The coming of age of the atheist movement

(This is the text of the talk that I gave to the Sunday Assembly yesterday. These Assemblies are monthly gatherings of generally secular people who meet for fellowship and to engage in activities to further social good.)

When Mark passed on the invitation to me to be the speaker at this second anniversary of the Sunday Assembly, I was honored, just as I was to be asked to speak at the inaugural event. But I was also surprised that two years had passed by so fast! The Sunday Assembly has reached the toddler stage in just the blink of an eye and has reached the stage of throwing things around.

That sense of the growth and evolution of the Sunday Assembly is what made me think about what I would talk about and why I chose ‘the coming of age of the atheist movement’ as my theme for today’s (dare I say it?) sermon. As a former ordained lay minister in the Methodist church I am used to giving long sermons but don’t worry, I will not subject you to the half-hour or more diatribes that are common in that church.
[Read more…]

Preach, brother Jonathan!

I have been following the reaction in the British media to the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour Party leader and have been shocked at the way that result has been portrayed across the board. It has been described as the end of the Labour party because, according to these pundits, under Corbyn’s leadership the party will be unelectable. Mind you, this is despite the fact that Corbyn won with a huge majority, larger than before, by a vote from party members. The media pretty much said that these people had acted like idiots for not choosing the milquetoast Blairite Owen Smith.
[Read more…]

Jeremy Corbyn wins in a landslide

Jeremy Corbyn won a landslide victory in the election for Labour Party leader, defeating his opponent Owen Smith by a margin of 61.8% to 38.2%. This leadership contest was because of yet another effort by the Blairite neoliberal elements in the party that dominate its parliamentary membership to regain control. They passed a no-confidence motion against Corbyn following the Brexit vote.
[Read more…]

Seth Meyers on Trump’s ‘charity’

It is becoming increasingly clear that for a person who likes to boast so much about his wealth, Donald Trump is really cheap. He stiffs people to whom he owes money and uses his so-called charitable foundations to help himself, all the while boasting that he is a philanthropist but refusing to release his tax returns that would provide proof of his generosity.
[Read more…]

How can this make any sense?

People who attempt suicide are clearly having a very difficult time in their lives. The practice of extended solitary confinement has been known to create deep psychological trauma in prisoners. So how can it make sense to punish someone with solitary confinement when they try to commit suicide?

And yet Cory Doctorow tells us that this is what has happened to Chelsea Manning. Is the US military so determined to destroy her that they would go to such lengths?

Police do not have a duty to protect you

The sudden recurrence of a spate of police shootings of black people has once again raised the question of the relationship between the police and the public. The slogan of many police departments in the US consists of variations on “To Serve and Protect”. So you would think that if you were being threatened or attacked by someone and the police were called, they would be obliged to come to your defense. But I learned recently that that is not the case. The duty of the police is to protect only the public at large and that may or may not include protecting you as an individual.
[Read more…]

Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence!

Jordan Klepper visits a rally for Donald Trump and encounters people who believe the weirdest things. Many of the people shown are Ohioans, my peeps.

(This clip aired on September 20, 2016. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)