Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Blasphemy Rights Day!

Today was Blasphemy Rights Day! Please take a minute to sign the petition to free Alber Saber:

To show your support for free expression, like the Campaign for Free Expression on Facebook. They are making a big announcement tomorrow...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

9/11 liberal (n) - a liberal who believes Muslims are nuts

Bill Maher defines "9/11 liberal" as someone who believes Islam is worse than other religions. Chris Matthews asks: So what?

I think Chris Stedmen may be onto something when he warns us that Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at our own Peril. So when Haroon Moghul asks "Are Muslims Nuts?" I wouldn't elect Maher to speak for my liberal or secular views on the question.

But I'm very interested in what Rushdie has to say, and very much looking forward to reading his new book.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Always stand up to cowards

A bad video produced by Christian extremists to blaspheme Islam
Sparks anti-American riots among Muslim extremists with radical Imams

The soft-core porn director doesn't appear to be very pleased with his sudden fame
But some terrorists seized the opportunity to create a lasting Libyan shame

From Sydney to Paris to London, the Muslim outrage spread far and wide
Yet in American, the "peaceful" Muslims condemned the violence and just wanted to hide

Even friendly atheists complained about their thin skin
While their Arab cohorts continued to struggle for the world's attention

Meanwhile the politics of violence and fear seemed to march on
In constant search of a new home

Where freedom (of speech and religion) is dead
And more cowards ("murderers and their accomplices") are bred

So all I can offer is some "modest thoughtfulness" today
And try "to give some human meaning to everyday life" in some way

Always stand up to cowards who incite violence and kill
And to cowards who would take away the freedom to be shrill

Happy (early) Blasphemy Day 2012!
If he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward.
- Albert Camus, Neither Victims nor Executioners

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The innocence of children

There were violent protests in Sydney yesterday, and...

"If this is the best God can do, I'm not impressed."
 - George Carlin

I agree with Carolyn Porco that this is child abuse. I also agree with Dawkins that just calling a child a "Muslim" (or a "Christian") is a form of child abuse, but that doesn't mean that I want children of religious parents to be taken out of their homes and brought up in "state-run, communal, child farms." It just means I want to provide even more support and encouragement for people leaving their faith. Because there are so many people, like these poor kids, who don't have a choice about getting into it...and too few options to help them get out!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Secularists are atheists, agnostics, deists, pantheists, theists and polytheists

"As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith." 
 - Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Jacques Berlinerblau believes that the vast majority of atheists are "tolerant, self-critical, and moderate in their outlook (that is, secularish)" and that a "true secular movement...should make the eradication of anti-atheist prejudice integral to its platform." However, he also believes that "religious moderates" are needed for secularism to "forge coalitions and pursue its agenda effectively." Fair enough. But I'm not convinced that "American secularism has lost control of its identity and image" to atheists - or that this "serves only the right" because atheists are viewed more unfavorably than any other group in America (even Muslims).

Anyway, Berlinerblau wrote a book and is pitching it (as Ed Brayton and others have noticed in recent months). The "precise relation of atheism to secularism needs to be teased out and explained to the general public," Berlinerblau argues, so we can "glimpse a credible alternative to the extreme forms of atheism that are coming to dominate secularism today." One example of this extreme form of atheism that he cites is Richard Dawkins: Berlinerblau characterizes Dawkins' position, in The God Delusion, as one that "can’t distinguish between a member of the Taliban beheading a journalist and a Methodist running a soup kitchen in Cincinnati." Seriously? And this guy wants to teach us how to be secular and forge coalitions with religious moderates? Please!

Secularists are atheists...and agnostics, deists, pantheists, theists, and polytheists! The religious moderates and strictly secular groups have been doing what they can, but they need the help of us nontheists. Instead of complaining about atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans supporting secularism, Berlinerblau should pick a secular group that he can support, or form a new one, and help us forge some coalitions to pursue our secular agenda more effectively. Fear of guilt by association with a despised minority (atheists) is not secularism.