By God! Legislators take a stand, so that Jesus won’t return and find gay marriage!

Newly elected Christian Right legislators gathered in the Texas Capitol Building’s auditorium today, and vowed to defend marriage from LGBT couples. No mention of a lesbian couple that a judge allowed to marry, because of life threatening circumstances. You bet your bippy, they will put a stop to that though!

A cake to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Texas's gay marriage ban. A banner day for Jesus!

A cake to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Texas’s gay marriage ban. A banner day for Jesus!

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Chapel Hill: No wonder others don’t get the Muslim and Ex-Muslim Community

Even in the atheist community that prides itself on intellectualism, we often speak for and even instead of Muslims and Ex-Muslims. We have a listening problem.  Sadaf Ali, who helped found Ex-Muslims of North Americanails it…

Mostly likely they have the answer to your questions.

Mostly likely they have the answer to your questions.

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Should you boycott 50 Shades of Grey?(Spoilers and Trigger Warning)

I admit I couldn’t make it through the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy for many of the reasons already widely discussed in the BDSM community. The books also blur consent lines and the line between sexual role playing and emotional and physical abuse.

Who has to hold another person's face to dominate their attention?

Who has to hold another person’s face to dominate their attention?

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Exceeded expectations thanks to FTBCon3

Although, some of the audience wasn’t sure what to expect, The Secular Asian Community panel was well received. It is now posted on youtube. Despite large numbers of Asians in Asia and non-Asian countries, we have yet to see an offline conference that addressed Asian issues both South and East Asian. So we took the opportunity that FTBCon offered us to take the initiative, and add our voices to the freethought community.

We were missing some of our past South Asian panelists like Hemant Mehta, Heina Dadabhoy, Razib Khan because of schedule conflicts.  We still had a diverse contribution from panelists with East Asian heritage. We had the ebullient Yau Man Chan, organizer extraordinaire Vic Wang, the warm-hearted Marissa Torres Langseth, the erudite  Michael Nam, and science educator Cindy Cooper.

The talk ranged from how Asia is not a country and other offputting stereotyping to downright racism, successes in the freethought community, where it is missing the mark, Asian privilege, and how to maintain a secular country with China set to become the largest Christian country as a model.

So now you know who to ask on Asian diversity issues.

Also you can still catch these discussions today before it wraps up at 7:00 PM CST:

Black Voices Matter

White allies may feel uneasy speaking with authority on the the spate of unjust decisions involving a mix of racist cops and unarmed black people. It is a difficult thing to do and hard to do well. One thing is for sure is that a black person can do a better job of speaking to the issue. It may be difficult to take everything on board, but this piece by Briana Urena-Ravelo outlines many good reasons even people who mean well get it wrong. Worse than that, some white writers may make things worse no matter if they label progressive or not

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Whodathunkit? Moses the actual inspiration for American government

Although climate change denial was removed from textbooks, our school board has stubbornly stuck to it’s guns on including Christianity and Judeo-Christian values (Moses specifically) as the inspiration for America’s form of government.

All right all right don’t rush me, I’m-a-thinkin’ … and my head hurts”

All right all right don’t rush me, I’m-a-thinkin’ … and my head hurts”

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Tune in live: Texas Textbook Wars with Zack Kopplin

Zack Kopplin, wonderkind  of the creationism textbook wars, is livetweeting the the Social Studies textbook hearings. He is enduring the inanity like a champ, so you don’t have to.

Is this a McCarthy witch hunt?

Is this a McCarthy witch hunt?

Aron couldn’t make it as he is on the last leg of his journey on his motorcycle across the deserts of West Texas.  This part in particular would get his goat if he was there…

I don't understand the founding of our government, and I don't want kids to either.

I don’t understand the founding of our government, and I don’t want kids to either.

It would be funny if they weren’t serious about teaching this to millions of students as fact. If you would like to watch the shenanigans yourself  there is a livestream.

Interstellar and the dangers of anti-intellectualism.(Minor Spoilers)

Although Interstellar is set in a dystopian future, one of the scenes is an all too familiar page borrowed from the present. The setting takes place in the future where crops are dying from a plant pandemic of some sort of blight. With plants gone, all life will become extinct as the atmosphere becomes unbreathable. And of course, the extinction of plants or the producers at the base of the energy pyramid will cause irreparable harm to the biosphere.

Terrifying as it is beautiful.

Gargantua: Terrifying as it is beautiful.

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Texas: Not ready for a progressive woman Governor

During the election coverage and Republican acceptance speeches there was a real element of attributing the takeover of Congress to President Obama even though he wasn’t on the ballot. There are already congressmen who pledge to prosecute him for abusing executive orders even though he issued less of these than George W. Bush. As a black president, he is a very easy scapegoat for Republicans to bash. In fact, a third of Louisiana Republicans, blame him for the government response to Katrina, even though G.W. Bush was president at the time. Why don’t they blame Bush? He is given no credit for gains in employment and the economy, scapegoated for things he didn’t do. America doesn’t appear to be ready for a black president.

For the same reasons, I don’t believe that Texas is ready for a progressive woman to be Governor. Her opponent Greg Abbott ran a campaign of publicly shaming her for attending Harvard and allowing her then husband to be the primary caregiver of her children after he filed for divorce.

No one would ever have thought to criticize a man’s private career and family decisions on their way to success  in this way. There is a well established history of men’s political careers surviving adultery allegations and worse.  Newt Gingrich’s wife put him through college, and he left her for his mistress when she had cancer.  He had no significant political fallout from this. The shaming of Davis for her private career decisions that men commonly make worked well here in Texas. Despite Davis being well known for heroically filibustering draconian abortion over-regulation, Abbott got the majority of the women’s vote.

Had Davis gotten more progressive turnout and won; she would have then been faced with an obstructionist legislature. Much like Obama’s problems with Republicans in Congress refusing to work with him. It is remarkably easier to punch down on minorities from established positions in the dominant white male hierarchy. Unfortunately, it wins points and plays on deeply rooted biases like with Republicans wanting to believe that Obama was responsible for Katrina.

She quoted Teddy Roosevelt, ""It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error or shortcoming"

She quoted Teddy Roosevelt, “”It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error or shortcoming”

Aron and I were there for Davis’s concession speech, and I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my cheeks as she urged us to support Abbott. After everything he did to her in the campaign, and everything he has already done and will do to hurt Texas. Even though I knew going in that most likely she would lose, there is a knot in my stomach that I don’t want to digest. Four more years of regressive policies punching down on women and minorities with heavy handed immigration and abortion laws. And a majority of the people here in Texas will say Amen! to that.