Sarah Hargreaves, president of the Atheist Coalition, was surprised by the rejection.
“A lot of what our goal is as an organization is really to let people know that atheists are an important part of our community,” she said. “I think a lot of people have probably met atheists and don’t realize it, because atheists make decisions a lot of times to stay closeted and not let people know for fear of people having a negative perception of them.”
The group was allowed to participate in an AIDS walk in Kansas City and carry its banners that included “Positively Godless.” The organization said they raised funds for the AIDS foundation and awareness about the group’s existence and mission. Hargreaves said they were able to demonstrate that they are friendly and compassionate individuals.
“It just really raised awareness of who we are, and we got a lot of really great feedback from the event,” Hargreaves said. “We thought it was a natural step then to participate in other parades, so we thought we’d try the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and we were really surprised when our application was denied.”
In a statement, organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day parade said the event celebrates the feast day of St. Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland, and the Christian teachings and beliefs for which he lived.
“The Atheist Coalition’s published mission is to advance godlessness through activism, and its stated intent regarding the 2013 parade was to carry banners with phrases such as ‘positively godless’ and ‘morals without mythology.’ It was with respect for the legacy of St. Patrick that the parade committee turned down the Atheist Coalition’s application to participate in this year’s procession,” the statement says.
A mass is held before the start of the parade, and a priest then blesses the route. Kansas City’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1873.
Hargreaves insists that there is nothing offensive in the group’s message.
“The KCAC mission is not to go to churches and tell them that their beliefs are ridiculous. Our mission is to appeal to existing non-believers,” she said.
Read more at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Original article and resignation letter: Why I Don’t Want to Be a West Point Graduate
I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same. Examples of these policies include mandatory prayer, the maintenance of the 3rd Regiment Shield, awarding extra passes to Plebes who take part in religious retreats and chapel choirs, as well as informal policies such as the open disrespect of non-religious new cadets and incentivizing participation in religious activities through the chain of command.
Updated with the link
A First Amendment watchdog group is suing the Internal Revenue Service for failing to challenge the tax-exempt status of churches whose pastors engage in partisan politicking from the pulpit.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which advocates total separation of church and state, filed the lawsuit Wednesday (Nov. 14) in U.S. District Court in Western Wisconsin, where the 19,000-member organization is based.
The lawsuit claims that as many as 1,500 pastors engaged in ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ on Sunday, Oct. 7, when pastors endorsed one or more candidates, which is a violation of IRS rules for non-profit organizations.
IRS rules state that organizations classified as 501 (c) (3) non-profits — a tax-exempt status most churches and other religious institutions claim — cannot participate or intervene in ‘any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any political candidate.’
Cenk Uygur was born in Turkey and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was eight years old, later becoming a naturalized citizen. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Columbia Law School, and was a practicing attorney in Washington, DC, and New York. In 2002 Uygur left his lucrative career to launch the independent news show, The Young Turks, on Sirius Satellite Radio. Three years later the show became the first live, daily web video show, streaming from its Los Angeles studio. Today The Young Turks reaches millions through radio, its YouTube channel and, most recently, on Current TV. In 2011 Uygur started a political action committee, named Wolf-PAC, with the explicit goal of forcing a constitutional convention and amending the U.S. Constitution to end corporate personhood, limit the private funding of elections, and end Super PACs. Uygur was awarded the American Humanist Association’s Humanist Media Award at the AHA’s 71st annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 8, 2012. The following is adapted from his acceptance speech.
I like to say I’ve evolved, having grown up in Turkey in a family that was both secular and Muslim, which in Turkey is very common because the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemel Ataturk, really stressed secularism. Turkey was very proudly secular, lately not as much but we’re trying to get back there.
In college I started taking classes in different religions—Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and so on—and I was stunned by the lack of reason in all of them. The story that really cemented my nonbelief was actually from the Bible, not the Koran. It’s the Tower of Babel story, in which rational, reasonable people work together and build this great tower. But God gets angry. He’s threatened and decries our hubris. Now, if my son built something great, would I be jealous? No, I’d be incredibly proud. But that’s not the God in the Bible. He says, all right, since you guys actually dare to be decent human beings, I’m going to destroy your tower. I’m going to make you all speak different languages and spread you throughout the land so that you can never work together again.
There’s a saying in Turkish: you close a book when you’re done with it and you drink a cold glass of water. I closed the Bible and I said somebody get me a cold glass of water, because I’m done with this. If this is God then I’m against him. I’m for humanity.
Now, I understand there aren’t a lot of open agnostics or atheists or humanists on TV, which is part of the reason I’m here. And I watch Bill O’Reilly from time to time, and whenever he uses the term “secular humanist,” he spits it out: those ssssecular humanists. I don’t get it—secularism is great. I mean, even if you’re religious, you shouldn’t want to mix religion and government. One, it hurts your religion overall; and two, which religion gets to dictate the law? And then with the term humanist—who’s against human beings?
I didn’t know that atheists were such a pervasive criminal blight on society, fortunately this article by Stephenson Billings at Daily Bleach has opened my eyes to their terroristic criminal conspiracy with the media! /
Why Doesn’t the Media Identify Murderers as Atheists?
The liberal media has long had a queer relationship with religion. As we saw with the Norway shootings last year, journalists are quick to label someone a ‘Christian terrorist’ on the basis of flimsy internet rumors. Yet when a criminal is known to be a black or a Muslim, these facts are buried deep in a story or else left out entirely. Indeed, race has become so controversial in urban crime reporting that newspapers regularly fail to notify the public about a Latino mugger or a violent Afro-American even when that information is vital for the safety of a community. And when has the media ever been brave enough to condemn someone as an ‘Atheist Terrorist’?…
Do Atheists Commit More Crimes?
The answer to this question is undoubtedly yes, but don’t hold your breath waiting for any statistical evidence from the activist professors at our liberal universities. Among Democrat Party leaders, there is a fear that if atheist crime data were collected, it would reveal an epidemic of faithless offenses unparalleled in modern history. In almost every state, law enforcement officers don’t even ask criminals if they are atheists, nor do they keep any records on the atheistic affiliations of those charged with heinous violations. This oversight does a grave injustice to the crime fighting efforts of our brave men and women who risk their lives every day protecting our families…
Why Isn’t the Media Reporting on Atheist Crime Waves?
The political arm of Atheism, Inc. has been very effective in suppressing the truth behind America’s crime statistics. Liberal news outlets such as CNN and MSNBC purposely mislead viewers, while powerful atheist intellectuals such as Sam Harris, PZ Myers and Richard Dawson pull the strings…
…The more we explore the grand tentacles of the Atheist conspiracy, the more we’ll see that this reckless belief system reaches into almost every aspect of crime and licentiousness today. These are a people who have infiltrated the highest echelons of power. They control billion-dollar media companies, public universities, underground youth movements, whole swathes of industry and much of Hollywood. And that’s only the beginning. They can flash mob an Occupy Wall Street riot with a single text message…
…Today, they’re insatiable. That taste of power that Barack Hussein Obama spoon-fed them has only inspired the most shocking of agendas. Their diet now is one of innocence and youth. Yes, it is our children that they hunger for. Our very children…
So according to the author a media conspiracy is covering up terrorist activities done by atheists in the name of furthering Atheism. He is sure of this…because. His statistics on atheist crime show…nothing. Because he claims that there are none, which of course is all part of the conspiracy.
His proof of atheist criminality is that “drug kingpins, human smugglers, assassins and Asian gangsters” also “homosexuals, sodomites, bisexuals, pedophiles, bestialists, masturbators and rapists” are all exclusively atheist. Again he cites no evidence for this, not even anecdotal tales, he simply knows it to be true…because.
He then gets to the bit about atheists insatiable hunger to despoil the innocence of the nations children. No explanation, no examples, nothing in the way of evidence, he simply tacks it on to the end of the paragraph as if it were a self-evident truth.
Journalism this is not. The entire article is nothing but an unresearched and non-factual pile of opinionated dogma vomited onto the page without any pretense of objectivity. When he replied to a comment to the article by saying…
Are atheists committing crimes inspired by their faithlessness? The answer is clearly yes. Indeed, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Mao were uniquely fueled by their atheistic worldviews to commit murder in the service of their Godless understanding of humanity.
…he clearly showed that what he is really doing here is mindlessly reciting falsehoods that have been repeatedly debunked by historians and academics ad nauseum.
The only thing new here is that he has tacked on his own unsubstantiated addition to the standard uncorroborated drivel normally found at WND and like minded sites. That is his assertion of a vast media and political conspiracy to hide atheist’s crimes and aid them in committing more of them. How 1.6% of the population of this country has gained such far reaching political and media power is obvious after reading his column…because.
The gulf in outlook between atheists and adherents of the monotheistic religions is profound. We are fortunate to live under a constitutional system and a code of manners that by and large keep it from disturbing the social peace; usually the parties ignore each other. But sometimes the conflict surfaces and heats up into a public debate. The present is such a time.
One of the things atheists tend to believe is that modern science is on their side, whereas theism is in conflict with science: that, for example, belief in miracles is inconsistent with the scientific conception of natural law; faith as a basis of belief is inconsistent with the scientific conception of knowledge; belief that God created man in his own image is inconsistent with scientific explanations provided by the theory of evolution. In his absorbing new book, Where the Conflict Really Lies, Alvin Plantinga, a distinguished analytic philosopher known for his contributions to metaphysics and theory of knowledge as well as to the philosophy of religion, turns this alleged opposition on its head. His overall claim is that “there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion, but superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism.” By naturalism he means the view that the world describable by the natural sciences is all that exists, and that there is no such person as God, or anything like God.
Plantinga’s religion is the real thing, not just an intellectual deism that gives God nothing to do in the world. He himself is an evangelical Protestant, but he conducts his argument with respect to a version of Christianity that is the “rough intersection of the great Christian creeds”—ranging from the Apostle’s Creed to the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles—according to which God is a person who not only created and maintains the universe and its laws, but also intervenes specially in the world, with the miracles related in the Bible and in other ways. It is of great interest to be presented with a lucid and sophisticated account of how someone who holds these beliefs understands them to harmonize with and indeed to provide crucial support for the methods and results of the natural sciences.
An essay by Carlos Fraenkel, an associate professor of philosophy and Jewish studies at McGill University in Montreal, and the author of the forthcoming book, ‘Teaching Plato in Palestine.’ More on his work can be found at his Web site.
Do read the whole thing here. You won’t be sorry.
About 12 years ago, while studying Arabic in Cairo, I became friends with some Egyptian students. As we got to know each other better we also became concerned about each other’s way of life. They wanted to save my soul from eternally burning in hell by converting me to Islam. I wanted to save them from wasting their real life for an illusory afterlife by converting them to the secular worldview I grew up with.
I did not convert to Islam, nor did my Egyptian friends become atheists. But I learned an important lesson from our discussions: that I hadn’t properly thought through some of the most basic convictions underlying my way of life and worldview — from God’s existence to the human good. The challenge of my Egyptian friends forced me to think hard about these issues and defend views that had never been questioned in the European student milieu where I came from.
Of course diversity and disagreement on their own are not sufficient to bring about a culture of debate (otherwise the Middle East, the Balkans and many other places would be philosophical debating clubs!). Instead they often generate frustration and resentment or, worse, erupt in violence. That’s why we need a culture of debate. In my view, the last years of high school are the best place to lay the groundwork for such a culture.
The high school curriculum already includes subjects such as evolution, which are much more controversial than the skills required for engaging difference and disagreement in a constructive way. To provide the foundation for a culture of debate, the classes I have in mind would focus on two things: conveying techniques of debate — logical and semantic tools that allow students to clarify their views and to make and respond to arguments (a contemporary version of what Aristotelians called the Organon, the ‘toolkit’ of the philosopher). And cultivating virtues of debate — loving the truth more than winning an argument, and trying one’s best to understand the viewpoint of the opponent.
I had a class like that, with a teacher like this author, when I was in high school. I’m not the only one who still appreciates him. The Facebook page that one of his students made for him has over 500 members.
I realize I was one of the lucky ones. The best thing I can think of for the future of this country and this planet is that there be many more lucky ones in school today and in all times to come.
Learn how to think, not what to think. Then you can think for yourself.