Thursday, May 26, 2011

Secular Coalition for America Biennial Summit Recap

I apologize for the lack of blog entries over the last couple of weeks but in exciting news, this past Thursday through Saturday I participated in the first ever Secular Coalition for America (SCA) Biennial Summit in Washington D.C. This event is indicative of the growing voice of secular Americans and I am proud to be able to say that I participated. The SCA is a national group that represents the interests of atheists, humanists, agnostics, freethinkers and other non-theistic Americans through lobbying efforts. While the focus of many lobbying groups is the introduction and passage of bills friendly to their cause, the SCA's lobbying efforts are not focused on this. Their effort is largely defensive in nature, as in combating the religious right's efforts to "Christianize" the United States. They have a long, arduous battle ahead of them and they need our assistance and support.

The SCA is comprised of ten member organizations (member organizations can be found here: that focus on representing the interests of non-theistic Americans and the Biennial Summit was a way for the SCA to bring together representatives of the member organizations, in addition to random people like me, and come up with new ideas, strategies and plans for what the SCA has dubbed "Our Secular Decade" (more information here: Among those present for the Summit were some of the more notable representatives of the secular movement to include David Silverman of American Atheists, Sean Faircloth and Herb Silverman of the SCA, guest speaker Susan Jacoby, the openly atheist Congressional candidate, Cecil Bothwell, David Niose of the American Humanist Association and numerous others.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Separation of Church and State is Good For Everyone

The founding fathers "were well aware of the fact that God had given them and all of mankind very specific litmus tests in the Bible that they needed to apply to all government officials before putting them into positions of power." This is a quote from a website ( that uses David Barton's revisionist history to argue against the separation of church and state. Barton, as I hope you are already aware, is a favorite among the religious right as is evidenced by this website using his research to dispel the "myth" of separation of church and state. As I previously posted, potential presidential contender Mike Huckabee argues that Americans should be forced to listen to David Barton (at gun-point no less) and claims he is the greatest historian in the United States today. I beg to differ.

The people over at seem to not understand the same thing that Barton and other religious right proponents don't understand. The Constitution of the United States expressly forbids religious tests for public office in Article VI: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." While they can rant on and on about the personal religious beliefs of some of the founding fathers, none of that changes what is written in Article VI. If the founders intended for this country to be a Christian nation, they could have explicitly called for it. They could have removed that clause in Article VI, or have never included it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Unanswered Questions about the National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer, an event that has taken place every year since its creation in 1952. Judging by the video above, it seems as though the United States is in imminent danger of being utterly destroyed by evil clouds, or god, I’m not sure. Each president who has been in office since the National Day of Prayer was conceived has chosen to participate in the event in his own way, from President George W. Bush’s annual NDP events in the East Room of the White House to President Obama’s 2009 choice to participate privately while issuing a paper proclamation. While the constitutionality of the event is questionable, it is up to each president to determine how he shall participate.

President Obama has come under fire each year for choosing to not hold events in the White House in honor of the day, a practice that was only annual under President George W. Bush. Rumors spread that he had cancelled the NDP completely, starting in 2009, but that is simply not the case. Obama chooses to pray on his own, while still recognizing his responsibility to issue a NDP proclamation. The bill signed by President Truman in 1952, requires each president to issue a National Day of Prayer but it does not require that there be an event held at the White House, or anywhere else for that matter.

Why we even need a federally proclaimed day of prayer is something I am struggling to understand. I have many unanswered questions regarding this practice and I would like to ask anyone who supports the NDP the following questions.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Usama bin Laden's Death: A Conspiracy Theorists Dream

Take a look at any of the comments on news stories of Usama bin Laden's death and you will be inundated with conspiracy theories about how this is some political scheme or how it is some massive government plot to misinform the public. A facebook group titled "USMC Hangout" posted this on facebook in response to the news: "So they say Osama is dead. Do you want proof or will you just take the government's word for it?" The comments on this post are troubling. From claims that bin Laden has been dead since 2004 to people tying this story in with the "birther" madness, it reads like a conspiracy theorists guidebook. However, there is already proof that it was, in fact, bin Laden who was killed:

People are questioning the dumping of the body at sea as if doing so is somehow admittance of a conspiracy. Admittedly, dumping the body at sea seems like a weird thing to do. However, one only needs to think a little bit to understand why they would not want to bring the body all the way back to the U.S.

Bin Laden Dead

Following a years long intelligence operation, terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden has finally been killed in Pakistan. There is no doubt that this is a great day for the United States and the entire world. I would like to congratulate our men and women in the military and in our intelligence community for a job well done. This operation was the result of a long, tedious process of collecting and verifying intelligence gathered through a multitude of avenues, including interrogation of detainees at Gitmo. Let us all enjoy this news now before it becomes politicized or the conspiracy theorists get their hands on it, as they undoubtedly will.

We should also take a moment to remember the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the victims of the USS Cole and the U.S. embassies in Africa, the thousands of service members who have been killed or wounded fighting in the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the countless number of Muslims who have been killed by this horrible human being and his movement.