Friday, June 25, 2010

AANEWS for Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A M E R I C A N A T H E I S T S
A A N E W S
#1329 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 06/23/2010
http://www.atheists.org/
http://www.americanatheist.org/
http://www.atheistviewpoint.tv/
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A Service of AMERICAN ATHEISTS, a nationwide movement that defends
civil rights for non-believers; works for the total separation of
Church and State; and addresses issues of First Amendment public
policy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"ATHEIST is really a thoroughly honest, unambiguous term, it admits
of no paltering and no evasion, and the need of the world, now as
ever, is for clear-cut issues and unambiguous speech."
-- Chapman Cohen
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"All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the
politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher."
- Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
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In This Issue...
* Breaking, AP: Philly Jury OKs BSA discrimination on municipal property
* Background: Philadelphia trial examines discrimination in Scouting ranks
* Worth Noting: Bachman's "Christian Counseling" took public money
* AA Letter to the Editor competition now open
* Voice of Reason Pod cast -- this week, "Touchdown Jesus"
* Check out Dave's NoGodBlog
* Follow AANEWS on Twitter
* Resources
* About this list...

Breaking
JURY: CITY CANNOT EVICT BOY SCOUTS OVER DISCRIMINATION
PHILADELPHIA - A jury says the city of Philadelphia cannot evict
a local Boy Scouts chapter from a city-owned building for refusing
to admit gays.
The city insisted that nonprofits given free use of its property
must abide by local anti-discrimination laws.
The scouts said they can legally limit their membership because of
a 2000 Supreme Court decision. They had sued in federal court to
stop the eviction.
Cradle of Liberty Council leaders have tried to walk a fine line
to retain city support without losing their national Boy Scouts
charter. The national organization bans gays.
Scouts lawyer Jason Gosselin says he hopes the two sides can work
out their differences in negotiations.
*
June 18, 2010 -- CNN coverage
Trial could settle dispute between Boy Scouts, Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A federal trial is underway that
could settle a dispute between Philadelphia Boy Scouts and the city.
The national Scout policy that prohibits the hiring of homosexuals
puts the Philadelphia Scout chapter, the Cradle of Liberty Council,
in violation of the city charter and an ordinance outlawing
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and other grounds.
The Scouts were told by the city to pay $200,000 a year to lease
the building or vacate their headquarters that have been located
on city land, rent-free since 1928.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts could
exclude gay youth and troop leaders because the group is categorized
as a "membership organization." The city contends Cradle of Liberty
Council's refusal to openly reject the national scout policy violates
the City Charter.
The lawsuit filed by the Cradle of Liberty Council contends the
city's ultimatum violates their First Amendment rights and that the
city's position is unconstitutional and violates the organization's
right to free speech and equal protection. The trial began Monday
with jury selection.
The Scouts also argue that city leases property to other
organizations that have membership rules, including a Catholic
church and the Colonial Dames of America, and those tenants do not
face eviction, said attorneys for the Scouts. The city said the
comparison is inaccurate.
In 2007, City Council passed an ordinance to evict the Scouts and
later went to court in June 2008 to do so, but Cradle filed the
federal civil-rights lawsuit in May 2008.
In 2009, U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter issued an injunction
stopping the city from evicting the Scouts until the federal lawsuit
is resolved.
**
WORTH NOTING...
Hitchens As Atheism's Drag Queen In reading the recent comments on
this subject I've noticed that we, as atheists, are often using the
language of the gay rights movement to describe what it's like to be
an atheist in a largely theistic society--particularly the desire
to 'come out' as atheists. While sexual orientation and religious
belief are by no means equivalent, and I think it remains harder
to come out as a homosexual than as an atheist, the metaphor is
interesting and helps us understand the appeal of the 'New Atheists.'
<http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/a-louder-athiesm.html>
The Right's Favorite Atheist S.E. Cupp is the right wing's
current media darling who doesn't believe in God but just
penned a book attacking the liberal media and defending
Christianity. Benyamin Cohen unravels the Cupp enigma.
<http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-13/se-cupp-attacks-newsweek-defends-christianity-and-atheism/?cid=hp:topnav:book>
Bachmann's Christian Counseling Business Gets Public Funds Andy
Birkey at the Minnesota Independent reports that a Christian
counseling center owned by Michele Bachmann and her husband has
received more than $30,000 in public funds since 2007. It even
comes from one of those "socialized medicine" systems the state of
Minnesota runs for poor people.
<http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2010/06/bachmanns_christian_counseling.php>
Touchdown Jesus On Fire, Ohio Statue Destroyed By Lightning (VIDEO)
A six-story-tall statue of Jesus Christ with his arms raised along
a highway was struck by lightning in a thunderstorm Monday night
and burned to the ground, police said. The "King of Kings" statue,
one of southwest Ohio's most familiar landmarks, had stood since
2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in
Monroe, just north of Cincinnati.
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/15/king-of-kings-ohio-jesus_n_612360.html>
OPINION: Not knocking on heaven's door: Black atheists, urban
America Late Saturday afternoon, like clockwork, the street corner
preachers on Crenshaw and King Boulevard in South Los Angeles
take to the "stage." Decked out in flowing robes and dreadlocks,
they fulminate into their mikes about the universe, God's will
and "unnatural" homosexuals to a motley audience waiting for the
next express bus. Members of the Black Israelites, they are part
of a long tradition of performative religiosity in urban African
American communities.
<http://www.intersectionssouthla.org/index.php/story/not_knocking_on_heavens_door_black_atheists_urban_america/>
Stephen Colbert Author Interview: Stephen Prothero On The 8 Religions That
Rule The World And Why Their Differences Matter (VIDEO) Stephen
Prothero, Boston University professor and author of the new book
"God Is Not One," spoke to Stephen Colbert last night about his
book and why the eight religions that run the world have a lot of
important differences that we shouldn't overlook as much as we do. "I
wrote the book because religions are horribly misunderstood," he
said. "We have these atheists that are saying that all the religions
are the same and bad, and we have these multiculturalists that are
saying that all the religions are the same and good." Prothero sets
out to illuminate the differences in his book, because, he said,
"religions are not different paths going up the same mountain"
--they have different goals and different concerns.
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/15/stephen-colbert-author-in_n_612739.html>
Haley's path to Christianity leaves some evangelicals uneasy Whispers
about Nikki Haley's Sikh heritage burst into public view in the final
days of South Carolina's Republican gubernatorial primary when state
Sen. Jake Knotts called the Indian-American legislator a "raghead."
<http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/15/haleys-path-to-christianity-leaves-some-evangelicals-uneasy/>
Russian Creationism Sounds Frighteningly Familiar Religious
fundamentalists have begun promoting creationism in Russia --
and they are doing so using many of the same strategies and
buzzwords adopted by fellow extremists in the United States
.<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-zimmerman/russian-creationism-sound_b_610266.html>
Godless billionaires ask super-rich to 'give it up' Who
says atheists, agnostics and freethinkers don't give a lot to
charity? Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two of America's wealthiest
men and greatest philanthropists, issued a call Wednesday for the
nation's billionaires to make a moral commitment to donate at least
50% of their money to charity or other philanthropic causes. They've
even launched a website, The Giving Pledge, where the super-rich can
"take the pledge":
<http://www.examiner.com/x-8947-LA-Atheism-Examiner~y2010m6d17-Godless-billionaires-ask-superrich-to-give-it-up>
God and the Political Romantic Like most English-speaking scribes,
I've spent the last few weeks dipping in and out of Christopher
Hitchens' memoir, "Hitch-22." Of all the reviews to date, David
Runciman's essay in the London Review of Books seems to me to cut
closest to the heart of Hitch
http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/
Murfreesboro mosque opponents pack commission meeting MURFREESBORO
- Hundreds of residents packed Thursday's Rutherford County
Commission meeting where dozens voiced opposition to a
planned Islamic center off Bradyville Pike in southeast
Murfreesboro.<http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100618/NEWS01/6180332/Murfreesboro>+mosque+opponents+pack+commission+meeting
Ethics Office Clears C Street House In Rent Probe The Office of
Congressional Ethics has sent letters to several residents of the
C Street Christian fellowship house informing them that there is no
"probable cause" to believe legislators are getting improper gifts
in the form of below-market rent, Roll Call reports. The house has
been the target of more than one allegation that the reported rent
of $950 for a furnished room amounts to an unreported gift or income.
Ohio's Jesus statue is latest religious statue to be struck
by lightning It appears God has sacrificed his only son. Again.
A bolt struck a 62-foot-tall statue of Jesus Christ on Monday
outside a church in Monroe, Ohio, and the statue erupted in
flames. All that remains is a charred steel skeleton, its spindly
arms stretched toward heaven, a gesture that once earned it the
nickname "Touchdown Jesus."
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/15/AR2010061505135.html?hpid=topnews>
Richard Dawkins among academics calling for compulsory evolution
teaching at primary school Evolution should be taught to all primary
school pupils, according to leading scientists and academics.
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/7838020/Richard-Dawkins-among-academics-calling-for-compulsory-evolution-teaching-at-primary-school.html>
**
American Atheists Letter to the Editor Competition 2011
The Letter to the Editor Competition 2011 is open only to members
of American Atheists. To enter, send the uncut and complete
newspaper page containing your published letter. Letters must
be published between January 1 and December 31, 2010. Entries
need to be received on or before January 30, 2011. Include your
address, telephone number, and your e-mail address (should you
have one). Letters can cover any issue of importance which advances
the Atheist cause. Letters will be judged by educational content,
persuasiveness, and how well they portray Atheism in a positive
light. Members of the board, officers, and State and Regional
Directors are ineligible to enter.
The winner will be announced at the national Convention 2011, and
will receive an American Atheist award plaque and on free year
of membership in American Atheists. All entered letters will be
displayed at Convention 2011.
Send your entries to: Neal Cary (email) P. O. Box 828 Glen Allen, VA
23060-0828
VOICE OF REASON" PODCAST LAUNCHED
"The Voice of Reason" is a new Podcast service sponsored by
American Atheists featuring news and commentary of interest to the
non-believer community. Visit http://www.atheists.org/reason to
download episodes. You can also follow "The Voice of Reason" on
Twitter and receive updates when new broadcasts are available. Sign
up at http://www.twitter.com/aavoiceofreason .
**
CHECK OUT THE NOGODBLOG!
It is one of the fastest growing blogs in the
Atheist/Freethought/Secular Humanist community, and you can get in
on the discussion!
Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists is in
the Blogosphere at http://nogodblog.com/. It's filled with insight,
wit, hot news, controversial opinion -- and polite, thoughtful
commentary. So join the conversation! Sign up (it's free) by
visiting http://www.atheists.org/ and click on the blog navigation
button, or go directly to http://nogodblog.com/ .
**
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**
ABOUT THIS LIST...
AANEWS is a free service from American Atheists, a nationwide
movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair that defends the civil
rights of nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church
and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.
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Ed Buckner.
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