"The United States is a Christian nation." If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this statement at a religious Right meeting or in the media, I wouldn’t be rich—but I’d probably have enough to buy a really cool iPad. The assertion is widely believed by followers of the religious Right and often repeated—and, too often, it seeps into the beliefs of the rest of the population as well. But like other myths that are widely accepted (you use only 10 percent of your brain, vitamin C helps you get over a cold, and the like), it lacks a factual basis.
Over the years, numerous scholars, historians, lawyers and judges have debunked the “Christian nation” myth. Yet it persists. Does it have any basis in American history? Why is the myth so powerful? What psychological need does it fill?
This map shows exactly what happened with the Supreme Court’s decision Monday to not hear the pending marriage equality cases. There were seven pending suits in five states: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Utah. Marriage equality is arriving more or less immediately in those states. There are complications about when the Circuit Courts issue their mandates, but the states’ attorney generals and clerks — like in Virginia, for example — are already planning to issue licenses to same-sex couples before the day is over. This brings the total of marriage equality states to 24, plus the District of Columbia.
Religious believers often claim that atheists choose to not believe in God for various reasons. Some will even say that our choice not to believe is just a phase. Obviously I disagree with that point of view, but more than that I disagree with the premise that atheism or even belief is a choice at all.
If you’re at all familiar with atheism in America, then the following two scenes should probably come as no surprise: Biologist Richard Dawkins exhorting his followers to mock and ridicule believers with contempt, Bill Maher telling MSNBC host Joe Scarborough that “religion is a neurological disorder.” As an atheist who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian milieu, I admit that this rhetoric is not without its appeal. But the atmosphere this kind of animus creates has become as pungent and disagreeable as the stale bread and cheap wine of the church I grew up in.
Britain has a problem with terrorism. Nothing focuses the mind more than the image of an apparently British man addressing the world in high definition as he brutally beheads a fellow Brit. But while the numbers of violent extremists are, by all accounts, relatively small, the issues underlying their reasons for turning towards terrorism are widespread.
I’ve been talking to young Muslims for a documentary on the root causes of extremism, and it’s clear there are a series of common complaints.
I was invited to speak about atheism at a local Lutheran Church. In order to get a better idea about what I was walking into, I went to the Church website, which offered no help. After Googling the Pastor, I guessed that my audience would probably be an older white crowd. The Church is in a pretty liberal town and they did invite an atheist to speak as part of their series on learning about other beliefs (or non-beliefs in my case). So I reasoned that they would probably also be fairly liberal. My reasoned guesses were proven correct. Last night, I went to the Church to give my presentation.
In the televangelism world, Ernest Angley used to be a big deal, up there with Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggart. But the 93-year-old's Grace Cathedral seems quaint and a little creepy now. A new investigation says that might have to do with Angley's weird encroachments into his flock's sexual and reproductive lives.
"Falling From Grace?", a five-part series by the Akron Beacon Journal, suggests that Angley's Ohio-based ministry runs as a totalitarian cult that bars parishioners from having children—mandating abortions and vasectomies—and has required some men, including the now ex-associate pastor, to receive "a special anointing" from Angley in the nude.
It's hard to decide which are the worst allegations leveled by dozens of ex-church members against Angley, but his China-like reproductive mandates—especially ironic, given most evangelical Christians' condemnation of abortion—are chilling
A Montgomery, Illinois, woman who attempted to kill her three daughters told police that she wanted them to “meet Jesus Christ,” after receiving messages from her estranged pastor husband telling her the world was coming to an end, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Police arrived at the door of Pamela J. Christensen, 47, on Sept. 25 following two 9/11 hang-up calls to discover the woman covered in blood.
According to court documents, Christensen dropped to her knees and confessed that she had tried to kill her daughters.
Ellen Bogan of Huntington says Indiana State Police Trooper Brian Hamilton preached Christianity to her when he pulled her over for an alleged traffic violation in Union County in August. Bogan says the trooper handed her a warning ticket, then he began to ask some personal questions. Hamilton allegedly asked if she has a home church, then went on to ask, ‘Did she accept Jesus Christ as her savior?'
If you're Jewish, Catholic or Evangelical, you're one of the three most highly regarded religions in the U.S., according to a Pew survey. Atheists and Muslims score considerably lower, while agnostics and atheists rank Buddhists higher than any other group. It's hard to keep track, so here's a scorecard.
At the weekend, the Sunday Assembly launched new services in 35 cities across the world – the largest expansion yet of their 'atheist churches'. Started in January 2013 by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, the Sunday Assembly seeks to offer the communal, uplifting aspect of church, without any of the God business.
The US has proved one of the most fertile markets for the Sunday Assembly, with 11 cities already hosting events and another 16 launching new services as part of the latest expansion. The Guardian sent Adam Gabbatt to the first service in Cleveland, Ohio, to find out how a godless church works
A new poll out today from the Pew Research Center finds an increasing number of Americans in favor of injecting religion into electoral politics, a growing perception that the Obama administration is “unfriendly” to religion, and discontent among white evangelicals with how the Republican Party represents their interests.
Heading into the mid-term elections, and looking ahead to the 2016 presidential campaign, these results should prove unsettling for advocates of untangling religion from electoral politics, as they could signal to candidates that a growing number of voters are interested in hearing them talk about their faith. While the number of Americans who believe it is important for members of Congress to have strong religious beliefs has remained steady since 2010–about 6-in-10, with even more significant majorities among Protestants and Catholics–this poll shows a growing number of Americans who want to hear candidates talk about their religion.