Humanists Face Off Against SCOTUS — My Latest for Splice Today

Earlier this month, the American Humanist Association (AHA) announced that the US Supreme Court will hear their case against the Peace Cross in Bladensburg, MD. The 40-foot tall cross is a World War I memorial that the AHA says is an explicitly Christian symbol on public ground, making it not only a church/state separation violation but also a slap in the face to non-Christians who served their country. The AHA’s legal counsel, led by senior counsel Monica Miller, first filed a complaint against the Peace Cross in 2014, and the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the cross was unconstitutional. However, according to the AHA, a month later both the government and American Legion separately filed petitions to the SCOTUS to overrule the decision. Now the Supreme Court has to face a case that, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Andrew Seidel recently wrote, “could bring down the wall” separating church and state.

According to Seidel, there are only two possible reasons why the Supreme Court decided to take the case. The first is that conservative justices welcome such a controversial case because, he explains, SCOTUS’ “solid conservative majority is ready to begin checking items off the Federalist Society wish list.” The second is the conservative justices don’t think there’s anything wrong with a cross on government property and doesn’t think the cross is even a Christian symbol. “If this is true,” Seidel writes, “then those conservative justices essentially do not believe that the Constitution guarantees anything like the separation of state and church currently enjoyed by people in the United States. The justices will have bought into the Christian nationalist worldview that helped carry Donald Trump into office and will do untold damage to our republic and the principles for which it stands.”

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A Secular Bangladeshi Blogger Fights for His Life — My Latest for Splice Today

While the murder of Jamal Khashoggi brought more attention to Saudi Arabia, it’s not the only country where writers are in danger. Secular humanist bloggers in Bangladesh are often murdered by radical religious extremists simply for promoting secular humanist values online. One such blogger currently fighting for his life is Md. Sazzadul Hoque, a 21-year-old man who was forced to flee to India due to threats against his life. “I now fear for my life,” he recently told The Times of India. “I could also be killed in India by fundamentalists who support the goings on in Bangladesh… I have nowhere to go.”

Raised in a conservative Muslim household, Hoque began questioning his religious beliefs and started blogging about secular humanism in 2016. A year later on Facebook, he publicly announced his atheism, and while the post went viral, his account was suspended and sparked countless death threats. “People who were my best friends are my worst enemies now,” Hoque told the Times of India, “and would turn me over to the fundamentalists at any time.” He tried to seek shelter in Bangladesh, but to no avail. After getting kicked out of college, he fled to India with a tourist visa in May of 2017. As he recently told the Press Trust of India (PTI), “Even now, I keep receiving threats on Facebook, but the situation here is not as fearful as it is in my country.”

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Bi Any Means Podcast #169: Godless Mom with Courtney Heard

My guest for today is Courtney Heard. She’s been blogging about atheism and secular humanism at Godless Mom since 2014, and she co-hosts the Common Heathens podcast with Donovan Badrock. Today we get to know more about Courtney and all that she does.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #169: Godless Mom with Courtney Heard” on Spreaker.

Bi Any Means Podcast #166: Naked Mormonism with Bryce Blankenagel

My guest for today is Bryce Blankenagel. He’s the host of the podcasts Naked Mormonism which focuses on Mormon history, and the new Glass Box which focuses on Mormon news. Today I have him on the show to talk about some of the craziest shit he’s found so far with his research, and some current news stories surrounding the Mormon Church.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #166: Naked Mormonism with Bryce Blankenagel” on Spreaker.

The Biskeptical Podcast #54: Omarosa Spills the Tea

Today on the show, we talk about the latest drama involving Omarosa and Trump. We talk about the tapes, the tweets, and how this is the new normal. We also talk about the recent Pennsylvania report about the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal because holy shit, there’s a lot to unpack here!

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The Biskeptical Podcast #53: Religious Liberty My Ass!

Today on the show, we talk about some of the news stories from this past week, including the recent announcement of the Religious Liberty Task Force, the Paul Manafort trial, the most recent Facebook scandal involving election meddlers, and whether or not collusion is a crime. Needless to say, since it’s been a while since our last episode, we have a lot to say!

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The Biskeptical Podcast #52: Nick Little Cross-Examines Brett Kavanaugh

Morgan was unavailable for this episode, so today we have Nick Little from CFI joining us to take a look at Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s latest nominee for Supreme Court Justice. We’re going to take a look at his case history, and what that might mean for church-state separation, Roe v. Wade, and LGBTQ rights. Spoiler alert: It’s not a pretty picture!

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The Biskeptical Podcast #49: Ambien’s a Hell of a Drug

Today’s episode is a news roundup episode featuring stories that can be best described as hot messes. We’ll talk about Elon Musk’s war against the media, Roseanne Bar’s racist tweets, and why Starbucks’ racial sensitivity training might not work.

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Blasphemy Laws for Puny Gods — My Latest for Splice Today

Even though I’m pro-free speech, I don’t talk about it at campus debates for two reasons. The first is that it’s repetitive (although I do like Amanda Marcotte’s solution), and the second is that historically those with the most power and authority have always been the bigger threats to free speech. This is especially true in the Middle East where freethinkers are routinely executed under Islamic theocracies for blasphemy. For example, I recently came across the story of Ahmad Al-Shamri of Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to death in 2015 for expressing his criticisms of Islam on social media. According to the International Business Times, Al-Shamri pled insanity during his initial hearing, claiming that he was drunk and stoned at the time. Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court overruled his appeal.

I’d assume that an all-powerful god like Allah could handle criticism, but I guess not since many of his followers feel they need to kill everyone who hurts his feelings. In the words of the Incredible Hulk, “Puny god.”

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Bi Any Means Podcast #131: Top 10 Favorite Episodes of 2017

Today on the show I’m counting down my top ten favorite episodes of 2017. It’s a similar structure to last year’s best of 2016 episode, but because Spreaker doesn’t list most downloaded episodes in numerical order anymore and I’m too lazy to do the math myself, I decided to just list my personal favorite episodes from this past year instead. That way I can highlight episodes that didn’t get a lot of downloads.

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