Sometimes depression comes easily. News from the world of religion is too often unhappy, involving moneyed scandals, gender-related bigotry, abuse of members (or their children...), anti-secular antics, and, making all of that worse, a societal willingness to overlook such deeds precisely because religion is involved. As reminders of the harm that faith brings, I keep a growing list of story links at Revelations: Religion. Readeth thou more
The folks at the AHS – the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies (UK and Northern Ireland) – kindly sent word of the upcoming Questival event for young freethinkers, information that I'm happy to pass along. I'm not making any recommendation – it's the first I've heard of the event – but it looks great; if I were in the region, I'd certainly want to consider it for young friends and family! Readeth thou more
When I was shedding religion in the mid- and late-eighties, there was no open Internet, no websites, no podcasts. Printed material aside, information and thoughts from far-away minds came only over the airwaves – but how much atheist- or freethinker-friendly material was there on American network television and commercial radio stations? Readeth thou more
This month, Norway took the wonderfully purifying step of officially separating church and state via consitutional amendment. While I suspect the divorce will be a happy one, sometimes break-ups can get messily weird. Take the United States, which wisely split up church and state well over 200 years ago – yet today is plagued by citizens who demand that the comfortably separated couple re-engage in sweaty embrace. (It's like some heavy-breathing neighbor phoning to insist that you and your ex get busy on the kitchen linoleum. Readeth thou more
Japan is not only one of the more atheist nations out there, it even has separation of church and state embedded in its Constitution in the clearest terms possible:
No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority. No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice. The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.
Jehovah's Witnesses, the people of my ex-religion, need to do a better job of getting their dogma understood by the public. For all the sect's doorstep proselytizing, folks always get the JWs' beliefs wrong.
I have no intent to defend any JW beliefs – they're as goofy as the dogma of any other faith – but I don't mind making corrections so critics at least address actual beliefs. In that spirit, I offer two corrections: Readeth thou more
A number of websites note that the US White House is taking nominations for the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal – and readers have been quick to respond with an awesome choice: Jessica Ahlquist, young defender of the American way, who successfully sued to have a Constitution-violating religious display removed from her public high school. Readeth thou more
Hey, I've got a new prediction up on Prediction Watch. Seems that a tiny French village is about to be overrun with New Age-y types heading for a reported "upside down" mountain that's a "major chakra of the Earth" bursting with "special magnetic waves"! They'll be a-climbin' it – some nekkid, I hear! Readeth thou more
US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, trying to appeal to as many people as he can, is loathe to talk directly about his Mormon faith.
Fortunately for us, he has a cousin more willing to speak up about what he calls a "cult". Park Romney was no casual church member, either; he was a former high priest, now turned against the Church and telling an insider's story: Readeth thou more