UNRWA official breaks down after Israel bombs yet another school

Chris Gunness works for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza and is someone I’ve shown before commenting on the attacks by Israel on civilians in Gaza. In an interview with Al Jazeera, after describing the latest atrocity that killed 19 people in an attack on yet another UN school, he breaks down right after the interviewer thanks him for his time.
[Read more…]

Changes on FtB coming tomorrow

The FreethoughtBlogs site is about to go through a major re-design that will be implemented tonight so that you can expect the site to be down for a short while during the transition. When it comes back up, it will look different. There are bound to be some issues that will need to be addresses so please be patient.

Connection between religiosity and political partisanship

Gallup has done a survey and found the not very surprising result that the nonreligious and moderately religious tilt Democratic while the very religious tilt Republican. This pattern holds true (though to a smaller extent) for all subgroups such as non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and Asians, but not for blacks who go Democratic whatever their religiosity.
[Read more…]

Facing death-3: Generational deaths

Life is a precious gift that we are lucky to have experienced. It can end at any time. We are not entitled to life at all, let alone any specific lifespan. As Richard Dawkins begins in his book Unweaving the Rainbow: “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born.” The only rule about life and death that deserves the name of ‘natural’ is that children should not die before their parents. That statement could be interpreted wrongly as expressing the idea that one wants welcomes the death of one’s parents. But any parent will understand the intent of the sentiment because losing a child is a terrible blow.
[Read more…]

So much for going through the proper channels

The Obama administration and its supporters of the national security state never tire of telling us that whistleblowers like Edward Snowden should not go public with the revelations but instead go through the ‘proper channels’ since those channels supposedly have safeguards to protect them from retaliation. Apart from the fact that Snowden was a contractor and not a federal employee and thus not entitled to those protections, we saw the harsh treatment meted out to previous whistleblowers who did try to use these methods. Indeed it was seeing what happened to these earlier whistleblowers that made Snowden choose his particular path.
[Read more…]

Another blasphemy outrage in Pakistan

Pakistan is a country that one thought was on the way to becoming a modern state but it seems to be regressing into a medieval religious one. One of the symptoms is the incorporation into its judicial code of blasphemy laws. This has emboldened Muslim extremists to take the law into their own hands to defend the honor of their god by killing those accused of blasphemy, without even waiting for these laws to be used against offenders.
[Read more…]