Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Religious Test for Public Office

This is clip from a recent Real Time Episode with Bill Maher and he makes some interesting (and funny) comments during his "New Rules" segment.

Maher points out that the Constitution forbids any religious test to be passed in order to run for office and agrees that anyone, regardless of their religion, should have the right to run for public office.

He then makes the very true statement that voters have the right, however, to use the religious beliefs of candidates into consideration when casting their votes. Here the gist of his "test" (paraphrased, of course):

1) if you believe in judgment day, I have to seriously question your judgement.
2) if you believe you're in a long-term relationship with an all-powerful space-daddy, who will, after you die, party with your ghost forever, you can't have my vote even for Miss Hawaiian Tropic. I can't trust you with the levers of government because there's an electrical fire going on in your head.
3) maybe a president that didn't believe our soldiers were going to heaven might be a little less willing to get them killed.

He goes on to poke fun at Mitt Romney's magical underwear and Mormonism, which he likens to "Scientology without the celebrities."

His jokes and jibes aside, he made a very interesting point: non-believers are a minority (about 20% of the American public), but a bigger minority that blacks, jews, gays, NRA members, teachers, or seniors -all demographics that politicians are actively seeking approval of.

I think its time that we non-believers and rationalists show creative methods of demonstrating to politicians that our vote is one that can have an effect. The question is when you are faced with a candidate pool in which all members are religious nutters or at least pander to the religious, how do you decide for whom to vote? Not voting can have an effect, but in an election where getting the right candidate may have long-term effects on Supreme Court nominations and subsequent decisions, not voting -even for a religious candidate- can have a detrimental effect on the cause of non-believers.

Related Links

  • Stark's atheist views break political taboo [SF]

  • Gallup Poll on voting choices []

  • Religion, voting and the campaign [Pew Research Center]

  • Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Atheist Soldier Threatened -a Veteran's Opinion

    VJack [Atheist Revolution] has a post up on the recent plight of Jeremy Hall, a Specialist in the U.S. Army stationed in Iraq, and a true hero. Not only is he serving his country in a combat zone, but he’s also standing up for the United States Constitution and the very Freedoms that he swore to uphold when he joined the military. SPC Hall, I salute you.

    Hall’s plight is one that involved his attempt to organize a group of atheists and non-Christians for a social meeting approved by an Army chaplain. One of the attendees turned out to be a Christian and an officer that had nothing good to offer to the group. Indeed, he ordered the group to discontinue the meeting and threatened his junior with non-judicial punishment. These are acts of cowardice such as this on the part of Major Welborne, the Christian who allowed his religious delusion to override his rationality and duty as an officer in the US Army. Duty, honor, country are buzzwords I’m sure this disgrace to the uniform I once wore likes to drop at cocktail parties at the Officer’s Club, but I doubt Welborne truly understands their meaning. It would appear, instead, that he fits them into his own religious delusion, preferring that Christianity be imposed upon all soldiers, regardless of their own beliefs. Ironically, this is the very nature of the enemy Welborne is tasked to combat: the Muslim extremists who think that anyone who chooses to leave Islam should be put to death and those that aren’t yet Muslims should be converted or killed.

    Does that make Welborne a terrorist? With the constantly moving goalposts of that definition in our current administration, who can really say? But there’s no doubt that, for his patriotism, Hall is being terrorized. After being named a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and after he refused to join hands in a cult prayer at an earlier time, Hall has had his life threatened on various blogs and directly threatened by members of his unit. When your faith requires that you threaten others who question it, is it really all that good of a faith?

    Its clear that religious nutters within the military have an opinion on how religion should be treated and presented, but what does the official word say?

    Army Regulation 165-1, Chaplain Activities in the United States Army, includes the following:

    Even though the chaplain is an ecclesiastically endorsed representative of his or her faith group, the chaplain has the responsibility to confront the command when the religious rights of any soldier are affected (AR 165-1, 1-4, b).
    “Religious rights” also includes the right not to have a particular religious cult imposed upon a soldier that doesn’t believe in the cult’s doctrines. Indeed, this regulation is contrary to the coerced participation in cult activities and prayers that Hall was subjected to. If anyone should be subjected to UCMJ action, it is the officers in charge of these events.
    The Army recognizes that religion is constitutionally protected and does not favor one form of religious expression over another (AR 165-1, 3-3, a).
    Expression of one’s lack of religion or one’s opinion of religion is also a form of religious expression.
    Distinctive faith group leaders may provide ministry on an exception to policy basis when military chaplains are not available to meet the faith group coverage requirements of soldiers and their families.
    Distinctive faith group leaders—
    (1) Are normally volunteers.
    (2) Do not function as military chaplains.
    (3) Must be sponsored and supervised by an assigned chaplain.
    (4) May receive offerings at services they conduct with the funds being handled IAW chapter 14 of this regulation.
    (5) Will receive no payment for their services, travel, or other expenses from APF (unless under contract). Military members will not be paid. However, if these leaders are nonmilitary full-time ordained clergy, they may be contracted. Pay rates will not exceed the contract prices for civilian clergy contracted with APF.
    (6) Will not perform collective Protestant services (AR 165-1, 5-5, a, b)
    Hall’s meeting adhered to these requirements.

    Army Regulation 1-211, Attendance of Military and Civilian Personnel at Private Organization Meetings, includes the following:
    Attendance at meetings at Government expense will be authorized only when information gained will substantially benefit the approving authority’s mission (AR 1-211, 4).
    Hall’s meeting of atheists and non-Christians did, indeed, benefit the unit, the approving authority of which the chaplain represented. Soldiers who find themselves in the midst of so many religious nutters, who are forcing their religious doctrines upon non-believers, and coercing non-believers to participate in cult activities like prayers, will likely feel alienated and alone. By allowing them to meet socially and discuss their worldviews, the non-believers in the unit would find support and human fellowship with likeminded individuals, having a positive increase in their esprit de corps as they continued with their daily mission for the unit. Any commander that wouldn’t allow these individuals to meet on their own time has another agenda that overrides his or her military mission.

    Department of Defense Directive 1300.17, Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services, includes:
    3.1. A basic principle of our nation is free exercise of religion. The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the Armed Forces to observe the tenets of their respective religions. It is DoD policy that requests for accommodation of religious practices should be approved by commanders when accommodation will not have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, standards, or discipline.
    While the language of both of this directive is geared toward individual religious cults like Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, Hindis, etc., it doesn't take much effort to infer from it the intent, which is to allow soldiers who have a diversity of religious opinions and beliefs to feel comfortable and secure and to express these opinions and beliefs where appropriate as well as included to foster a sense of esprit de corps.

    As a 12-year veteran of the US Army (1984-1996), I understand the necessity of esprit de corps and having strong morale while taking part in extended combat operations.
    4.3. When requests for accommodation are not in the best interest of the unit and continued tension between the unit's requirements and the individual's religious beliefs is apparent, administrative actions should be considered. These actions may include, but are not limited to, assignment, reassignment, reclassification, or separation. Nothing in this Directive precludes action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (reference (d)) in appropriate circumstances.
    This part of the DoD directive is interesting. For the unit commander with a head on his or her shoulders, for a commander that has his or her unit’s mission as primary goal, recognizing that not all the soldiers in his or her command is a Christian and may actually have other, or even no, religious beliefs would be something that commander should be aware of and be willing to address. And the best way of addressing such an issue would be to allow alternatives for these soldiers to express themselves or to associate with each other without the influence of Christianity; and certainly without Christian believers coercing them. The result would be that these soldiers would feel included and a part of a team that has diversity. Such esprit de corps creates the sense that one belongs to something greater than a religion or a religious opinion; and as a former military leader, I know of nothing greater to belong to than a unit that respects its members and where its members respect each other –regardless of internal disagreement or shortcomings.

    Stand your ground, Jeremy Hall. You’re a hero.

    Related Links

  • Army Violates Religious Freedom [Atheist Revolution]

  • Urgent Issues [Military Religious Freedom]

  • God Fearing Christian Soldiers Threaten Atheist Soldier for Expecting Equality

  • Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Social Networking for the Secular Community?

    VJack at Atheist Revolution brings up a topic that I think we (meaning the atheist/secularist blogosphere) should be talking about.

    He notes that "We Need a Secular Community."

    A while back, I was browsing Deviant Art, where I have a page for some of my photography. Before my Minolta SLR broke, I was an amateur film photographer and it was a nice place to display my work and discuss topics of interest with like-minded people. Artists of all kinds are welcome at Deviant Art: writers, poets, photographers, digital artists, musicians, painters, sketch artists, etc.

    I hadn't been to Deviant Art in a while and I had just started this blog when I visited just to get a copy of a photo I no longer had on my computer. It occurred to me then that an atheist community like this would be fascinating and useful. Many of the artists at Deviant Art have their own, independent websites which they link to, using DA as a hub that links artists together. There are forums, galleries, message boards, journals, and stores to sell prints, etc.

    Here's the comment I left at Atheist Revolution:

    I thought some time ago about what it might be like to create a social networking site. Niche groups do very well with these types of internet based communities and they often branch out beyond the internet.

    Examples are, of course My Space and FaceBook, which each have their share of atheist, humanist, etc members -but something on par with Deviant Art, where all members share a commonality of being secularists would be interesting.

    The Richard Dawkins Foundation *almost* reaches this, but something with user pages, blogs, galleries to show personal artistic talents in audio/visual/literary talents, podcasts, etc. would be a fascinating venture. One that could feasibly pay for itself if the right advertising were utilized.

    The potential to act as a hub that would tie in all the atheist/humanist/secular/etc blogs and sites is the part that appeals to me.

    What if atheists had an online community that acted as a hub that socially linked each member to all other members great and small in a way similar to Deviant Art? Atheist writers and artists could sell their books, share their prose and poetry, display their artistic talents, and so on.

    But the hub would be a goldmine for activists and lobbyists for the atheist/secularist causes. We could aggregate and disseminate information and news that concerns us more efficiently. We could organize activities, meetings, conferences, etc. more effectively -both in the internet and outside of it.

    Such a site could generate its own revenue through advertising and perhaps even membership fees for premium content (i.e. feeds to conferences or ad-free user pages) and this revenue would be used to promote and maintain the site.

    These are just thoughts. I'm under no delusion that my blog is all that read or visited to generate sufficient discussion here, but VJack got me thinking about this again with his post. A Secular Social Networking Community would touch on the points that VJack bullets at his site such as: creative growth, shared wisdom, and setting the record straight. It would provide a platform to reinforce feelings of safety and protection by showing those who are secular-minded that there is a whole community and thousands who share their understanding of the world. It would provide a starting point for political power by creating a place where organizations like Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Center For Inquiry, American Atheists and others can mobilize grass-roots action and lobbying for secular causes. And of course the psychological sense of community and social support would be a given -something that the atheist/humanist blogosphere is already providing with blogs like the Friendly Atheist, Atheist Revolution, Daylight Atheism and so many others.

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Free Speech: YouTube Deletes Videos of Religious Critics

    Convicted Felon, Kent Hovind, and his Creation Science Evangelism have been flagging videos that are critical of his cult and their beliefs as including copyrighted material of theirs even though CSE has openly stated on many occasions that there material is not copyrighted and others are free to distribute it.

    YouTube, with its general reluctance to stand up to claims of copyright abuse, even those that are completely unfounded, has removed videos from many users, including videos that were unrelated to CSE's claims. YouTube has, to date, seem uninterested in taking into consideration the validity of Fair Use when skeptics refute the nonsense of superstition and dogma. The Rational Response Squad has had their videos removed after complaints by CSE as well as Uri Geller, the charlatan spoon-bender exposed long ago by James Randi.

    Black Collar Criminal: Wacko from Waco

    Sixty-three year old Henry Edgington, was the pastor of Elm Mott Church of Christ until he stepped down this week.

    Why did he step down, you ask? He was found to have child pornography in his home and on the computer at the Czech Inn, a local hotel where Edgington worked part time. His future daughter-in-law apparently found a locked box at his home, which she turned over to police, that contained child porn. The police then found child porn on the computer at the Czech Inn (he didn't have a home computer) and arrested Edgington.

    Edgington's excuse is that he was "conducting research" on child porn in an effort to "get child porn off of the internet."

    Right. He was doing it one pornographic image at a time, all the while building a personal library of images depicting children in pornographic pose. Not surprisingly, the members of his church have rallied behind him, perhaps believing the claim that he was working on the side of good and not actually a perverted pastor of pedophilia.

    The give away to his true efforts is that he kept the padlocked box of porn, not in a study of office where most of us who do research work, but in his bathroom. The place where you go blind.

    If Christianity actually worked, and if it were truly the way to live a good life, wouldn't one expect that religious leaders would be paragons of virtue? The apologist has no hesitation, I'm sure, in pointing out that even pastor's are human; others will say "if he was a true Christian, ..." It's very interesting how these lame excuse are so easily and so frequently used. Sometimes I have to wonder if there is any such thing as a "true Christian" or a "true Muslim." It's also lucky for sports fans that the rules of football don't allow goal posts to move so readily during a game.

    Friday, September 7, 2007

    Militant Atheist? Is this a real label?

    Or is it just a pejorative label invented by some theists who wish to depict their atheist critics as just as irrational and non-critical as they are? Indeed, there are also atheists who use the term, also pejoratively, for much the same thing. "Neville Chamberlain atheists" like Chris at Mixing Memory love to get their digs in on atheists like Richard Dawkins or Samuel Harris since they seem to resent those that dare rock the boat. To them, pointing out that the emperor is in the buff doesn't help them coexist with theists; instead, atheism is a matter of "framing" so as to convince theists that the chill they feel isn't a lack of clothing but rather a result of high quality fabric with good ventilation.

    Some theists, however, seem to toss about the "militant atheist" term whenever an atheist has the gall to question their beliefs, suggest that they might be wrong, demand separation of church and state, or advocate that religion shouldn't have anything to say about things like gay marriage, sex education, stem cell research, etc. There is no hesitation to utter the pejorative label "militant atheist" with theists who are upset at rationalism being used to put their superstitions in check whenever an atheist questions the constitutionality of "under god" in the Pledge of Allegiance or the public display of the 10 Commandments in government buildings.

    The counter argument I can already hear by these theists is "well, you call religion a delusion!" True. I do refer to religion as a delusion. I was making this comment about religion before Dawkins' book, The God Delusion. Most Christian and Islamic apologists seem to think that Dawkins was the first to recognize that religion is a delusion, but this has been argued countless times before –at least on the internet.

    A delusion is an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary. With regard to Christianity, there is a fair bit of evidence that suggests that the popular notion that the doctrine followed is completely fabricated by man. I won't go into it here, since an entire book could be written on the subject (and they have!), and nor would I expect any devout believer that might read my words to accept them even if I did elaborate. After all, it isn't called a delusion because it's an idea easy to change. Delusions are often impervious to evidence, self-inoculated with escape clauses in the core doctrine, justifications, and the inevitable "god works in mysterious ways" argument.

    A militant, on the other hand, is someone that uses a military strategy or military method of achieving one's goal. I'm not sure it can be successfully argued that there are many atheists who are militant because of their atheism. I do, however, know many atheists who are militant, but this is because, contrary to the popular theist myth, they are atheists in foxholes. In fact, I was once an atheist and a member of the U.S. Army. But my militant demeanor and position wasn't due to my atheism.

    Dawkins, Harris, and Christopher Hitchens have spoken out against religion. Indeed, their comments have, at times, been very blunt. However, I've yet to notice any military-like strategy used. They have used only truth and rationalism as far as I've seen, and if being truthful is a qualifier for applying the "militant" label then we should hope to soon have "militant teachers," "militant therapists," "militant congressmen," and so on.

    But these people would never have such labels applied with the expectation that they are being truthful, forthright, and honest –no matter how brutally. The "militant" adjective is intended to demean and diminish the honesty of the target and to impugn it rather than glorify it. In fact, when we here the term "militant theist" used on the 6:00 pm news, it's usually about a religious extremist who has just killed one or more people. Today's headlines included, Pakistan 'prostitutes' beheaded, and following the link to that story will take you to the very next paragraph which reads:

    Suspected Islamic militants in north-western Pakistan have beheaded two women they accused of being prostitutes, police say.

    I also might expect to see someone who is described as "militant" to be wearing military attire, even if they aren't killing someone. I've never seen Richard Dawkins in a set of combat fatigues, but I have noticed that many church organizations have taken on the "Christian soldier" theme (perhaps from the popular hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers") with organizations like the Koinonia Worship Center.

    Militant atheism? Militant atheists? When atheists start wearing fatigues and marching the streets in formation or when we start the first atheist militia perhaps. But until then, the term "militant atheist" is a pejorative term used by those that seek to use ad hominem responses where reason and rationalism are insufficient to counter superstition and delusion. While I'm sure there are those that would see my use of "superstition" and "delusion" as ad hominem as well, I can at least justify their definitions in application to those described.

    Thursday, September 6, 2007

    Watching Islam: Let the World “Be Warned.”

    What do you get when you take a handful of well-educated Muslim apostates that left Islam because they were tired of Islam's "bigotry, mindless rituals and its barbaric and draconian punitive measures;" add to that a sense of responsibility and love for the remaining 1.4 billion Muslims still living in fear or delusion within the Islamic faith; then provide an internet server and a domain name?


    For the new reader and Muslim with the courage to question the doctrine of Islam or at least read about the experiences of those who did question their faith and arrive at some different conclusions, offers some interesting reading material. Ali Sina discusses leaving Islam in Why I left Islam and Abul Kasem writes Making of an Unbeliever. Both writers share very personal thoughts, feelings, and conflicts that caused them to question the validity of Islam and ultimately reject it as a way of life.

    The writers, editors and contributors at have concluded:

    "that Islam is not at all a religion of peace as touted by many smooth-talking, self-serving Islamists and the Islamic apologists. The core of Islam, that is, the Qur'an, Hadis and Sharia are filled with unbound hatred for the unbelievers, unbelievably intolerant and exceptionally cruel and merciless to those who dare to deviate an iota from its doctrine."

    Among the many articles and op-ed pieces listed at, I found this one: Jihad against ham dust from backyard BBQ in Birmingham. The article is written tongue-in-cheek but discusses a very real issue for the residents of Cotton Park, Rugby, in Warwickshire, UK. Rugby is near Birmingham, so the reference in the title had me thinking about an Alabama BBQ, particularly with the accompanying photo of Jed and Granny Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies. The real issue, however, is in regard to the proposed pet food factory planned to be opened by Butcher's Pet Care, which would produce pet food. Local Muslims in the area are seeking to block the construction and subsequent operation of the factory because pet food is made with pork. This, they believe, will end up in their chimneys and become airborne as microscopic particles of pork only to "rain down" on their neighborhoods, thus making everything touched by rain impure.

    Apparently, Butcher's Pet Care has the go-ahead to build the factory and the article quotes at least one protestor as saying:

    "In this country we are allowed the right to follow our religion and religious beliefs," cried one protestor. "By allowing this plan to go ahead our religious rights are being swept to one side for what appears to be economic greed."

    Surely a single religious cult can't get its way and impose its beliefs on secular society, right? Wrong. The same article mentions another story in Great Britain that I'd heard elsewhere: "[i]n Scotland, Doctors and health care workers have been ordered not to eat lunch at their desks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan because it might offend Muslim workers."

    Following this line of reasoning, it should soon be problematic to drink coffee in the workplace since it would offend Mormons; school cafeterias will need to offer all kosher foods all the time; and I really don't even want to think about Lent. It's bad enough I can't buy a six-pack of beer on Sunday.

    Go visit If nothing else, you'll find some very interesting reading. I guarantee you bookmark the site for later returns if the subject of Islam at all interests you as an atheist-humanist (indeed, it probably has its share of regular Christian readers).

    Friendly Links Found on a ‘Friendly’ Blog

    The Friendly Atheist has a couple of posts worth spreading the news on:

    First, he links to the Friendly Christian, who has a brief interview with Hermant, the Friendly Atheist. The discussion touches on questioning beliefs and faith, praying for the Cubs who don't need it, and something about Hermant that I never knew. Hermant, as most atheist blog readers know wrote a book available on Amazon titled, I Sold My Soul on Ebay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheists Eyes.

    The next link Hermant gives us is to the Continuum of Humanist Education (COHE) website, which "is the Internet's first website offering interactive courses in humanist thought." They have a free demo course, Introduction to Humanism: A Primer on the History, Philosophy, and Goals of Humanism, which includes two lessons covering the history of humanist thought and contemporary humanist philosophy. I've already started reading this and will register for other courses. Some are free and some have tuition, but the site is definitely worth checking out. The courses include online quizzes and glossaries and the demo course allows you to familiarize yourself with the online learning modules should you take additional courses.

    During the last two sentences, I've already flipped back and forth to the site and registered for courses… I like what I see so far!

    Sunday, September 2, 2007


    … is being hosted this week at Bligbi. Go! Read!

    Three weeks from now, the Humanist Symposium will be hosted at Elliptica. Submit your entries here!

    Carnival of The Godless can be found at Atheist FAQ.

    I didn't get in a post at either this time around, but will submit next time for each... its been a busy summer.

    Christianity = Deception

    PZ Myers has recently blogged about his experiences with being a part of an upcoming movie with Ben Stein that highlights creationist agenda and religious superstition as being unfairly excluded from public schools and discourse. Apparently the whole thing began with a deception by the film's producer, Mark Mathis, who promised that he was making a documentary about the intersection of science and religion in America, called Crossroads: the Intersection of Science and Religion. It turns out that the film is actually titled Expelled which works on the premise that scientists aren't even allowed to think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator. The producers, backed by religious funding and proceeding with religious motivations, deceived PZ Myers and others like Eugenie Scott and Richard Dawkins to appear in their "documentary."

    Such deceptions aren't alien to Christians.

    It would seem that some Christians think it is their god's will that they lie and deceive in order to spread or justify their delusions. The Dover, PA case in which a court ruled that the local school board's attempt to inject "intelligent design" into the district's science curriculum was complete deception designed to infiltrate public schools with religion.

    Another deception has shown up in the news recently with regard to a Colorado high school student, Erica Corder, who used her commencement speech to proselytize to the audience. This is what she had to say:

    "We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about some- one who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on the cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him personally, I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you, so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him."

    Fox News ran a 3-4 minute report on the issue where they reported that she thanked Jesus and had her diploma withheld until she agreed to apologize for thanking Jesus. Online news outlets and blogs are reporting the same thing. This quote pretty well sums up the position that Faux News had as well:

    So continues the fight for right in the United States. The first amendment guarantees freedom of religious expression; however, interestingly enough even in so-called educated quarters, this freedom is cut through

    As you can see, there's no hesitation in citing the First Amendment and a guarantee of "freedom of religious expression." And if the right-wingnut news outlets were reporting the whole story, I'd be in agreement: Corder should have been able to thank whomever she wished, regardless of whether the person really exists. She could want to thank the Tooth Fairy and it should be a protected expression of gratitude. And we should all be free to ridicule and criticize that expression.

    However, Faux News and News By Us didn't give the full story. They conveniently left out the fact that the commencement speeches were rehearsed well in advance and the speech Corder promised to give –the one she rehearsed – was different and didn't include an encouragement for others to join her in delusion and superstitious thought. She surprised school officials with a proselytizing that she had planned all along, according to a Colorado Springs newspaper. Apparently, she admitted to "praying about it for months" and was deluded into thinking that a god wanted her to do it.

    The deception in the Corder case was two-fold: first, Corder herself deceived the school officials and fellow valedictorians and sprung her preaching moment on them; second, religious nutters in media are deceiving the public by omitting her tacit promise to give a different speech. They attempted to make it seem that she was persecuted by the school for mentioning a mythical deity when, in reality, she was being held accountable for lying.

    Saturday, September 1, 2007

    Texas is an outright embarrassment to the educated world

    "House Bill 3678 is designed to force sectarian religion into public schools using the power of the state" is the title of the July 9, 2007 page at the Texas Citizens for Science website that describes a recent legislation by the State which passed into law and is effective this school year.

    Through this "legislation students will be allowed to substitute their own sectarian religious explanations for scientific, historical, and cultural events and phenomena without fear of contradiction or correction. The law permits students, for example, to give responses in classes--no exception is made for science classes--that allow religious creationist explanations for natural phenomena in classwork, homework, and exams without penalty."

    In a previous post (one post back) I described House Bill 1034, which inserted "one state under god" in the Texas pledge.

    Together, these bits of government legislation turn Texas into a theocratic state rather than one that is secular, likening it more to Taliban controlled Afghanistan than the United States of America. Moreover, Texas –a government with a state-sponsored execution rate exceeding that of most third-world dictatorships- becomes the laughing stock of the educated world.

    Amendments to this theocratic legislation that were rejected included provisions to provide training to teachers on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and to mandate that schools ensure that no student is coerced into participation of religious activity. The theocratic nutjobs that have found their way into government have effectively prevented thought and reason from being considered and have made it clear that their goals are not to have educators trained to recognize First Amendment violations but to indoctrinate by force whatever child they can.

    Amazingly enough, self-described "wacko Christian," David L. Thompson has the gall to criticize those that are critical of this absolutely astonishing violation of the United States Constitution. You'll find his post trolling PZ Myers' Pharyngula blog at the link in the previous sentence. Myers post begins here, and Thompson was apparently offended at Myers' use of pejorative comments and ridicule of the legislation and the nutjobs that introduced and voted for it. Thompson makes many references to Myers' position as an educator and takes offense that a credentialed person would be willing to ridicule nonsense, superstition or utter bullshit.

    But this is exactly what the theocratic state of Texas deserves: ridicule. They're an embarrassment to the rest of the nation. Kansans are probably relieved now that there's a state that looks more stupid than their own. After all, it was the Kansas education system that was showing their stupidity in the recent attempts to inject creationism in their science classes, not their state government!