News and Notes - November 2014

By George Francis Kane

george head smallWriting the decision in the 1968 Epperson v. Arkansas case, Justice Abe Fortas noted that “(t)he First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” Justice David Sutter referred to this principle of neutrality as the bedrock concept of the Establishment Clause, and it has been cited repeatedly in Supreme Court decisions for over four decades. Justice Antonin Scalia, however, in a speech at Colorado Christian University, said that he considers the interpretation that the Establishment Clause forbids the government to favor religion over non-religion to be “a lie.”


Read more: News and Notes - November 2014

President’s Column: War on Christmas Continues

By Eric Jayne


mna holiday tag1The passing of Halloween brings another cause for celebration: The annual War on Christmas. In our own unique way, the Minnesota Atheists has participated in the War on Christmas for several years and I think we’ll have plenty to keep us busy for the 2014 war.

Our objective in the War on Christmas is not to destroy the holiday but to embrace the fun parts, which are rooted in non-biblical traditions (gifts, lights, and pine trees). We're also challenging a popluar assumption that a select religious belief(s) and tradition(s) should be given preferential treatment  in public schools and courthouses. Our last objective is to dismantle the preconceived notion that religious belief is a fundamental component to charitable giving.


Read more: President’s Column: War on Christmas Continues

President's Column: Why I'm Not a Secular Humanist

By Eric Jayne

alf and family1A favorite TV show from my youth was ALF. The popular NBC sitcom, which ran from 1986 to 1990, was about a three-feet tall furry, wisecracking Alien Life Form (“ALF”) who crash landed his spaceship in a suburban family’s backyard garage. The family protects ALF from the military and nosy neighbors throughout the series while ALF tries to make sense of life on earth.

One of my favorite scenes from the show is where the family patriarch, Willie, clears up confusion about a $10,000 balloon payment being for their home mortgage and not for an actual balloon. He also helped ALF understand that they are not selling their garage as they prepared for a garage sale. “So you understand what a balloon payment is?” Willie asks ALF. “Yeah”, responds ALF. “And you know what a garage sale is?” asked Willie. After ALF confirms that he does he asks “Now can you explain secular humanism again?” To which Willie says “No”. Here's a YouTube link to the full episode (the scene happens in the first 3 minutes with the opening credits wedged between the exchange).


Read more: President's Column: Why I'm Not a Secular Humanist

Author Login