Atheist News from Edwin Kagin



KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: March 30, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 48, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

I WAS BORN AN ATHEIST JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE

To Unidentified Recipients:

Why We Have a First Amendment Department:

http://www.secularism.org.uk/93039.html

Saudi King wants monotheisms to unite to defeat atheism

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia — head of one of the most oppressive regimes in the world — has said that atheism is a “frightening phenomenon that must be vanquished”. He made the threat during a speech in which he called for dialogue between all monotheistic religions.

“I ask representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith,” Abdullah told delegates to a seminar on “Dialogue Among Civilizations between Japan and the Islamic World,” according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA). “If God wills it, we will then meet with our brothers from other religions, including those of the Torah and the Gospel… to come up with ways to safeguard humanity,” he added.

Abdullah said the country’s top clerics have given him approval to pursue his idea and that he plans to get the opinion of Muslim leaders from other countries. According to SPA, the Saudi king also intends to address the United Nations on the subject. “We have lost sincerity, morals, fidelity and attachment to our religions and to humanity,” Abdullah said on Monday, deploring “the disintegration of the family and the rise of atheism in the world – a frightening phenomenon that all religions must confront and vanquish.”

To confirm his credentials as a man of interfaith sincerity, we should remember that the Saudi monarchy bans the open worship of other religions. Mosques are the only religious buildings permitted in the country where the fanatical Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam dominates. When the King visited the Vatican recently, the pope asked if he would consider allowing the building of a church in Saudi Arabia to accommodate some of the 800,000 Catholics in the country. The King is now reported to have turned this request down.

Abdullah’s call follows the formation by the Vatican of a committee that aims to improve relations between Islam and Catholicism. However, this is like trying to pitch the immovable object against the irresistible force. Beyond the big words about conciliation is the hard fact that both these religions are totalitarian in nature and won’t give an inch to the other. Both have an over-arching belief that they have the ultimate truth that cannot be questioned. There is no real sincerity in this supposed search for understanding.

Last week, in what is seen as a clear provocation, the Pope baptised Italy’s most prominent former Muslim, Magdi Allam. And he didn’t do it discreetly, but chose a high-profile Easter Monday service that was shown on TV.

Magdi Allam has infuriated some Muslims with his books and columns in the newspaper Corriere della Sera newspaper, where he is a deputy editor. He titled one book Long Live Israel.

One of the Islamic clerics involved in the pope’s interfaith initiative, Aref Ali Nayed, says Ratzinger’s baptism “was a delib
erately provocative act” performed at an unfortunate time because of Catholic-Muslim tensions. Then, a new audio message from Osama bin Laden accused the pope of playing a “large and lengthy role” in a “new Crusade” against Islam that included the publication of drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims found insulting. Catholic-Muslim dialogue? Dialogue of the deaf, more like.
See also:
Islamist website attacks Vatican baptism
For all his interfaith mutterings, the pope loves to goad Islam
A conversion heard around the world

28 March 2008

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From reader Jan:

Can’t these people just buy a damn bumpersticker with their pet phrase on it? It would be cheaper, more individualized and would keep the government out of it completely. If groups want donations to their cause, then let them do the scut work of fund raising and not use the government as a vehicle (pun intended) to raise cash.

If we are lucky, this will cause a schism and the two sides will kill each other off.

http://polwatchers.typepad.com/pol_watchers/2008/03/in-god-we-trust.html

March 27, 2008

“In God We Trust” vs. “In God We Trust”

An “In God We Trust” license plate is almost ready to hit Kentucky streets.

The Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday approved House Bill 207 and sent it to the full Senate. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence, would let Kentucky motorists buy a specialty plate emblazoned with the words “In God We Trust.” Ten dollars from each plate would go to the state’s veterans’ trust fund.

Gooch’s bill has drawn protests from a nonprofit group, Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK), that applied late last year to the Transportation Cabinet for its own “In God We Trust” plates to raise money for its anti-pornography efforts. ROCK alleges that lawmakers swiped its idea and now stand to divert millions of dollars in potential revenue.

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Missing NY pastor found at Ohio strip club

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (AP) – Police say a pastor who was reported missing from his home in upstate New York has been found at an Ohio strip club.

A police officer patrolling the K.C. Lounge parking lot Friday morning in the Dayton suburb of Riverside spotted out-of-state license plates on 46-year-old Craig Rhodenizer’s car.

The FBI and New York authorities had been searching for Rhodenizer, who disappeared Wednesday after telling his wife he was getting his computer fixed at Best Buy. He is the pastor of a church in Lyndonville, N.Y.

Detective Matt Sturgeon said Rhodenizer was disoriented when confronted by police and said he felt “emotionally guilty.”

Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com

©2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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From reader Michele:

http://www.politico.com/

Religion not new to American politics
By: Andrew Glass
March 24, 2008 05:20 PM EST

Divisive preachers are nothing new in the annals of American politics. From time to time, they have upended presidential contests and bedeviled presidents. Two examples come to mind in tandem with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s longtime mentor.

They are the Rev. Samuel Burchard (1812-1891), whose slur “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion,” uttered two weeks before the 1884 presidential election, likely cost the Republicans the presidency, and Charles Coughlin (1891-1979), a Catholic priest and anti-Semite whose weekly radio broadcasts reached tens of millions of Americans in the 1930s.

In 1884, many people, including James Blaine, the Republican candidate, attributed his defeat to Burchard’s alliterative rant against the Democrats. Blaine was present at the rally, and he never disavowed the New York Protestant clergyman’s insulting phrase.

“Rum” meant the “wets,” who opposed prohibition and who recoiled from government-imposed moral codes. “Romanism” meant Catholics, who immigrated in large numbers, particularly from Ireland. “Rebellion” meant Democratic sympathy for the Confederate cause, still an issue at a time when Civil War wounds had yet to heal.

From 1860 to 1912, the Republicans held a virtual lock on the White House. It appeared that Blaine — a former House speaker, a senator from Maine, a two-time secretary of state and the dominant GOP figure of the period — would extend the party’s streak.

Moreover, many newly enfranchised Irish voters were inclined to support Blaine, whose mother was an Irish Catholic. That changed, however, after Burchard hurled his smear. By a mere 1,000 votes, Blaine lost New York — and the election — to New York Gov. Grover Cleveland. (Sex was also a campaign issue: Cleveland had scandalously fathered a child out of wedlock.)

With a tweak or two, Mark Wahlgren Summers’ study of the Cleveland-Blaine contest, “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion: The Making of a President, 1884,” published in 2000, could illuminate today’s opinion pages.

Summers observed: “If in the making of the president, 1884 shows political managers in a new way, coping with grass-roots democracy at its most persnickety and issues raised by those that the political system shortchanged or excluded — women and blacks especially — it has a more disturbing message about Gilded Age politics. For Americans in general, the election demonstrated how far from democratic the political rules had made representative government.”

Fast-forward 54 years to a political rally in the Bronx, where another preacher, Father Coughlin, gave the Nazi salute and said: “When we get through with the Jews in America, they’ll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing.”

At the time, Jewish homes in Germany were being looted and synagogues were being burned. In 1938, Coughlin’s supporters marched down New York’s Fifth Avenue by the thousands in protest of an asylum bill pending in Congress that would have let more refugees seeking to escape Nazi persecution into the country. “Send Jews back where they came from in leaky boats!” they chanted.

Earlier in the decade, Coughlin had broken with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Coughlin now denounced as a tool of Wall Street and the Jews. FDR, concerned over Coughlin’s role in the 1940 presidential race, dispatched Joseph Kennedy, the father of a future president, to Rome to meet with Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, in an effort to get the Vatican to shut Coughlin down.

Known as the Father of Hate Radio, Coughlin stressed political and economic rather than religious themes. With upward of 40 million devoted listeners, he held real power to skew elections, had not the advent of World War II curbed his influence.

Coughlin finally went off the air in 1940, after an FBI raid found a weapons cache at his Michigan lair, known as the Christian Front. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said the Front was planning to murder Jews, communists and “a dozen congressmen.”

Although many prominent Catholics criticized Coughlin, he was never defrocked for his hate mongering and political campaigning, and continued to churn out his virulent screeds until his death.

Andrew Glass is a Politico senior editor.

© 2007 Capitol News Company, LLC

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From reader Shawn:

There is a new rap video featuring Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin and Eugenie Scott.

Here is the link to see the video (the full lyrics are below):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGgpGLxLQw&fmt=18

A high def torrent-version can be found here: http://www.mininova.org/tor/1278276

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/if_you_heard_my_voice_you_know.php

Post #119

My name is D to the I to C to the K, Yeah I’m the Dickie D,
I gots my PhD and comin’ your way on the Youtube to bust your world view so just listen to me and
don’t you argue.
You see, this battle’s been ragin’ since Zeus was on the bottle,’tween Science like Democritus and
Faith like Aristotle,
who said the mover was unmovin’ like some magic trick but
that’s no good logic, my posse is far too quick for this
religious sthik.
Cos science is the only way to know y’all, you stand with me y’all, or you can fall y’all
So go ahead and take your pick…
ES: Yeah you tell him Rick …
Darwin : Cos if you don’t know me …
RD: YOU DON’T KNOW DICK!!
Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
SH:On the shoulders of midgets we built up this machine,
DD:YEAH!!!
RD: Science silenced that watchdog wingnut Paley
growing stronger and harder almost daily, storming Wilber by force as we framed the discourse that
faith and science are split in schismatic divorce.
Then Darwin took to the seas to see what no one had seen, and ever since then we’ve been
increasingly keen, they may never adore us, but they’ll no longer ignore us,
give it to ‘em PZ hit these BLEEP with the chorus!!!
Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!

Then there was Darrow dukin’ it out with the straight and the narrow,
a ragin’ bull in the ring, he did his thing, and took it on the chin like he was Bobby De Niro.
We might have lost at Scopes, beaten down by the dopes, and the stooges of popes, but in losin’ we
coped, becomin’ more than we hoped, creationists slipped on the soap of their own slippery slope.
What was impossible, improbable, is now wholly unstoppable untoppleable, the Dick Doc’ll roll up
as you creationists foldup
you haters talkin’ bull,
don’t you know that this Dick is un-cock-frickin’ blockable …
Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!
Now the machine of our making, sees culture ripe for the taking,
Cos I’m the rappinest, rabidest atheist who unlike the Catholic, Muslim or even the Jew, believes
that no God but science could ever be true, hell if I was dyslexic I’d even hate “dog” too.
Time to open your eyes, get yourself wise, the age of science will rise to be religion’s demise,
and while you churchies all cry, shouting ‘why God oh why,’ I’ll still be popping my collar
earning more dollars than Allah.
Hollah!
Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!
Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!

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From reader Susan:

Hey Edwin,

I just saw this article and thought you’d find it interesting and very sad.

Praying parents’ other 3 kids removed

By ROBERT IMRIE, Associated Press Writer Fri Mar 28, 7:52 PM ET

WAUSAU, Wis. – The three siblings of a girl who died of diabetes that went untreated as her parents prayed instead of taking her to a doctor have been removed from the home during an investigation, police said Friday.

The parents and social services experts agreed the move would be best for everyone, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said. The children are staying with other relatives, though they were not in danger, he said.

“There is no physical evidence of abuse or neglect,” he said.

Madeline Neumann, 11, died Sunday the Weston home of an undiagnosed but treatable form of diabetes as her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, prayed for her to get better. Her mother said she never expected her daughter, whom she called Kara, to die.

The family believes in the Bible, which says healing comes from God, Leilani Neumann said.

The children removed from the home range in age from 13 to 16 and are expected to return to their parents once an investigation of the girl’s death wraps up, Vergin said.

He would not specify where they are living, other than with another family member.

Vergin said his agency’s final report will make no recommendations on possible charges against the parents, leaving that up to the district attorney.

“There is no intent. They didn’t want their child to die. They thought what they were doing was the right thing,” he said. “They believed up to the time she stopped breathing she was going to get better. They just thought it was a spiritual attack. They believed if they prayed enough she would get through it.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080328/ap_on_re_us/daughter_s_death_prayer

Subject: ANSWERS in ATHEISM recaps AA National Conf. Thursday, March 27, 2088


AMERICAN ATHEISTS

http://www.atheists.org

ANSWERS IN ATHEISM RECAP OF

AMERICAN ATHEISTS CONFERENCE ~

THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2008 7:00 PM

http://www.answersinatheism.net

It was the biggest and most exciting American Atheists National Conference yet! Last weekend, hundreds of Atheists and other Freethinkers poured in to the Downtown Marriott in Minneapolis, MN. to for a blockbuster line-up of noted speakers (including Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss), social events, panels and much more.

EDWIN KAGIN, National Legal Director for American Atheists will help re-cap all of the action during tomorrow night’s internet broadcast at http://www.answersinatheism.net . Joining Edwin (who, incidentally, was presented with the prestigious “Atheist of the Year” Award) will be Helen Kagin, engineer Frank Bicknel, John “The Just” Welte, Fran Welte and perhaps others from the Kagin Manor Family. Also, expect an unexpected guest or two…

You can call in your comments and questions, just log on to the web site at http://www.answersinatheism.net . The program airs live Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, and will be archived.

WHO & WHAT: Edwin Kagin hosts the weekly “Answers in Atheism” program to re-cap the American Atheists National Conference.

WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2008 beginning at 7:00 PM ET

WHERE: http://www.answersinatheism.net

MORE INFO: http://www.answersinatheism.net

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

On Easter by Edwin Kagin


For those who have never seen it, have lost it, or did not know of it, here is that seasonal classic

ON EASTER

The things you are liable to read in the Bible, they ain’t necessarily so.
Porgy and Bess


Easter is the High Holy Day of the Christian religion. In its many manifestations, Easter celebrates the myth of the reanimation from death of the god Jesus, AKA the Christ. Like its wombmate Christmas, Easter is a marvelous blend of Christian and non-Christian nonsense. The Christian side is represented by “Handel’s Messiah” and hot cross buns (a seasonal pastry with a sugar cross on it) and the non-Christian nonsense side by “In Your Easter Bonnet…” and hunts for Easter Eggs (dyed boiled eggs in the shell–laid, young minds are taught to believe, by rabbits).

To understand the phenomena of Easter, one must understand the Christian “Gospels.” These four small propagandist tracts, written long after the supernatural fact, by unknown authors who did not know Jesus, contain the only known evidence for the existence of Jesus. Believers will argue other historic proofs, but these are provable forgeries added centuries later by pious priests who copied or translated Jewish, Roman and Greek texts. If the ancient writers had deliberately omitted Jesus merely because they had never heard of him, this error was often fixed for later Christian editions. The only evidence for Easter beliefs comes from the gospels.

Here’s a neat bible study exercise for non believers. It will help you learn something of the Christian belief system and will prove useful in the civil war when believers try to force you to play in their sandbox. Read all four gospels and, including every fact contained within them, write a concise, noncontradictory chronology of what happened between the time Jesus was crucified on a stake (the Greek word translates “stake” not “cross”–tell that to your preacher and watch him ring them bells) and the moment he went up to Heaven. Then you will know what Christians believe. To make the challenge more exciting, be sure to include facts, for the same time frame, from “The Acts of the Apostles” and from the letters of Paul. Paul really got Christianity going. He claimed to have seen Jesus after Jesus had gone to Heaven. Lots of people believed him. Lots of people believed Joseph Smith too. Joseph Smith wrote “The Book of Mormon” and claimed an angel helped him translate buried gold plates the angel later reburied. At least Paul had honest delusions.

The reason the death of Jesus is of importance to Christians is because if they believe Jesus died for their sins they get to live forever with him when they die. Because Jesus survived death, believers will too. Somehow Jesse’s “sacrifice” doesn’t seem like such a big deal, being a god and all, and getting to come alive again after being dead only one day and two nights. Many people have died for others and have stayed dead. There should be no shortage of volunteers willing to die to save everyone forever and be worshipped as a god if they could come alive again after being dead between Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Once you finish the bible stories about Jesus, you may well wonder how anyone could believe this stuff, and you should understand why the events were omitted from every other history of that time. When Jesus died on the stake, the bible reports that dead people came out of their graves (whether decomposed or not isn’t revealed), walked around the city and were recognized by many. This should have provoked some interest by the scandal sheets of the day, but no other reference is found of it. We might wonder if the risen dead sued to get their property back from their useless heirs.

You will note from your Easter biblical studies that the primary witness to the resurrection of the Christ was one Mary Magdalene, a woman thought to be a prostitute who had been possessed by seven demons, i.e., she was nuts. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the risen savior of the world had appeared in all his glory to the Roman Senate where literate rational humanists could have recorded an accurate account of this miracle? Why have your immortal soul hang in the balance on less than credible evidence? Should one accept that laws of nature have been broken and that a dead body has come alive again on the word of a deranged hooker? Would a just, rational, compassionate god condemn one to eternal torment for doubting such evidence? Clearly the Senate, or even a meeting of the Aqueduct Committee, would have been a better place to break the good news of salvation.

But we are not dealing with a rational god or even decent moral behavior in the Easter story. The god the myth says was the father of Jesus believed in child sacrifice. Previously content with blood drained from the slashed throats of sheep, goats and such, god needed more gore to save everyone. He wanted his own kid killed as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world. This is what little children (kids) are taught in Sunday School (that’s where Christians violate the Fourth Commandment by worshipping on the first day of the week instead of the seventh as god ordered–no wonder we are in such trouble). But if child murder for the sins of others isn’t bad enough, consider this. Christians celebrate the death and rebirth of the god Jesus in a grotesque cannibalistic ritual of literally (or symbolically–depending on choice of sect) eating his flesh and drinking his blood! This bizarre custom is known as “Holy Communion”–dare we call it “swallow the leader?”

If Jesus rose from the dead, and if he went to Heaven, and if Heaven is outside the known universe, and if the laws of nature invented by god apply to god, then Jesus could not travel faster than the speed of light. If he left for Heaven two thousand years ago, he isn’t there yet, and won’t be there for some time. Therefore, we really need not concern ourselves at this point about his return to earth. Presumably he will return sometime after he gets there.

So now you know about Easter. You will probably be a happier and better adjusted human being if you stick to the Easter Parade and pass on the eating of human flesh and blood. And please remember that this disgusting rite is practiced in buildings owned by Christian groups who do not have to pay taxes on their property or income.

And the next time some un-American lunatics want to have forced Christian prayer in public schools, tell them you are a spiritual vegetarian. Happy Easter.

by Edwin Kagin
April, 1995

Edwin Kagin on Genital Based Morality (GBM)

To Unidentified Recipients:

The Genital Based Morality (GBM) of moralists today forced the resignation of the Governor of the State of New York, who could not stand in the winds produced by the beating of their righteous wings. This latest fruit of their fundangelical frustration at failing to elect only eunuchs to public office must have been exacerbated by the news, also announced today, that one in four American teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease (STD), thereby doubtlessly proving to the righteous that yet more stern abstinence based sexual education is clearly required.

Thus, it seemeth only meet and proper to now republish the following, originally presented in 1999. It is contained in the work Baubles of Blasphemy, by Edwin Kagin, edited by Edward Buckner and published by the Freethought Press of Atlanta. Your editor is credited, in that great reference work Who’s Who in Hell, edited by Warren Allen Smith and published by Barricade of New York, with having created the term “Genital Based Morality.”

Edwin.

ON GENITAL BASED MORALITY (GBM)

Morals are manners, and manners are subject to change.

Mrs. Carolyn Benton Cockefaire

As this blasphemy goes to press in early February of 1999, the next to the last year of this millennium, a sideshow skirmish in the American Religious Civil War (ARCW) whimpers to an end. This fanatic digression from reason (fortunately doomed to failure–for now at least) was flamed by attempts of the storm troopers of the religiocencratic forces to kick out the President of the United States because they deem him immoral and unfit to govern because of what he and a human of female persuasion did with his and her genitals, and that he then allegedly lied concerning the doing thereof.

Voluntarily, with the consent of the victims, our nation has managed to become a joke among nations because the piously powerful refuse to recognize or admit that human beings are sexual beings, and not necessarily monogamous ones. In furtherance of this fool’s folly, they ground their understanding of morality on a vain attempt to define humans as somehow outside of the natural world (the only one we know) and apart from other living creatures with whom it is imperfectly shared. If humans were monogamous, they would behave in monogamous ways, as do monogamous animals. To cope with not being monogamously made, rules have been invented requiring monogamous behavior from non-monogamous creatures. These made up rules, that human nature deplores, are

defined and presented as the unchangeable moral law of god. In consequence, pretentiously pious persons lie about sex and delude themselves about morality by genitally defining goodness, and damning, as morally defective, all who dissent, detract, or disobey–including our head of state who also just happens to champion a variety of humanistic causes his detractors undauntingly damn.

Incredibly, the miserable monolithic moronic moral code of those ethical paupers who would destroy us and our democracy in the ARCW is based on genitals (not to be confused with gentiles). This is indeed curious in that sex (not gender–gender is a term of grammar), would be hard pressed to get along without genitals. Where there is sex, there are genitals. It’s god’s plan; “male and female created he them.” The god the stories say ordained procreation wisely gave created creatures the tools with which to procreate. These tools of god’s plan are the very genitals conjugally challenged sufferers of moralist madness abhor. Rejection of dreaded essential genitals is the center, the very essence, of their nutty notions of moral law. This idiotic and evil short circuiting of reason, this delusional deduction of dunces, may be understood as Genital Based Morality (GBM).

GBM is an infantile system of primitive simplistic thinking, involving magical make believe, and is thus quite easy to understand. Abortion, homosexuality, pornography, prostitution, unmarried sex, oral sex, sodomy (maybe Gomorra), non-monogamous sex, “adult” videos, nudist clubs, nude beaches, nude dancing–anything that touches upon, views, uses, or has anything whatsoever to do with, genitals, is immoral and bad. See how easy it is. Further inquiry, reasoning, or evidence is superfluous and irrelevant. If it is genital, it is bad. Barbie and Ken must not have genitals lest they display the ultimate reality of being human, and thereby educate, confuse and corrupt little children who should be taught to believe the world works in ways other than it does. Legislatures and judges should let a relgiocrazy kill their kid by denying medical treatment, yet prosecute nudist clubs for permitting people to walk around in the uniform of the day of Eden. Steal from widows and orphans if you must, so long as you don’t do the dirty in forbidden ways, or watch others do it, or pay for it, or, god help us all, enjoy it. Rather think of England and canning apricots than be damned by those damned genitals causing forbidden thoughts or, in cases of extreme sin, actually giving their owner(s) forbidden pleasure. GBM subordinates every other consideration regarding personal and group thought and behavior to this prime (not primal) directive.

How did we come to this unhappy state? Scene shifts to downtown Baghdad, Iraq. Where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet. Garden of Eden. Year the firs
t. Setting of a bronze age myth that has done much mischief whenever and wherever believed. Adam and Eve were set up by god. They were naked. They didn’t know this was bad because god didn’t tell them. God knew it was bad, but they didn’t. So there they were, the first nudists, as innocently unclothed as the heathen participants in the first Olympic Games, put naked in paradise by a voyeuristic god in a place where snakes talked and had legs and told the truth about knowledge not killing people. Then Eve got Adam, per snake advice, to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which god had told them not to eat. And he did, and she did, and women have been blamed for this ever since, for god was displeased that they had disobeyed, listened to that snake, and acquired the nasty knowledge that the only human genitals on earth were shamefully exposed. God then killed some innocent animals to clothe our first parents so they would not be in a state of shame with their genitals showing. Some believed this story and taught others to believe it. Some believe it today. Thus was Genital Based Morality (GBM) born. We don’t know what god wore

It is unclear just how A & E could have been expected to know it was wrong not to obey god before they had knowledge of good and evil. But religion need not be rational. The lesson is that knowledge is bad, and that nakedness is shameful. With full knowledge of their shameful state of genital visibility, Adam and Eve were booted out of Eden by a loving and all knowing god, a god without whose knowledge and approval no sparrow falls. Ever since, those predestined to sin by this same all merciful god have been damned to eternal suffering for sinning. GBM has never claimed to be logical or fair. Neither has god. Actually he/she has, but this claim is not supported by the record.

Secular humanists, and others who think an ethical system should extend beyond the groin, are condemned by those who see themselves as righteous and saved. The self-righteous contend non-believers cannot be good people, for such sinners lack a proper sense of shame and guilt derived from an alleged moral base. This fantasizes an objective, defined, findable, and absolute moral authority that tells good people what is right and what is wrong, a moral compass without which there can be no values. In this understanding, it is a lack of belief in “natural law” (a misunderstood term) that has spread from godless humanism to science, to classroom, to generate the corrosive moral rot that is wrecking our society, denying us the intervention of a displeased god, who we offend with abortion, homosexuality, unwed sex, pornography, and god help us all, evolution. Oddly, all of these but the evolution thing seem to have something to do with sex. Come to think on it, the evolution stuff does too. The bottom line says if you aren’t guilted out by GBM you are a bad person who is going to spend eternity in Hell.

GBM is a relatively recent religious repression. Apart from the Eden tradition, religious teachings of the past (including lots of really sexy bible stories they don’t tell you about in Sunday school) haven’t made anything like this much of a fuss over genitals. Indeed, they seem to have been rather favored–both kinds (genitals, not religions–there are lots more than two kinds of religions). The ancient Greeks made much larger than life models of them (genitals) and put them (the models) on display at public theatres. Such a display in modern moral middle America would get you sent to the cooler in seats of learning like Cincinnati. Genitals probably haven’t changed much, but attitudes toward them have. The fault is neither generic nor genital. It is the miasmal moral morass of garbled glib guilt gilded gibberish packaged, proclaimed, and peddled as the will of god given unto lesser mortals by those who interpret the truths of natural law. You know, people like Dr. Laura, Henry Hyde, and the bigots who run “Right to Life,” claim to be “family friendly,” seek “answers in genesis” (not genitals) and, because of the GBM that guides their petty lives, want to kick our President out of the White House, as the naked A & E were kicked out of Paradise (not to be confused with Club Paradise) because they acquired knowledge and an awareness of being attached to their genitals.

Those waging the ARCW claim our head of state lied under oath about his private conduct with his privates. Ah, wonder if they know of the manner of swearing when one swore a mighty oath before the holy Patriarchs of the bible? Abraham and Jacob’s method of swearing required the placing of “his hand under the thigh.” This involved, I swear, the person giving the oath putting his hand on the genitals of the one to whom he swore. This practice gave weight to the oath. Don’t know why this method was adopted, or when it was abandoned (am just glad it was). At least GBM had a real, if different, meaning back then. Maybe the President was attempting the reintroduction of this ancient practice. Don’t know how women took oaths, or if such was even permitted. After all, who could trust any woman after Eve? My Helen has a bumper sticker that says, “Eve was framed.”

Genitals were so important in the bible that trimming the male version via circumcision was a religious requirement. And it is written in the word of god that a eunuch cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, nor can one who has had his “stones crushed,” i.e., had his testicles smashed. Doesn’t seem right or fair somehow, but it does show how much genitals meant to those who penned those bronze age writings. Jesus later suggested that it would be better if a man cut off his genitals. Some early church fathers, like Origen, did just that. Don’t know if the “crushed stones” rule applied and kept him out of heaven. That would have been a shame indeed. After Jesus, genitals did not seem so highly regarded, but they were made even more important by being used to define all aspects of the moral law–by becoming the basis of good and evil. Maybe Jesus started GBM. Whoever did was probably scared of women.

The pre-GBM bible book, the Song of Songs, sometimes erroneously called the Song of Solomon, has quite a bit to say about genitals. It is Jewish, and pre-Christian. Puritans, not daring to recognize it for what it is, say this bible story is an allegory touching on Christ’s love for his church. It is actually an erotic work (seems Egyptian, really) about a man’s lust for his sister, touching on his desire to climb her branches and, like a young roe, graze about her breasts and genitals. Christ’s love for the church, indeed! How much in general genital denial these clever clerics be, especially those proudly proclaiming the cults of celibacy and cloister.

Consider as an alternate approach, one in marked contrast to modern GBM, the ancient Egyptian creation myth. It was a bit different from the one taught in Christian Sunday schools. The great god Rah ejaculated (yes, from his genitals) the stars and all that is–sort of a climactic cosmology. The Egyptian version of the Holy of Holies held a statute of the god with erect phallus. Priestesses and priests held sacred ceremonies reenacting, with the pharaoh, the living god, the comic climax. Now how’s that for a religion? Gives a whole new meaning to the idea of handmaidens. Archeological evidence of these religious beliefs and practices were suppressed by modern puritans who displayed some of the sacred religious art of the Egyptians with an informational museum type sign placed, like a fig leaf, over the essence of the religious symbolism of the pictorial depiction of the turgid pharaoh, the living god. Only by moving the sign could the true meaning of the mysteries of Egyptian religion be revealed, truths once commonly accepted and viewed openly by all, including little children who were not taught to be embarrassed or shamed by genitals. After all, reasoned our unsaved predecessors, where would we be without them?

Then there was sacred prostitution. And there were seasonal approved-by-prevailing-local-religions orgies to teach the crops and herds to reproduce and grow, and to encourage the gods to let them do so. The great men of the bible had many wives, with no complaint from god. When king David was old, they put two young women in bed with him to keep him warm. Lot’s daughters got him drunk and seduced him. If a king could not get an erection, it was felt he could no longer rule. No impeachment plot nonsense over sex then. Genital shame is a modern Christian phenomenon. GBM has replaced ethics. Denial has become duty and holiness has been traded for honor. Repression has pushed reason from the banquet table of life. Moralists who think everyone should follow their GBM are generally good persons in the worst sense of the word. If they tell you they are “born again Christians,” thank them for the warning. They are usually more tedious and venal the second time around.

Do you find all the moralizing and genital ranting going on these days just a little silly? Good. It is. GBM denies the realities of the world. The preacher doesn’t tell on the deacon when they meet in the whorehouse. Everybody lies about sex. Under oath too. Ask any divorce lawyer. This is because of GBM and the failure to admit that we, who some say are made in the image of god, are not all monogamous creatures, and monogamous or not, we tend to like sex (the exceptions to this are beyond the scope of this discourse). This causes problems when a moral code is imposed and accepted that denies our mortal nature. Our kind would have become extinct long ago if we had followed such a moral law and actually repudiated the idea of deflowering virgins. Enforcement of rules that try to cancel out the very chemistry of life will be about as successful as attempting to plow the sea or baptize a cat.

So we laugh when moralists like Dr. Laura get caught with their pants down in indiscreet photos–from a less famous time–posted on the internet, or when those who accuse the President are found to have themselves tasted forbidden fruit. Hate and hypocrisy are the twin tyrannies that fuel GBM. Surely there is more to living a good life than making ethical judgments based on genital repression. Consider, dear reader, if you would care to spend eternity in the company of those who do.

If history teaches anything, it is that moral judgments change. This applies to everything from sexual behavior to smoking in public (some say they smoke after sex–others say they never noticed). Today’s customs can become tomorrow’s perversions, as we make taboo the thrills of our fathers, or heap honor on persons and ideas they hated. Things change. That’s the one universal truth.

And there are, to be sure, decent monogamous (not to be confused with monotonous) humanistic humans. There are also humans who can eat spaghetti with chop sticks. This does not mean we should outlaw forks.

Edwin Kagin

February 7, 1999.

Atheist News from Edwin Kagin

AMERICAN ATHEISTS MEDIA

ANSWERS IN ATHEISM TO HOST

JOE ZAMECKI, ELLEN JOHNSON

LIVE ON THE INTERNET THIS THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2008

JOE ZAMECKI, Texas State Director for American Atheists (http://www.atheists.org/tx) and American Atheists President ELLEN JOHNSON will be the guests this Thursday, March 13, 2008 on the hot internet-radio program ANSWERS IN ATHEISM.

Hosted by attorney Edwin Kagin, the program streams live at http://www.answersinatheism.net and is also archived.

Joe Zamecki is a veteran freethought and First Amendment activist. Last year, he hosted the Rally for the Separation of Church and State at the capitol building in Austin, TX. Mr. Zamecki will be discussing state-church issues in the Lone Star state, and answering questions from the AIA audience.

Ellen Johnson is President of American Atheists and a leading national media figure in the discussion of First Amendment public policy. She will be talking about the upcoming American Atheists Conference slated for Minneapolis, MN. March 21-23, 2008 (visit http://www.atheists.org/conference).

Call Toll Free 877.814.9287 or local 859.384.7000 Or email to [email protected]

WHO & WHAT: Ellen Johnson and Joe Zamecki on this week’s ANSWERS IN ATHEISM internet radio program live!

WHEN: Thursday, March 13, 2008 beginning at 7:00 PM EDT

WHERE: http://www.answersinatheism.net

MORE INFO: http://www.answersinatheism.net

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

Atheist News from Edwin Kagin


KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: March 08, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 48, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

I WAS BORN AN ATHEIST JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE

To Unidentified Recipients:

Here is a link to two video versions of the Edwinian appearance at the University of Kentucky on March 3rd: The panel also featured stellar performance by Adam of UKSHIFT and Stephen of the Atheists Meetup group in Lexington, Ky. Many thanks to Dr. Robin and Ann for making these videos available available.

http://web.as.uky.edu/Biology/faculty/cooper/UKSHIFT/default.htm

Edwin.

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AMERICAN ATHEISTS

MEDIA ALERT

http://www.atheists.org

ELLEN JOHNSON, FRANK ZINDLER LIVE

ON ATHEISTS TALK RADIO SUNDAY MARCH 9, 2008

Tune in or catch the Internet stream…

ELLEN JOHNSON, President of American Atheists and FRANK ZINDLER, Editor of American Atheists Press will be the guests on the live Minnesota Atheists talk radio program, Sunday, March 9, 2008.

From 9:00 to 9:30 AM, Central Daylight Time. Frank Zindler will discuss the American Atheist Press publishing projects. From 9:30 – 10:00 AM, CDT Ellen Johnson will talk about the upcoming American Atheists Conference in Minneapolis (http://www.atheists.org/conference).

You can listen by tuning in to AM 950 KTNF Radio, or catch the live Internet feed at http://AirAmericaMinnesota.com/listen. Enter a Minnesota zip code such as 55401 when prompted. During the program you can also call in with questions at 952-946-6205, or e-mail to [email protected].

The show will be available for download or streaming at the
Minnesota Atheists web site at http://minnesotatheists.org .

WHO & WHAT: Ellen Johnson and Frank Zindler on “Atheists Talk” radio show

.

WHEN: Sunday, March 8, 2008 ~

From 9:00 to 9:30 AM, Central Daylight Time Frank Zindler will discuss the American Atheist Press publishing projects. From 9:30 – 10:00 AM, CNT Ellen Johnson will talk about the upcoming American Atheists Conference in Minneapolis (http://www.atheists.org/conference).

WHERE & HOW: Tune in live to AM 950 KTNF or Internet at http://AirAmericaMinnesota.com/livstream.

MORE INFO: http://MinnesotaAtheists.org

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)


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Judge: No funds for religious school

STATE MONEY FOR CUMBERLANDS PROJECT UNCONSTITUTIONAL

By Jack Brammer And Linda Blackford

[email protected] [email protected]

FRANKFORT –

The General Assembly violated the state Constitution when it appropriated $10 million to the University of the Cumberlands for a pharmacy building and $1 million for scholarships in 2006, a judge ruled Thursday.

In an 11-page order that can be appealed, retired Franklin County Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden ruled in a summary judgment that “there is no question that the appropriation of $10 million (of) tax dollars to the university to construct a pharmacy building is a direct payment to a non-public religious school for educational purpose.”

“This type of direct expenditure is not permitted by the Constitution of Kentucky,” he wrote.

Concerning money for the pharmacy scholarship program, Crittenden said the legislature violated a section of the Constitution when it used the budget bill to enact a permanent program.

Crittenden’s order did not address allegations in the lawsuit that the Southern Baptist school in Williamsburg unconstitutionally discriminated against a student who identified himself as gay.

The state Senate approved money for the school shortly before the university kicked out Jason Johnson, a junior from Lexington, who had discussed his homosexuality on his MySpace page.

“This court does not need to decide this issue to reach a decision in this case, but this is exactly the ‘entanglement’ between government interests and religious institutions that the Kentucky Constitution prohibits,” Crittenden said.

Near the end of the 2006 General Assembly, Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, earmarked the money to the university from coal severance tax receipts. He said the appropriation was justified because his part of the state needs a pharmacy school to address a shortage of pharmacists.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit included the Rev. Albert M. Pennybacker of Lexington, representing the Interfaith Alliance; the Jefferson County Teachers Association; the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; and the Rev. Paul D. Simmons, a Baptist minister and retired professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

The plaintiffs filed suit in April 2006, arguing that the state appropriation was illegal under Kentucky’s constitution. Later, 13 Republican state legislators joined the university as defendants in the case.

In an agreement between former Gov. Ernie Fletcher and the plaintiffs, the money was not distributed pending the outcome of the case, said David Tachau, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

A news release from the university called the decision disappointing and said it would take several days to consider an appeal and the future of the pharmacy school.

“I am grateful to the state legislature for its confidence in the university and for its attempt to enhance opportunities for those who live in our area,” said President James Taylor. “I have no doubt that the funds appropriated for the pharmacy school would have served the public interest well.”

Williams called Crittenden’s decision “wrong.”

The University of the Cumberlands, he said, “is not a religious sect, society or denomination. I don’t see how anybody can say that running a pharmacy school has any kind of religious significance.”

But Pennybacker called the ruling “a repudiation of doctrinal ideology intruding on state funds.”

“I think our plea was on constitutional restraints and provisions, both nationally and in Kentucky, advocating the separation of church of state,” Pennybacker said. “This judgment is a major validation of that.”

Gov. Steve Beshear, who replaced Fletcher as a defendant when he took office, said he agreed with the ruling.

“We will not be appealing it,” he said with a smile.

Christina Gilgor, director of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, called the decision “a victory against state-subsidized discrimination.”

“Kentucky’s budget crisis is forcing public schools around the state to tighten their belts. In that climate, a windfall for the University of the Cumberlands is beyond inappropriate.”

However, Crittenden’s ruling did not address discrimination against gays and lesbians, a move applauded by Jason Johnson, the expelled student.

“I think that hits the nail on the head — my stance all along has been that while religious institutions have the right to hold any beliefs they wish, when it comes to taking public money, we have to have a much broader mind, and that’s the way the judge ruled,” Johnson said.

Brent McKim of the teachers association said his group joined the suit because of the precedent of public money going to parochial education — particularly to a school that discriminates.

“I think it’s the right decision and the just decision,” McKim said.

Currently, students can use public money from the state’s Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship program at private and religious colleges and universities.

Gary Cox, director of the Association of Independent Kentucky College and Universities, said KEES money goes directly to students, rather than to institutions, so it has not been challenged as a constitutional violation.

But Tachau said that might be open to a challenge.

“It’s simply inaccurate to say the money goes to the students and not the institutions,” he said. “State money is going to private religious institutions under those programs.”

Sen. Jack Westwood, R- Crescent Springs, was one of the 13 Republicans who joined the university in the suit.

“That’s what we have the judicial system for,” he said of the decision. But Westwood also questioned what effect, if any, the ruling would have on state appropriations to private groups.

Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, the only openly gay member of the legislature, said in a statement: “Our forefathers, using astute wisdom, mandated the separation of church and state. … Public dollars should go to public institutions. To do otherwise is to shortchange the taxpayers.”

In an interview, Scorsone added that the judgment might provide some practical help, too.

“It looks like we just found another $10 million for our budget in these difficult financial times,” he said.

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American Atheists Affiliate

http://www.atheists.org

http://www.michiganatheists.org

MICHIGAN ATHEISTS CELEBRATE
THE SPRING EQUINOX
WITH A PRIVATE SCREENING OF
“THE SEPARATION ON STATE STREET”


DATE: SUNDAY, March 16, 2008


TIME: 3:00 TO 7:00 PM


WHERE: CHINA STAR PALACE,270 S. Wayne Road, Westland, MI. 734-326-1310
(Between Palmer and Cherry Hill and across the street from K-Mart)

BUFFET DINNER served at 4:00: Tea, Coffee and Tomato Juice (cash bar available)
Sweet & Sour Chicken, Almond Chicken, Pepper Steak, Stir Fried Vegetables and Rice $Thirteen Bucks$

MANAGEMENT REQUESTS THAT YOU PARK IN BANK LOT!

PROGRAM: It started back at the turn of the new millennium, in January 2000 Anonka and her daughter, Tammra, opened “Anonka’s Witch Museum” on State Street in Caro, Michigan.

“Anonka’s” stood out because it sold those knickknacks with a message — delivered to those with enough courage to “Brave the Dungeon” — a memorial and commentary on the witch hunts of the Middle Ages and how to make sense of, and learn from them in the 21st Century.

Added to that, Anonka found herself in serious trouble when she went to City Hall to ask a question — “Why is there a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn?”

When she started a demonstration for the displays removal many of her business neighbors decided to demonstrate for her removal.

“The Separation on State Street” www.knowsaint.com follows Anonka and her family down a long, rough legal road in their fight for Constitutional rights against the larger community that did not share her voice of reason.

Shooting on this feature length documentary started in the fall of 2002. Since then the producer/director followed the case through the courts, the media and the community.

We are honored to have this private screening and host one of the producers of this film who will be present for comments and questions.

Photos, protesters and more on www.michiganatheists.org Clink on Photo Journal.

ARLENE-MARIE, Michigan Atheists Affiliate Director
[email protected] (313) 938-5960 michiganatheists.org
PO Box 0025 Allen Park, MI 48101

Michigan Atheists is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social and educational organization defending civil rights for non believers and dedicated to the complete and absolute separation of state and church.

Action without discussion is dangerous. Discussion without action is futile

===========================================================================================================================

From reader JerryK:

Would you rather live with unanswered questions or

unquestioned answers?

— Carter Hamilton in Kansas City

“He that cannot reason is a fool;

He that will not is a bigot;

He that dare not is a slave.”

— Sir William Drummond (1770-1828)

“The people that we see as our enemies are not necessarily

the people who disagree with us, but rather the people who

would make it illegal for us to disagree with them.”

— The Watch

http://www.nytimes. com/2008/ 03/08/us/ 08chapel. html?_r=1&th=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&emc=th&adxnnlx=1204971974- tdsJ4BMPZJZNKiyP BElgZQ

Clashing Over Church Ritual and Flag Protocol at the Naval Academy Chapel

By NEELA BANERJEE

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — On Sundays at the Naval Academy Chapel, at a few minutes past 11 a.m., the choir stops singing and a color guard carrying the academy flag and the American flag strides up the aisle.

Below a cobalt blue stained-glass window of Jesus, one midshipman dips the academy flag before the altar cross, and the other dips the American flag.

The dipping of the flag has begun this nondenominational Protestant service at the Naval Academy for 40 years. But in civilian life, the American flag is never to be dipped, and the Navy says, it is not dipped at any other worship service at the academy or at any other installation.

In October, after the academy’s superintendent, Vice Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler, raised questions about the ritual with the academy chaplains, they suspended the flag-dipping because “there was a concern over teaching midshipmen something not practiced anywhere in the fleet,” the academy’s spokesman, Cmdr. Ed Austin, said in an e-mail message.

But the pause lasted only a few months. Now the flags are being dipped again, and the superintendent, who has held his post since June, has stopped attending the 11 a.m. service. Evangelical Christians and their critics alike assert that the academy had to reconsider after an outcry by congregants and alumni.

“I think the ceremony is fully representative of the highest traditions of our country,” said Bob Morrison, who has attended the 11 a.m. service for 12 years and who heads an internship program at the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. “It basically says that our country is one nation under God and the nation-state is not the highest authority in the world.”

A spokesman for the Navy chief of chaplains, Capt. Gregory G. Caiazzo, said in an e-mail message that different bases developed their own traditions at religious services, and that “such traditions are conducted at the discretion of the command.”

Mikey Weinstein, a graduate of the Air Force Academy and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group, criticized Admiral Fowler’s decision to allow the practice to resume. “It was an incredible act of cowardice,” he said. “The oath he and others have taken is to protect and defend the Constitution, not the New Testament.”

Admiral Fowler declined to comment. In an e-mail message, Commander Austin said: “Discussions with the chaplains resulted in suspension of the tradition in the fall of 2007. Following continued evaluation, parading and dipping the flags was incorporated back into the 11:00 Sunday Protestant services.”

Each branch of the armed forces has its own flag code, said Clark Rogers, director of educational programs at the National Flag Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes respect for the flag. But the United States Flag Code says the flag “should not be dipped for any person or thing,” Mr. Rogers said.

“If the academy called me, I would tell them not to dip the flag,” Mr. Rogers said. “And I’m a very religious person.”

Concern about the influence of conservative Christians in the military has grown since an investigation in 2005 by the Air Force found that Christian staff and faculty members at the Air Force Academy used their positions to evangelize cadets. Conservative Christian chaplains have battled the military to break with tradition and pray in Jesus’ name at military functions.

Now, Specialist Jeremy Hall of the Army, an Iraq veteran and an atheist, is suing the Defense Department, with the help of Mr. Weinstein’s group, because he says his superior officer tried to intimidate him into accepting fundamentalist Christianity.

About 1,000 people usually attend the 11 a.m. service. After the dipping was suspended, “dozens of congregants” wrote the academy backing the practice, Mr. Morrison said. Commander Austin confirmed that most of those who contacted the academy said they supported the practice.

“I like that part of the ritual; it never bothered me,” said Lowell Hodgson, a retired Army lieutenant colonel after a recent service, “and I believe in the separation of church and state.”

Edwin Kagin on Atheist News

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: March 05, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 48, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

I WAS BORN AN ATHEIST JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE

To Unidentified Recipients:

The forum discussion “Does God Exist” at the University of Kentucky at Lexington, Kentucky on March 03, 2008 was a great success. At least 200 people attended, with standing room only. Extra chairs had to be brought in. On the panel were three Atheists, three Christians, and one Muslim. The discussion was lively, and the audience was polite and full of questions. It was an honor to be included. For the first time that I can recall, the audience reactions seemed to be more favorable to the Atheist side than to the Christian side.

Here is a video of the event, recorded by Dr. Robin Cooper of the Biology Department of the University of Kentucky:

He says:

“Subject: Last night’s talk… Movie downloads- back of the room version

Hi,

Just go to this link and right click on the movie, SAVE to your hard drive, then open in windows media player

http://web.as.uky.edu/Biology/faculty/cooper/UKSHIFT/default.htm

For some odd reason I can not get Quick Time to open these files. Only WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER works for me.

The higher quality front room version will soon be available (all 8GB) from Edwin’s camera

Yours,

Robin”

Clever readers, who know how to do such things, may want to put some segments of this video on YouTube or such.

Many thanks to the members of SHIFT at U.K., to the Lexington Atheists Meet-up, and especially to Jan, Dr. Robin and family, Adam, and Stephen for helping to make this event such a success.

Edwin.

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AMERICAN ATHEISTS

http://www.atheists.orgt

AA Media

ARLENE-MARIE On ANSWERS IN ATHEISM

INTERNET RADIO

THIS THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2008 ~ 7:00 PM ET

Arlene Marie, Michigan State Director for American Atheists, will be the guest Thursday night, March 6, 2008 on the popular internet radio program “Answers in Atheism.” The program will stream live beginning at 7:00 PM ET; listeners will be able to access the content in the Archives section shortly thereafter. Visit http://www.answersinatheism.net .

Arlene-Marie is not only one of the most active freethinkers today, she has a career in the Atheist movement going back nearly four decades. She was a close friend of American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and was present at the very first AA Convention held in Austin, Texas in 1971. She has made hundreds of media appearances, spoken at numerous events, and established herself as a leading spokesperson for Atheism and the separation of Church and state.

Arlene Marie shares her memories and thoughts about our movement, and where it is headed. She’ll also be available to answer any of your questions. Join her and host Edwin Kagin Thursday night on the “Answers in Atheism” internet radio program.

WHO & WHAT: Arlene-Marie, Michigan State Director for American Atheists on the “Answers in Atheism” internet radio show.

WHEN: Thursday, March 6, 2008 beginning at 7:00 PM

WHERE: http://www.answersinatheism.net

MORE INFO: http://www.answersinatheism.netand http://www.michiganatheists.org

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

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Forwarded from the President of American Atheists and Executive Director of the GAMPAC, Ellen Johnson.

GODLESS AMERICANS
POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
www.gampac.org

Pat Robertson has chosen his candidates to run the
country in 2008. Have you?

Dear State Director,

As you know, we are now less than one year away from the presidential elections. The winner who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – along with those serving in Congress — could well determine the final political make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, and seriously affect our First Amendment freedoms.

Religious right leaders like Pat Robertson know this. There is now a growing split, though, among factions of America’s theocratic far-right. Pastor Robertson seems willing to make limited tactical compromises in order to retain his considerable political access within the DC beltway. Other religious right luminaries are far less willing to bargain, and are talking about forming a third-party movement.

What will be the outcome of this? We can’t say for sure. I can tell you, however, that it is absolutely essential that America’s growing community of Atheists, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and other non-believers flex our political muscle by supporting candidates who embrace our values and our agenda! We need to “spread the word,” and encourage like-minded individuals to run for public office. And we need to back candidates at all levels of the electoral process who will work for us! The truth is that candidates listen to those who “put their money where their mouth is.” That’s where the GAMPAC, the Godless Americans Political Action Committee gets involved!

We actively support the candidates who vote our way pertaining to the separation of church and state – men and women like Rep. Pete Stark of California, an openly professed religious skeptic on Capitol Hill.

The GAMPAC encourages you to help us spread the word about this important mission. Your group can help in many ways; but right now, we’re asking you to use your local or regional web site to LINK to the GAMPAC page at http://www.gampac.org <http://www.gampac.org/> . It’s easy to do – just visit http://www.godlessamericans.org/pacspreadtheword.php where you’ll find logos and even Flash movie animations, along with the appropriate code.

Your help will go a long way in giving GAMPAC the exposure and support we need to continue having an influence in our nation’s electoral process. It’s important that Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and other “godless Americans” continue to educate the public about vital philosophical, cultural and political issues. We also need to take direct action, however, and that means choosing and backing the right candidates for elected office! That is the mission of the Godless Americans Political Action Committee. Since its founding, the GAMPAC has endorsed and contributed to the campaigns of dozens or worthy candidates. We’ve also educated America’s diverse and growing community of non-believers about the need to become politically involved.

Your AA State Web Site link to the GAMPAC will help to raise the awareness level among Atheists, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and others about the importance of “voting our principles” and supporting our candidates!

Thanking you in advance for your help!

– ELLEN JOHNSON, Executive Director
GAMPAC