Justice Alito Declares War on the Nones
June 26, 2019 · 2 


Last week, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the big church-state separation case of this session, American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Bladensburg Peace Cross case. It’s not my intention to relitigate the case, or even analyze the ruling in too much detail. Suffice it to say we are now living in a …

Something Wiccan This Way Comes
April 19, 2019


“The New Age? It’s just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds.” – James Randi I was struck the other day seeing yet another sign on the street for Tarot readings and various psychic services. Folk belief is a hard thing to displace, but I still have to shake my head that …

Catnip Cocktail Panic
March 18, 2019


There’s a new drug panic in town, and it’s not crack or opioids. It’s catnip. Well, it’s called “Catnip Cocktail,” and it actually contains no catnip. It contains a non-FDA-approved blend of a variety of chemicals including caffeine and something called 1,4-BD, which allegedly metabolizes into sedative akin to RHB, a “date-rape” drug. Marketed as …

Eight Hours in a Room with the Anti-Vaxxers
March 14, 2019 · 1 


On March 12, I went to give testimony at a hearing to support Maine’s L.D. 798, a bill to end non-medical exemptions to the state’s vaccination requirements. Little did I know, the issue has become so heated, that the office building that houses the committee room was packed to the gills with advocates on both …

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Myth of Parental Rights
March 14, 2019


Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. Virgil, The Aeneid (II, 49) I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts. Also, in a less literary vein – a crap sandwich on the tastiest bread is still a crap sandwich. When our opponents present us with something, whatever they call it and however they present it, we are …

When is a cross not a cross? How Accommodation and Ceremonial Deism have led us here…
February 26, 2019


This Wednesday, February 27th, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in American Legion et al. v. American Humanist Association et. al. Better known as the Bladensburg Cross case, it deals with a challenge to the constitutionality of a war memorial on public land. The memorial in question isn’t small, and isn’t inconspicuous. It’s a 40’ …

With Alabama Execution Case, Supreme Court Declares that Only Christianity Matters
February 11, 2019 · 1 


Town of Greece v. Galloway, 572 U.S. ___ (2014): Local government can start public meetings with sectarian prayers. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 573 U.S. ___ (2014): For-profit corporations can hold religious beliefs, and use them to gain an exemption from a law requiring them to provide insurance covering contraception to their employees. Trinity Lutheran …

Why Roe Matters (It’s Not Just Abortion Rights)
February 5, 2019


The “right to privacy … is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” So wrote Justice Harry Blackmun in 1973 in his seminal opinion in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). By that opinion, 7 men (with 2 men opposing) determined that the federal Constitution prevented states …

Obergefell Looks Safe in Kavanaugh Era, But LGBTQ Rights Outlook is Bleak
January 28, 2019


With the election of Trump, and the following changes to the Supreme Court, one of the most common questions I was asked by people outside of the secular movement was what this would mean for marriage equality. After all, the decision in Obergefell came down less than 4 years ago, and was a 5-4 ruling, …

Secularism and the True Meaning of Religious Freedom
January 18, 2019


On January 16th we marked National Religious Freedom Day, a day when we see articles and TV talking heads from the religious right claiming that there is an attack on Christianity in this country, and using the opportunity to call for more state funding of their churches, and further special exemptions from the law for …