Edwin Kagin’s Atheist News. Atheist Coming Out Party and De-Baptism. Traditional Family Values Department


KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 31, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, 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.)

IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST

To Unidentified Recipients:

AMERICAN ATHEISTS

http://www.atheists.org

UPDATE…

FIRST ATHEIST “COMING OUT” &

DE-BAPTISM BASH THIS SATURDAY!

August 2, 2008 — Westerville, Ohio — 12:00 noon

http://healthyaddict.googlepages.com/home

The nation’s first Atheist “Coming Out” Party and De-Baptism bash will take place this coming Saturday (August 2, 2008) in Westerville, Ohio beginning at 12:00 noon.

All Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and other nonbelievers — especially those “in the closet” — are invited! The event will feature talks, information booths, social events and a “De-Baptism” ceremony (complete with a Certificate of De-Baptism).

“This will be a day of celebration and education for anyone who doesn’t believe in a God,” said event organizer Ashley Paramore. “We’re sending the message that it is OK to not believe in a Jehovah or Allah or some other deity, and live a secular lifestyle as an alternative to organized religion.”

Featured on the program will be Edwin Kagin (Legal Director, Americ
an Atheists); Frank Zindler (President, AA); and Hemant Mehta (Secular Student Alliance).

The venue is the Everal Barn, 60 N. Cleveland Avenue in Westerville, Ohio. For more information, visit http://healthyaddict.googlepages.com/home or contact Ashley Paramore through ashley@secul[email protected]).

WHAT: The first official ATHEIST COMING OUT AND DE-BAPTISM PARTY.

WHEN: This Saturday, August 2, 2008 from 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM

WHO: Ashley Paramore, Frank Zindler, Edwin Kagin, Hemant Mehta

WHERE: Everal Barn, 60 N. Cleveland Avenue in Westerville, Ohio.

MORE INFO: http://healthyaddict.googlepages.com/home or contact Ashley Paramore through [email protected]).

(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.)

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

DON”T MISS THIS:

ATHEIST COMING OUT PARTY AND DE-BAPTISM.

You’re invited!
Date: August 2nd, 2008
Time: 12pm-5pm
Location: Everal Barn
60 N. Cleveland Avenue
Westerville, Ohio 43081
(click here for map)

From Ashley, organizer of Atheist Coming Out Party:

Ok everyone, the big event is this Saturday! It looks like things are going to be a huge success! I’ve gotten a lot of e-mail from people interested in attending, along with e-mails from the Dispatch, Westerville paper, and even Reuters in Dallas! I’m excited! :)

To view details for the party, go here –> http://healthyaddict.googlepages.com/home

All of the information is contained on that site in regards to location and cost – now the low price of FREE! For those of you who have paid me by cash or check and would like to be refunded please contact me at [email protected] and I will give you a full refund (all paypal payments should be fully refunded at this point – I’m still playing catch-up with checks). If you would rather leave it as a donation for the Coming OUT Party for next year, that would be greatly appreciated. In either case, please let me know as soon as possible so I know what to do with your entry.

Hemant’s book, “I Sold My Soul on Ebay” is still available for pre-pay online.

In regards to food, if you plan on eating, be sure to bring something! We will have two grills. Volunteer cooks would be great as well. :)

Don’t forget to bring literature for your groups or organizations.

Speakers will start around 1-1:30pm. And for those wanting to get a ‘de-baptism’ that will go on a 4:00pm. Aside from that, bring some food, and have a great time! For those who want to go camping Saturday night at Alum Creek please get ahold of me ASAP!

Please pass this information along to your groups and others who you know are attending.

Looking forward to seeing you all there! :) Thanks so much for all your help getting the word out as well!


Ashley Paramore
Secular Student Alliance Board Member
Students for Freethought at Ohio State Chair
Omnipresent Atheists & Heathen Chicks Organizer
419-631-1255

“Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine they didn’t understand, why, there would be no end of divine things.”
~Hippocrates

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

Traditional Family Values Department.

From reader Jan:

Matthew 24:12 (King James Version)

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

———————————–

http://www.al.com/news/press-register/index.ssf?/base/news/1217409343125180.xml&coll=3&thispage=1

Body in freezer as man preached

Anthony Hopkins of Mobile is charged with murdering his wife and sexually abusing his eldest daughter, who tipped off police Wednesday, July 30, 2008 By ROBERT McCLENDON Staff Reporter

While Anthony Hopkins was leading a revival in a small church on the outskirts of Jackson, Ala., Monday night, the body of a woman, presumed to be his wife, was stuffed in a freezer at his house in Mobile, waiting to be discovered by police.

Acting on a tip given by Hopkins’ daughter, the eldest of eight children, police said they knew where to look and what they were likely to find when they searched the Rylands Street house.

Clarke County Sheriff’s deputies found Hopkins at the church a short time later, still preaching and ministering to people in the crowd, according to the pastor of the congregation hosting the revival.

It could be the last sermon he preaches as a free man. Hopkins now sits in Mobile County Metro Jail, charged with murdering his wife, 36-year-old Arletha Hopkins. He could face life in prison if convicted.

The body had yet to be positively identified Tuesday night, but authorities said they were confident that it was Hopkins’ wife.

Mobile Police Chief Phillip Garrett said it could be a few days before the body is positively identified, a delay caused principally by the condition of the corpse, which he said looked like it had been in the freezer for “quite a while.”

As of Tuesday morning, when Garrett held a news conference to announce Hopkins’ arrest, it was not even known how Arletha Hopkins had been killed or what condition her body was in.

Officers removed the small chest-style freezer from Hopkins’ house in its entirety, transporting it to the Mobile office of the Department of Forensic Sciences.

Exactly how long she had been in the freezer remains unclear, Garrett said, but nobody has heard from Arletha Hopkins in more than three years.

She had never been reported missing.

She might never have been discovered if Hopkins’ 19-year-old daughter hadn’t come forward and talked to police attached to the Child Advocacy Center.

Detectives found out about the body during the interview, Garrett said. They also found out that Hopkins had been sexually abusing the eldest child, Garrett said.

In addition to the murder charge, Hopkins also faces charges of rape and sodomy.

Details about Hopkins’ past remained sketchy Tuesday.

Police described him as an evangelist, an itinerant preacher who toured various churches around the area holding revivals. He hadn’t been in the Mobile area for long, according to Garrett. Hopkins kept a low profile.

Neighbors on his central Mobile block said they didn’t know him well, only as “Rev.” His children played in the yard often, they said, but they weren’t allowed to play with other kids on the street. None of them recalled seeing Hopkins with his wife.

He did apparently have some roots in Jackson, where he had led several revivals in the past, according to Beverly Jackson, the pastor of Inspiration Tabernacle Church, the site of Monday night’s revival meeting where Hopkins was taken into custody.

Jackson said several of her congregants came to her and asked if Hopkins could hold a revival at their church.

“Everybody liked him, said he was a kind man,” Jackson said, “And they liked the way he ministered.”

Jackson said she didn’t know
Hopkins well, having only met him once, many years ago. When he reintroduced himself, he said his wife died giving birth to their youngest child. Jackson said she thought that was odd. She hadn’t mentioned his wife at all.

Still, she said, he seemed nice enough, and he was highly recommended, so she agreed to host the revival. It was supposed to last all week. It lasted only one night.

With seven of his children in the front row Monday night — the eighth was meeting with Mobile police — Hopkins launched into his sermon, much of which centered on the topic of forgiveness, Jackson said.

“I felt in my spirit that he knew what was going to happen to him. Even if he didn’t know it was going to happen here,” Jackson said, reflecting on Hopkins’ message.

Hopkins told the congregation that his eldest daughter had left the house.

“He said he told her she had to do what she had to do,” Jackson said. Looking at his seven children, “He asked them to forgive him for his sins: past, present and future.”

When his sermon concluded, Jackson said, he began to minister individually to people in the crowd. His children played accompanying music on instruments he had brought with him. There was even a miniature drum set for one of his younger sons.

When he worked his way away from the pulpit, Jackson said, deputies and police entered, guns drawn, and took him into custody.

She took the children out of the church, playing with the younger ones, who seemed not to understand exactly what was happening. The older daughters, she said, hardly reacted at all.

Hear part of that sermon here: http://blog.al.com/pr/2008/07/preachers_last_sermon.html

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Y’all come on up to Columbus, Ohio this Saturday and get yourselves de-baptized, y’hear. Edwin.

Atheist News by Edwin Kagin


KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 29, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, 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.)

IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST

To Unidentified Recipients:

For a waiting world, we now present “They’re Back in Their Burkas Again,” by Edwin &

Helen Kagin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmVxswvuJZI

—————————————————————————————–

The brief filed in the Court of Appeals of Kentucky on behalf of David Ryan, the Kentucky Atheist father who objects to his son being sent, under court order, can be found here:

http://www.edwinkagin.com/Appellant_Brief_of_David_Ryan.pdf

——————————————————————————————————

Y’all come to the Atheist Coming Out Part on August 2nd, y’all hear.

Come and get de-baptized.

Edwin.

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

ATHEISTS TO HOST FIRST “COMING OUT” PARTY EVENT, DE-BAPTISM BASH

AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC.

http://www.atheists.org

http://www.americanatheist.org

For more information, please contact:

FRANK ZINDLER, President (614) 299-1036

EDWIN KAGIN, National Legal Director (859) 384-7000

Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and other nonbelievers will be attending the nation’s first “coming out” party next Saturday, August 2,

2008 in Westerville, Ohio. The event will feature talks, social events, and even a “De-Baptism” ceremony for those who were enrolled in religious groups and now wish to disaffiliate from their houses of worship.

“This will be a day of celebration and education for anyone who doesn’t believe in a God and is still ‘in the closet,” said Ashley Paramore, organizer of the event. “We’re sending the message that it is OK to not believe in a Jehovah or Allah or some other deity, and live a secular lifestyle as an alternative to organized religion.”

Frank Zindler, President of American Atheists and Edwin Kagin, the group’s National Legal Director will be signing De-Baptism certificates. Zindler said that the organization has been handing out the certificates for years, “This is the first time, though, that we’re having a party to welcome all the new people we expect to turn out.”

Zindler added that the De-Baptism ceremony would be a fun way for people who feel under pressure to conform to religious orthodoxy to make a statement about their newfound intellectual independence.

The Atheist Coming Out Party will be held on Saturday, August 2, 2008 beginning at 12:00 noon at the Everel Barn, 60 N. Cleveland Avenue in Westerville, Ohio.

For media interviews, please contact:

FRANK ZINDLER, President of American Atheists (614-299-1036) EDWIN KAGIN, National Legal Director (859-384-7000) ASHLEY PARAMORE ([email protected])

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

American Atheists, Inc.

P. O. Box 158

Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel: (908) 276-7300

Fax: (908) 276-7402

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

From Reader Jan, who wrote his Excellency, the Governor of Kentucky. Here is his thoughtful reply:

On offishul stationery too.

He say:

========

Dear Ms. (Redacted):

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding your opinion about the option of having an “In God We Trust” license plate. “In God We Trust” is essentially our national motto, no one should have to pay extra to have the national motto reflected on their license plate. This new license plate would be provided at no additional cost and would be an alternative to the standard-issue “Unbridled Spirit” plate, which will continue to be available at no extra charge.

Your views are important to me, and I am grateful for your willingness to be involved in Kentucky’s future. Please feel free to contact me whenever an issue is important to you.

Sincerely,

Steven L. Beshear

========

Yup! Over an official signature – so he can’t say he was misquoted in the press.

And this moron used to be ATTORNEY GENERAL of Kaintuck?!?!

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

It is interesting that all of the thoughtful letters from our governor to those who oppose the threatened theocracy seem quite a bit the same. Edwin

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

From reader Frank:

Hello Folks!

You may recall that on August 16, 2008 I sent the

following in email to KY Governor Steve Beshear:

Can a volunteer Vietnam-era atheist-in-

the-foxhole Army veteran of a law-abiding,

family-raising, wage-earning lifelong

Kentuckian taxpayer get a Kentucky auto

license plate that says “In Reason I Trust?

Today I received in the US Mail a letter from Steve

Beshear dated July 22, 2008 in which he says:

Thank you for taking the time to

contact me regarding your opinion

about the option of having an “In God

We Trust” license plate. “In God We

Trust” is essentially our national motto,

no one should have to pay extra to

have the national motto reflected on

their license plate. This new license

plate would be provided at no addition-

al cost and would be an alternative to

the standard-issue “Unbridled Spirit”

plate, which will continue to be avail-

able at no extra charge.

Yours views are important to me,

and I am grateful for your willingness

to be involved in Kentucky’s future.
Please feel free to contact me when-

ever an issue is important to you.

In short, our governor replied but did not answer the

question that I asked him. I guess this is just what

I should have expected from a professional politician,

but it nonetheless disappoints me. Candor from our

elected leaders is clearly a thing of the past (along

evidently with clarity of thought and an acute under-

standing of the lessons of history).

— Frank

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

http://www.koco.com/news/16976219/detail.html

Man Watching Steeple Ceremony Killed When Crane Collapses

Dozens Attended Church Ceremony In Southwest Oklahoma City

POSTED: 10:47 am CDT July 24, 2008

UPDATED: 6:42 pm CDT July 24, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY — One of dozens of churchgoers watching a steeple being mounted on top of a newly constructed building in southwest Oklahoma City was killed when a crane collapsed on top of his vehicle, fire officials said.

Winfred Stafford, 79, was killed while watching the ceremony at the newly constructed South Pointe church, located at Southwest 134th Street and Straka Farms Terrace just west of Interstate 44.

His 78-year-old wife was injured and taken to St. Anthony Hospital in good condition. Witnesses told Eyewitness News 5 that the woman was in the back seat of a vehicle talking to a friend when the crane overturned.

Witnesses said she was able to get out of the vehicle, but her husband was in the front seat and unable to get out in time. People gathered at the ceremony were shouting for the couple to get out of the way of the falling crane.

Fire officials said the church is an additional campus to the Grace Assembly of God church, located at Southwest 54th Street and Young Avenue.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA are at the scene investigating.

The name of the victim’s wife has not been released.

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

www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/tv/orl-exodus2108jul21,0,7755323.story

OrlandoSentinel.com

Holy Moses! PBS documentary suggests Exodus not real

Hal Boedeker

Sentinel Television Critic

July 21, 2008

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.

Abraham didn’t exist? The Exodus didn’t happen?

The Bible’s Buried Secrets, a new PBS documentary, is likely to cause a furor.

“It challenges the Bible’s stories if you want to read them literally, and that will disturb many people,” says archaeologist William Dever, who specializes in Israel’s history. “But it explains how and why these stories ever came to be told in the first place, and how and why they were written down.”

The Nova program will premiere Nov. 18. PBS presented a clip and a panel discussion at the summer tour of the Television Critics Association.

The program says the Bible was written in the sixth century BC and that hundreds of authors contributed.

“At least the first five books of the Bible come together during the Babylonian exile,” says producer Gary Glassman.

The program challenges long-held beliefs. Abraham, Sarah and their offspring probably didn’t exist, says Carol Meyers, a religion professor at Duke University.

“These stories are unlikely to represent real historical events, but rather there’s some kernel of ancient experience in there which has survived and which helps give identity to the people at the time the Bible finally took shape centuries and centuries later,” Meyers says.

There’s no archaeological evidence of the Exodus, either, she says, but “it doesn’t mean that there’s no kernel of truth to it.”

Nova series producer Paula Apsell says she found it “extremely shocking” to learn that monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.

“I was always brought up to believe that the minute Abraham and the patriarchs came on the scene, the Israelites accepted one God and there was just always one God and that was it,” Apsell says. “I think people are going to really be stunned by that.”

Another shocker: The program contradicts the biblical view that the Israelites came from somewhere else into the land of Canaan. “The film shows that they were Canaanites,” Apsell says.

Hal Boedeker can be reached at 407-420-5756 or [email protected]. Read Hal’s TV Guy blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/tvguy.

ACTION ALERT from Edwin Kagin. ACTiON ALERT. American Religious Civil War comes to Kentucky via License Plates.

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 16, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, 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.)

IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST

To Unidentified Recipients:

It is happening here. The American Religious Civil War (ARCW) now takes additional treasonous steps into the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Our governor, who replaced the fanatic who wanted to teach Intelligent Design in our public schools, now wants to offer, at no extra charge, a Kentucky license plate that says. “In God We Trust” (IGWT).

To be sure Kentucky has lots of optional specialty license plates that one can get by paying an extra fee. You know, for things like the Masons, :Boy Scouts, Humane Society, etc. And this is no real problem. There should be no serious objection if the state offers an IGWT license plate as a specialty plate at an extra fee as some states do.

But if the state gives out the IGWT plate at no extra charge, in place of the standard state license plate, then that is unlawful endorsement of religion over non-religion by the state. And that is in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”

And such an activity is also in gross violation of Section 5 of the Constitution of Kentucky, which says, under the heading “Religious Freedom:

“No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.” (emphasis added)

Didn’t know about that, did you? Most folks don’t. It is actually stronger in its language than the First Amendment. And it will be one of the grounds for the lawsuit that will probably be filed if the state goes through with this unlawful attempt to force the religion of some on all of us.

This is a call for action. The governor and the legislature need to be reminded of the law and of their duties under the law, and of our right to be free of their attempts to make everyone play in their sandbox. You are urged to write letters to lawmakers and to the press on this issue. Send copies to this newsletter for possible publication.

We were once, in my childhood, “One Nation Indivisible.” Since lawmakers of lesser stuff than our founders modified this to “One nation under god indivisible,” we have become divisible. It need not have happened. It can be corrected. We can fix that which has been broken by those who defile the graves of our martyrs.

As a compromise, I will happily accept without complaint the idea of a free IGWT license plate, so long as the state also offers, at no additional charge, a plate that says, “It Is Okay to Be an Atheist.”

Suggest that to the would-be theocrats and watch them ring them bells.

Here is the story and a couple of initial reactions thereto.

Edwin.

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

http://www.kentucky.com/181/story/461417.html

Posted on Tue, Jul. 15, 2008

Beshear seeks optional “In God We Trust” Ky. plate

The Associated Press

Related Content

External Linkhttp://www.courier-journal.com

FRANKFORT, Ky. –

Gov. Steve Beshear said he will seek legislation authorizing an “In God We Trust” auto license plate when lawmakers return to Frankfort early next year.

Beshear wants Kentucky drivers to be able to choose the license plate as an alternative to the current “Unbridled Spirit” plate the state issues.

Both plates would cost $21.

“‘In God We Trust’ is essentially our national motto,” Beshear told The Courier-Journal. “And that national motto belongs to every American and indeed every Kentuckian. In my opinion nobody should have to pay extra to have that national motto reflected on their license plate.”

Beshear’s transportation secretary, Joe Prather, sent a letter on Monday asking the chairmen of the House and Senate transportation committees to pass legislation creating the new license plates next year.

Rep. Jim Gooch sponsored similar legislation earlier this year. It passed the House unanimously, but failed in the Senate.

Beshear is scheduled to begin a series of town hall meetings on Thursday. Spokesman Dick Brown said the meetings will allow the governor to listen to the concerns of Kentuckians and to talk to them about his goals for the state.

“Certainly, it doesn’t hurt for people to see him without the filter of the media, so that they can judge for themselves the kind of job he’s doing, the kind of governor he is,” Brown said.

Beshear had gotten off to a rocky start with state lawmakers, who rejected his top legislative priority – a proposed constitutional amendment to allow casinos to open in the state.

Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson questioned Beshear’s motivation for proposing the license plate.

“Quite frankly, for him to come out with an issue like this as he begins a statewide image tour just smacks of politics,” Robertson said.

Robertson said Beshear’s call for such legislation would have appeared more sincere if he had gotten behind the earlier proposal.

Indiana lawmakers approved an “In God We Trust” license plate in 2006. More than 1.6 million motorists in that state have gotten them since they became available in January 2007.


Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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

From reader Jan:

Maybe we should let Gov. Steve know that “EVERY Kentuckian” does NOT consider IGWT to “belong” to all. Contact info below. Pass it on to your lists.

http://www.kentucky.com/181/story/461417.html

Posted on Tue, Jul. 15, 2008

Beshear seeks optional “In God We Trust” Ky. plate The Associated Press

Gov. Steve Beshear said he will seek legislation authorizing an “In God We Trust” auto license plate when lawmakers return to Frankfort early next year.

Beshear wants Kentucky drivers to be able to choose the license plate as an alternative to the current “Unbridled Spirit” plate the state issues.

Both plates would cost $21.

“‘In God We Trust’ is essentially our national motto,” Beshear told The Courier-Journal. “And that national motto belongs to every American and indeed every Kentuckian. In my opinion nobody should have to pay extra to have that national motto reflected on their license plate.”

Beshear’s transportation secretary, Joe Prather, sent a letter on Monday asking the chairmen of the House and Senate transportation committees to pass legislation creating the new license plates next year.

Rep. Jim Gooch sponsored similar legislation earlier this year. It passed the House unanimously, but failed in the Senate.

Beshear is scheduled to begin a series of town hall meetings on Thursday. Spokesman Dick Brown said the meetings will allow the governor to listen to the concerns of Kentuckians and to talk to them about his goals for the state.

Contact Information

Capitol Webmail:

http://governor.ky.gov/contact

Capitol Website:

http://governor.ky.gov/

Capitol Address

700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100

Frankfort, KY 40601

Phone: 502-564-2611

TTYD: 502-564-9551

Fax: 502-564-2517

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

From reader Jan:

O.K. Heathens…let’s let Beshear know that Kentucky is crawling with infidels.

======

Dear Governor Beshear,

I am writing in regard to your statement in the July 16, 2008 Lexington Herald-Leader in which you say that you will seek legislation authorizing an “In God We Trust” license plate.

You stated:

=====

“’In God We Trust’ is essentially our national motto…and that national motto belongs to every American and every Kentuckian.”

=====

Your statement shows an astounding lack of knowledge about the “In God We Trust” motto itself and the diversity of belief in both America and Kentucky. Not “every” American or Kentuckian has a belief in the Abrahamic God or any god(dess)(es). Some Kentuckians hold absolutely no belief in any supernatural entities.

The “In God We Trust” motto was adopted during a time of divisiveness during the “Red Scare” paranoia of the shameful McCarthy era. “In God We Trust” replaced our original and more inclusive national motto of “E Pluribus Unum” – “Out of Many, One”.

In this day and age, people can purchase personalized license plate frames and bumperstickers of any type to publicly display their personal interests and beliefs. Therefore, I do not think it is necessary to involve the Kentucky legislature and taxpayer funds in creating this license plate to pander to the tyranny of the religious majority.

Please reconsider this proposed endeavor. The state of Kentucky has far more important things to focus on than creating such an inflammatory and exclusionary license plate.

Kentucky also cannot afford to waste taxpayer money on legal challenges to this ill conceived idea.

Sincerely,

Jan

(additional identifying information redacted. Edwin)

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

From reader Frank:

I just sent this email to the Governor:

“Can a volunteer Vietnam-era atheist-in-the-foxhole

Army veteran of a law-abiding, family-raising, wage-

earning lifelong Kentuckian taxpayer get a Kentucky

auto license plate that says “In Reason I Trust”?

I’ll let y’all know what (if any) reply I get.

— Frank

Edwin Kagin’s Atheist News. Poisonous Snakes Entitled To Protection Denied Children.


KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 13, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, 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.)

IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST

To Unidentified Recipients:

Now hold on here a second. This ain’t right. In Texas the courts say that it is okay to let your kid be injured by virtue of the parents’ idiotic religious beliefs and rituals, but in Kentucky the police are out busting people for using poisonous snakes in their rituals because of their religious beliefs. In short, Kentucky gives legal protection to harmful poisonous snakes used in crazy religious rites and Texas gives legal protection to harmful poisonous parents who use their children in crazy religious rites.

Could this have anything to do with the fact that the Supreme Court said that in Texas the Ten Commandments could be posted in public places and also said that in Kentucky the Ten Commandments could not be posted in public places?

I didn’t make the facts.

Had enough? Here is a news flash.

IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST.

Edwin.

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

From reader Robin:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/07/13/snake.bust.ap/index.html

Snake-handling pastor arrested

FRANKFORT, Kentucky (AP) — The pastor of a Kentucky church that handles snakes in religious rites was among 10 people arrested by wildlife officers in a crackdown on the venomous snake trade.

Undercover officers purchased more than 200 illegal reptiles during the investigation.

More than 100 snakes, many of them deadly, were confiscated in the undercover sting after Thursday’s arrests, said Col. Bob Milligan, director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Most were taken from the Middlesboro home of Gregory James Coots, including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder.

Handling snakes is practiced in a handful of fundamentalist churches across Appalachia, based on the interpretation of Bible verses saying true believers can take up serpents without being harmed. The practice is illegal in most states, including Kentucky.

Coots, 36, is pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, where a Tennessee woman died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a service in 1995. Her husband died three years later when he was bitten by a snake in northeastern Alabama.

Coots was charged Thursday with buying, selling and possessing illegal reptiles. He had no listed telephone number and couldn’t be reached for comment. There was no phone listing for the church.

“It is disturbing to me that individuals would keep such dangerous wildlife in their homes and in neighborhoods where they put their families, visitors and neighbors at such high risk,” Milligan said.

The snakes, plus one alligator, were turned over to the nonprofit Kentucky Reptile Zoo in Slade. Most appeared to have been captured from the wild, with some imported from Asia and Africa.

Zoo Director Jim Harrison said some of the animals would likely have become exotic pets had they not been seized.

“There’s been a large trade in exotics for years,” he said. “Some people are just fascinated with them.”

Undercover officers purchased more than 200 illegal reptiles during the investigation, some of which were advertised for sale on Web sites. One such
Web site lists copperheads for $50 each and cobras for $450.

“You can purchase anything off the Internet except common sense,” Harrison said. “A venomous snake isn’t a pet. You don’t play with it. If you do, you’re an idiot.”

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

From Joe Zamecki, Texas State Director for American Atheists:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25423465/

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Texas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a jury award over injuries a 17-year-old girl suffered in an exorcism conducted by members of her old church, ruling that the case unconstitutionally entangled the court in religious matters.

In a 6-3 decision, the justices found that a lower court erred when it said the Pleasant Glade Assembly of God’s First Amendment rights regarding freedom of religion did not prevent the church from being held liable for mental distress triggered by a “hyper-spiritualistic environment.”

Laura Schubert testified in 2002 that she was cut and bruised and later experienced hallucinations after the church members’ actions in 1996, when she was 17. Schubert said she was pinned to the floor for hours and received carpet burns during the exorcism, the Austin American-Statesman reported. She also said the incident led her to mutilate herself and attempt suicide. She eventually sought psychiatric help.

But the church’s attorneys had told jurors that her psychological problems were caused by traumatic events she witnessed with her missionary parents in Africa. The church contended she “freaked out” about following her father’s life as a missionary and was acting out to gain attention.

Abuse and false imprisonment?

The 2002 trial of the case never touched on the religious aspects, and a Tarrant County jury found the Colleyville church and its members liable for abusing and falsely imprisoning the girl. The jury awarded her $300,000, though the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth later reduced the verdict to $188,000.

Justice David Medina wrote that finding the church liable “would have an unconstitutional ‘chilling effect’ by compelling the church to abandon core principles of its religious beliefs.”

But Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, in a dissenting opinion, stated that the “sweeping immunity” is inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent and extends far beyond the Constitution’s protections for religious conduct.

‘Intentional abuse’

“The First Amendment guards religious liberty; it does not sanction intentional abuse in religion’s name,” Jefferson wrote.

After the 2002 verdict, Pleasant Glade merged with another congregation in Colleyville, a Fort Worth suburb.

A message left for the church’s attorney Friday evening was not immediately returned, and calls to two numbers listed in Schubert’s name went unanswered.


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

From reader Frank:

Seems to me a good argument can be made for

permitting legal venomous snake-handling for

religious reasons — namely, it allows natural

selection a better chance to thin the herd, you

know, unburden the gene pool — and, as a

(little-l) libertarian, I (for one) am all in favor of

genuine religious liberty.

— Frank

———————————————————————–

Do unto others as they want to be done unto,

or else leave ‘em the heck alone.

———————— The Libertarian Golden Rule —–

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

From reader Jan:

Subject: Re: Ky in the news again for crazy biblical views

> it allows natural

> selection a better chance to thin the herd

Trouble is that the snakes are killing them off fast enough. Besides, IF they really are serious about that scripture passage, I want to know why they don’t use any of these < http://arachnophiliac.info/burrow/tenmostvenomous.htm >. Until they do that, they are wussies.

From the story: “plus one alligator”. I want to know the scripture passage for using alligators.

Jan

Atheist News. Swallow the Leader. Atheist Coming Out Party. Weekend in Hell

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 11, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, 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.)

IT’S OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST

To Unidentified Recipients:

This is just too wonderful to be true. But it seems that it is true.

Just what part of the purloined “Body of Christ” does Catholic League President Bill Donohue think is being desecrated?

And if this cracker is really thought to be a hunk of Christ’s body that has been spirited away instead of being properly eaten in solemn ceremony within the confines of the Mass, along with the drinking of Christ’s blood, then how can the charge of cannibalism be refuted?

If eating the body of Christ and drinking his blood is not cannibalism, how would it look if it was cannibalism?

Is the mystery of the Eucharist, the consumption of the body and blood of Christ, to be observed only in-house?

Is there no take-out available under the rules for those who wish to “Swallow the Leader?”

There is help. Now you can come out.

And you can also go to Hell and back.

Details follow.

Edwin.

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

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/faith/24313139.html?location_refer=Gophers

Communion wafer held ‘hostage’ raises holy heck

Last update: July 11, 2008 – 7:15 AM

A Minnesota university instructor and avowed atheist is jousting with a national Catholic watch dog group over a smuggled communion wafer, which the associate professor dismisses as a “frackin’ cracker.”

Paul Z. Myers, who teaches biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, on his blog this week expressed amazement that a Florida college student who briefly took a wafer “hostage” from a church ceremony has been receiving death threats for an action that was characterized “a hate crime” by the Catholic League.

Under the headline, “It’s a frackin’ cracker!” Myers wrote in an at-times profane blog entry: “Crazy Christian fanatics right here in our own country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker. This is insane.”

He added: “Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? … I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage … but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart.”

Myers, in an interview today, explained that the blog entry is more “satire and protest” than an actual threat to defile the Eucharist.

His blog entry has collected nearly 1,000 comments since it was posted Tuesday.

The Catholic League, a civil rights group that challenges any instances it sees as an afront to Catholicism, said today that it is calling on the university to act against Myers, noting that Myers’ blog can be accessed through a link on the university’s website.

“It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a news release. “We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.”

Myers, who was raised Lutheran and now considers himself a card-carrying atheist, said he’s been getting a “few death threats” since the conflict began, “but I don’t take them too seriously.”

His opponents, he said, describe him as a “strident, militant atheist” because of his activism in the debate of evolution vs. creationism.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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

ANNOUNCING ATHEIST COMING OUT PARTY

Tired of it all? Tired of pretending? Tired of putting up quietly with those who think YOU are wrong for not believing their nonsense?

Come Out!

Here is an opportunity to do so

From Reader Ashley:

The first annual Atheist Coming OUT Party, sponsored by American Atheists, will be held

in Columbus Ohio,

on August 2nd, 2008 from 12:00 pm-5:00 pm

The purpose of this event is to provide a setting where freethinkers from across Ohio and beyond its borders can network with each other. There will be tables set up so people can leave literature for their groups and organizations. Speakers include Edwin Kagin and Hemant Mehta.

Entry fee is $5.00, and food is potluck style. Bring a dish if you plan on eating.

To RSVP and find out more information, go to http://healthyaddict.googlepages.com/home.

Ashley Paramore
Secular Student Alliance Board Member
Students for Freethought at Ohio State Chair
419-631-1255

“Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine they didn’t understand, why, there would be no end of divine things.”
~Hippocrates

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

And here is an idea whose time has come.

From reader Len:

Camp Quest

it’s beyond belief!

Camp Quest of Michigan, P. O. Box 656, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48303

“. . .Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. . .”

Responding to popular demand, this summer I’ve decided to try to organize a family camp for those intrepid and fearless individuals willing to go to Hell and back.

A number of sites with water & electric hookups have been reserved for our “Weekend in Hell” at the Hell Creek Ranch in Hell, Michigan for the weekend of August 9-10.

Hell Creek Ranch

10866 Cedar Lake Road

Hell, MI 48169 (Pinkney)

734-878-3632

· This is a 100-site campground, 40 “rustic” and 60 sites with water & electric.

· There is a playground, game room, horseshoe pit, volleyball, vending (including ice), in-ground pool and bath house.

· The ranch offers horseback riding, and they are adjacent to 1000 acres of trails on state land.

· Canoes can be rented nearby.

· Buy wood for campfires at the ranch only–due to continuing problems with the emerald ash borer, do not bring your own firewood.

· The village of Hell is about 10 minutes away (consisting of a post office, restaurant and ice cream parlor — yes, you can get ice cream in Hell!)

Check in Friday evening, check out Sunday afternoon (unless you’d like to stay longer). Site fee for water & electric hookup is $25 per day. A weekend family pass to use the pool is $15. Those interested in horseback riding must make reservations in advance by calling 734-954-0500. Canoeing can be arranged through Screams Ice Cream Parlor at 734-878-2233.

Hell Creek Ranch is located in South Eastern Michigan’s most beautiful countryside, in the heart of the Pinckney Recreation Area. Seventeen miles of beautiful hiking trails weave thru the Hell area, the same trails used by the Potowatomi Indians a century ago.

The Pavillion and Pond area is away from the campground area, offering a semi-private setting with plenty of space for outdoor activities. The Pavillion has picnic tables and a grill available for cookouts, and there is a bonfire pit near the pond.

Check in Friday evening, August 8 – check out Sunday afternoon August 10.

Ask for the Camp Quest Family Camp reserved for Len Zanger.

For more information, please contact me at [email protected] or phone 248-330-5061.

Atheist News and Such from Edwin

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 09, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, 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.)

ATHEIST: ANOTHER THINKING HUMAN ENGAGED IN SEEKING TRUTH

To Unidentified Recipients:

The following articles should bring peace and comfort to those who are glad we do not live under fundamentalist Islam. Shouldn’t they?

The last story, on the lad who stole the Body of Christ out of the church is of special interest.

Dare we call the ceremony of the Holy Eucharist “Swallow the Leader?”

Edwin.

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

http://www.kentucky.com/158/story/452897.html
Posted on Sat, Jul. 05, 2008

Religion important to Kentuckians

Report finds beliefs strong, church a
ttendance high

By Jim Niemi

[email protected]

Charlie O’Hara attends Mass at Lexington’s Cathedral of “Christ the King” every day, seven days a week.

”It keeps God in front of me, “said O’Hara, 43, who drives to church each day from Nicholasville.

And while some may find daily church attendance a bit extreme, such religious devotion is not rare among Kentuckians, a recent report shows.

A survey released last week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life of more than 35,000 people shows that, compared to the entire nation, Kentuckians pray and attend church more often and believe religion is ”very important“ in their lives.

Other Bible Belt states, including the Carolinas, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, also recorded higher percentages in the survey than the U.S. average.

In the report, Kentuckians appeared more religious than Americans as a whole in most categories. Some examples:

■ 93 percent of Kentuckians believed in God or a universal spirit, compared to 88 percent nationwide.

■ 67 percent of Kentuckians believe religion is ”very important“ in their lives, compared to 56 percent nationwide.

■ 70 percent of Kentuckians pray at least once a day, compared to 58 percent nationwide.

As for church attendance, 47 percent of Kentuckians attended a religious service at least once a week, compared to 39 percent of Americans as a whole.

Clergy like the Rev. Frank Brawner, a priest at Christ the King, have seen steady attendance increases. Brawner said the three weekday Masses, at 8 a.m., noon — except for Wednesdays — and 5:30 p.m., draw 160 to 170 worshipers a day.

”During Lent and Advent, or times of tragedy, attendance will be higher, but overall it’s pretty stable,“ he said.

Brawner said Catholic churches, and those of other faiths, suffered a drop-off in attendance in the post-1960s, but he’s seen a recent ”spiritual revival.“

”We’re more filled now than we were three years ago,“ he said. ”Masses that were full are now standing room only. And Masses that were sparsely attended are now nearly full.“

The attendance growth in Kentucky has spurred a boom in church construction in the region, said the Rev. Greg Horn, executive minister of NorthEast Christian Church in Lexington. The church opened on July 1, 2007 and was formed by combining Northern Heights Christian, with a congregation of 180, with Eastside Christian, which had 200 worshipers.

”Now we have about 1,400,“ Horn said.

Rural connections

Lon Oliver, executive director of the Kentucky Appalachian Ministry in Berea, attributes Kentuckians’ religious attitudes to the close tie between communities and their churches in rural areas.

”The church still takes its place in the community,“ he said. ”It’s still that place where there are autumn festivals.

”I think that keeps the community very vital and gives people a common language and meaning in their lives.“

Pastors also are given higher status in rural areas, he said.

”In Eastern Kentucky particularly, pastors are given a significant role in the life of the community. This might have been typical in other places years ago, but people in Eastern Kentucky still recognize the gifts of local pastors. They play a significant role in schools and community organizations. This helps keep the community and the faithful in a creative tension that strengthens them both.“

Following different paths

Another key finding in the Pew survey is that 60 percent of Kentuckians, compared to 68 percent of Americans, believe there is more than one way to interpret their religion’s teachings.

Whitney Praska, of Lexington, was raised a Southern Baptist and is grateful for what she learned because ”everything has brought me to where I am, but I’ve changed.“

Praska, 25, prefers the word ”spirituality“ to ”religion,“ and said she practices spirituality each day through meditation, prayer, yoga and Asian belief systems.

”They give me an understanding o
f how we are connected with the earth,“ she said. ”We’re all connected.“

Praska sees great value in diverse belief systems for herself and others.

”There are several paths to the same end,“ she said. ”You wouldn’t expect everybody to do the same thing, or where would the difference and beauty be?“

Reach Jim Niemi at (859) 231-3216 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3216.

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

From reader Jan:

http://ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=10675

Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives’ Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands

Bob Allen

06-27-08


One reason that men abuse their wives is because women rebel against their husband’s God-given authority, a Southern Baptist scholar said Sunday in a Texas church.

Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said women desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husbands because of sin.

“And husbands on their parts, because they’re sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged–or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches,” Ware said from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas.

In North Texas for a series of sermons at the church on “Biblical Manhood & Womanhood,” Ware described his “complementarian” view as what “Southern Seminary as a whole represents.”

Commenting on selected passages from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ware said Eve’s curse in the Garden of Eden meant “her desire will be to have her way” instead of her obeying her husband, “because she’s a sinner.”

What that means to the man, Ware said, is: “He will have to rule, and because he’s a sinner, this can happen in one of two ways. It can happen either through ruling that is abusive and oppressive–and of course we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that–but here’s the other way in which he can respond when his authority is threatened. He can acquiesce. He can become passive. He can give up any responsibility that he thought he had to the leader in the relationship and just say ‘OK dear,’ ‘Whatever you say dear,’ ‘Fine dear’ and become a passive husband, because of sin.”

Ware said God created men and women equally in God’s image but for different roles.

“He has primary responsibility for the work and the labor and the toil that will provide for the family, that will sustain their family,” he said. “He’s the one in charge of leadership in the family, and that will become difficult, because of sin.”

Ware also touched on a verse from First Timothy saying that women “shall be saved in childbearing,” by noting that the word translated as “saved” always refers to eternal salvation.

“It means that a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God’s ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as–for the most part, generally this is true–as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man’s position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men,” Ware said. “Rather than wanting that, she accepts and embraces who she is as woman, because she
knows God and she knows his ways are right and good, so she is marked as a Christian by her submission to God and in that her acceptance of God’s design for her as a woman.”

Ware cited gender roles as one example of churches compromising and reforming doctrines to accommodate to culture.

“It really has been happening for about the past 30 years, ever since the force of the feminist movement was felt in our churches,” Ware said.

He said one place the “egalitarian” view–the notion that males and females were created equal not only in essence but also in function–crops up is in churches that allow women to be ordained and become pastors.

Ware said gender is not theologically the most important issue facing the church, but it is one where Christians are most likely to compromise, because of pressure from the culture.

“The calling to be biblically faithful will mean upholding some truths in our culture that they despise,” he said. “How are we going to respond to that? We are faced with a huge question at that point. Will we fear men and compromise our faith to be men-pleasers, or will we fear God and be faithful to his word–whatever other people think or do?”

Ware offered 10 reasons “for affirming male headship in the created order.” They include that man was created first and that woman was created “out of” Adam in order to be his “helper.” Even though the woman sinned first, Ware said, God came to Adam and held him primarily responsible for failure to exercise his God-given authority.

Ware also said male/female relationships are modeled in the Trinity, where in the Godhead the Son “eternally submits” to the Father.

“If it’s true that in the Trinity itself–in the eternal relationships of Father, Son and Spirit, there is authority and submission, and the Son eternally submits to the will of the Father–if that’s true, then this follows: It is as Godlike to submit to rightful authority with joy and gladness as it is Godlike to exert wise and beneficial rightful authority.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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

http://www.freethinker.co.uk/2008/07/06/atheism-on-the-buses/

Atheism on the buses

Do you ever get annoyed by those religious ads you see plastered all over town? TV comedy writer Ariane Sherine does, so she wrote an amusing article for The Guardian suggesting that atheists club together and pay for their own.

She calculated that if she could get 4,680 atheists to contribute £5 each, that would pay for an ad on a London bendy bus for a two weeks. The slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.”

Whether or not she expected to be taken seriously, her idea caught the imagination of political blogger Jon Worth who set up an online Pledgebank.

There’s still a long way to go before the target is reached, but surely it is worth a go. Just imagine the outraged squeals of offended religionists! How dare atheists express their opinion in public?

You can also sign up via Facebook. Go on. Spread a little godlessness.

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

From reader Ashley:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php

IT’S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!

Category: ReligionStupidity
Posted on: July 8, 2008 8:05 PM, by PZ Myers

There are days when it is agony to read the news, because people are so goddamned stupid. Petty and stupid. Hateful and stupid. Just plain stupid. And nothing makes them stupider than religion.

Here’s a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity.

Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.

This isn’t the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!

Catholics worldwide became furious.

Would you believe this isn’t hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker. Those are just kooks, you might say, but here is the considered, measured response of the local diocese:

“We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”

We just expect the University to take this seriously,” she added “To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated.”

Wait, what? Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a goddamned cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further?

Well, you could have a priest compare this event to a kidnapping.

“It is hurtful,” said Father Migeul Gonzalez with the Diocese. “Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family.”

Gonzalez said the Diocese is willing to meet with Cook and help him understand the importance of the Eucharist in hopes of him returning it. The Diocese is dispatching a nun to UCF’s campus to oversee the next mass, protect the Eucharist and in hopes Cook will return it.

I like the idea of sending a scary nun to guard the ceremony at the next mass. But even better…let’s send Webster Cook to hell!

Gonzalez said intentionally abusing the Eucharist is classified as a mortal sin in the Catholic church, the most severe possible. If it’s not returned, the community of faith will have to ask for forgiveness.

“We have to make acts of reparation,” Gonzalez said. “The whole community is going to turn to prayer. We’ll ask the Lord for pardon, forgiveness, peace, not only for the whole community affected by it, but also for [Cook], we offer prayers for him as well.”

Get some perspective, man. IT’S A CRACKER.

And of course, Bill Donohue is outraged (I know, Donohue is going to die of apoplexy someday when a gnat violates his oatmeal, so this isn’t saying much).

For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage–regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance–is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.

Oh, beyond hate speech. Where does this fit on the Shoah scale, Bill? It shouldn’t even register, but here is Wild-Eyed Bill the Offended calling for the expulsion of a student…for not swallowing a cracker.

Would you believe that the mealy-mouthed president of the university, John Hitt, is avoiding defending his student is instead playing up the importance of the Catholic church to the university? Of course you would. That’s what university presidents do. Bugger the students, keep the donors and the state reps happy.

Unfortunately, Webster Cook has now returned the cracker. Why?

Webster just wants all of this to go away. Especially now that he feels his life is in danger.

That’s right. Crazy Christian fanatics right here in our own
country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker. This is insane. These people are demented fuckwits. And Cook is not out of the fire yet — that Fox News story ends with an open incitement to cause him further misery.

University officials said, that as for right now, Webster Cook is not in trouble. If anyone or any group wants to file a formal complaint with the University through the student judicial system, they can. If that happens, Webster will go through a hearing either in front of an administrative panel or a panel of his peers.

Got that? If you don’t like what Webster Cook did, all you have to do is complain to the university, and they will do the dirty work for you of making his college experience miserable. And don’t assume the university would support Cook; the college is now having armed university police officers standing guard during mass.

I find this all utterly unbelievable. It’s like Dark Age superstition and malice, all thriving with the endorsement of secular institutions here in 21st century America. It is a culture of deluded lunatics calling the shots and making human beings dance to their mythical bunkum.

So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.

Just wait. Now there’ll be a team of Jesuits assigned to rifle through my mail every day.