More religious legislation from Indiana

Pushing creationism into science classrooms wasn’t enough, so now there’s legislation to require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. Yes, public school. It’s all in Senate Bill 251, which states:

4.6. (a) In order that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen, the governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.
(b) If the governing body or equivalent authority requires the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer under subsection (a), the governing body or equivalent authority shall determine the version of the Lord’s Prayer that will be recited in the school corporation or charter school.
(c) A student is exempt from participation in the prayer if:
(1) the student chooses not to participate; or
(2) the student’s parent chooses to have the student not participate.

1. Spiritual development has nothing to do with establishing character and becoming a good student. From all of the atheist Hoosiers, fuck you.

2. This has been established as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court so many times. SO MANY TIMES. Are these legislators thinking no one is paying attention? Even I have a hard time believing they’re stupid enough to A) Not know how fucking unconstitutional this is or B) Think they have any chance of the current Supreme Court overturning the previous rulings.

3. Adding an exemption clause does not suddenly make this constitutional. It’s still the government endorsing a religion (and a particular religion at that). Not to mention that it’s completely ignorant of the power dynamics of schools. A student who chooses not to participate is effectively choosing social suicide and bullying. Ask Jessica Ahlquist how much she enjoys losing all of her friends and constantly receiving threats. It’s effectively making it so students must participate.

Unsurprisingly, this piece of legislation comes from the same guy who’s pushing the creationist legislation. Way to force your Christian agenda onto the state, asshole. As if it wasn’t already oppressively Christian in an unofficial way.

If you’re an Indiana citizen, please write your representatives. And if you’re in an Indiana atheist organization, please make a stink about this. This is your chance to get in the media and yell “This is not okay!”

You know, I was invited to speak for my alma mater the Purdue Non-Theists during my spring break in March. Maybe I could make a little tour of the state with the topic of “The Indiana Theocracy.” Heaven knows I have enough examples for an hour long talk. Any other groups interested in having me should shoot me an email.

If I believed in past lives…

I would say that Pixel was a dog in her previous one. As proof, I present a video of her fetching her favorite toy:

The part where I say “Ow” is where she decided to dig her claws into my leg before leaping off. Oh kitties.

The matriarchy is coming for your video games

Video games are no longer safe from our lady-clutches! Why, they’re starting to have female characters in them that aren’t totally worthless or in need of saving! And this has a lot of MRAs worried:

I call bullshit on this subject. Video games are the last place for guys to hang out and now women are taking over. Why not just save us the trouble and instead of eliminating our fantasy world just throw us in work camp to provide for thier bastard children (literally speaking) while they shit all over us…wait they already do that.

Oh noes, a space where we have to allow ladies?! How totally unfair! What does this takeover include? Why, portraying women as competent and equal to men:

You’ll see the same thing in most stat-based role-playing games as well, where you have the option of a female player character – like Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, D&D, etc. The women never have any strength or intelligence penalties compared to the males. … They want to give the impression that people of any race, gender, and sexual-orientation are interchangeable – that there are no differences in ability between them, and that only a bigot could think otherwise. I’m sick of it too.

What do MRAs consider an accurate portrayal of women in video games?

It would be hilarious to portray the female characters realistically. If you chose the female character in your FPS [First Person Shooter] she would have to move very slowly, dragging the gun around. You could build in some extra shake to the crosshairs to represent hopeless accuracy. Every time you needed to reload your gun, instead of just pressing a button, you’d have to find a male character and go through some flirting dialogue options to persuade him to do it for you. One out of every four missions the game would tell you that you were sitting out this one due to ‘women’s issues’.

I’m sure women in the military would have a thing or two to say to this guy. You should read the rest of the silliness (like how Lara Croft somehow oppresses men) over at Man Boobz.

While we’re on the topic of video games: My boyfriend and I only have one level left in the expansion pack of Pixel Junk Monsters, and we’re looking for a new game to play together. We’re patiently waiting for Skulls of the Shogun since we loved it at PAX, but who knows when it will finally be released. And we can’t play Civ 5 together (yet) because my desktop computer is on the fritz. Does anyone have recommendations for good multiplayer strategy/tower defense/tactical type games? Co-op prefered but not required. (EDIT: We have a Wii, PS3, XBOX360, and PCs, so platform is irrelevant).

Recommendations are appreciated. Because, you know, I have to love strategy video games in order to invade his one last man space and enslave him. Not because we enjoy playing them with each other or something.

The snowpocalypse is nigh!

Seattle’s weather report for the weekend:

The system will develop into spotty snow showers down at sea level Sunday into Monday. Depending on where you are, accumulations could be anywhere from a trace to several inches.




…The sad thing is, I’m not joking about the chaos. If an inch of snow falls, the city will shut down completely. The streets will be as deserted as a zombie apocalypse. Optimistic/idiotic drivers will hilariously fail at driving* or buses will stop running all together. UW will call a snow day (and some professors will still expect their graduate students to brave the roads to come work). Liquor stores will close.

I begrudgingly admit that this is understandable considering the steep hills, lack of snow plows, and temperatures that turn the roads to ice…but it still makes this Midwesterner giggle with glee.

*This was way more hilarious before I realized that’s the bus I now take to and form work every day. Gulp.

The kitty castle

Because you guys were so kind with your support in my previous post, I decided I would share one of the Jennifer McCreight Movement’s events with you. My roommate got our kitten Pixel a kitty castle:

She kind of likes it. I’m a little wary that it puts her at eye level with me. If she wants to take a loving swat at my face, she should have to work at it.

As you may have noticed, Pixel is growing quickly. She’s only 6 months old, and she’s huge compared to when we got her. We’re wondering how big she’s ultimately going to get. We may have to change her name to Megapixel.


I have given up on the atheist and skeptical movements, and am starting a new one – the Jennifer McCreight Movement. The headquarters will be my bedroom (not the living room, which is shared with the Roommate Movement). The official dress will be whatever the fuck I feel like. Events will be held every night, consisting of reddit browsing, cute baby animal photos, cookies, and the occasional beer.

I hate to disappoint you, but there is one big rule. Only I am allowed to be in the Jennifer McCreight Movement, thus avoiding all the stupid drama and bullshit inherent in human interaction that has tainted atheism and skepticism for me.

No, I’m not really rage quitting. The overall goals mean too much to me. But I’m frequently reminded more and more why I was so anti- clubs and cliques and organizations when I was a teenager.

When I first started getting involved with atheist activism through reading blogs, I was excited. I wanted to change the world for the better, and I found others who shared my goal. I was so excited to work with these wonderful people who shared my ideals.

And then I became jaded.

Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of good people in these movements, and I’ve made some truly wonderful friends I otherwise wouldn’t have. People I met through my club at Purdue, Greta, JT, Brendan, everyone at the Secular Student Alliance… Those people are good to the core. Their passion doubles mine, and I want to get more and more involved to make a difference.

But getting more involved is precisely what makes me get jaded.

My first time attending a major conference had a dozen women coming to me independently to warn me about certain male speakers that I should be careful around. It was common knowledge to the female veterans who the aggressive and/or distasteful womanizers were, and they wanted to make sure some 22-year-old woman heard the warning. It was unnerving, to say the least. But for all I knew, it could just be gossip.

The more close friends I make, the more that comes out of the woodwork. The more specific examples of men – attendees and famous speakers alike – saying and doing things that cross the line. But they tell me to stay quiet. Because no one will believe them. Because they like the events overall and don’t want to ruin the experience by making people angry at them. Because they don’t want to lose their job or harm their employer. That was unnerving, too.

But before people think I’m a broken record – it’s not just the sexism. Becoming a board member of a secular non-profit and being invited as a speaker to events has really opened my eyes. You start interacting with a diverse group of people who have been in the movement a long time, and you get a behind-the-scenes glimpse. Some organizations (like the SSA) are truly awesome and run by lovely human beings. Some… boy, if you guys only knew.

The people are the same. Some are the most genuinely lovely individuals I have ever met. But some are manipulative, petty, passive aggressive, selfish, sexist, racist, homophobic, ablist, or just downright mean. Yes, I came to the shocking realization that atheists and skeptics are also human. The problem is that without this insider knowledge, it’s incredibly difficult to distinguish the lovely from the loathsome.

The bigger problem is that I see no real solution, and am stuck cringing silently when someone is unwittingly praising a person who’s really a Giant Fucking Asshole. Because the politics involved between people or between organizations is enormous.

I feel gross staying silent and playing the game, but I often have no choice. This isn’t because I’m afraid of losing readers – contrary to popular belief, I don’t just blog For Teh Hitz, and the money I make off blogging is not enough to float in swimming pools full of hundred dollar bills. This isn’t because I’m afraid of losing a potential writing career – my actual job is as a scientist, remember? It’s because there are people and organizations in the movement I genuinely care about, and stirring certain pots would cause them harm.

I’m not sure why I’m even writing this post other than to get it off my chest. It probably comes off as totally vague and pointless to those of you who aren’t privy to the back stories and insider knowledge. But maybe that’s the message. That when some of us insiders rant and rave, and it comes off as vague and pointless…it’s probably because you’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg, and we forget your view. You can’t see under the water to glimpse the private emails, the angry phone calls, and the years of history. So many people think other bloggers and I do anything for controversy because we’ll occasionally speak up against big names.

What should concern you are the things we can’t talk about.

So why don’t I rage quit? Why don’t I stop the blogging, speaking, and board of directors-ing? Because I know what I do matters. Maybe not the most, and maybe not a lot – but it matters. I occasionally get an email saying I helped make a person a skeptic or an atheist. I get twice as many emails saying I’ve inspired someone to take up activism too, whether it be writing or working with their local group or whatnot. I get ten times as many emails saying I’ve made someone a feminist and opened their eyes to sexism. And I get a hundred times as many messages simply saying I brought a bit of joy to their day.

And that makes putting up with the drama worth it.

There is part of me who doesn’t even want to post this, because I know everyone will interpret it however they want. People will insist I’m talking about Person X or Organization Y, while the people who really know what I’m talking about also can’t talk about it. But I blog because being able to express myself brings a little joy to my day, and I’m taking this opportunity to be the selfish one for a moment. Maybe instead of reading the comments I’ll relish in one of the Jennifer McCreight Movement’s fine events.

Another “End of the World” party to put on your calendar

Save the date: May 27, 2012. This particular apocalyptic prediction is brought to you by former Worldwide Church of God preacher Ronald Weinland. He was gracious enough to list a number of events that will occur before this date, which can be used to potentially falsify his hypothesis, such as:

  • The collapse of the United States
  • Nuclear war
  • People who mock his message dying from cancer

I’m not sure if it really matters if all nonbelievers die of cancer if the world is going to end in a couple of months anyway. Though every nonbeliever instantaneously getting cancer at the same moment would probably be unlikely enough to convince me something fishy is going on. Maybe god, or maybe carcinogens Weinland diligently laced into every copy of the God Delusion.

Either way, I think my odds are pretty good, so:

lulz end of the world nutjobs

This is going to get old in 2012, isn’t it?

Indiana DEFINITELY isn’t perfect

At least Seattle limits its scientific ignorance to a piece of bad journalism. Indiana has anti-evolution legislation bubbling up:

Senate Bill 89, prefiled in the Indiana Senate and referred to the Committee on Education and Career Development, would, if enacted, amend the Indiana Code to provide that “[t]he governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.” The sponsor of the bill is Dennis Kruse (R-District 14), who chairs the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development. In 1999, while serving in the Indiana House of Representatives, Kruse pledged to introduce a law to remove evolution from the state’s science standards, according to the South Bend Tribune (August 27, 1999). Instead, however, he introduced bills with the same wording as Senate Bill 89, House Bill 1356 in 2000 and House Bill 1323 in 2001. Both died in committee.

It’s irritating enough that people want to legislate their religion into science classrooms. But this is obviously unconstitutional and has no chance of surviving a legal battle. Stop wasting the time and money of Hoosiers and focus on issues that actually matter.

…One day, one day I will receive positive news from my home state.

Seattle isn’t perfect

As much as I agree with the hilarious post about how “Seattle is objectively superior to the place you grew up,” I have to admit it’s not perfect. Like our main news station running a terrible piece on how Arizona sandstones prove Noah’s flood. Thanks for the uncritical support of young earth creationists, KOMO! I understand you’re busy and couldn’t get around to interviewing any legitimate researcher at the University of Washington. It’s hard picking up the phone or riding a bus for ten minutes.

Of course, Seattle is home to the Discovery Institute, so maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking when biased journalism like this springs up.