Who says that religious fundamentalists are dogmatic?

Shannon Grove, a California Assemblywoman, has put the lie to the idea that religious nutcases never change their minds. She used to think that the terrible drought in her state was caused by environmentalists who prioritized the needs of fish over people but now she says she knows better and that it is actually caused by the state’s abortion policies that she thinks are too liberal.
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North Carolina showing the way for same-sex opponents?

I have mentioned that although opponents of same-sex marriage are threatening to defy any decision by the US Supreme Court that says that bans on same-sex marriage violate the constitution, they have been vague about what specific actions they might take. From North Carolina comes one possible tactic. Their Republican-controlled legislature passed a law that said that magistrates and clerks can choose to not perform same-sex marriages. The governor of the state, also a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage, had vetoed the bill on the grounds that employees of the state who have taken an oath to carry out faithfully the duties of their office should not be allowed to pick and choose whom they serve. But the legislature overrode the veto and this policy is now law.
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“Why did God allow my baby to die?”

How would you respond if a co-worker asked you such a question? This was a question that was asked of a person who watches Pat Robertson’s 700 Club show and she decided to ask the big guy (Robertson, not god) what the response should have been.

Of course, no one is likely to ask an atheist like me such a question but if I had been asked it during the time I was a lay minister in the church, I would have been stumped. After all, the problem of theodicy has challenged the most famous religious apologists down the ages and their answers, when stripped of all the theological verbiage, essentially boils down to “Beats me. Who the hell knows? Just believe that it makes sense somehow.”
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What is the Thinking Housewife thinking these days?

I periodically check in on the website known The Thinking Housewife to see what issues are concerning her and her readers. The site espouses quite appalling views but in the most genteel and proper language. That site has a strange fascination for me, like entering a time warp where I find myself in a world that never really existed except in the imaginations of those who think that we have become a decadent, hedonistic society that has abandoned all moral standards largely because we have lost contact with our religious, especially Roman Catholic, roots. They see warning signs of the decline everywhere.
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Why not a church that uses cannabis?

As we all know, Christians are a highly persecuted group in the US, forced against their deeply held beliefs to not discriminate against the LGBT community. The situation has got so bad that various states are passing their own versions of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to provide relief to this beleaguered group. Indiana is one of those states that passed such legislation and the governor of the state Mike Pence signed it into law
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Please support Taslima Nasrin

The recent murders of three secular bloggers Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, and Ananta Bijoy Das in Bangladesh by religious extremists purportedly linked to al Qaeda have resulted in serious concerns for the safety of others who are still there. One of the FtB bloggers Taslima Nasrin lived in India and had also been targeted with death threats. Given the recent history in that part of the world, this was not a threat to be taken lightly and the local police did not inspire confidence in their ability to protect her.
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The Irish vote for marriage equality is a victory for humanity

I was of course pleased that the Irish voted in favor of same-sex marriage and delighted that the margin of victory (62% in favor) was so large. The fact that a country that is so closely identified with Catholicism gave such a strong affirmation that all people should be treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation has sent shock waves through not only the Catholic establishment but through much of the anti-gay world.
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What the hell is wrong with these people?

Although I did not pay much attention to them, I had of course heard of the Duggar family, stars of a reality show called 19 Kids and Counting, referring to the number of children that the parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had. You could not avoid reading about them. From the little bits of news that crossed my path, they seemed like a bunch of insufferable Christians who looked down on everyone who did not follow in their religious, home-schooled, sex-puritan ways. But they were feted by right wing Christian types, including politicians, as upholding true Christian values.
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Ireland holds referendum on same-sex marriage on Friday

If there is one country in Europe that is seen as being quintessentially Catholic, it is Ireland. That country has for a long time long had it policies determined largely by church doctrine and also had its government cover up the horrendous abuses of the church. It is really quite remarkable how recently they have moved to give people even minimal sexual freedoms.
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