Freethought Today · September 2012

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard

I don’t have any atheist friends or anything. So I would like to maybe make a couple of friends that live near me that I could actually go to their house and have dinner [and] not have to pray before eating. I can actually be the same as them and not have their parents hate me or whatever because I’m an atheist.

Chandler Garry, 11, a participant in Camp Quest Northwest near Seattle

ABC “Nightline,” 8-23-12

 

I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.

Bill Nye “the science guy,” online post titled “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children”

youtube.com, 8-23-12

 

This isn’t a marriage made in heaven.

State Assembly member Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who is gay, on the Vatican naming Salvatore Cordileone, who led the 2008 fight against gay marriage in California, to head the Archdiocese of San Francisco

San Francisco Chronicle, 7-27-12

 

When I asked them specifically, “Will you [agree] to make the city whole?” they wouldn’t do it. If they aren’t going to make the taxpayers whole, why should we be putting a million dollars into the collection plate of the Catholic Church when we have demonstrable needs?

Steve Kozachik, Tucson City Council, voting against an appropriation of $1.1 million, which passed 5-2, to remodel the Catholic Marist College

Arizona Daily Star, 7-11-12

 

It’s too easy for straight allies to think of gays and lesbians as separate from us. They need rights we already enjoy. They face bigotry we deplore. But it happens to them, not us. Chick-fil-A has performed a miracle. I’m a middle-class white guy in America, and Chick-fil-A has finally made me feel what it’s like to be discriminated against. Also, I have lost my appetite for those chicken biscuits.

Twice-married columnist Jason Stanford, commenting on Chick-fil-A’s religious proscription against divorce

Bennington Banner, 7-26-12

 

I teach my kids the same things that you do about how to treat other people. I simply believe in one less god than you do.

Thaddeus Schwartz, officer of Secular Life, Nashville, Tenn.

WBIR Knoxville, 7-24-12

 

In my country where it’s considered highly controversial, more controversial with the bishops than it is in Europe, 82% of Catholics believe contraception is morally acceptable. So let the women in Africa decide. The choice is up to them.

Melinda Gates, a practicing Catholic, speaking at the London Family Planning Summit on the Gates Foundation leading a drive to raise $4.3 billion to provide access to contraception

Forbes, 7-12-12 

 

The Boy Scouts of America just the other day reaffirmed its policy of banning openly gay boys from being members. The organization also continued its ban on gays or lesbians serving as leaders. The Scouts, in other words, came down squarely in favor of homophobia, which is a form of bigotry.

Columnist Richard Cohen, “A merit badge for bigotry?”

Washington Post, 7-18-12

 

Sue Paterno had been quoted as saying Joe was not a saint. That made this difficult decision easier for me to execute.

Artist Michael Pilato, on why he painted out the halo above former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno after revelations about Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal

MSNBC, 7-16-12

 

The Israeli edition of Forbes magazine published a first-of-its-kind ranking last month of Israel’s 13 richest rabbis. In the No. 1 spot was 36-year-old Rabbi Pinchas Abuhatzeira from Beersheba, a blue-collar southern desert city, whose wealth is estimated at $335 million.

News story, “Israel’s richest rabbis become savvy businessmen”

Associated Press, 7-13-12

 

I believe that lots of people only follow a religion because of parental and cultural pressure and that they would be happier if they could be true to themselves and lead godless lives. Belief in god is not something that comes naturally to all of us; many of us find it impossible to believe in god and it can be liberating and life-enhancing to fully embrace this lack of belief and live our lives without religion.

Alom Shaha, a London science teacher and author of The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God

The Commentator, 7-16-12

Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy’s edge, all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. Because there is nothing else. No thing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all.

Gore Vidal (Oct. 3, 1925-Aug. 1, 2012), author, playwright, commentator 

National Public Radio, 8-1-12

 

This isn’t a marriage made in heaven.

State Assembly member Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who is gay, on the Vatican naming Salvatore Cordileone, who led the 2008 fight against gay marriage in California, to head the Archdiocese of San Francisco

San Francisco Chronicle, 7-27-12

 

When I asked them specifically, “Will you [agree] to make the city whole?” they wouldn’t do it. If they aren’t going to make the taxpayers whole, why should we be putting a million dollars into the collection plate of the Catholic Church when we have demonstrable needs?

Steve Kozachik, Tucson City Council, voting against an appropriation of $1.1 million, which passed 5-2, to remodel the Catholic Marist College

Arizona Daily Star, 7-11-12

It’s too easy for straight allies to think of gays and lesbians as separate from us. They need rights we already enjoy. They face bigotry we deplore. But it happens to them, not us. Chick-fil-A has performed a miracle. I’m a middle-class white guy in America, and Chick-fil-A has finally made me feel what it’s like to be discriminated against. Also, I have lost my appetite for those chicken biscuits.

Twice-married columnist Jason Stanford, commenting on Chick-fil-A’s religious proscription against divorce

Bennington Banner, 7-26-12

 

The Gideon bible is full of references to sex and violence, although it’s written using more formal language. James’ book is easier to read.

Hotel manager Wayne Bartholomew, Crosthwaite, U.K., on replacing bibles in guest rooms with copies of the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey

Westmorland Gazette, 7-19-12

 

I teach my kids the same things that you do about how to treat other people. I simply believe in one less god than you do.

Thaddeus Schwartz, officer of Secular Life, Nashville, Tenn.

WBIR Knoxville, 7-24-12

The Israeli edition of Forbes magazine published a first-of-its-kind ranking last month of Israel’s 13 richest rabbis. In the No. 1 spot was 36-year-old Rabbi Pinchas Abuhatzeira from Beersheba, a blue-collar southern desert city, whose wealth is estimated at $335 million.

News story, “Israel’s richest rabbis become savvy businessmen

Associated Press, 7-13-12

 

Our banners will hang in the stadium and we will rename the team the “Mr. Paul Aints,” The team will wear Mr. Paul Aints jerseys during the game, which will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for us.

Announcement by Minnesota Atheists about sponsorship of a St. Paul Saints baseball game Aug. 10

Sports Grid, 7-12-12

 

It’s further evidence of this era’s move toward Balkanization in the United States. It’s no longer sufficient that they have shared norms among themselves, they are increasingly trying to impose their norms on the rest of the culture.

Marci Hamilton, Cardozo School of Law, on strict Hasidim dress codes for all shoppers at stores in Brooklyn

New York Post, 7-22-12 

Within the past five years, the Roman Catholic Human Life International, the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice and Family Watch International, led by a Mormon, have launched or expanded their work in Africa dedicated to promoting their Christian Right worldview. A loose network of right-wing charismatic Christians called the Transformation movement joins them in fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders.

Report titled “How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa”

publiceye.org, 7-25-12

 

CNN . . . assumes from the outset the existence of some “god,” in order to ask where he “was,” at the time of the crime, as if CNN wants god to provide an alibi. Naturally, the most logical approach is to reject the premise, and with it the existence of things for which there is no physical evidence. 

Michael Luciano, PolicyMic editor, on CNN Belief Blog’s question, “Where was God in Aurora massacre?”

policymic.com, 7-30-12

 

This case exemplifies the absurdity and tragedy of the blasphemy law, which is an instrument of abuse against the most vulnerable in society.

Ali Dayan Dasan of Human Rights Watch, commenting on the arrest of a Christian girl with Down syndrome girl for allegedly burning a religious textbook about the Quran in Pakistan, where there are at least 100 blasphemy prosecutions

New York Times, 8-21/8-29-12

If God has chosen to bless this [rape victim] with a life, you don’t kill it.

Sharon Barnes, president of the Republican Women’s Club of St. Louis, defending the “legitimate rape” remark by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.

New York Times, 8-20-12

 

He would say things like, “I can’t understand why you won’t obey me [and have sex], the other ladies can.” I always gave up. I was afraid not to.

Testimony from an Ohio woman in the trial of Bishop Samuel Mullet Sr., accused of orchestrating hair- and beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish

Detroit Free Press, 8-31-12

People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath — but that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, 78, founder of the conservative Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, claiming that emotionally needy children often seduce clergy

National Catholic Register, 8-28-12

 

Ask a Pastor: Is there sin in Heaven?

ANSWER: [Bible verses] seem to show that evil (thus sin) has, like a slug’s slimy trail, even left its mark in Heaven.

Rev. R.A. McDonald, New Testament Baptist Church, Safford, Ariz.

Eastern Arizona Courier, 8-18-12

 

I was asked why the power of God isn’t moving and I said it’s because I haven’t kicked that woman in the face. The Holy Spirit spoke to me, the gift of faith came on me, and said: “Kick her in the face, with your biker boot.” I inched closer and I went like this [kicking forcefully]. Bam! Just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God.

Canadian Pastor Todd Bentley, Fresh Fire Ministries, who claims he can kick disease, even cancer, out of people’s bodies

Croydon Today, 7-19-12

 

The Truth for Youth consists of the entire New Testament in the God’s Word Translation along with 100 pages of powerful, full color comic stories that present the “absolute truth” about issues that young people are confronted with, such as: Sexual Purity, Sorcery & Witchcraft, Homosexuality, Abortion, Pornography, Drug Addiction, Drunkenness, Peer Pressure, School Violence and Secular Rock Music.

Statement by Revival Fires Ministries, which wants to get a copy of the book to all “unsaved teenagers in America’s public schools”

thetruthforyouth.com, 8-14-12

 

[Plaintiffs] believe that the procreative capacity of human beings represents a precious gift from God by which individuals are allowed to participate in God’s plan to share life and that, as a result, any acts of deliberate interference with that procreative capacity bound up with acts of unitive human love — including artificial contraception, abortion, and/or sterilization — are gravely wrong and sinful.

Christopher and Mary Yep’s lawsuit against the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act

Religion Clause, 8-24-12

 

Orthodoxy or death

T-shirt slogan worn by praying, cross-toting protesters burning a Pussy Riot poster as an “exorcism”

New York Times 8-9-12

 

We’re going to rip them up and burn them. Like in the Middle Ages.

Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich, leader of Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers, about feminist punk band Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, convicted of “hooliganism” for conducting a “punk prayer”against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ties to the Orthodox Church

New York Times 8-9-12

It would be an America in which access to birth control would be controlled by people who never use it.

Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, speaking to the Democratic National Convention about allegedly celibate Catholic bishops who oppose the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act

CBS, 9-5-12

 

I wasn’t elected to be a spiritual leader. I was elected to fill potholes. I was elected to analyze budgets.

City Commissioner Adam Stern, Livingston, Mont., voting against meeting prayers and a moment of silence

Livingston Enterprise, 6-12-12

 

After an 18-month consultation, the Girl Guides revealed they will no longer swear a 43-year-old promise to “do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country” and will instead promise “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs.”

On the new wording in the pledge that Australian Girl Guides (Scouts) recite

The Telegraph, 7-6-12

 

 

 

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