christian prayer banner in the auditorium
New York Times, 1-26-12

You might think it would be easy to stand up for religious freedom in the birthplace of religious freedom, but apparently it isn’t. In Judge Lagueux’ words, Jessica Ahlquist “is clearly an articulate and courageous young woman, who took a brave stand, particularly in light of the hostile response she has received from her community.” Thanks to Jessica, the spirit of Roger Williams — America’ first great dissenter — is alive and well in Rhode Island.
Charles Haynes, Director, Religious Freedom Education Project
First Amendment Center, 1-27-12

In a close election, the place where people vote — a school, a church, a government building — could affect the outcome. For example, a higher percentage of people voting in a church instead of a school might vote for a conservative candidate or proposition.
Baylor University study published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 1-17-12

Atheists don’t need temples. I think there are better things to spend this kind of money on. If you are going to spend money on atheism, you could improve secular education and build nonreligious schools which teach rational, skeptical critical thinking.
Richard Dawkins, criticizing philosopher Alain de Botton’s plan for a £1 million “temple for atheists” in London
The Guardian, 1-26-12

Making music and fighting the Vatican.
Sinead O’Connor, on the two things she wants to be known for
New York Times, 2-12-12

You know, the Constitution seems to me to be pretty clear. I’ve always thought that one of the great things about America is that we keep a separation [between church and state] and the more clear that separation is, the more those people who want to be able to practice their religion will have the opportunity to do so.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, defending his decision to ban churches from holding services in public schools and opposing a bill to overturn an appeals court decision upholding the city’s ban
New York Times, 2-14-12

Isn’t it amazing the bishop of L.A. confessed to fathering two children? But, hey, he didn’t use birth control, so at least he followed the church rules. Ya gotta give him credit for that.
Jay Leno monologue
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 1-23-11

The most serious cases of the sexual abuse of minors currently taking place are among Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Brooklyn, yet Leno would never tell a joke at their expense.
Catholic League President Bill Donohue, 1-24-11


Looking back at our history ever since the Reformation, the countries that have had separation of church and state have had happier states of affairs than those that haven’t. It certainly is one of the things, unfortunately, that the Americans are struggling with now — the role of the church in the political process. In my estimation, some of them are going in the wrong direction.
Ian Forrest, Perth County councillor, London, Ontario, supporting the council’s 5-4 decision to substitute a moment of silence for the Lord’s Prayer
London Free Press, 2-3-12

The thinkers who gathered in Philadelphia, Pa., to adopt the Constitution fully understood the danger of state-sponsored religion because they understood how the British had used it as an instrument of unjust political power. That’s why they proscribed it. Because they did so, religious freedom today is a given of life in the United States, to the point that it’s not even a legitimate issue. People simply are free to worship as they choose, or not at all. The resolution, then, is a simple case of political pandering, a perennial theme for lawmakers.
Editorial decrying a state House resolution declaring 2012 as “The Year of the Bible.”
Scranton Times-Tribune, 2-3-12

Alaska Airlines made the right call in ending their prayer card program. Aside from the fact that it is simply not very reassuring to a traveler to have the airlines currently operating their flight distributing a card that suggests they should start praying, it is just wrong to pretend that America was ever a monolithic nation of Caucasian Christians. That time never existed. Not then and not now.
Elise Patkotak, op-ed
Anchorage Daily News, 1-31-12

I am the atheist who called about carbon dating. I want to say to the first caller that I’m not really concerned about the eternity of my soul, because I’m an atheist. OK? I believe that when I die, I die. That’s it. No big thing.
Comment from newspaper’s call-in line
Longmont [Colo.] Times-Call, 2-5-12

For I am an atheist, and we atheists have to keep our stick on the ice. We have no faith. We are polite. We do not believe. We are not interested in belief. The world would be a better place if we made more noise.
Columnist Heather Mallick, “Atheists should make more noise”
Toronto Star, 1-29-12

Take this home. Separation of Church & State.
Note left inside City Council member Tony Dale’s bible in Cedar Park, Texas
Austin American-Statesman, 2-6-12

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