Pregnant woman beaten to death by family outside Pakistani court


"This is a tragic and unfortunate event right in front of the doors of justice," he said. "This person was mutilated to bits in public and it shows the complete breakdown of law and order."

'Tragic' and 'unfortunate'? No. The word you're looking for is 'disgusting'. Disgusting. It was disgusting. 

WTH! Married Pastor Spreads HIV Among Congregation?


avoid the comments on this one, choc-a-bloc with misogyny and bigotry 

'Persecuted' British Christians need to 'grow up', says former Archbishop Rowan Williams


NAME CHANGE FOR NATIONAL ATHEIST PARTY MEANS NEW FOCUS AND APPEAL


For over two years, the National Atheist Party has been a small political party recruiting members from the atheist community through social media, namely Facebook and Twitter. Despite the name of the party and religious affiliation of most of its membership, the NAP’s focus was not aimed at promoting atheism or tearing down religious dogma, as groups like American Atheists and Freedom From Religion Foundation do from time to time. Rather, as a political party, the NAP was more interested in removing religion from US government, fighting the presence of god in the public square, and strengthening the separation of church and state.

Many members of the party have long taken issue with its name, citing that someone’s religious affiliation does not define their politics, so naming a party “atheist” assumes that it represents all atheists, which it may not. It’s no different than forming a National Christian Party and assuming all Christians would have the same political leanings and be compelled to join. It’s presumptive and illogical. And if there’s one thing atheists hate, it’s the absence of logic. On top of that, the name suggests that only atheists are desired or allowed to join, which is untrue. In fact, anyone in favor of a government free from religious influence is encouraged to join.

So within its membership, an effort was born to change the party’s name to the Secular Party of America. This seems to fit the goal of its members, a secular government. Maybe more importantly, it removes the exclusionary Atheist name and extends the invitation to all Americans who desire a secular government to join. The internal push evolved into a strong campaign, complete with new logos and a commercial featuring current members explaining their vision for the party.

At the end of the day on July 13th, internal policy voting closed, and the party’s members agreed with the internal campaign, securing the 75% needed to change its name to the Secular Party of America. This change clears the path for the group to gain non-atheist members, promote itself without the “atheist stigma,” and focus on the party’s main goal — securing the separate of church and state that is a fundamental building block of the United States. The reborn Secular Party of America has a long road in front if it, but with strong leadership and focus, it has a chance to grow and have some influence in American politics.

Divided Under God

Attempts to protect women’s rights in Afghanistan have been blocked by clerics in the parliament


Sometimes, I hardly know how to respond to reports like these. 

Mooglets

Statistics show massive loss of interest in Catholicism in England and Wales


Hardly surprising, really, given the past few years of revelations. 

Moolgets

Arkansas State Representative calls 8-year-old atheist a fool


I really, honestly wish that title was an exaggeration. The Arkansas state legislature recently passed a law requiring a minute of silence at the beginning of each day in public schools, which is explicitly provided for children to silently pray. You’d think that was bad enough.

Unfortunately, when an atheist mother voiced her concerns and objections about this asinine bill (specifically referring to the harassment her 8-year-old atheist daughter would likely receive when the other children noticed she wasn’t praying), Representative John Payton, the man of the hour, simply told her to read two bible verses that would answer her question.

Not that it matters, but what do those verses say?

Here’sRomans 1:19-25:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; butbecame vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened… Professing themselves to be wise,they became fools

… the hell?

And, of course,Psalm 14:1 reads:

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Way to go, Representative. Way to go. 

Atheists’ political activity is growing


One of the biggest growth areas in political activism around religion is coming from an unlikely source: the nonreligious. And it’s happening far from the marbled corridors of power in the nation’s capital.

The Secular Coalition for America, an umbrella organization that represents 11 nontheistic groups including American Atheists and the American Humanist Association, is looking to take its secular-based activism out of the nation’s capital and into the states.

Beginning in June, the Washington-based SCA will install directors in 18 states including Hawaii, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Alabama. State directors will meet with local politicians and train and mobilize local nontheists to lobby on behalf of secular issues and causes.

Why? Activists say the most important policies that affect nonbelievers don’t come from Washington.

“The majority of erosion to church-state separation is at the local level,” said Serah Blain, the SCA’s first state director, appointed in Arizona in January. “It’s in city councils and school boards and statehouses. And that’s where these things really affect people’s lives, with laws on bullying and abortion and access to health care. And they are passing without much opposition because it isn’t seen as glamorous to lobby locally.”

The announcement comes on the heels of SCA’s appointment of Edwina Rogers, a veteran Republican lobbyist, as its new executive director, a move the group has spun as a means to greater access on Capitol Hill. It is also the latest indication that nontheists — atheists, humanists, skeptics and others who hold no supernatural beliefs — are working to become a political force in their own right.

Amanda Knief, who recently joined American Atheists after working as the SCA’s government relations manager, said nontheists must “show elected officials that we are a political movement that needs to be recognized. That kind of recognition has been lacking because it is not politically savvy. So we need to show them that we are there and that we count.”

This year already represents a high-water mark for political organization and activism among nontheists:

The Reason Rally drew more than 10,000 people to Washington in March, where speakers urged them to contact local and national representatives and ask them to support church-state separation, science education, marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and ending government support of faith-based organizations, among other causes.

The SCA’s 2012 Lobby Day, an event that included training in lobbying techniques and meetings with congressional staff, attracted 280 people from almost all 50 states — up from 80 at the same event a year ago.

Cecil Bothwell, a Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District is running as an atheist. If he wins, he will join Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., now the only openly atheist member of Congress.

Enlighten the Vote, a nonprofit that supports atheist candidates and issues, is actively seeking atheists to run for public office and trains atheists to lobby their politicians.

The National Atheist Party was established in March 2011 and now claims members in all 50 states.

Ryan Cragun, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Tampa who studies American atheism, sees the growing political organization among nontheists as a sign of their maturation as a movement. Yet while Cragun says he personally supports the movement, he does not believe it will have a major impact this election year.

“They are reaching a level of maturity where organization is necessary to maintain structure and keep the movement going,” Cragun said. “But until you are talking about lots of money or lots of voters — and I don’t think they have either of those at this point — I don’t think they are going to be national players.”

That may be a long time coming, said Ellen Johnson, executive director of Enlighten the Vote and former president of American Atheists.

“It is hard to get atheists to agree on anything but their atheism,” she said. “We are mostly liberals, I will grant you that, but once you veer off into anything besides (church and state) separation issues, most atheists will argue.”

The hiring of Rogers to head the SCA is a case in point. Since the announcement of her appointment a week ago, reaction from members of the organizations it represents has been highly mixed.

P.Z. Myers, a University of Minnesota biologist and an influential atheist blogger, denounced her ties to President George W. Bush and former Sen. Trent Lott and her donations to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign.

Jacques Berlinerblau, a Georgetown University professor and expert on faith and voting, has taken a more wait-and-see attitude.

“Ms. Rogers is confronted with a daunting task,” he wrote on May 4 on the Chronicle of Higher Education's website. “For all of its chest-thumping and self-congratulatory praise, secularism's standing in the judicial, legislative and executive branches is arguably at its lowest ebb since the 1950s. And don't even get me started on its predicament in state houses across the country.”

Why is the Government consulting the Vatican on national policy?


A large delegation of Government Ministers is to visit the Vatican next week to consult about British Government policy with the Pope. Among the six ministers going to Rome are Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport; Alan Duncan, the Minister for International Development; and Greg Barker, the Energy and Climate Change Minister.

The delegation will be led by Baroness Warsi who will lecture at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy on the subject of the place of religion in modern political discourse.

The British delegation will reportedly discuss climate change, arms proliferation, religious tolerance, interfaith dialogue and the crisis in Somalia and the Horn of Africa with the Pope and Vatican officials.

The Daily Telegraph reports a “Vatican observer” as saying:

"It’s a very strong delegation and it’s a way of showing that the relationship with the Holy See didn’t end in a blaze of fireworks when the Pope’s visit finished. It’s one of the most comprehensive British visits ever in terms of the range of interests represented."

The politicians will be accompanied by the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “What on earth is a delegation of senior British politicians doing consulting the last theocracy in Europe on our Government policy? We are a democratic nation and we didn’t vote for the Pope – so why are we involving him in policy-making? Polls show that very few people in this country agree with his teachings – and that includes Catholics.

"This is an extremely undesirable development. The Government should be challenging the Vatican’s assumed and suspect power, not indulging it."

National Secular Society

What the bloody fuck? 

Why the hell is my Government talking to the bloody Vatican about such important fucking issues? No, seriously, WHY?

Ugh. 

~Mooglets

Richard Dawkins celebrates a victory over creationists


Leading scientists and naturalists, including Professor Richard Dawkinsand Sir David Attenborough, are claiming a victory over the creationist movement after the government ratified measures that will bar anti-evolution groups from teaching creationism in science classes.

The Department for Education has revised its model funding agreement, allowing the education secretary to withdraw cash from schools that fail to meet strict criteria relating to what they teach. Under the new agreement, funding will be withdrawn for any free school that teaches what it claims are “evidence-based views or theories” that run “contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations”.

The British Humanist Association (BHA), which has led a campaign against creationism – the movement that denies Darwinian evolution and claims that the Earth and all its life was created by God – described the move as “highly significant” and predicted that it would have implications for other faith groups looking to run schools.

Dawkins, who was one of the leading lights in the campaign, welcomed confirmation that creationists would not receive funding to run free schools if they sought to portray their views as science. “I welcome all moves to ensure that creationism is not taught as fact in schools,” he said. “Government rules on this are extremely welcome, but they need to be properly enforced.”

Free schools, which are state-funded and run by local people or organisations, do not need to follow the national curriculum. Scientific groups have expressed concerns that their spread will see a reduction in the teaching of evolution in the classroom.

Several creationist groups have expressed an interest in opening schools in towns and cities across England, including Bedford, Barnsley, Sheffield and Nottingham. Critics say they seek to promote creationism, or the doctrine of “intelligent design”, as a scientific theory rather than as a myth or metaphor.

One creationist organisation, Truth in Science, which encourages teachers to incorporate intelligent design into their science teaching, has sent free resources to all secondary schools and sixth-form colleges.

A BHA campaign, called “Teach evolution, not creationism”, saw 30 leading scientists and educators call on the government to introduce statutory guidance against the teaching of creationism. The group said if the government would not support the call, an explicit amendment to the wording of the funding agreement could have the same effect. Last week the Department for Education confirmed it had amended the agreement, although a spokesman denied it was the result of pressure from scientists. He said the revision made good on a pledge regarding the teaching of creationism given when the education secretary, Michael Gove, was in opposition. “We will not accept any academy or free school proposal which plans to teach creationism in the science curriculum or as an alternative to accepted scientific theories,” the spokesman said, adding that “all free school proposals will be subject to due diligence checks by the department’s specialist team”.

The revised funding agreement has been seized upon by anti-creationists who are pressing for wider concessions from the government.

"It is clear that some faith schools are ignoring the regulations and are continuing to teach myth as though it were science," Dawkins said. "Evolution is fact, supported by evidence from a host of scientific disciplines, and we do a great disservice to our young people if we fail to teach it properly. "

A spokeswoman for the BHA said: “The government’s new wording is quite wide and in practice could prevent those who promote extreme religious or particular spiritual or pseudoscientific approaches from including them as part of the school curriculum as science or as evidence-based.”

The Guardian

Thanks to pintucks for the submission :) 

~Mooglets

"Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

~ Stephen Hawking

—-

This is an old article, but an interesting one.

Thanks for the submission :)

~Mooglets