Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Here's How You Deal You With Fundies

How to deal with Westboro Baptist Church has been an issue since they first started protesting funerals.  One of the first clever responses, the Patriot Guard[1] was my favorite until today.

This kind of relentless, in their face mockery is exactly the correct response to those hateful pieces of shit.

2.  (Thanks to Jason for sharing it)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence & Mental Illness

In an interview with Omaha morning radio show Todd and Tyler[1], after The Bill Engvall Show[2] had ended, Engvall had high praise for Jennifer Lawrence, saying he wasn't surprised by her Oscar nomination for Winter's Bone and that he expected more to come.

That good but short lived sitcom is still the only work of Lawrence's I've seen.  I had no interest in Winter's Bone and still don't.  I wanted to see The Hunger Games, but I just never got around to it.  I'm sure I'll see it eventually. 

I've wanted to see Silver Linings Playbook, for which Lawrence won an Oscar last night, since the previews for it started but again haven't gotten around to it.  After reading her recent interview[3], I'm more encouraged to get my ass to the theater to support the film and its message.

She talks about her views on mental health and suggests the film's director shares those views.  
On how her Oscar will champion the effort to help the mentally ill: "I don't think we're going to stop until we get rid of the stigma for mental illness. I know David won't. And I hope that this helps. It's so bizarre how in this world, if you have asthma, you take asthma medicine; if you have diabetes, you take diabetes medicine; but as soon as you have to take medication for your mind, there's such a stigma behind it."
And she's right in comparing mental illness to asthma.  For too long, we've attached a stigma to legitimate health issues that deserve to be viewed as any other.  We do not shame people for having cancer, even if they might have caused it themselves by drinking and smoking heavily[4]

We shouldn't shame people for being bipolar or schizophrenic.  Good for Jennifer Lawrence for using her talent and subsequent spotlight to say so.

And for anyone who insists on continuing the stigma, I'll share this gesture with you.

3.  Was Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar Fall 'On Purpose'?
4.  Christopher Hitchens and His Battle with Esophageal Cancer

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Morning Shares 02-23-2013

Here's what I found to share during the last week:

Not At All About Religion:

Calvin and Hobbes Photoshopped Into Photographs of Real

And some about our friends at the Vatican:

 Papal resignation linked to inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Many Many Links, Without Comment (Except For The Comment)

I don't know how some of the bigger bloggers manage to publish so often.  I'm terrible about bookmarking more things to share than I can find the time to write about.  I've decided to start sharing them as a group on Saturday mornings.  Sometimes they'll be timely news stories (give or take a week).  Other times they'll be random, older bits I've come across & just want to share.

But first I'm gonna drop a bunch of things I had bookmarked to share that still seem worth sharing.  And, even with sharing this much crap on Thursday evening, I've got some stuff already on the post for Saturday.  This should be an interesting experiment.

Teen Denied Communion After Marriage Equality Facebook Post

Kids Without God

Christian Group Says Demon Sex Makes You Gay

Atheist Census

And Some Stuff About Billboard Vandalism:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Evangelical Vehicles

On the way out of HyVee tonight, I saw this.  


There's nothing particularly controversial about it, as it's the most commonly quoted Bible verse, and there's nothing about his god hating anyone.  Sure the owner of this truck holds delusional beliefs and seems to think this will convince others to share those delusions (so much so that he put up the sunscreen at night), but he's as free to hold those delusional beliefs as I am to point out that those beliefs are delusional.

The only thing more bullshit than his delusions about Jesus are the delusions many Christians have about supposedly being victimized by secularism.  What would happen to a vehicle that had the atheist equivalent.  If I put "Jesus is pretend" and a sunscreen with one of the many great atheist quotes?  How long would it last before it got vandalized?

Because I think we all know it would happen.  And the worst thing that'll happen to that guy is some atheist taking a picture of his truck and having a small rant on his blog.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Progress From The Vatican

He's responded to the problems the Vatican faces.
Pope Benedict's eight-year papacy saw controversies over paedophile priests, a tense relationship with the Muslim world, and the conviction of his butler for stealing documents that revealed corruption at the top of the Vatican.
"[We need] to relevantly address issues and the credibility of our own ministry and leadership," said Cardinal Turkson. "The Church, if you adopt the imagery of a boat, is going through quite a bit of a storm and it does not appear to be over yet," he said.
"In Europe, churches are getting empty, the population appears not to relate much to the Church and to religion and all of that –that is an issue to deal with. In the new churches, Latin America, Africa and Asia, where the Church appears to be growing there is also the challenge of being able to maintain membership. Whoever succeeds Benedict will not lack challenges and they are an invitation to creativity and innovation."
He's addressed anti-gay bills in Africa[4], like, Uganda's controversial "Kill the gays" bill, . .
Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said some of the sanctions imposed on homosexuals in Africa are an “exaggeration,” but argued that the “intensity of the reaction is probably commensurate with tradition.”
Referring to the issue of stigma surrounding homosexuality in Africa, the cardinal said it is important to understand the reasons behind it. “Just as there’s a sense of a call for rights, there’s also a call to respect culture, of all kinds of people,” he said. “So, if it’s being stigmatized, in fairness, it’s probably right to find out why it is being stigmatized.”
Moreover, the cardinal called for a distinction to be made between moral issues and human rights.
“We [the Church] push for the rights of prisoners, the rights of others; and the last thing we want to do is infringe upon the rights of anyone. But when you’re talking about what’s called ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ are those human rights?” the cardinal said. “He [Ban ki-moon] needs to recognize there’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified.”
 . . by suggesting that making being gay a crime punishable by death isn't a violation of human rights.

So what if a man they're considering for Pope thinks the problems the Catholic Church faces are the declining membership, not the epidemic of pedophiles in their priesthood; and it's a possibility the next Pope doesn't think it's a human right to not be killed for being gay.  But at least he's not another white guy.  Progress for the Vatican is a tricky thing.

Maybe the Pope after next will be someone who's not a hateful piece of shit.  Or maybe at least sometime before the 22nd Century.

1.  Same Shit, New Pope
2.  Found on Hammer the Gods
3.  Cardinal Peter Turkson, Possible Pope Successor, Has Defended Legislation Like Uganda's 'Kill The Gays' Bill
4.  Cardinal Responds to U.N.'s Criticism of Africa's Social Policies

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

1 in 4 Nebraskans Is Non-Religious

Earlier today, Hemant Mehta shared[1] Gallup's new poll[2] about the most & least religious states.  It breaks down how you would expect, with the most religious states being either in the South or Utah.  

The "very religious" column is particularly disturbing, with even the least religious state, Vermont, having 1 in 5[3] people who chose that option and another 1 in 4 choosing "moderately religious".  But, in the spirit of my first post of 2013[4], I'm choosing to focus on the good news from this, like more than half of Vermont identifying themselves as non-religious.

This is why, while I'm bothered that my home state of Nebraska had 44% identifying as very religious, I'm happy about the non-religious column having 29%.  I think this bodes well for the future of groups like Omaha Atheists[5] and the rest of the member groups of the Omaha Coalition of Reason[6] and the conference we sponsor together, Apostacon (September 20-22, 2013)[7].

Nebraska has some awesome non-theist groups.  And now we have a reason to think there's plenty of people here, more than a fourth of our state, who could benefit from them.  That's the good news I'm taking out of this.


2.  Mississippi Maintains Hold as Most Religious U.S. State
3.  Numbers are rounded to fit into the fractions, of course.
4.  Positive Approach In 2013
5. (this website is currently in a transitional phase, so please forgive them any gaps in content)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Want To Name Pluto's Moons?

Pluto has a few moons that need names, and the public's input is being requested. Visit[1] to vote.

They have a pre-selected list to choose from, following the tradition of pulling from the mythology of Ancient Greece. But they're also allowing write-in votes. I think the Internet would missing a opportunity if we didn't have a campaign to write-in the name Tyson[[2][3][4].

Too bad we'll probably end up getting them named after cats[5].

1.  Found via @mashable
2., Astronomer Responds to Pluto-Not-a-Planet Claim


5.  NPR, The Iron Is Out, A Cat Is In As 'Monopoly' Changes Game Pieces

Monday, February 11, 2013

Some Other Takes On The Pope's Resignation

Writing my previous post was depressing.  So here's some less serious responses to today's news.

Atheism Unleashed
Religion Poisons Everything
The Aussie Atheist
Tom Joad
Atheists and Rational Thinkers
Atheists and Rational Thinkers
Atheism Resource
Occupy Bacon

And last, but not least, there's the always spot on Onion:  Resigning Pope No Longer Has Strength To Lead Church Backward

Same Shit, New Pope

I share JT Eberhard's disdain for Joseph Ratzinger[1]. He's a terrible person who's done the world terrible harm. He's probably the only person in the world who's done the world more harm after being a Nazi than while he was.

I hold no optimism that his resignation[2] will improve the Catholic Church. Their hate, lies about condoms[3][4][5][6], protection of pedophiles[7][8][9][10][11], and shitty treatment of women[12][13][14] aren't limited to just that one man. It's institutional. At best, the next Pope will be marginally better than this one.

The Vatican will continue getting Africans killed, and its members will continue to defend that despicable behavior[15]. It will continue its efforts to suppress women's rights[16]. It will continue to protect those who rape children.  It will continue to be bigoted toward homosexuals[17][18][19], Jews[20][21][22][23], and sometimes both at once[24].

It will continue to be the kind of organization who had a questionable relationship with the Nazis[25][26][27][28][29], was later led by one[30], and has done more harm to world than even they did.

It will continue being one of the most evil organizations[31] in the history of the world.  Just with a different monster running it, pretending to be infallible while pushing clearly fallible nonsense.

1.  The Pope is resigning. Good.
2.  Pope Benedict XVI to resign citing poor health
3.  Pope claims condoms could make African Aids crisis worse
4.  Vatican renews condom criticism
5.  Vatican newspaper article says condom campaigns increase AIDS risk
6.  The Catholic Church versus HIV/AIDS in Africa
7.  Catholic order had 'pedophile ring' in Vic
8.  Head of Catholic Bishops Paid Pedophiles to Disappear
9.  The Catholic church really is full of pedophiles.
10.  Catholic sex abuse cases - Wikipedia
11.  A smoking gun letter reveals Vatican directly ordered pedophiles be protected
12.  Proper Dress and Behavior for Catholic Women
13.  The Vatican's War on Women
14.  Vatican Reaffirms: Women's Ordination Invalid
15.  What Impact Does Catholic Teaching Have on AIDS in Africa?
16.  Vatican Crackdown On Nuns Over Social Justice Issues, Women Ordination
17.  The Vatican hates gays
18.  Vatican article likens gay marriage to communism
19.  Vatican Launches 'Anti-Gay Media Blitz,' Compares Gay Marriage To Polygamy, Polyandry
20.  Jewish outrage greets Vatican 'anti-Semitism' remarks
21.  Vatican embracing anti-Semitism?
22.  The Vatican's Shameful Secret
23.  Cables: Anti-semitism in the Vatican
24.  Vatican: Homosexuality And Jews Caused Pedophilia Scandal
25.  Red Cross and Vatican helped thousands of Nazis to escape
26.  Catholic Church and Nazi Germany
27.  Vatican City during World War II
28.  The Vatican Made Nazism Possible in Germany and Croatia
29.  Archbishop Orsenigo Celebrates Hitler’s Birthday
30.  Was Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) A Nazi? Why Join the Hitler Youth?
31.  Richard Dawkins on the Catholic Church

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Did You See That Atheism Super Bowl Commercial?

My Facebook news feed had a lot of shares of a video purporting to be a commercial for atheism that aired during the Super Bowl. It seemed out of place to me, as spending that much money isn't typical for atheist organizations.

This is the video that was being shared, mostly without much comment, seemingly under the impression it was the commercial that had aired.

But some did make reference to the fact that it wasn't the original:

It makes sense that some people confused Cult of Dusty's edit of the video as the original.  It makes way more sense as a commercial for atheism.  As a commercial for Scientology, it makes no fucking sense.  Nonconformity?  Thinking for yourself?  These things do not fit at all within my understanding of what happens within cults, including Scientology.  I guess I'll just take it as at least a partial win that the things the commercial promoted were what they were, even it was meant to promote a group that doesn't actually value.

One more way the original makes no sense is the last line.
Because in the eternal debate for answers, the one thing that's true is what's true for you.
Horseshit.  What's true is true regardless of what's "true for you".  Our perception of the truth has absolutely no bearing what the truth is.  Someone should tell the Church of Scientology to not take Stephen Colbert so seriously.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some Of The Atheist Response To The Applebee's Pastor

This is the receipt that recently went viral, and then got the waitress in question fired.  Since then, I've seen a few other receipts posted.

It seems to have been a good week to be a server at Applebee's.  If your customers are atheists.

(Thanks to Atheism 411United Atheists of America)

Coming Out Can Be Contagious

A little while ago, a post on CNN about raising children without God was quite popular.  I saw it posted in several places.

It was also quite unpopular, among a different crowd who attempted to get it removed by flagging it as inappropriate so many times the CNN staff added a message about it.
Update: CNN hasn't flagged this iReport as inappropriate, but some community members have. This is a divisive topic, however it does not violate our Community Guidelines, so we ask people to please stop flagging it. We will continue to review the story as often as possible.
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
I wish I were surprised enough by their attempt to shut up the atheist to have something to rant about it on it, but it's so commonplace at this point, I think I'm desensitized to it.  It's just what they do, unfortunately.

Besides, their flagging is part of what got the post shared more often.  I see that as a victory, as their hate backfired on them.  It's also a victory, because another blogger, credited that post as her inspiration for coming out as atheist.

I love how she did it, inlcuding:
I don't begrudge others their religion or right to broadcast it. 
I just don't want to present myself as something other than what I am, and my lack of religion is a big part of me. 
I don't plan to make it a major theme of this blog, but it's one piece of who I am. 
Nor should she be expected to.  Being atheist isn't all we are.  If she wanted to write an atheist blog, that's what she'd be doing.  She wanted to write about being a mother, so that's what she'll do.  But I'm certainly glad she's revealed her atheism.  When she's in a group that is so predominately Christian, just the act of coming out does a tremendous amount for the Atheist Movement, whether she's actively participating in it or not.

She doesn't have to write about atheism to help make life better for atheists in our society.  She just has to keep doing what she's been doing.  Being a normal, decent person, who is good without God.

Thanks to @itzmeufool

Some Opportunities For Writing

If you're interested in writing, but don't want to be responsible for an entire blog, here's some opportunities for you:

Hemant Mehta, aka The Friendly Atheist, is looking for contributors for a variety of topics.
Book reviews (~1 post/month)
Law (~1-2 posts/week)
Pop Culture (~1-2 posts/week)
Interviews (~1-2 posts/week)
Politics (~1-2 posts/week)
These would be regular contributors, but he's also looking for contributions of single, longer posts.  He does have some requirements, but would also provide compensation.  See his Submissions page for more details.

Another option would be the Guest Blog Storms of Atheos is currently working on getting going.  It wouldn't pay anything, but the criteria for getting something published is much lower.  To submit a guest post there, just e-mail

(Credit to @hemantmehta)