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The Future of Organized Humanism, Thankfully, Isn't New Atheism 2.0
Our movement is stronger when we actually represent the whole country.
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The American Humanist Association announced that their next executive director will be Nadya Dutchin, an experienced non-profit leader based in Washington, D.C. who previously worked with groups centered around climate justice and health care.
The hiring of a new director of a non-profit wouldn’t normally be news, but this feels different. It comes after the previous director, Roy Speckhardt, said while announcing his resignation that he hoped to be replaced by someone who wasn’t also white.
He felt that the world of atheist activism (at least when it came to larger non-profits) was still a predominantly white cisgender male one — no doubt that’s still the stereotype — and one way to change that was by making sure women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of color were in positions of power, not just relegated to representing their communities within those groups.
The fact that Dutchin’s personal and career background isn’t typically seen in our “movement” is an asset; it’s a sign that humanism isn’t just for a certain group of people. Those of us who have been involved in this world for years already knew that, of course, but it’s been incredibly hard to make that clear to people outside our own bubble — the ones who typically associate atheism with the mostly white, mostly male crop of “New Atheists,” stand-up comedians, science communicators, “edgy” YouTubers, and the like.
While that’s happening, the most famous atheist in the world, Richard Dawkins, is still using his platform to make life worse for trans women who just want to live in peace without their gender identity being weaponized against them.
Under the guise of protecting women’s rights, Dawkins urged his nearly 3 million Twitter followers to sign a declaration that aims to deny civil rights to trans women. I wrote more on the site, but I’ll just reiterate how depressing it is that the author who so brilliantly explained evolution through his books can’t seem to wrap his mind around civil rights and actual persecution.
Meanwhile, the media is lying to us…
31-year-old Robert Joel Cota was arrested and charged with an astonishing 1,200 counts — 600 for sexual assault and 600 for incest. That alone is disturbing, but it’s also worth pointing out how he was caught.
Cota attended an event for new members at a local (unnamed) church in Pensacola, Florida. At some point during the event, Cota asked the pastor about the church’s stated beliefs about marriage, gender, sexual contact, etc. He specifically challenged why “incest” was on the list of forbidden things.
That raised all kinds of obvious red flags and the pastor wisely alerted local law enforcement, handing over the card that Cota filled out with his address and phone number.
You don’t have to defend the wife of Joshua Duggar for sticking by his side while he embarks on a life of molesting kids, having affairs, and allegedly downloading illicit content involving children. But when one critic claimed that Anna Duggar’s conservative Christian upbringing wrongly led her to believe divorce is not an option, blogger and professional mommy-shamer Lori Alexander (a.k.a. “The Transformed Wife”) was right there to defend the Duggars:
You want to rid culture of all of God’s ways due to one sinful, fallen man. You must be a feminist and humanist… Josh wasn’t an “abusive” man. The sisters in their interview said clearly that they didn’t think he was a rapist nor did he molest them. He “mildly touched them over their clothing.” He was a curious young teenage boy. Yes, this was wrong, and it was dealt with but don’t blow it out of proportion in order to make your unbiblical point…
Listen: If sticking up for Josh Duggar by downplaying his molestation is part of your argument, you’ve lost the battle.
A lot of you will be able to relate to this: Drew McCoy (a.k.a. Genetically Modified Skeptic) was raised in a very conservative Christian home and left it all behind five years ago. But there’s still so much he’s deconstructing:
Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke, who appears to be on a quest to cement his reputation as a professional right-wing troll, told his congregation that the Real Enemies… are doctors and nurses. He added that “hospitals of America are the death camps of East Germany”… which is a phrase that makes no sense for a whole bunch of reasons.
Locke has also been trying to evade his permanent ban on Twitter by using new, but not subtle, usernames (which still violates their terms). His third twitter handle spouted out a bunch of conspiracy theories, which is probably not helping his case.
He’s also accusing Twitter’s founder of being a pedophile.
By the way, never believe a pastor who ever uses the “Love the sinner…” line about gay people.
One of Steven Anderson’s New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist buddies was busy spouting anti-Semitism…
… while a different one tried to imitate a Jimmy Kimmel Live segment:
What do you do when your Christian movies and TV shows aren’t winning over new audiences? Simple: Make a secular show to hook in the audience before piling on the Jesus.
The people at the ultra-conservative Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho are apparently behind a very popular Netflix cartoon called Hello Ninja.
The question is what they plan to do next, because this is definitely not the end goal. The creators are currently using their money to bankroll a nature documentary series that promotes Creationism but the fear is that’s just the beginning.
This week in Christian Nationalism:A vapid line designed for applause yet representative of the authoritarian Christian nationalism that remains a threat to our secular and pluralistic nation.Our leaders should make decisions with the Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other. https://t.co/78RbbnBKTvJosh Mandel @JoshMandelOhio
There are sex workers in Salt Lake City, Utah. If that surprises you, because you know that’s also where the Mormon Church is headquartered, well, I promise you the workers aren’t surprised.
Author Steve Cuno spent three years speaking with workers, clients, and law enforcement officials for his new book Behind the Mormon Curtain: Selling Sex in America’s Holy City. Here’s a peek from a longer excerpt:
In fact, Eva had no difficulty placing him. She had seen him just that morning.
Her new client was the second counselor in her ward bishopric.
The usually talkative Eva stood speechless. The increasingly crimson-faced second counselor managed to open his mouth but not to speak. At last finding her voice, Eva said, “Well, this is awkward.”
This pastor is SO CLOSE to getting it.
The Board of County Commissioners in Polk County, Florida are making a monumentally idiotic decision that could result in a lawsuit.
In the past, they allowed residents to offer invocations to begin their meetings. These were predominantly Christian invocations, and when atheists spoke, there was always drama. (For example, when one atheist spoke earlier this year, a Commissioner decided to deliver a second Christian invocation immediately when she was done… as if to undo whatever she said.)
They’ve somehow made things worse, adopting a new policy that lets the local fire department’s chaplains deliver all future invocations. The move effectively shuts non-Christians out of the process.
Atheist David Williamson tried to make them understand the gravity of what they were considering before they voted, but the decision was made regardless.I wrote earlier about how the Polk Co. (FL) Board of Commissioners was considering letting Christian chaplains deliver all future invocations. friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2021/11/30/pol… Before they voted today, atheist David Williamson urged them to reconsider with this truly memorable speech.
Of all the problems that evangelical churches have, baptisms being uncool was very very low on the list. But since they have no desire to address sexual abuse, the treatment of women, MAGA cultism in the pews, or their bigotry, they’re making baptisms social media-friendly.
Here’s how one pastor justified the extravagance:
“We live in an age where people like experiences,” said Mark Clifton, pastor of Linwood Baptist in Kansas, which closed up its built-in baptistery last year and now uses an inflatable hot tub. “It’s not that it looks better, but it feels better. It feels more authentic, it feels more real.”
That makes as much sense as ditching your usual psychic because the one next door has better lighting. It doesn’t change the quality of the underlying product.
The implication is that a tradition symbolic ceremony isn’t “better,” “authentic,” or “real.” At least, it seems less so. Even though, in theory, the ritual should feel exactly as authentic if it were done in a birdbath. If a Christian feels more authentically Christian after a cool baptism, it’s a sign that their faith really isn’t about the beliefs.
Just dropping this here:
Open up the four screenshots and you’ll see the most predictable story ever.
If you spent the past two years using your massive Christian media network to spread lies about COVID, vaccines, and face masks, then don’t expect the world feel sorry for you when you die from COVID.
And with that, Marcus Lamb, the head of Daystar Television, one of the largest religious TV networks in the country, has become the latest recipient of the Herman Cain Award.
Speaking of which, MAGA cultist Eric Metaxas has some news:Eric Metaxas, who told people not to get vaccinated "if only to be a rebel," has been missing from his radio show for two weeks because he and his family got COVID, including his 94-year-old father who ended up having to go to the emergency room.Religious-right commentator Eric Metaxas says people should refuse to get vaccinated for COVID just to be a rebel: "If the government or everybody is telling you you have to do something ... if only to be a rebel, you need to say, 'I'm not going to do this.'" https://t.co/45VFZ3JOhIRight Wing Watch @RightWingWatch
Normal scamvangelists talk about the need for people to “sow their seed” by donating to the ministry. But self-described “prophet” Robin Bullock urged people to donate by telling a story that involved angels, tires, and circumcision.
This is tragic: A mother in South Carolina allegedly killed her six-year-old son because “she wanted to send the victim to heaven.” While details are limited, the situation raises serious questions about the harm of religious belief, who should have access to guns, as well as the need for better mental health care.
This week in Gene Kim:
Oh look. Another scandal involving Liberty University. This time, Professor William Atwell, who taught American Sign Language at the fundamentalist Christian school, was arrested on separate charges of sexual battery and kidnapping.
When the school issued a statement about it, they only referred to “inappropriate sexual contact”… which is a weird way to downplay assault and ignore the whole kidnapping angle.
D. James Kennedy Ministries (formerly called Truth in Action) is a Christian hate group. I know this because I can see for myself the things they’ve said about LGBTQ people and it’s downright hateful — far beyond the standard bigoted Christian beliefs we’re already used to. The Southern Poverty Law Center also included the ministry in a list of “Active Anti-LGBT Hate Groups.”
But for years now, the ministry has been trying to shed the “hate group” status by asking courts to intervene. All of them have refused to do so… but instead of giving up, the ministry is now asking the Supreme Court to get involved. They almost certainly won’t. But at least it’s another chance to remind everyone that D. James Kennedy Ministries is a Christian hate group.
You know your church has too much money when a plumber just finds envelopes of cash inside the walls. So far, Joel Osteen hasn’t commented on the discovery in his Lakewood Church in Texas, but it comes several years after $600,000 — one weekend’s haul — was stolen from there.
If you don’t make enough money, you should be able to receive assistance from the government until you’re able to get back on your feet. That’s, in essence, what welfare payments are designed to do.
In Utah, there are two ways to get that kind of help: You can get it from the government if you are living below the poverty line… and you can also get it as a member of the Mormon Church.
Here’s the problem: The state government is effectively outsourcing welfare to the LDS Church… putting welfare recipients in the awful position of having to become Mormon (or pretending to be) if they want aid.
That’s the key revelation — backed up with documentation — in a stunning new article by Eli Hager, published by ProPublica and The Salt Lake Tribune.
Although maintaining a safety net for the poor is the government’s job, welfare in Utah has become so entangled with the state’s dominant religion that the agency in charge of public assistance here counts a percentage of the welfare provided by the LDS Church toward the state’s own welfare spending, according to a memorandum of understanding between the church and the state obtained by ProPublica.
What that means is that over the past decade, the Utah State Legislature has been able to get out of spending at least $75 million on fighting poverty that it otherwise would have had to spend under federal law, a review of budget documents shows.
It’s political malpractice mixed with religious bigotry, and the end result is that people suffer.
Finally, who knew Lil Nas X had this kind of power...?
(The pastor there, by the way, is Steven Furtick. If you’re not familiar with him, you’re gonna go down a wild rabbit hole if you Google him.)
That’s it for this week! Please be safe this month as the War on Christmas resumes. You can get extra armor by becoming a full subscriber or sharing this with someone who may enjoy it. It would mean a lot to me :)