The following is today’s newsletter email from American Atheist, verbatim. The Lion did clean up the links, as AA apparently hasn’t discovered the href tag in HTML yet, and he did a bit of formatting too, for readability. There’s some interesting stuff here, and they have a pretty good website.
In This Issue… * Religious test for insurance coverage? * Blasphemy Day events * Worth Noting: Latest on Darwin film * Dave’s blog * Resources * About this list…
"THE MOST MISTRUSTED GROUP" AND NO, WE WON’T SELL YOU INSURANCE!
A recent piece in Psychology Today reports on yet another study that finds Atheists to be "the most mistrusted group" in the United States.
When asked in a national survey to identify segments of the population which did "not all agree with my vision of American society," ten groups were listed. Some were religious — Christians, Muslims and Jews — while others covered ethnic categories (Asians, blacks). Still others were traditional targets of popular animus, such as homosexuals and immigrants. The category which elicited the most opprobrium, however, was Atheists. When it came to marriage and other indicators of social acceptance, the godless were the most despised, marginalized and excluded.
Psychology Today contributor Gad Saad observed, "This might be one of the saddest scientific findings I have ever read. " He cited a roll-call of famous luminaries including Albert Einstein, Francis Crick, Linus Pauling, Bertrand Russell and others who fall into the Atheist or non- believer category. There have been Atheist men and women who have made astounding contributions to the welfare of humanity, who have fought for civil liberties and individual rights, who have struggled against considerable odds to make the world a more peaceful, tolerant and nourishing space — and to no avail, at least, it appears, to the average American.
Dr. Saad’s trenchant commentary can be found at ">Psychology Today.
We also call your attention to a little-publicized case from Ohio involving clear discrimination directed at Atheists. A national insurance firm, GuideOne Mutual, has been found guilty of violating the Federal Fair Housing Act in its marketing campaign to provide premium discounts to "church goers."
Led by the National Fair Housing Alliance and the Fair Housing Advocates Association, plaintiffs challenged the practice in federal court. A spokesperson for the FHA described the case, filed in November, 2007, saying: "If I went to the grocery store to buy some bread, they couldn’t have a section for Christian bread. It’s about a level playing field and equal access to a product. You can’t put a corporate bias into the sale of a product."
The Ohio decision involves a narrow and clear-cut area of anti-discrimination law. Christians were given preferential treatment through a "FaithGuard" program operated by the company. The US District Court ordered GuideOne Mutual to pay$74,000 to settle the plaintiffs’ claims; the case affects home owners and renters in 19 states where the company does business. Visit ">Allgov for more on this case.
Join us as we celebrate International Blasphemy Day! It’s a 3 day celebration of not being afraid to think as you please and speak your mind without dogma
Sept. 28-Open House 2-5pm Taping of the Atheist Viewpoint 7: 00pm
Sept. 29-Meet and Greet Your Fellow Atheists 2pm-?
Sept. 30-Blasphemy Day! De-Baptisms performed 10am-2pm Movie-7pm What better movie to watch on this day? "Blasphemy"
All events are at the American Atheist Center 225 Christiani St. Cranford 908-276-7300 All events are FREE
10 Ways the U.S. Military Has Shoved Christianity Down Muslims’ Throats
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation was founded in 2005 by Mikey Weinstein, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and Reagan administration White House counsel, after the harassment his own sons faced as Jewish cadets at the academy led him to discover that the fundamentalist Christian takeover of the Air Force Academy was far from an isolated problem.
Overshadowed by Tea Party Movement, the Christian Right Scrambles to Claim It Isn’t Racist
At the religious right’s Values Voter Summit this weekend, some of the air seemed to have gone out of the balloon. Gathering at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, 1,800 activists and their leaders seemed resigned to being subsumed by the broader Tea Party movement, or rendered irrelevant by it. This year’s conference, sponsored by the political affiliate of the Family Research Council, emphasized matters important to Tea Party leaders: freedom was linked with free enterprise; ominous were warnings offered about a march to socialism; global warming was said to be a good thing; and taxes were deemed to be too high and largely misappropriated.
From ">Discover Magazine:
Canadian Creationism: Just 22 Percent
I’ve been doing some research and just found this figure: only 22 percent of Canadians think God created human beings within the last 10,000 years or so. In the U.S. the number is roughly double that. Similarly, I recently learned from appearing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s "Lateline" program that just 20 percent of Australians are global warming deniers. They’re very worried about this fact down there, and they should be-but again, the percentage is much higher in the U.S. Pew puts it at 49 percent.
Check out this pre-election video where Mr. Obama emphasizes the role of science in our nation’s history, and cites Charles Darwin’s anniversary.
From ">The Guardian:
Creation is a fitting tribute to Darwin
A new film about the great scientist is upsetting Darwinologists as much as creationists. Their suspicion is misplaced It’s the double celebration year, and for this amateur Darwinologist, the best is yet to come. The release this week of the film Creation is a unique occasion when my two biggest obsessions, movies and evolution finally converge. Creation is a fictionalised account of Charles Darwin’s middle age, it spans the time between the death of his daughter and the publication of the Origin of Species. It’s based on Annie’s Box, a book by his great-great- grandson Randal Keynes, and thus has the absolute seal of approval of the guardians of Darwin’s estate. That the chronology is not entirely accurate, and that it features Annie’s ghost as a device appears to have troubled some hardy Darwinologists.
From the ">Center for Inquiry:
There are many historical myths with which we like to comfort ourselves. One myth that appeals to Americans is that ever since the founding of our country we have been strong supporters of individual rights and fundamental freedoms. After all, shortly after we adopted the Constitution we also adopted the Bill of Rights, which prohibits government interference with speech and government establishment of religion.
From Jump In Magazine:
Interview with Blair Scott, American Atheists Affiliation Director.
From ">Politics Daily:
50,000 Muslims to Pray on Capitol Hill: Guess Who’s Not Happy?
The event sounds like yet another Tea Party protest, or perhaps an encore of last weekend’s Values Voter Summit: Devout believers joining together this Friday to pray on Capitol Hill for the soul of America. Who could argue with that? Well, when the believers happen to be Muslims, and there could be as many as 50,000 of them kneeling to pray in Arabic, yes, you could see how there might be some blowback from the usual suspects.
From ">U. S. News:
Darwin Defenders Lash Out at Creationist Origin of Species
Lots of Darwin defenders responded to my post about the new Creationist edition of Origin of Species. Needless to say, they’re not pleased.
Kirk Cameron Defends Attack on ‘Species’
Former teen idol Kirk Cameron has it out for Charles Darwin, and is making no apologies for his controversial (and mocked, see below) plan to distribute thousands of altered copies of ‘The Origin of Species’ to college students. The ‘Growing Pains’ alum released a video last week announcing that on Nov. 19, he and other Creationist activists will distribute a special ‘Species’ with a 50- page intro that slams evolution and paints Darwin as both racist and misogynistic and explicitly highlights "Adolph Hitler’s undeniable connection to the theory." Nov. 21 is the 150th anniversary of the book’s original publication.
From Salt Lake Tribune:
College makes or breaks faith for many students
The four University of Utah students were sharing one of those sublime moments. Piled in the back of Alec Gehrke’s Malibu — a refurbished car bought from the LDS Church — they were parked above the Salt Lake City Cemetery in the Avenues late on a warm Saturday night. Stars lit the sky and the city lights twinkled from the valley floor below. Even their breathing seemed connected, as if they were links on the same chain. "It was existential," Gehrke says.
Atheist advocates evidence-based belief on Fargo’s Freethought Day
PZ Myers, an outspoken atheist and evolutionary biologist, had some nice things to say about Fargo on Thursday. Specifically, he liked a proclamation signed by Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker establishing Sept. 24 as Freethought Day. "I’m very pleased to see that Fargo now has a Freethought Day, which is pretty impressive," said Myers.
From ">Psychology Today:
Atheists Are the Most Mistrusted Group
They Are Evil and Immoral! Some of you might remember Mr. Obama’s inauguration speech wherein he made an explicit reference to non-believers. Apparently, this was the first instance where an incoming American president has formally recognized the existence of this group of Americans (which incidentally includes the great majority of intellectuals, scientists, and philosophers). Does this imply that atheists are now largely accepted within the greater American society? Are they respected for their non-belief in imaginary narratives of invisible deities? Regrettably, the answer is an emphatic no!
From ">The Guardian:
Atheists examine Christmas from angel-free angle
It is a book about Christmas but there’s not a manger, virgin birth or angel in sight. Buoyed by the success of their campaign which proclaimed There’s Probably No God, Now Stop Worrying on the side of London buses, some of Britain’s most prominent atheists have come together to publish a book for the festive season.
Insurance Company Settles Claim for Discriminating against Atheists
GuideOne Mutual Insurance didn’t see any problem with offering special benefits to god-fearing consumers, but atheists and agnostics, not to mention the federal government, sure did. The Department of Justice sued GuideOne in federal court in Kentucky after receiving complaints about the insurer’s "FaithGuard" policy that offered homebuyers, owners and renters in 19 states special benefits and discounts if they were churchgoers
US soldiers urged to pray for Muslims to become Christians
On Friday, several thousand Muslims gathered in DC for a very peaceful National Day of Prayer. At the same time, several Evangelical Christian groups gathered to protest the event. According to a Fox News story, At a separate event, held simultaneously in a conference room at the Rayburn House Office Building, a group calling itself Stop Islamization of America warned about the supposedly hateful, violent, and anti-Western teachings of the Koran.