What will Trump and Fox News do about this war on Christmas?

The phony ‘War on Christmas’ has been one of the most ridiculous frenzies that grip right-wing Christians and politicians and media each year around this time. Donald Trump predictably pandered to this sentiment by ridiculously promising that when he is president people will say “Merry Christmas” again. But what are they going to do about this attack on Christmas by rabbis in Israel who are concerned by the rise in popularity of Christmas as a secular holiday in that country?
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Black atheists and feminism

One strong stereotype about the African-American community is that they are one of the most religious ethnic groups. There is good reason for this. Slave owners, like colonial rulers, used Christianity as a means of control, deflecting the hopes of the oppressed people to a wonderful afterlife to distract them from their present state of exploitation. During the harsh period of slavery, many slaves placed their hope in some kind of miraculous salvation, either in this life or at least in the afterlife and there is no question that this enabled them to endure horrific conditions. So religion became both a means of imposing oppression and also of surviving it.
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Haven’t Christians heard of the Streisand effect?

A billboard put by American Atheists in Monroe, LA that said “Make Christmas Great Again. Skip church!” was taken down within two hours because of local protests. I found it amusing that one of the critics said that it was because it is a community of “strong believers”. Actually this shows the opposite. People whose beliefs are strong would not care. It is because their beliefs are so weak that they are fearful of encountering a message that challenges it.

As a result of the resulting news coverage, more people locally and around the country heard about the billboard than if the locals had simply ignored it. American Atheists are now moving the billboard to another area, likely hoping for a similar reaction there. They can stretch their advertising dollars a lot by putting up billboards for just a short time.

Unusual patterns in beliefs about religion, spirituality, god, and ghosts

I came across this 2007 survey about British public attitudes towards religion and other beliefs such as ghosts, telepathy, witches, and the like. The survey found that only 37% of the respondents said that they considered themselves religious but a much larger 56% said they believed in god. So there must be many who think that being religious involves more than believing in god, such as attending religious services or being involved in other religious exercises.
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Authoritarians tend to flock together

Donald Trump has the habit of effusively praising anyone who supports him or says something nice about him. So when in the last debate, he spoke about meeting with “high representatives of India”, people scratched their heads wondering whom he might have been referring to, since there seemed to have been no meeting with any representatives of the government of India.
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Another rule for Catholics to ignore

The Catholic church seems intent ion creating rules based on convoluted doctrinal reasoning that its followers are likely to ignore. The latest involves cremation, a practice allowed by the church in 1963 and that is increasingly favored by people over burial. The issue is what to do with the ashes. Up to now, people have had the freedom to choose, according to the wishes of the deceased or of the relatives of the deceased. This has led to some unusual methods of disposal.
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The danger posed by Catholic hospitals

Catholic hospitals often provide health care in areas where there is no other facility. But Samantha Bee gives a powerful message about the danger posed by Catholic hospitals becoming such a large part of the health care network, because of the way they reject any medical procedures that go against their medieval beliefs, even if the end result of their decisions is death.
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Rise of religious intolerance in the sub-continent

There has been a disturbing rise of a virulent strain of Hindu extremism in India, similar to the Muslim extremism we have seen in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh and to Buddhist intolerance in Sri Lanka. In India, one form that this has taken is attacking those who eat beef, which observant Hindus do not do due to the cow having been raised to almost sacred status.
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Singapore jails teenager for wounding religious feelings

Singapore is a weird country. It is technologically advanced, very modern society, boasting one of the highest standards of living and education and literacy in the world. And yet, when it comes to basic civil liberties, it is atrocious, criminalizing all manner of speech and behavior that would not raise an eyebrow in other countries that are similar to it. It has (or at least used to have) laws regulating the length of hair that men can have, massively punishing littering, and other things that it feels are not conducive of good order.
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