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AANEWS is a free service of American Atheists, a nationwide movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. For more information about American Atheists, send e-mail to: info@atheists.org, and put your name and mailing address in the message body. You may post, forward or quote from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to aanews and American Atheists.

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1996 material edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER.

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AA Chat More...  

 A M E R I C A N   A T H E I S T S

Subject: The AANEWS for Sunday, September 19, 2010

A M E R I C A N A T H E I S T S    A A N E W S
#1351 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 09/19/2010

http://www.atheists.orgDave's NoGodBlog -- http://atheists.org/blog/
The Atheist Viewpoint (video) -- http://atheists.org/blog/ The
Voice of Reason (Podcast) -- http://www.atheists.org/reason

A Service of AMERICAN ATHEISTS, a nationwide movement that defends
civil rights for non-believers; works for the total separation of
Church, Mosque, Temple and State; and addresses issues of First
Amendment public policy.

* In This Issue...
* As Pope leaves Britain, "New Atheists" can claim victory!
* Worth Noting: O'Donnell "witch craft," date at "Satanic Altar"
* Second Annual Ingersoll Oratory Contest, October 24, 2010
* Voice of Reason Podcast
* Check out Dave's NoGodBlog
* Follow AANEWS on Twitter
* Resources
* About this list...


As Atheists and other secularists protested the Papal visit to the
U.K., some seem to be questioning the right of nonbelievers to
speak out in the public square...

There is an odious and self-serving agenda at work in the global
debate over secularism, disbelief and the separation of religion
from the state.

Ever since the success of a number of books critical of organized
religion and belief in the supernatural -- one thinks of Richard
Dawkins' "The God Delusion" or "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris --
there have been outcries about the so-called "New Atheists."

It is a peculiar term. While these books are exceptionally
well crafted, and their authors often so articulate and adroit
in presenting cogent arguments in debate and lectures, there is
little here that is authentically "new." Philosophers have long
identified several key arguments presented by those who insist
that a supernatural entity or "God" fashioned our universe, and
religious apologists inevitably cite these (teleological, design,
prophesy) in attempting to garner faithful followers. For decades,
even millennia, those who do not believe in God have demolished these
claims, pointing to numerous flaws and short-comings. The results
are denial and opprobrium from ecclesiastical representatives
and institutions. Short of Inquisitions and house arrests, the
religious have, over the centuries, attempted to silence these
voices of dissent.

Confronted not only by the spread of secularism the phenomenal
success Atheists and other religious skeptics seem to be enjoying
in the intellectual and political marketplace, the faithful have
resorted to a new, sleazier strategy. We have an Atheist leader
in Australia; we see the White House finally meeting with heads
of secular organizations; and "spokespersons" for Atheism like
Dawkins, Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett, by their
considerable expertise and ability to communicate complex ideas,
have helped move the debate over "Atheism versus faith" from
obscure lecture halls to prime time television and beyond.

The religious have and are responding to such intellectual challenges
in an exceptionally dishonest way, however.

One tactic has been to create a class of "new Atheists" who are then
criticized for being strident, intolerant, disrespectful of religion
and even boorish.

The Vatican, for instance, has decided to exclude "New Atheists"
from a series of up-coming debates, panels and other events they
insist are part of a sincere outreach to the growing community
of nonbelievers. Other religious partisans have joined in this
deception, denouncing "New Atheists" as if a class of "Old Atheists"
once existed who were less threatening to religious ideology and,
like the good house slaves of the plantation era in the Southern
U.S. "knew their place" and rarely spoke out. This is so much
pseudo-history and falsification, of course. Charles Bradlaugh might
be considered one of the "Old Atheists." He founded the National
Secular Society in Great Britain, courageously stood for Parliament
and refused to swear an oath to a deity in order to claim his seat,
and toured the world giving lectures that some clergy found so
threatening that they did all they could to ban him from speaking
as a hazard to public probity.

Robert Ingersoll, "The Great Agnostic" and a prolific lecturer and
Freethought writer, was renowned for his expertise in embarrassing
ecclesiastic apologists.

More than half-a-century later, Madalyn Murray O'Hair successfully
challenged the oppressive ritual of mandatory prayer and Bible
recitation in the public schools. She did not suffer fools, and "put
Atheism on the map" for many of us. It is a strange experience of
deja vue to see the "New Atheists" of today, then watch those faded
video clips of Madalyn O'Hair speaking at Harvard, or debating
William F. Buckley, or speaking on the first episode of The Phil
Donahue Show.

If there are "old" and "new" Atheists, there is also a continuity
and rhetorical, intellectual heritage winding its way through time.

By fiat, organized religion (with the assistance of some media
pundits who seem never to run out of boot spittle), lead by the
Vatican, is doing everything possible by isolating and smearing
the "New Atheists," and in the process telling all Atheists,
Freethinkers, Humanists and other nonbelievers that, well, we need
to shut up.

Comes Richard Ingram, writer for Britain's "The Independent"
newspaper, who in a September 18, 2919 web column ("Atheism could
do without Dawkins as its advocate," see
606.html ). Ingram blusters:

"The motley gang of people writing to protest about the Pope's visit
are not protesting just about the Pope. Even if they don't say so,
they are protesting about religion in general. And many of them
are not merely anti-religion, they are anti anything to do with
the supernatural. They passionately want to believe that there
is absolutely nothing in the world that cannot be scientifically
explained. "

Ingram continues with an anti-Richard Dawkins tirade, attacking those
who question and may reject paranormal phenomena like water divining.
Atheists need to find a new spokesperson, insists Mr. Ingram,
someone more "rational."

It is peculiar, even hypocritical when non-Atheists or even
anti-Atheists tell us who our "leaders" should be, and attack those
who are clearly the most professional, qualified and articulate
of spokespersons. Could it be that the real motivation here is
to denigrate Richard Dawkins, or Hitchens or others BECAUSE they
raise questions that the faithful have trouble answering?

Perhaps, too, it is because Dr. Dawkins is so effective in helping to
mobilize and inspire a whole new generation of intellectual skeptics
and passionate secularists, that they are being set-up in a class
of bogeymen, the "New Atheists." In Britain, for instance, the
outspoken Richard Dawkins, the activists at the National Secular
Society and a network of progressive activists have turned the
visit of Pope Benedict into a protest-cum-educational opportunity.
Polls show that over 70% of Britons object to having to subsidize the
visit of the Pope because it is supposedly a "state visit." Through
web sites, magazines, pamphlets and web sites, NSS and other
groups have detailed the sordid history of how the Vatican became a
political institution and government (the "Holy See") in large part
due to the assistance of the late fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
The Vatican has helped in fueling the protests during Benedict's
visit thanks to its cover-up of the pedophile-priest scandal, its
strident opposition to gay unions and reproductive rights for women,
and a harsh opposition to secularism.

Finally, in all of this rhetorical puffery about "New Atheists,"
there is the implication that Atheists and other opponents of
religion do not have the right to speak out against sectarianism
and dogmatism. Imagine the brouhaha were Humanists or Atheists
to insist that religious people and institutions should not enjoy
basic human rights and civil liberties! The faithful still opine
that in matters of free speech, the religious have the right to
speak out -- but not the Atheist or Humanist or other secularists.
It is, clearly, a bigoted double standard that is meant to fashion
"special rights" for believers.

The Pope has finally departed Albion and headed back to the confines
of Vatican City. The British taxpayers are stuck with an enormous
bill for the papal road show which, while promoted as a "state
visit," included a number of masses and other ecclesiastical events,
along with a half-hearted apology from Benedict for the on-going
pedophile scandal. Richard Dawkins, the hard-working staff and
membership of the National Secular Society and others who took to
the street in a loud and refreshing medley of protests, may lay
claim to a great cultural and political victory despite the desperate
and unfair opponents of "New Atheism."

-- Conrad F. Goeringer
Editor, AANEWS


Atheists standing by QUT's holy smoker THE Bible and Koran-smoking
Brisbane lawyer whose YouTube video satirizing holy book burning
this week made international headlines, has the backing of
the Brisbane Atheists. The group's organizer Steve Hannington
told The Courier-Mail yesterday although the Brisbane Atheists
weren't a party to the production of the video by Alex Stewart -
an assistant organizer with the club - he predicted other members
would be supportive of the stunt.


Newt Gingrich Fires Up Conservative 'Values' Voters in Attack
on 'Secular" Democrats Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told
conservative voters Saturday that a "secular socialist machine"
led by President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress is
challenging "the survival of America as we know it." Gingrich's
no-holds-barred rhetoric won repeated standing ovations from audience
members at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, sponsored by the
Family Research Council.


O'Donnell In 1999: 'I Dabbled Into Witchcraft' (VIDEO) Another
damaging past statement from Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell
was revealed on Bill Maher's HBO show "Real Time" last night.
Maher played a clip from an episode of his previous show "Politically
Incorrect" in which O'Donnell said she "dabbled into witchcraft."


Richard Ingrams: Atheism could do without Dawkins as its advocate
The motley gang of people writing to protest about the Pope's visit
are not protesting just about the Pope. Even if they don't say so,
they are protesting about religion in general. And many of them
are not merely anti-religion, they are anti anything to do with
the supernatural. They passionately want to believe that there
is absolutely nothing in the world that cannot be scientifically


Citing "Mental Anguish," Christine O'Donnell Sought $6.9 Million in
Discrimination Lawsuit Against Conservative Group ...and falsely
implied she was taking master's degree classes at Princeton. Court
documents obtained Saturday by THE WEEKLY STANDARD reveal surprising
new details about the gender discrimination and wrongful termination
lawsuit filed by Christine O'Donnell in 2005 against her former
employer, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative
non-profit based in Delaware.*


Out of mouths of babes - religious will rise as secular birth
rates fall Pope Benedict's recent visit to Britain has been
just as controversial as John Paul II's tour of 1982. But the
180-degree shift in the axis of conflict reveals how British
society has changed over the past 28 years. John Paul, the first
pontiff to set foot on British soil, raised Protestant hackles.


On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears
From View You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in
the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly. The
gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence
of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it,
"going ghost": moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping
away her identity.


Hindus denounce Pope for being offensive to atheists Hindus have
criticized His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for rough handling
of atheists in his speech at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (United
Kingdom) on September 16, where he appeared to associate atheism
with the Nazis. Eminent Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement
in Nevada (USA) today, said that as Catholics and Hindus and others
had freedom of their belief systems and were respected for their
respective choices, and so should be the atheists. A religious
leader of Pope's stature should have been more inclusive. Zed, who
is President of Universal Society of Hinduism , further said that
although Pope frequently talked about right to religious freedom,
cooperation of the human family, truly universal human community,
etc., but in this speech, he apparently condemned the beliefs of a
considerable chunk of world population called atheists. Who were
we as human beings to judge publicly that other humans' beliefs
different than us were wrong?


Noon on Sunday, October 24, 2010
Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

Robert G. Ingersoll, known as The Great Agnostic, was a famous
19th century orator and outspoken critic of religion. He was
an advocate for racial equality, birth control, women's rights,
Darwin's theory of evolution, Shakespeare, free speech, and voting
rights for Washington, DC.

He delivered over 1,200 speeches to packed houses across the country
in the late 1800s, all of them documented in a 12-volume set of
his works. After he moved his family to Washington, DC, in 1878,
he lived, worked and spoke here for seven years. He was a Civil
War veteran and a very successful lawyer and political speaker.
He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Yet he has been neglected and largely forgotten by history.
To revive his message and popularity we are announcing:

The Second Annual Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest Up to
15 contestants will each deliver a brief excerpt from Robert G.
Ingersoll's works. A panel of judges will evaluate and award prizes
for the best performance. Sign up to be a contestant, or just come
to hear the outrageous blasphemy and rhetoric of this undeservedly
forgotten American orator. Bring your blanket or chair and applaud
your favorite selection or speaker. No chairs will be provided.

Noon on Sunday, October 24, 2010 in Dupont Circle, Washington,
DC In case of rain, the contest will still be held nearby at :
James Hoban's Irish Restaurant & Bar, One Dupont Circle, NW. tel.:


Registration deadline is October 17, 2010. Contestants pay a fee
of $20.
Hurry! The contest is limited to 15 contestants.

For information on how to register, see the contest Web site at

Questions? Send an e-mail to: Ingersoll@wash.org or call and leave
a message at 202-657-6346


First Place: $150
Second Place: $100
Third Place: $75
Fourth Place: $50

+ in addition to cash, other items may also be awarded.
All contestants will receive a certificate.

This free public event is sponsored by: Washington Area Secular
Humanists Center for Inquiry DC American Humanist Association Robert
Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, a project of the Council for
Secular Humanism.

Photos and videos of last year's contest can be seen at the Contest
web site.

Some Quotations of Ingersoll:

The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a
traitor to himself and to his fellow-men.
- Robert Green Ingersoll, "The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child"

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of
bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience
merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be
relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance,
called "faith."
- Robert Green Ingersoll, The Gods

This century will be called Darwin's century. He was one of the
greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of
the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers the Bible
is a book written by ignorance -at the instigation of fear. Charles
Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now
accepted facts.
- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Orthodoxy"

The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray.
- Robert Green Ingersoll

The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church.
Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.

- Robert Green Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses,

Contest Web site:



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. The current episode deals analyzes Glenn Beck's "Honor America"
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It is one of the fastest growing blogs in the
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on the discussion!

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wit, hot news, controversial opinion -- and polite, thoughtful
commentary. So join the conversation! Sign up (it's free) by
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