Secular Coalition says now’s the time to end tax loopholes for millionaire ministers

March 10, 2011

2010 This Year In Skepticism – February

January 5, 2011

Here is the second part of my look back at the big skeptic-related news stories from last year. I just reviewed last January here. And here’s February. Hopefully, I’ll cover more than one month of the year in the next installment.

Homeopaths admit their products have no active ingredients – The 10:23 homeopathic overdose campaign has driven the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths to admit that their products do not contain any “material substances”:

Council spokeswoman Mary Glaisyer admitted publicly that “there´s not one molecule of the original substance remaining” in the diluted remedies that form the basis of this multi-million-dollar industry.

Lancet retracts1998 Wakefield study

Motivational speaker James Arthur Ray, guru of The Secret was officially charged with manslaughter – This earns him a nomination for biggest douchebag of the year.

Kevin Trudeau pissed off the wrong judge – This earns him a nomination for biggest douchebag of the year.

The Desiree Jennings case may have been exposed as a fraud, though the damage was already done

Andrew Wakefield booted out of Thoughtful House

The Secular Coalition met with the White House

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Why is Fox “News” so scared of “5%” of Americans

February 28, 2010

I do wish Newdow had corrected her false statistics as there 15% of Americans state that they are not affiliated with any organized religion, not “5%.” That means there are more Americans unaffiliated with any religion than there are Jews and blacks combined.

Fox’s other amusing swipe at Newdow and “the atheists” comes from Sean “I never met I fact I couldn’t deny” Hannity:

Of course it wasn’t “the atheists” who met with White House officials but those who promote secular government, some of whom are in fact religious. And I fail to see how agreeing to be “fair and balanced” makes the Obama Administration hostile to religion.

Also of course, it’s also a mystery why Newdow’s name even came up at all in this story as he was not in attendance at this meeting with the Secular Coalition.

But of course Hannity already knew that because as everyone knows, “the most trusted name in news” has the best fact checkers around.

And I’m sure they had good reason to not actually report the story at all but instead merely use it as just a launching pad to criticize the Obamas, who also did not attend the meeting.

Another stellar reporting job by “America’s most trusted name in news.”

Secular Coalition meeting w/ White House goes well

February 27, 2010

Yesterday I blogged that today a meeting would take place between the Secular Coalition and officials in the Obama Administration. And it seems as though the Secular Coalition did a good job of presenting their case and that White House officials were receptive to their message.

But the clearest sign that we’re moving in the right direction is the completely hilarious, over-the-top, doom-saying rhetoric of Bill Donohue, who either doesn’t know anything about the people he’s criticizing or just doesn’t care:

People of faith, especially Christians, have good reason to wonder exactly where their interests lie with the Obama administration. Now we have the definitive answer. In an unprecedented move, leaders of a presidential administration are hosting some of the biggest anti-religious zealots in the nation.

If President Obama does not want to go to church, that is his business. But it is the business of the American people, most all of whom are believers, to know where the president and his administration stand with regards to their concerns. It is not likely that this outreach to anti-religious activists — many of whom would crush Christianity if they could — will do anything to calm the fears of people of faith. Indeed, it will only alienate them even further.

It is important that the public learn of the contents of this meeting. We will do what we can to find out what happened.

This was followed up by In God We Trust’s Chairman Bishop Council Nedd basically just repeating the same talking points about the Secular Coalition being a bigoted hate group.

Of course these accusations have no basis in fact, which should be obvious considering that some of the organizations associated with the Secular Coalition are religious. Funny how there’s a direct inverse correlation between godliness and honesty. But who needs honesty when you can get far more media attention from just saying a bunch of crazy lies? Plus Donohue is in love with his own outrage.

Stay classy, guys!

Secular Coalition to meet with Obama Administration

February 26, 2010

Can atheists ever get their concerns listened to by the federal government? The Obama Administration has now answered this question with a resounding, “Yes We Can!”

Tomorrow may mark a new chapter in American history, one where the White House officially takes an interest in atheists. Although they don’t just represent atheist organizations, the Secular Coalition for America is fighting to protect the wall separating church and state. And now the Secular Coalition is meeting with White House officials to discuss those issues of particular importance to the secular community. This has never happened before and hopefully it’ll set a precedent for all future presidents.

Particularly, they plan to discuss religious exemptions for parents who mistreat their children (i.e. kids with medical issues), military proselytization, and fixing Faith-Based Initiatives.

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, said “We are delighted that we will get the chance to speak to and to hear from the Obama administration at the briefing with the Secular Coalition for America tomorrow. We will not be seeking support for Atheism from the federal administration, because we know they must be neutral and because we are confident that our conclusions can compete and win in the marketplace of ideas, unaided by government. We seek an end to special rights for religious ideas and beliefs–in all regulations, laws, procedures, and pronouncements. The privileging of religiosity violates the First Amendment and good sense.”

Here’s the official press release (PDF).

News From Around The Blogosphere 2.12.10

February 13, 2010

Happy Darwin Day everyone!

Also save the date June 21 because it will Global Atheist Solidarity Day!

1. Secular Coalition for America receives a gift of $500,000 from philanthropist Todd Stiefel

2. Need information to counter global climate change deniers in a hurry? Don’t worry. There’s an app for that.

3. Creation Science Fair? – It’s not very fair to science.

4. Measles outbreak in South Africa

The cause of a measles outbreak sweeping South Africa has not as yet been determined, but initial suspicions point to religious objections and unfounded fears that immunizations against the disease increase the risk of autism in children.

Thank’s Jenny McCarthy!

Abstinence-Only Sex Education No Longer Federally Funded

May 7, 2009

Barack Obama has now eliminated abstinence-only funding for sex education.

The Secular Coalition responded by saying:The Secular Coalition for America thanks President Obama for his decision to eliminate abstinence-only-until-marriage funding and replace it with funding for “scientifically accurate” teen pregnancy approaches. “Finally, sex education that is medically accurate and effective, instead of a hodge podge of medical misinformation and theological opinions — America’s children deserve no less,” said Ron Millar, the Secular Coalition’s Acting Director.

And on a related note, Bristol Palin has now publicly stated that abstinence is a realistic solution for teens to avoid unwanted pregnancy, which interestingly, is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what she said just 3 months ago, that abstinence is “not realistic at all.” Apparently lying is a Palin family value. But maybe she’s right, you know, because abstinence was soooo effective in avoiding an unwanted pregnancy for her, right? Right? Oh yeah! That’s right. It wasn’t.

You know, I really debated whether or not to blog about this because she’s a teen mother and it’s not her fault her mother is an crazy idiot, etc. But if she’s going to continue to enter the public realm and be a public figure who spouts out nonsense, we sorta don’t have much of a choice but to comment on or critique her statements.

It must be great to have a sex-ed class where the tests only have one question:

I should have sex.  True or False.