Three Observations on Ferguson
August 18, 2014


The first observation is one the Center for Inquiry has already made, and in its official capacity, but it bears repeating. Although we recognize that the police (and now, apparently, the National Guard), have an obligation to maintain public order, that obligation must be fulfilled in a manner consistent with respect for our fundamental freedoms, including the right to peacefully assemble and protest.

Five Fully-Conscious (I Promise) Book Recommendations
July 24, 2014


I’ve actually read most of four books in the space of about 12 days. No, I’m not on vacation and I’m not a speed-reader. It’s insomnia.

Some Observations on the Seventh Circuit’s Decision
July 17, 2014


As many of you know by now, the Center for Inquiry—actually, scratch that—all nonreligious Americans achieved a significant victory in federal appeals court on Monday. I want to discuss briefly some of the implications of that decision.

The Burzynski Case: The FDA’s Failure to Prevent Exploitation of Desperate Patients
July 6, 2014


As supporters of CFI are aware, we critically examine not only religion but also pseudoscience.  Some regard these as distinct enterprises with little overlap.  As you might expect, most of us at CFI view things differently. 

The Uncomfortable, but Necessary Question: Should We Have Six Catholic Justices on the Court?
June 30, 2014


In its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the Supreme Court has decided that the religious beliefs of employers, including closely held corporations, take precedence over the rights of employees to necessary medical care. The specific medical care to which the employers objected was certain forms of contraception. The five justices who decided that these employers’ objections were entitled to deference are all Catholics. (One Catholic justice, Sotomayor—a woman—dissented from the majority ruling.)

Religion Has No Answer for Sectarianism
June 23, 2014


In Iraq, we are witnessing yet again the tremendous harm caused by religious fanaticism.  One interesting aspect of the present conflict is that it largely pits Muslim against Muslim, with some fanatics in the Sunni tradition battling devoted adherents of the Shia tradition.  Both traditions, of course, rely on the Qur’an as the ultimate authoritative text.  So why the conflict? 

Secularism and Health Care
June 4, 2014


Secularism is about more than keeping religious mottoes off our coins or crèches off the courthouse steps. Secularism insists that our public polices be based on reason and evidence, not religious dogma.

Saints and Sexuality
April 26, 2014


As the whole world knows by now, former pontiffs John XXIII and John Paul II are about to be officially recognized by the Catholic Church as saints. According to Catholic doctrine this means, among other things, that these persons are worthy of being venerated as models of heroic sanctity. Also, they can intercede for you before God. You know, you can’t just walk into God the Father’s office to ask for something. He’s the chairman of the board! No, you get a saint to slip him a note so you can get a couple of minutes of the boss’s time.

The Embarrassment of Noah
March 31, 2014


One of the persistent criticisms of the so-called New Atheists—Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, et al.—is that many of their arguments, although directed against religious belief in general, are really relevant only for fundamentalists. Sure, if you interpret the Bible literally, God comes across as a homicidal, genocidal, misogynistic monster, but this crude understanding of scripture is held only by ignorant believers, who, at most, constitute a substantial minority of the faithful.  Therefore, the New Atheists present a distorted view of religion and show little understanding of the mindset of “moderate” religionists.  The moderate religionists do not believe the Bible provides us with a literally true history of ancient times, nor do they regard the Bible, in particular the Old Testament, as providing an accurate conception of God and God’s relationship to humanity. 

God, Incorporated: Observations on the Hobby Lobby Argument
March 25, 2014


Today, I attended the Supreme Court argument in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores. The case is a complex one, with several distinct issues that need to be resolved. In this post, I will briefly address one of those issues, namely whether a for-profit corporation can claim a religious identity and an entitlement to an exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).