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
(EDIT 2012.03.24: Added a third recent link to recent online articles, to the original two links.)
Don't ever let anyone feed you that greatest lie of the religious: "But our morality comes from God!" Readeth thou more
As an atheist with antennae tuned to unfounded claims about religion, and as a resident of "the East" sensitive to silly claims about "Western thought" and "Eastern thought", I had to reply to the following email letter received by The Atheist Experience from a visitor to their Facebook page. I'm humbly taking the liberty of reposting the letter here:
Don’t know if you guys know much about Eastern thought. Here is what I posted about your show on Facebook:
Have you heard the scary tale of the Jewish carpenter zombie?
Probably so; restating the supernatural bits of religion, even the "glorious" bits, in terms of crude pulp fiction is a common way to have fun when mocking belief. Readeth thou more