Female nonbelievers *DO* exist

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One complaint about atheism and secular humanism is that we don’t have many if any women involved. The inference is that women tend to gravitate to emotional support that supposedly only theistic or spiritual religions can provide. Besides supporting a bad stereotype, the inference is plain wrong. Jen McCreight, writer of the Blag Hag blog listed some of the great female nonbelievers alive today.

As she notes at the end of her entry:

To clarify, this list is for living women who are known for their vocal support of atheism, skepticism, and/or scientific thinking – or, likewise, speaking out against religion and supernatural beliefs. There are plenty of women who simply happen to be atheists but never ever speak about it – this isn’t intended for them.

A large list of awesome female atheists

The list includes Wendy Kaminer – Author, Kathy Griffin – comedian, Taslima Nasrin – Writer & human rights activist, and Amanda Metskas – Head of Camp Quest among others.

Check out the list.

Teacher who pushed religion still having job hearing

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The case of John Freshwater, the Mount Vernon Ohio teacher who tried to teach his religious beliefs in his 8th grade class room is still going on more than a year since the news broke. They are currently finishing up direct witness testimony for an employment hearing that has lasted 14 months and cost has cost the school district more than $500,000 in legal fees.

For a refresher check out my posts on this issue here.

And here is a news video report of the case:

Ohio Teacher to be fired for pushing religion on students

In the latest news, Mr. Freshwater claims not to remember discussing Lego experiment he talked about at length on a Christian radio show just this past April and his lawyer is also claiming some of the notes and handouts being used against his client may be forged.

See Freshwater says he can’t remember Lego experiment in the Columbus Disptach.

Hopefully this will be over soon.

The reason for the season

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It is Christmas time again and the religious complain about not celebrating the reason for the season. The problem is which reason should we use, if any? There are several prophet legends born on December 25th to choose from.

Comedian Bill Maher posted a few on his twitter feed:

Mithra – born 12/25, 12 disciples, died-rose on 3rd day, performed miracles, known as Lamb, “the way the truth the light” 600 yrs before JC

Buddha: 12 disciples, walked on water, fed 500 from ‘small basket of cakes’,healed the sick…his mom? A virgin

Krishna:virgin birth, baptized in river,raised dead,carpenter son,persecuted,crucified,ascended to heaven. 1,000 yrs before u-know-who

Horus: announced by star in east on Dec 25, attended by 3 wise men , died, resurrected, mom a virgin…do you see a pattern here?

http://twitter.com/billmaher

Or as some one else put it:

Merry misappropriated pagan solstice ritual, everyone.

Some more sweet inclusiveness from Christians (NOT!)

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Cecil Bothwell was elected to the Asheville, North Carolina city council. Mr. Bothwell has also admitted that he “believes in the Golden Rule but finds the question of whether there is a God or not ‘irrelevant.’” Of course some conservative Christians are upset that an atheist was elected to public office and one man, in an ironic twist the former president of the local NAACP, said he would file a lawsuit challenging Bothwell taking office.

It seems North Carolina has an article in their state constitution that prohibits atheists from being elected to public office.

Article 6, section 8 reads, “The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”

Of course there is case law that made such religious tests unconstitutional but Bothwell and the city, if sued, would still have to fight the suit.

Herb Silverman, President of the Secular Coalition for America, had a similar battle in South Carolina in 1990. His post on the Newsweek Washington Post website explains:

I first heard about the South Carolina exclusion in 1990. I’m no constitutional scholar, but I knew that Article 6 of our U.S. Constitution explicitly states that there may be no religious tests for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1961 that this provision also applies to the states. So I assumed this was just an anachronism, and could easily be changed. I was wrong. I wound up to running for public office, first as a gubernatorial candidate and then as a notary public, in order to challenge this unconstitutional provision. It took eight years and a unanimous verdict of the South Carolina Supreme Court to state the obvious, that no religious test for public office may be applied, not even in South Carolina.

Our state wasted about $100,000 trying to keep me from becoming a notary public. None of the political leaders in South Carolina, and certainly not the lawyers advising them, believed they would prevail legally if I continued to pursue my case. Yet, those same politicians showed that they would rather waste time and money on a lost cause than risk the wrath and lose the votes of the state’s well-organized religious right. But South Carolina is known as a state that fights lost causes. Et tu, North Carolina?

Atheists in office: Déjà vu all over again

That’s how it goes. Priests who are convicted of molesting children are treated better than an atheist wanting to hold elective office.

It is seems to be atheists who are told to sit down and shut up when religious issues come up and we are the ones that have to fight for basic rights.

Edd Doerr didn’t care for the AHA “No God” adverts

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Seems former president of the AHA Edd Doerr doesn’t like the AHA adverts that say “No God? . . . No problem!”. He not only had a letter in the New York Times he also got one in the LA Times today.

Re “Humanists launch a holiday campaign,” Dec. 7

As a former head of the American Humanist Assn., I am embarrassed by the organization’s rather puerile “good without God” campaign.

Advertising what humanists are for is more important than stressing what is not included in our beliefs. Mere nonbelief is negative — and emphasizing the negative invites blowback and hinders mutual understanding and respect.

In essence, humanism is about ethics, compassion, civil liberties, religious freedom, separation of church and state, peace, women’s rights, protecting the environment, social justice, reason and science and democracy. Importantly, humanists are all for cooperating and working with Catholics, Protestants, Jews and others who share these concerns and values.

Edd Doerr
Silver Spring, Md.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/

Of course Edd ignores the actual innocuousness of the advertising message. It wasn’t childish and nonbelief is *NOT* negative it is one of the primary principles of a secular philosophy like Humanism. Ignoring nonbelief ignores the reason secular humanism is different from theism.

I thought it was ironic that Edd shares the concerns and values with religious leaders who also stated in the article that the ad was offensive and an attack. He is one Humanist leader who has tried to brush nonbelief under the rug so we can be just like believers as if that would “grow” Humanism. I prefer the small secular humanism tent down the street than Edd’s “big tent” that requires me to hide and belittle my nonbelief.

I like this quote from referring article:

“Why didn’t they choose the summer solstice?” asked Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a civil rights organization that puts up a Nativity scene every Christmas in New York’s Central Park.

“I guess they have no other time of the year to get out their message except to crib off someone else’s holiday,” Donohue added.

Another letter writer wrote that Donohue forgets that “Christianity has long been the Microsoft of religions — gathering up existing traditions and re-branding them under its own banner” and it ripped off the Roman Saturnalia holiday for Christmas.

Here is a link to the December 7th LA Times article on the ads that Edd was responding to.

Humanists launch a godless holiday campaign

Lack of understanding religious politics leads to biased reporting

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No one really likes an angry person in life or in person. People especially don’t like angry people when they “attack” your established traditions and long held beliefs. When there is a shift in society’s power structure the media and others like to focus on the angry people as if doing so discredits the supporters of the change. It seems to be working that way for atheism too.

USA Today columnist Stephen Prothero starts out complaining about the angry men of New Atheism in his article “Atheists need a different voice”.

The New Atheism stands at a crossroads. Until now it has been spearheaded by the sort of white, male firebrands that led the charge for evangelicalism during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century. Dawkins rails against faith as “one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.” Hitchens calls the Protestant reformer John Calvin “a sadist and torturer and killer.” In perhaps the unkindest cut of all (at least for a Frenchman), Michel Onfray reports in his Atheist Manifesto that the Apostle Paul was impotent and “unable to lead a sex life worthy of the name.” But there is a different voice emerging — call it the new New Atheism — and with it a very different agenda from that of Hitchens and his angry acolytes. This friendlier atheism sounds more like a civil rights movement than a crusade. And it is far more likely to issue from the lips of friendly women than from the spittle of angry men.

“Atheists need a different voice”

People like Prothero rather have good little atheists who know their place in the world and don’t cause trouble for the usual believer power elite. What people like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Sam Harris etc do is call bullshit bullshit. It isn’t nice and can be angry but sometimes it is needed to be heard. Sometimes the truth hurts.

Prothero then goes on to explain that atheism needs softer voices including more women if it is to grow.

The problem is atheism doesn’t need to “grow”. We don’t recruit people. All it requires is to dump your supernatural irrational beliefs about the world. Most people are half way to atheism to begin with. Religions need to recruit.

As for needing more women, I know of many atheist women. There is no difference in attitude between atheists and believers. Men love to debate and women love to hug. Yes that is nasty stereotype. Just like the idea that people like Dawkins et al are “angry”. It seems the passionate atheist is always angry but the passionate believer is well seen as “passionate”.

While I reject the term “New Atheist” since it is not new, I do think people like Dawkins and Hitchens forced their way into the public sphere and were noticed in our more adversarial centric media. Soft spoken and “nice” atheists have and tend to be ignored.

When it comes to ideas and thoughts about supernaturalism and god beliefs the atheist has been correct 100% and if believers have a problem with that then it is their problem not the “new” atheist.