Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Americans United Applauds Court Decision Striking Down Oklahoma County’s Commandments Display

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 9, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE”

American United for Separation of Church and State today praised a federal appeals court for striking down a government display of the Ten Commandments in Haskell County, Okla.

Reversing a lower court, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously declared unconstitutional the eight-foot-tall religious display, which was erected at the local courthouse in 2004 after a campaign by a local minister and his supporters.

“This decision should send a clear message to politicians and religious leaders: Thou shalt not mix church and state,” observed the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Our courthouses should focus on the Constitution and civil law, not religious law.”

Americans United, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Green v. Haskell County Board of Commissioners case, noted that the monument displays the Protestant version of the Commandments and that it contains the text of the Mayflower Compact on the other side.

The appeals court traced the history of the monument, noting that commissioners frequently invoked religious language in defending it. One commissioner said, “I’m a Christian, and I believe in this. I think it’s a benefit to the community.”

The appellate panel, composed of three George W. Bush appointees, ruled that most people would perceive the display of the monument and the battle to keep it up as religious efforts.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE”

FFRF Sues Bush, Shirley Dobson and Gov. Doyle over National Day of Prayer Proclamations

Posted in FFRF by Skepdude on October 4, 2008

(MADISON, WIS.) The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national state/church watchdog, filed a federal lawsuit today broadly challenging the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer and requiring a National Day of Prayer Proclamation by the President. In addition to suing Pres. George W. Bush, the lawsuit names his press secretary, Dana Perino, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, one of 50 governors to also issue prayer proclamations, and Shirley Dobson, chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Public Law 100-307 sets the first Thursday in May as “National Day of Prayer.” The Foundation is seeking a declaration that the law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Mandated Prayer Proclamations by the President exhorting each citizen to pray constitutes an unabashed endorsement of religion,” contends the Foundation complaint, filed on behalf of the Foundation by attorney Richard L. Bolton of Boardman Law Firm, Madison, Wis.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION”

Islamists attacking freedom of speech

Posted in Muslims Against Sharia by Skepdude on September 3, 2008

May

By Clifford D. May

Freedom of speech is under attack. Let us count the ways.

The first and most obvious: Those who criticize militant Islamists — from novelist Salman Rushdie to Danish cartoonists to memoirist Ayaan Hirsi Ali — are routinely threatened with deadly violence. It would be black humor to say this is having a chilling effect.

The second is “political correctness.” On campuses and within Western governments, it is increasingly taboo to label terrorists who slaughter in the name of Islam “Islamist terrorists.” In Canada, “human rights commissions” attempt to enforce this taboo by putting such writers as Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant on trial for the “crime” of expressing opinions that offend Islamic grievance groups — and also for quoting Islamists accurately and thereby casting them in an unfavorable light. If that’s not Orwellian, what is?

But it is the third approach that could be most consequential for Americans. It’s known as “libel tourism” and here’s how it works:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “MUSLIMS AGAINST SHARIA”

Skepnews – 8/23/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on August 22, 2008

  • Dinosaurs helped build the pyramids – Far from becoming extinct 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs actually co-existed with early humans, and even helped in the construction of the pyramids.
    This is the word of Vince Fenech, Evangelist pastor and director of a fully licensed, State-approved Creationist institution which admits children aged between four and 18.
  • Oregon tribe to allow same sex marriagesAt the request of a lesbian couple, the Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast has adopted a law recognizing same-sex marriage. Tribal law specialists say the Coquille appear to be the first tribe to sanction such marriages. Most tribal law doesn’t address the issue. The Navajo and Cherokee tribes prohibit same-sex marriages
  • Claims of magnets’ effect on water don’t stick – Magnets have no significant role in treating water, despite the claims of their manufacturers, according to a new study by the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan. So-called magnetic water- treatment devices, which are said to remove and reduce residual chlorine and toxic substances through magnetism, have practically no effect, the center said Wednesday. Companies manufacturing or selling the devices — often over the Internet or door to door — claim to improve the taste of water, giving it a “softer, mellower,” flavor through magnetism.
  • Opt-out plan shields doctors over abortions – The Bush administration Thursday announced plans to implement a regulation designed to protect doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who object to abortion from being forced to deliver services that violate their beliefs. The rule empowers federal health officials to pull funding from more than 584,000 hospitals, clinics, health plans, doctors offices and other entities if they do not accommodate employees who refuse to participate in care they find objectionable on personal, moral or religious grounds. “People should not be forced to say or do things they believe are morally wrong,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said. – Skepdude says : What if a city hall clerk refuses to perform a marriage for an interracial couple because they find it “morally wrong”?
  • Saudi ban on woman drivers may be erodingWhen Ruwaida al-Habis’ father and two brothers were badly burned in a fire, she had no choice but to break Saudi Arabia’s ban on women drivers to get them to a clinic. “When I pulled up, a crowd of people surrounded the car and stared as if they were seeing extraterrestrial beings,” the 20-year-old university student told The Associated Press. “Instead of focusing on the burn victims, the nurses kept repeating, ‘You drove them here?'” Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans all women – Saudi and foreign – from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and women who cannot afford the $300-$400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor. But there are signs support for the ban is eroding.
  • Survey: Americans feel churches shouldn’t meddle in politics – The survey suggests that for the first time in more than a decade, there has been a shift away from the view that religious groups should influence social and political issues. Fifty-two percent of poll respondents said churches should stay quiet, while 46 percent said churches should express political views

The persecution of Christianity.

Posted in Left Coast Librul by Skepdude on August 19, 2008

So, I recently responded to a post in my blog (here) in which a Christian stated that they are being stripped of their rights because of a vocal minority, and that Christians have been a “silent” majority. I answered rather quickly and not especially thoughtfully. I think I’d like to take the time to respond a bit more in depth, because while I’m sure many atheists and people of other religions have heard more than enough on the subject, it seems most Christians don’t think we’ve gotten the message. We’ve gotten it. Really. But I’ll go ahead and address the concerns, since so many of you seem to feel an infringement upon your rights.

But what about the atheists?…..is another argument.

What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We’re not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that’s asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “LEFT COAST LIBRUL’S WEBLOG”

Skepnews – 8/15/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on August 15, 2008

  • Australian priest charged with sexual assault – The 65-year-old clergyman was arrested Thursday. He is accused of assaulting 18 boys between the ages of 11 and 17 during the 1970s and ’80s while he served as the priest at a church in Newcastle, 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Sydney.
  • Yet another age reversing device, this one for your face What it claims to do: The manufacturer, Hanna Ibes, Inc., says the Flex-Away facial exerciser gives the face and neck muscles the “workout they need to stay fit and healthy.” It promises users will see their “down-turned lips become rounded and lifted, giving the entire face a younger appearance” and “lower cheeks appear hollower for a classic sculptured look. What the experts say: Dr. Anthony Youn, a Michigan-based, board-certified plastic surgeon and msnbc.com contributor, says I shouldn’t feel bad about that my Flex-Away didn’t revitalize my aging face. There’s never been a study that’s shown that flexing the muscles does anything,” he says.
  • Hunters claim to have found Bigfoot – Named Rickmat in honour of Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton, Bigfoot hunters who claim to have bagged the 500lb ’corpse’ during an expedition in the US state of Georgia, it was being hailed today as potentially the “greatest discovery of the millennium” – by its finders, at least. Photographs of Rickmat lying crumpled and apparently decapitated in a chest freezer drew so many visitors to one website today that it crashed under the pressure. But Dyer and Whitton’s own website – bigfoottracker.com – appeared well prepared for the onslaught, advertising opportunities for the public to take guided tours in the footsteps of Rickmat for $499 a time, and selling T-Shirts declaring: “Bigfoot for President.” “We have located a family of Bigfoot and besides the clear photo and video we have something even more shocking, A BODY. Please bear with us at this time. We have hired legal help. History is in the making,” they stated on their site. Ben Radford, managing editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, said: “It’s smelling to high heaven like a hoax.”
  • Judge led prayer in court – An Alabama judge who once wore the Ten Commandments embroidered on his robe has been accused of violating judicial ethics for ordering a group in his courtroom to hold hands and pray. The ACLU complaint said McKathan dropped to his knees and prayed aloud during a court hearing in February. He told the 100 people in the courtroom that he was not afraid to call on the name of Jesus Christ, witnesses said, and ordered all to join hands and pray, according to the complaint filed soon after the hearing. In response to the complaint, McKathan told the Mobile Press-Register for a story Thursday: “Whatever comes of all that, I’ll continue to have peace.” Quoting Romans in the King James version of the Bible, the judge added: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.”