‘atheism’

End Rape & Incest Exceptions to Stupak Abortion Ban

You know what the Stupak–Pitts Amendment does to the healthcare reform bill, right? It prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for: * any abortion, or * any part of the costs of any health plan that covers abortion, * except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life. This amendment is designed to eliminate the possibility of abortion for millions of poor women. But if you already have health insurance, this amendment will actually take something away from you. Because insurance plans that cover abortion—even if a consumer never has an abortion—will be disqualified from…

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Gay Priests? No, Confused Priests

Social scientists at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice have been researching the causes of the Catholic Church’s modern tradition of priests sexualizing boys. In releasing their initial findings, researchers said they can not attribute it to gay priests or seminaries for teenagers. “We do not have data to support those assertions,” said Karen Terry, lead researcher for the $2 million study commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She believes that the priests had sex primarily with boys mainly because they had access to boys. “Even though there was sexual abuse of many boys, that doesn’t…

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A Visit to the Middle Ages, Central Asia-Style

I continued my trip to Azerbaijan by visiting medieval times twice, from two entirely different—yet oddly related—directions. Today I went to Krasnaya Sloboda, a small town in the foothills near Russia that is experiencing a religious revival. In fact, it now has the only actual Jewish culture in Azerbaijan. The rest was wiped out by the Soviets in the general anti-religion frenzy of the Stalin era, enhanced by the standard Russian and Central Asian anti-semitism. Religion has been making an enormous comeback in all the former Soviet republics since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Whether Christian, Muslim, or…

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Florida Now Safe For Goats & Jesus

Honestly, I’m not making this up. On the one hand, the Florida Senate has voted 38-0 to criminalize sex with animals. At the very same time, it’s about to issue license plates depicting the crucified head of Jesus. Each of these is a nutty idea—supported by large numbers of voters. I’m not sure which would be more offensive: seeing my neighbor making love with his goat, or seeing my neighbor’s car sporting a government-issued “I believe” license plate. Wait, of course I know: it’s the license plate. Florida lawmakers have their priorities upside down. Floridians don’t need to be protected…

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The Problem With Rev. Rick Warren—It Isn’t the Rick, It’s the Rev.

Rick Warren is the conservative mega-preacher from Southern California who’s giving the invocation at Barack Obama’s swearing-in on January 20. Lots of people have been criticizing Obama’s choice. They accurately note that Warren is rabidly anti-gay, anti-condom, anti-sex education, anti-reproductive choice. He brags about his supposedly great work battling AIDS in Africa, but it turns out that Warren’s ideological commitments to abstinence and against condoms have actively undermined public health in Africa. He’s a dangerous, deluded, man full of hate and fear. Obama could have chosen a different religious figure, someone whose beliefs more closely match those who elected him.…

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