Atheism and religion in the News XXIV
Another day, another blog.
German Authorities Slam "The God Delusion" for Kids
Why do I get the feeling this book won’t be published in America anytime soon?
The German Family Ministry is pushing to have a book it says slurs Judaism, Christianity and Islam labeled dangerous for children. The book's publisher says kids have a right to enlightenment.
The German Family Ministry is pushing for the children's book "How Do I Get to God, Asked the Small Piglet," by written by Michael Schmidt-Salomon and illustrated by Helge Nyncke, to be included on a list of literature considered dangerous for young people.
"The three large religions of the world, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are slurred in the book," the ministry wrote in a December memo. "The distinctive characteristics of each religion are made ridiculous."
The atheist lobby, in the blonde, pregnant person of Jennifer Lange, waited with diminishing patience for the elevator in the Legislative Office Building.
Ms. Lange checked her watch one last time, then rounded a corner into the corridor and skipped down four flights of stairs. The back way to Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky’s office was just one of those useful things she knew about the inner workings of Albany.
Ms. Lange’s mission on this Monday in early February was to scuttle a bill titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which she and every legislator on her agenda called in their common insiders’ slang Rifra. Of the nearly 10,000 pieces of legislation introduced annually in the New York State Legislature, the act was one of only several dozen brought under the lead sponsorship of the Assembly’s speaker, Sheldon Silver. It was not going to be an easy target.
The re-awakening of atheism in America is going to make for some very interesting times. Leaders of the Christian Right have spent years trying to cast themselves as the voiceless victims in a secular society, but the scapegoating is over. (Want to talk marginalized? How many atheists have there ever been in Congress or the White House?)
Nonbelievers know a lot about Christianity and Judaism, most having been raised in religious families. Believers, however, are somewhat less clued-in about atheists. Here are a few simple truths about who they are, and aren’t.
Atheists are well-behaved. Atheists seem to play well with others overall. They’re not in the news for getting caught doing things they tell others not to do. Most co-exist peacefully with believing family and friends. They pay taxes.
Atheists don’t start wars on behalf of atheism. They do join the military, however, and contrary to the cliché, they are found in foxholes. In fact, there is a lawsuit now against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a major who harassed a group of “foxhole atheists” who simply wished to exercise their freedom of/from religion while serving their country in the Middle East.
Atheists have a thing for the American Constitution, particularly the First Amendment that separates church and state. They are secularists who support a government free from influence by any religion. They’re not anti-religious but nonreligious.
In England, members of parliament are investigating the quality of education in catholic schools.
A Commons select committee is to investigate evidence that the Roman Catholic Church is pursuing a more fundamentalist approach towards religion in its schools.
Members of the Children, Schools and Families Committee plan to call senior bishops to give evidence in an inquiry into the approach schools are adopting towards a range of issues – including abortion, sex education and PSHE (personal and social health education) classes.
The move comes after a 66-page circular from the Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O'Donoghue, instructed Catholic schools in the North-west to stop "safe sex" education and place crucifixes in every classroom.
Pakistan's attempts to block access to YouTube has been blamed for an almost global blackout of the video website for more than an hour on Sunday.
BBC News has learned that the outage was almost certainly connected to Pakistan Telecom and Asian internet service provider PCCW.
A leading net professional said the global outage was "probably a mistake".
Pakistan ordered internet service providers to block the site because of content deemed offensive to Islam.
Two students win C-SPAN video documentary competition.
High school students win competition about religion in American politics. Link goes to page which links to another page you can watch the movie at.
Two Jenks students received the $5,000 grand prize award today in C-SPAN's annual video documentary competition, StudentCam.
Jenks High School juniors Scott Mitchell and Nick Poss were awarded the top prize for their film "Leaving Religion at the Door," which explores the role of religion in government.
Their winning video will air on C-SPAN on April 27 followed by an interview with the students.
Clifton Raphael, television production teacher at Jenks High School, was so excited about his students' film, he express mailed it to C-SPAN on Christmas Eve.
"I think it's extraordinarily well done," Raphael said. "When I watched this, I said, 'Guys, that's a grand prize winner if I ever saw one.'"
Riverside Talks is a friendly dialogue between Luis Palau, a well-known Christian evangelist and Zhao Qizheng, a Chinese atheist who currently serves as the Vice Chairman on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Zhao is also a former minister of the State Council Information Office in China.
In 2005 the Chinese media recorded their dialogues for public use. They present a friendly exchange between the two men and discuss a wide variety of subjects: philosophy, history, religion, the Bible, creation, atheism, Confucianism, politics, ethics, Chinese and Western cultures and the relevance of Jesus Christ to modern society.
However, Sandy Wenderhold, editor of sex magazine Chick, tells DAG her company does particularly well in places where a lot of fundamentalist Christians live. And at the recent ideal home fair, her sex toy stand was over-run with curious female customers, she says.