Shouldn’t Arizona Scrutinize How Men Are Using Viagra?

March 16, 2012

In the controversy over contraceptive coverage for women in health care plans, things get crazier by the minute. Arizona is considering legislation that would permit religious employers to require women who want reimbursement for the cost of contraception to submit a claim, supported by evidence, that the pills are not being used for contraception, but to treat some other medical issue. Incredible, right?

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Being Clear About Our Objectives

March 14, 2012

Moving Secularism Forward, the joint conference of CFI and the Council for Secular Humanism, took place in Orlando a little over a week ago. The presentations at the conferences have generated a fair amount of commentary (for examples, see here and here). This is a good thing. One of the purposes of our conferences is to get people to think, to debate, and, in some cases, to look at issues from a different perspective.

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Women in Secularism—A Conference for Everyone

February 24, 2012

CFI’s upcoming conference on Women in Secularism (register here) is most decidedly not a conference targeting an exclusively female audience. Yes, the speakers are all female and yes, the conference is focused on women’s concerns. But the concerns of women are not a concern for women only.

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Contraception and Religious Liberty

February 20, 2012

As everyone is aware, the Catholic Church and some other religious institutions have argued that the Obama administration’s rule requiring employers to include contraceptive care within the scope of their health insurance plans violates the freedom of conscience of “individuals and organizations.”  This argument distorts the First Amendment guarantees of religious liberty and makes use of a flawed and tendentious interpretation of the concept of conscientious objection.

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Protect Zygotes and Corporations; Piss on Women

February 16, 2012

You may have noticed that in the last couple of years, there’s been an effort by some conservatives to extend rights of “personhood” to entities many of us don’t regard as persons, namely corporations and zygotes. Corporations and zygotes are not conceptually related, but, nonetheless, the extension of personhood rights to corporations may pave the way for the extension of personhood rights to zygotes. The latter action would, of course, limit the autonomy and reproductive rights of real persons, namely women.

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Mohammed Was Not a Divinely Inspired Prophet and There Is No Allah

February 09, 2012

I know for many who read this blog, this assertion is hardly startling, but it is blasphemous, at least from an Islamic perspective. In fact, it’s probably the simplest, most direct blasphemous utterance one can make regarding Islam since it denies the central tenet of that faith. I thought today would be an especially appropriate day to make this assertion in light of the troubles encountered by the journalist Hamza Kashgari in Saudi Arabia.

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Obama, the Prayer Breakfast, and Plato

February 06, 2012

Not much has been said in the atheist blogosphere about President Obama’s appearance and remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2. Probably a couple of reasons for this. The appearance in itself is not really news. Sadly, this is just what our presidents, Democrat or Republican, do. Also, I sense that not a few atheists think Obama should be cut some slack on church-state issues—both because he’s better than any alternative (can you imagine President Gingrich?) and because some suspect that on ceremonial occasions such as the National Prayer Breakfast, he’s just going through the motions. However, having reviewed his remarks, I think they merit some comment.

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Hosanna-Tabor and the Weird Status of Religion

January 11, 2012

Today the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in the Hosanna-Tabor case that there is a “ministerial exception” to the nation’s laws forbidding discrimination in employment. The Court ruled that both religion clauses of the First Amendment—the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause—effectively provide religious institutions with absolute discretion to select their “ministers.” 

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About Free Thinking

January 06, 2012

What is the cornerstone of CFI’s mission? Is it atheism or humanism? No, not really. Commitments to atheism or humanism or any other “ism” are conclusions we arrive at, presumably after consideration of the relevant evidence and arguments. The cornerstone of our mission is freedom of expression and critical inquiry. We see freedom of expression and critical inquiry as indispensable tools for arriving at an accurate understanding of just about any issue of importance, including, but not limited to, the truth of religious or fringe science claims. This brings me to the recent controversy concerning Ben Radford’s blog post on Free Thinking, as well as the related controversy about the blog Free Thinking itself.

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“Between Consenting Adults”

January 06, 2012

Many of you have probably heard about the resignation of Catholic Bishop Gabino Zavala.  You may have heard of it without even becoming aware of it, because it is the type of news that no longer attracts special attention.  Another day, another sex scandal for the Catholic Church.  Nowadays, weather reports are likely to be more memorable.

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