The strange opposition by some to the Sunday Assembly movement

I read through the first couple hundred of the nearly 500 comments on the Guardian website responding to the video of the Cleveland Sunday Assembly, part of the big worldwide rollout of such assemblies around the globe last Sunday that more than doubled the existing number. I was surprised at the number of commenters who were outright hostile to the idea. These were people who said they were nonbelievers themselves but felt this was the wrong thing to do.
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John Oliver dissects the Miss America pageant

The show Last Week Tonight continues its series of serious investigative journalistic pieces wrapped in humor and satire. This time it takes on the Miss America pageant, an American institution that deserves to be ridiculed, but he spares the contestants who are the usual butts (ha!) of the jokes in such pieces. Instead he focuses on the organization itself, its anachronistic nature, its hypocrisy, and its misleading claims about what it represents and the scholarships it gives away.
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Terrorists? We ain’t afraid of no stinkin’ terrorists!

As Paul Waldman writes, it is almost inevitable that some person who is angered by what is happening in the middle east will be inspired by ISIS/ISIL or whatever the terror group du jour is, to get a gun and shoot up a crowd somewhere in the US. Then instead of treating it as just another mass shooting of the kind that has become routine, the terrorist connection will cause everyone to flip out and hide under their beds and demand that the government do something so that they can come out.
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Center for Inquiry conference in Cleveland

There is still time to register for Northeast Ohio Center for Inquiry biennial one-day conference this coming Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 9:00am-4:00 pm in Independence, Ohio. The theme is Science Peers Into the Future: Research for the 21st Century and Beyond and four scientists will be featured speakers.

More details and registration information can be found here.

Why it is the Non-religious Who Can, and Must, Save the World

(The text of my talk at the Cleveland Sunday Assembly held two days ago.)

I must say that when I got up this morning and got ready to come here, I felt a strong sense of déjà vu. When I was a young man I was ordained as a lay preacher in the Methodist church in Sri Lanka and many a Sunday would find me dressing up to go to a church in the region to inflict my sermon on some hapless congregation. And now, decades after I became an atheist, here I am doing something that seems surprisingly familiar. Let’s see if I still have my preacher skills though if some people are getting a little worried, you can relax. Even in my heyday I was never a fire-and-brimstone, you’re-going to-hell-and-damnation-if-you-don’t-repent kind of preacher, and so am not going to be that way today either.
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