By Blake Page
When most of us think of the roots of free thought communities in the United States, we recall Madalyn O’Hair and the 1960’s. In his book An Infidel Body-Snatcher and the Fruits of his Philosophy, Dan Allosso shatters that misconception by detailing the life of Dr. Charles Knowlton, a physician who championed women’s rights in the early nineteenth century. While the book is a fascinating topic in itself, much of Dan’s presentation at our May Meeting addressed how a growing acceptance of free thought allowed Dr. Knowlton to contribute to the advancement of women’s rights and empiricism in medicine.
Read more: May Meeting Review
By Jack Caravela
Since 2006, Minnesota Atheists members and supporters have gathered at the state capitol building on the first Thursday in May to celebrate the annual Day of Reason. Begun as a response to the federal and state supported Day of Prayer, an annual abuse of the U.S. Constitution that was officially endorsed this year through proclamations by both Governor Dayton and President Obama, we have been proud to assemble in the Rotunda while those who seek to perpetuate the myth of America as a nation founded on religious beliefs congregate outside.
Read more: MN Atheists Stand United for 8th Annual Day of Reason
By Eric Jayne
There’s been a lot of excitement about NBA Center Jason Collins coming out publicly as gay. Even though he’s a mediocre basketball player, Collins will be forever remembered as the first male professional athlete from one of the big four leagues (National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball) to come out as gay while still active. Thanks to increased tolerance for the LGBT community, Collins has been celebrated by his coach, teammates, fans, and NBA Commissioner David Stern for coming out.
This has been an exciting and significant moment for the LGBT community, but as an atheist I can’t help but wonder how exciting and significant it would also be for a professional athlete to come out as an atheist. With all of the intermingling elements between religion and sports these days (7th inning God Bless America renditions, locker room bible study, and routine Jesus invocations before, during, and after gameplay, for example) there might be far less acceptance for an out-of-the-closet atheist than for an out-of-the-closet gay man.
Read more: Root Root Root for the Atheists!
By Eric Jayne
The Boston Marathon bombings showcased the good and the bad of humanity. The bad comes from the two Muslim brothers from Chechnya who killed three people and gruesomely injured over 100 more with two pressure cooker bombs. The good is from the bystanders, some who just completed a marathon (!), who quickly took action among the chaos, unsure if more bombs would explode, to help victims to safety. Some people literally ripped the shirt off their backs to make tourniquets for victims rapidly losing blood.
Read more: President's Column: Godless Resilency
By George Kane
As was the case with the Cartoon Intifada in 2006, extremists are inciting street mobs to violence with cries of “Blasphemy!” to bring about a political crisis. This time the scene is Bangladesh, and the objects of religious fury are atheist bloggers who campaigned for secular government.
The background to the current uprising is the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The Pakistan Army and collaborators targeted Hindu communities, intellectuals and members of the political opposition for attacks. According to official estimates as many as 400,000 women were raped, leading to an estimated 25,000 war babies. As many as 3,000,000 people were massacred. An estimated 30,000,000 people were displaced, including 10,000,000 refugees who fled to India.
Read more: News and Notes: May 2013