Why A Moment of Silence Is Just Not Good Enough

After reviewing the protest prayer story out of Liberty, South Carolina, I’m stunned that, yet again, Christians [ignorantly?] feel persecuted because they are given a respectful and inclusive “moment of silence” where they can pray or not pray as they wish.

Many actually believe that providing a “moment of silence” is “taking prayer out of public schools.”

There are a number of reasons that providing a “moment of silence” at school events for all people to pray, think, or reflect is not enough for many American Christians.

  1. A “moment of silence” does not provide them with the privilege of acknowledgement by authority that they are accustomed to.
  2. A “moment of silence” does not allow an authority figure to lead other people’s children in Christian prayer.
  3. A “moment of silence” does not provide a chance to socially pressure others to pray or talk about Jesus nor does it single out those who need to be witnessed to or bullied.
  4. Worst of all for some Christian leaders, however, is the fact that a “moment of silence” does not require any prayer whatsoever. This is bad for them because most people do not go to football games and graduations to pray, and so it is unlikely that prayer will take place without being prompted.



06 2013

To the Open-Minded, Science-Loving Christian

One of the things I love about social networking is the ability to convey ideas to a number of individuals with various beliefs on how the world works and why. I’ve been a friend to several religious people of the liberal persuasion, many of whom are highly educated, tolerant, and accepting of scientific realities (and possibilities). We have the same distaste for liars, for hatred, for bigotry, and for fundamentalism. Many of them, sadly, run their courses as my friend and end our communication, sometimes on unfortunate terms. They may have had an argument with another atheist on one of our discussions or even had an argument with me. They oftentimes appoint themselves as the predominate voices of their religious groups (Christian, Muslim, or Jewish) and are offended by criticism of their religion’s negative impacts or unbelievability as attacks on them personally. There truly are a few individuals with whom I miss dialogue.

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10 2012

Chick-fil-A and Everything that is Wrong with American Politics

Do my ears deceive me? A chain restaurant is locked in a religious and political fiasco? In short, the controversy comes from the company’s charitable foundation’s monetary donations (now forgotten to the public at large) of ultra-conservative, anti-gay groups (that also lobby against equal pay for women and support initiatives for prayers in school, etc.) and statements to the Baptist Press by company President Dan Cathy that he believes his company stands for equal marriage and that God will judge a nation who strays from God’s opinion on the matter.

Media pundits and politicians from the left and right have been firing back and forth about the issue. Gay rights groups and activists first called for a boycott of the fast food chain, which makes some amount of sense considering that the money they would have been spending there would be funneled to groups that preach against their relationships and rights. In response, Mike Huckabee (via his Fox News show) claimed that the boycott was simply “intolerant bigotry” against a godly company and company president. Huckabee called on his conservative views to stand up for Christian rights and against “economic bullying” by giving the company extra business on what he termed “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”

What followed is what this author would describe as one of the top contenders for Most Annoying Week Ever on social media sites and news forums. Even the most apolitical Facebooker who has made some stance about Chick-fil-A. Many Christian conservatives have actually come out swinging as “Defenders of the First Amendment” and “Supporters of Free Speech,” while saying they will gladly pick up their $6 meal(s) on CFAA Day. They are more than willing to stand up for “intolerance.”

Is it wrong that so many people are boasting support for the first amendment or supporting a person/company’s right to free speech?

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07 2012

This Isn’t a Miracle from God

I’ve written in the past about religious responses to disasters and the way they often invoke the ideas of “blessings” and “plans” to describe survivors. The recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado has left 12 dead and many injured, and the religious responses have been typical. They’ve ranged from, “Thank God so-and-so survived,” to accounts of seeing God’s glory through stories of heroic boyfriends dying to shield their girlfriends from bullets. There have been many conclusions that God did not have a hand in the shooting itself–that was free will, but that he did apparently choose survivors.

And if he chose survivors, did he not also choose victims, including a vibrant, six-year-old girl?

No story of God choosing survivors has gone as far, however, as the story of Petra Anderson as told by Brad Strait. Petra Anderson was in the theater, along with dozens of other shooting victims, and was shot in the head. She remains among the living with what are described as minor injuries. Apparently, when the bullet entered her head, her brain was protected by a slight defect that worked to direct the bullet away from the vital parts of her brain.

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07 2012

A Rebuttal To Don Batten – Why Do Atheists Hate God?

I had an article already typed up before I sat down at my computer and decided to pen this one. While perusing my Facebook page, I stumbled across an article by Don Batten, a Creationist, and a man who has consorted with the unintellectual likes of Ken Ham, among other science deniers, and subscribers to absurd mythologies.

The article, Why Do Atheists Hate God, only caught my attention because I found the question Batten posed was not simply nonsensical, but it was relatively confusing, and seemed like a tirade based solely on ignorance.

The Question: Why Do Atheists Hate God?

I’m not sure if Batten fully understands the concept of atheism. I’ve never met an atheist that hated God, because in order to be an atheist one must reject the claim that there is a god in the first place. Some of the anger, which I’ll concede might at times be misplaced, that stems from atheists being argumentative about the existence of a deity is when others use it as a personal justification to take away the rights of individuals. It doesn’t end there, though, some of the disdain with regard to religion is about how human beings are often times forced to believe or accept it, or worse are required to live by the contextualized tenants of that religious belief.

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06 2012

Ideological Parenting: Escaping the Judgment Cult

As many of you are aware, I do have babies on the brain right now. I have checklists and buying lists and safety lists. How do you hold a baby, bathe a baby, nurse, or lay down for a nap? Do I have to give up dark music and dark comedy and hide references to my life-before-motherhood lifestyle? But these are only the surface questions on how to raise a healthy and safe child.

Another part of my days are spent pondering over how I should communicate with my future daughter. How do I teach her common-sense-yet-life-saving lessons like “Look both ways before you cross the street?” Do I pop her hand if she reaches for a hot stove or grab it away and explain that the heat will burn her? Is the second as practical if I happen to be chopping vegetables? Should we lie to her about things like Santa or make up grand stories about why she should be “good” when no one is watching, or do we tell her the truth as we know it: That no one is watching and being good is its own reward. Is that always true, anyway?

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06 2012

Give Them An Inch…

We’re all aware of the anti-abortionists who believe that life begins at conception. They attempt to pass legislation like the so-called  Personhood Amendments which seek to ban abortion for any reason and could also (though they rarely admit it) open up legislation to ban most forms of birth control. One of their favorite bumper-sticker lines is, “God plans every life.”

But how far would such people go on this notion? How is a human to know if she is messing up “God’s plan” by having an abortion or not–or, for that matter, by having sex or not? Some anti-abortionists are now maintaining that every life came into being *BEFORE* conception, that is either before the implantation of a fertilized egg or even before the egg and sperm existed. What legal ramifications would we have if such ideas were really taken seriously?

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06 2012

You v. Satan: Why People of Faith Do Not Consider Themselves “Bad”

Courtesy of the Guardian

A question I have, however, is whether or not American Christians have a sense of superiority over other faith groups and why. Even as I ask the question, it seems a little laughable, considering. If Christians did not believe themselves to be better people than those of other faith groups, why would the majority distrust or dislike atheists merely because atheists are atheists (ie: Not Christians)?

While I most certainly accept that a plethora of religious and social ideas (indoctrination, media stereotypes, etc.) can create distrust against certain groups or individuals outside of one’s own demographics, I would like to explore how the Christian idea of sin plays into a negative view of nonbelievers.

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06 2012

A Religion of Children

As far as religious beliefs go, I tend to take a fairly progressive approach with regard to people’s rights. I’ve previously supported valedictorians using their speeches to invoke whichever god or gods they choose in the academic highlight of their young lives, I’ve come out against the removal of One Million Moms’ Facebook page, and I’ve generally attempted to support the free and open flow of ideas, even if those opinions are misrepresented, bigoted, or simply hateful.

On the other hand, I frequently opine about the irrationality of opposing gay marriage, and I consider it to be the great civil rights movement of my generation. I’ve marched and demonstrated in gay pride parades, I’ve openly defended gay friends and family members, and have distanced myself from life-long friends in the support of respecting the equality of others. I once even commented that I would give all of my future earnings away simply for the opportunity to have a televised debate with the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter when that abomination was vying for the Presidential nomination of this country (not that he was much of a step-down from the current idiot venerating the Republican party) on the platform of Biblical morality.

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05 2012

Muslim State Rep. Posts Holy Command to Kill Christians; Says Complaints Are “Intolerant”

Imagine this: On his Facebook page, a state representative (and Muslim) said that believing in Christianity is wrong because of the following lines from his holy book:

9-5 “Fight and slay the pagans [Christians] wherever ye find them and seize them, confine them, and lie in wait for them in every place of ambush”

8:12 – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

When the media accused the man of promoting violence and murder against the nation’s Christians, the man responded that he certainly did not condone the killing of Christians, would never do such a thing, and would like for people to tolerate his scriptural viewpoint on the world.

Oh, wait. Let’s get back to reality. It wasn’t a Muslim who wrote something like that about Christians: It was a Christian state representative who posted a verse (Leviticus 20:13) commanding that homosexuals be put to death.

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05 2012