Tag Archives: Freethought

Secular Student Alliance Week 2013

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image with the words SSA WeekThe student freethought group Secular Student Alliance (SSA) is holding their annual SSA Week to both celebrate the work their affiliates do and to raise money to continue the outreach to college and high school students. During the week some bloggers and other online voices will be posting special content to ask people to donate to the group. The SSA does special work and needs your support so please donate if you can.
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Happy International Blasphemy Rights Day

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image showing protest signs in Malaysia
Protests by Malaysia Muslims over Innocence Of Muslims film September 2012

September 30th is designated as International Blasphemy Rights Day. This is when we bring awareness to efforts to censor dissent using the false cover of “protecting religious beliefs”. Although very rare in the US, jail time and even death comes to people deemed to have committed Blasphemy. In the US, public bullying sometimes results in “voluntary” self-censorship. Blasphemy laws are bad for freedom. A vibrant society needs and allows dissent in all forms so that the people are able to make informed choices in their lives. And how tolerant we are of dissent says a lot about how we view our country and our freedoms.
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JFK: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute…”

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Image of John F KennedyIn 1960 when questions about John F. Kennedy’s religion came up, he gave a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. Although given 50 years ago, it still seems it should apply to politics today. I wish it would.
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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.

Atheist Activist Newdow and Humorist Sweeney Join Secular Lobby

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For your information, from my inbox to yours:

For Immediate Release

April 26, 2006

Atheist Activist Newdow and Humorist Sweeney Join Secular Lobby

Washington, DC – The Secular Coalition for America is pleased to announce the addition of Michael Newdow and Julia Sweeney to its advisory board. The Secular Coalition for America is a lobbying organization representing the interests of atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists in the nation’s capitol. The Secular Coalition made headlines last September when it hired Lori Lipman Brown, a former Nevada State Senator, as the first full-time lobbyist for atheists at the federal level.

Michael Newdow, a medical doctor and lawyer, is best-known for his Pledge of Allegiance case, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004). The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the phrase “under God” in the pledge constituted an endorsement of religion, and therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the case based on its merits and overruled this decision based on procedural grounds. Newdow has since filed a similar suit on behalf of three unnamed parents and their children. On September 14, 2005, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton, citing the precedent set by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Newdow’s previous suit, ruled that the pledge was unconstitutional. In November 2005, Newdow filed a lawsuit to have “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. coins and currency. Information on the progress of his lawsuits can be found at www.restorethepledge.com.

The actor and comedian, Julia Sweeney is most well-known for her roles on Saturday Night Live, particularly her androgynous character Pat. She was also won critical acclaim for her one-woman shows God Said, Ha! and Letting Go of God. In the latter play, Sweeney discusses her Irish Catholic upbringing, early religious beliefs, and the life events and internal search that led her to the realization that the universe works fine without a God in charge of it. She is currently writing a book “My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story” for Henry Holt & Co. This book further explores her journey from religious faith to philosophical naturalism. You can find more information on Julia Sweeney at her official website www.juliasweeney.com.

Lori Lipman Brown, the Director of the Secular Coalition for America, stated “I have long admired Dr. Newdow’s courage, integrity, and intellect and Ms. Sweeney’s bravery, humor, and artistry. They have both publicly presented themselves as atheists at a time when the religious right has left many fearful to speak up. I am especially proud that Michael Newdow and Julia Sweeney have agreed to join the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America to further our mission of increasing the visibility and respectability of nontheistic viewpoints in the United States and in protecting and strengthening the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all.”

For more information contact Lori Lipman Brown, Director, Secular Coalition for America at 202-299-1091 or Lori@secular.org.