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Posted inLaw

What does being a ‘person’ do?

Reading Time: 8 minutes In 2008, a Macedonian court found a bear guilty of damaging beehives. Since it had no owner and belonged to a protected species, the state was made to pay the fine instead. Legal history abounds with stories of animal trials, especially in the Middle Ages and early Enlightenment, when both secular and Ecclesiastical variants played […]

Posted inSecularism

The poisoned church: When pastors use their pulpits to spread disinformation

Reading Time: 4 minutes As we see the world becoming victim to the effects of misinformation and disinformation of authoritarian political agents, it is worth remembering that this is also happening closer to home in our local churches. I was reading an article in Atlantic magazine last night about an Evangelical church in Brighton, Michigan (a state in which […]

Posted inReligion

Will American religion one day mirror Norwegian godlessness? We should be so lucky

Reading Time: 4 minutes Norwegian godlessness today just might resemble American religion tomorrow. I was thinking this as I read an essay in TheHumanist.com decrying America’s nouveau-traditional National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 3 featuring President Joe Biden’s keynote call for unity. The United States, with its quasi-sacred religious freedom and church-state-separation ethos, does not have an officially designated national […]

Posted inParenting & Family

For which it stands

Reading Time: 8 minutes My son, now 5 years old, was chosen to lead his school in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. As an atheist and a parent, I have mixed feelings about this—especially when he asked me what “under God” means. Why I let him do it despite my misgivings, and how to use the Pledge as a teaching moment in secular parenting philosophy.

Posted inPhilosophy

Tolerating the hypocrites: religious exemptions and the problem of belief

Reading Time: 3 minutes Americans are skeptical of religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccination rules. According to a recent Pew survey, two-thirds of Americans suspect that those who claim a religious exemption are “just using religion as an excuse to avoid the vaccine.” But let’s be cautious in judging other people.  It is difficult to judge the sincerity of our own beliefs. […]

Posted inHistory

Secular profile: George Holyoake

Reading Time: 7 minutes When I was a boy first studying history outside American textbooks, the United Kingdom was at first an image of pomp and period drama, not so alien to the lovers of high end film and television but exotic and mystic to her North American descendants in its antiquity. As I became more experienced in the […]

Posted inSecularism

Secularism on trial: the public/private belief distinction

Reading Time: 3 minutes A lesson about secularism was revealed in Senator Lindsey Graham’s strange interrogation of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. The Senator reminded us of the importance of the distinction between private belief and public impartiality. When we say that justice is blind, we mean that public officials ought to aspire to impartiality and learn to […]