Tag Archives: secular

American Secular Census Looks To Count Secular Americans

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logo of American Secular CensusA new group looks to complete a census of secular Americans who are usually under-counted by religious-centric demographic surveys. American Secular Census is an independent national registry of demographic and viewpoint data recorded from secular adult Americans covering those who are skeptical of supernatural claims. One reason such a census is needed and why secular Americans should participate is what happens in a Washington D.C. that is overly influenced by the religious right.
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Australian PM Julia Gillard doesn’t believe in God

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I was shocked when I learned that new Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard doesn’t believe in God. This is why I need to live either in Europe or Australia since they aren’t hung up on their politicians and religion. What shocked me even more is she was quoted in an interview by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and it was made public. Good on her and Australia.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she has no intention of pretending to believe in God to attract religiously-inclined voters.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was a regular at Canberra church services and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is known as a devout Catholic.

In contrast, Ms Gillard says that while she greatly respects other people’s religious views, she does not believe in God.

Ms Gillard has been quizzed on personal topics including her attitude to religion and her relationship with her partner during interviews this morning.

She says does not go through religious rituals for the sake of appearance.

“I am not going to pretend a faith I don’t feel,” she said.

“I am what I am and people will judge that.

Gillard won’t play religion card

*Update* After posting this entry I heard that PM Gillard is opposed to gay marriage. Below is a quote and link to a newspaper article that confirms her view. While I am happy that she is an atheist, there isn’t a valid secular reason to oppose gay marriage. Tax implications and protecting children are red herrings and have roots in religious bigotry.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she does not support legalising gay marriage in Australia.

Labor policy on gay marriage will remain the same under her prime ministership, Ms Gillard told Austereo show today.

“We believe the marriage act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we have as a government taken steps to equalise treatment for gay couples,” Ms Gillard said.
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Asked if that was also her personal view, Ms Gillard said it was.

Gillard against gay marriage

Maybe one day we will have the perfect atheist elected official.

President Obama supports separation of church and state again

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Once again, President Obama gave support to the secular focus of our republic, where people of many religions and no religion can live and be free. At his stop in Turkey, another country founded on seperation of church and state, the President made his comments during a press conference.

Here is the video:

As Americans United for Separation of Church and State noted on their blog:

The United States was not founded as a Christian nation. Nothing in the Constitution grants Christianity favored status. In fact, Article VI bans religious tests for federal office, and the First Amendment bars laws “respecting an establishment of religion” while protecting “the free exercise thereof” – for all faiths.

It’s good to hear political leaders remind us of this fact from time to time, as President Barack Obama did yesterday during a press conference in Turkey.

Celebrating The Secular: Obama Says U.S. Is Not A Christian Nation

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.

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Prayer protest in Columbus on May 4th

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A friend of mine passed along the following note concerning the so-called National Day of Prayer. The info concerns a protest to held in Columbus on 5/4/2006. If you would like to participate feel free, if you want more info his contact info is at the end of this post.

On Thursday, May 4, 2006 – many Americans will be observing a National Day of Prayer. This is an annual event that is observed on the first Thursday of every May and has been endorsed by many goverenment officials from President Bush on down.

A National Day of Prayer rally is scheduled to be held (for the 16th year in a row) on the west (High St.) side of the Ohio Statehouse from 11:30am until 1pm.

I plan to be there with a sign and literature, protesting this terrible breach in the wall of separation between church and state.

I am doing this not as a member of any organization but as an American citizen who is fed up with the drift towards theocracy in this country.

I am also fed up with the way prayer, faith, and religion seem to be increasingly eclipsing reason and science.

If you share my concerns and would like to join me, please let me know. I plan on having some extra, professionally made signs available as well as flyers and hand-outs.

I’ve already cleared my plans with both Statehouse and Columbus officials and can share the rules and regulations that govern protests like this to anyone who might be interested.

My protest has to some extent been inspired by the National Day of Reason that the American Humanist Association and other groups have been promoting as an alternative to the National Day of Prayer. You can learn more about the thinking behind the Day of Reason by going here:

http://www.nationaldayofreason.org/

Why a National Day of Prayer is wrong

Americans United for Separation of Church and State thinks the National Day of Prayer is wrong

On another page

Official Day of Prayer web site

Day of Prayer rally at the Ohio Statehouse

Questions? Contact Dan Birtcher (614) 865-9146 hcco_djb@yahoo.com

War on Christians: same old same old

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I posted earlier about not having a transcript or article about the recent “The War on Christians and Values Voters in 2006” hosted by the religious right front group Vision America. I had an idea of what would be talked about – same old same old tired arguments – but I wanted to read about the conference and maybe some details about it.

Thanks to the blog Writing Right I was led to an article on the People for the American Way site that gave me what I needed.

The article is called The Liberal “War” On Christians and Values Voters : Hysterical Females, Perverted Sodomites, and the Collapse of “Christian America” and here are some of the tidbits of interest to me:

Tom Crouse, pastor of the Holland Congregational Church in Massachusetts and radio show host, testified about his personal tale of persecution, recounting a “Mr. Heterosexual 2006 – A Celebration of God’s Design” event he organized in response to a “Mr. Gay 2005” competition in San Diego. Crouse sued the city of Worcester for making him pay more than $6,000 for police protection for the event, saying it violated his constitutional right to free speech. While refreshingly admitting that it was somewhat disingenuous for panelists to be talking of “persecution” in light of actual religious persecution around the world, Crouse nonetheless stated that Jesus warned Christians that they would be persecuted for their beliefs and thus, such persecution was actually a blessing. In fact, Crouse suggested, if Christians are not being persecuted, they ought to ask themselves if they are living their faith properly. Crouse’s “Mr. Heterosexual” event was designed, he said, to proclaim the truth that God doesn’t make homosexuals and that everyone is born heterosexual, but some choose to pretend otherwise. Crouse called on the church to stop worrying about appearing tolerant and start proclaiming the truth, saying that Jesus was the most intolerant person in the world.

and

Rabbi Aryeh Spero, president of Caucus for America – an organization that is dedicated to “unmasking the true intentions and motivations of a cynical, elitist corps working to transform America into a variant of European secularism and socialism.” Spero took up Feder’s theme and went a step farther, stating that they are really in a battle against “hedonists” who want to destroy America and turn it into a socialist state. Spero said that words and phrases such as “tolerance” and “multiculturalism” are really just code words for unmitigated hedonism. Spero responded to a question from an audience member wondering why “liberal elitists” have sided with the Palestinians against Israel and with Islam against America, by saying they have done so because they – liberal elitists – hate America and because they constantly are looking for ways to make themselves appear smarter and more compassionate. He closed with a warning that Islam and “fundamental secularists” were working together to destroy America’s moral underpinnings.

and

Texas Senator John Cornyn was then introduced by Phillip Jauregui, the director of Vision America’s Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration and the former attorney for Justice Roy Moore. Cornyn basically delivered a stump speech about judicial activism and the importance of getting the “right kind” of judges on the bench. After saying he was pleased by Justice Alito’s confirmation in light of Alito’s views on religious “freedom,” Cornyn commenced an attack on the court system and various decisions about the separation of church and state such as prayer in public schools, the Ten Commandments, etc., for constitutionally “transforming” a policy of state “neutrality” toward religion into a policy of “hostility” toward religion.

and

Rod Parsley, pastor of the Columbus, Ohio World Harvest megachurch, is one of the rising stars of the religious right and got the conference’s second day off to an energizing start. According to Parsley, who wholeheartedly endorsed the “War on Christians” conference, America is in the midst of “a revolution, a reformation and a revival” – and this conference was part of a “moral revolution,” which he compared to the Crusades. The nation is at a “point of crisis,” he said, in which “our culture is in chaos” and the “moral foundations … are quickly crumbling around us with no sign of a cure.” To the “smoldering ash heap of moral decline that we find ourselves in today,” he maintained, God “has called us to war” against a “spiritual invasion” – although who the invaders are is less than clear, though “secular humanists,” the “liberal left,” public schools, and “America’s tortured and angry homosexual population” could all be likely candidates.

The Liberal “War” On Christians and Values Voters : Hysterical Females, Perverted Sodomites, and the Collapse of “Christian America”

As the PFAW article noted:

Those who attended and spoke at the “War on Christians” conference are committed to portraying every court decision that they don’t like, every piece of legislation they support that doesn’t get enacted, and every policy that does not conform to their religious and social agenda as part of some overarching secularist plot to destroy Christianity. If there is any doubt that the drafters of the “Values’ Voters Contract with Congress” truly want to portray themselves as engaged in “war,” one only has to read the declaration’s conclusion where they pledge their “lives” and their “fortunes” to “support of the beliefs and actions we have herein declared.”

It all seemed so familar to me. Why?

Oh, yes. The same “war” metaphors and shrill screeching that the country is falling apart has been expressed by the religious right since the Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973, the Christian Voice was born in 1978, and the Moral Majority appeared in 1979 and so on.

“The strategy against the American Radical Left should be the same as General Douglas MacArthur employed against the Japanese in the Pacific… Bypass their strongholds, then surround them, isolate them, bombard them, then blast the individuals out of their power bunkers with hand-to-hand combat. The battle for Iwo Jima was not pleasant, but our troops won it. The battle to regain the soul of America won’t be pleasant either, but we will win it.”

Pat Robertson, The Most Dangerous Man in America? by Rob Boston

and…

“[T]he even more diabolical ‘wall of separation’ that has led to increasing secularization, godlessness, immorality, and corruption in our country.”

“God has called us to engage the enemy in this culture war. That is our challenge today.”

“How much more forcefully can I say it? The time has come, and it is long overdue, when Christians and conservatives and all men and women who believe in the birthright of freedom must rise up and reclaim America for Jesus Christ.”

Rev. D. James Kennedy, Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1997)

The Religious Right controls the Republican party and the GOP controls both houses of Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, and most of the Appellate courts, along with a majority of state and local governments.

11 states passed amendments banning Gay marriage.

There is NOT a war on Christians in the US. There is a struggle between freedom and Christian extremism and unless secular people and moderate Republicans wake up we will all be outlawed.

There is no difference in my mind between the Religious Right in this country and the Taliban in Afghanistan. They are both dangerous to American values.