American Freethought Podcast
Podcast 255 - Is Kaine Able?

We take a look–from a freethinking and skeptical viewpoint–at Democratic Platform 2016, as well as the political positions of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's pick as Vice Presidential running mate.

Plus:

The recent leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee shows that some staffers, at least, entertained the despicable notion of using presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' supposed atheism against him in an effort to aid rival Hillary Clinton among the "Southern Baptist peeps."

Body Found--an alt-rock band active in St. Louis, Missouri in the early 1990's, whose song "To Be Dead" is this podcast's theme song--has a new album! Desert Ressurection is available August 1st via Amazon.com, iTunes, and all the usual places you can download music. Show your appreciation for their contribution to American Freethought!

Direct download: 255_American_Freethought_Podcast_255.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:04pm EDT

Podcast 254 - Pence and Insensibility

We take a look--from a freethinking and skeptical viewpoint--at Republican Platform 2016, as well as the political positions of Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Donald Trump's pick as Vice Presidential running mate.

Plus:

new Pew poll shows evangelicals and so-called "nones" falling in line behind Trump and Clinton, respectively and unsurprisingly. The poll also shows a reasurring drop in the number of voters who say that it's important that the President have strong religious beliefs.

 

Direct download: 254_American_Freethought_Podcast_254.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

Podcast 253 - Baby Fingers, Baby Christian

For the third presidential election cycle in a row, evangelical fundamentalist Christians have failed to nominate a Republican candidate that's a full-throated theocratic nut job (although they came close with Ted Cruz). And once again they're faced with the daunting task of keeping themselves relevant by throwing their weight behind the inevitable candidate, no matter how odious he may be. And so, we have people like Focus Crosshairs on the Family president James Dobson declaring, with no evidence, really, that Donald Trump (he of the bloviation and baby fingers) is now a "baby Christian" who was brought to Christ "recently." Trump himself has made laughable attempts to ingratiate himself to the fundamentalist vote, quoting "Two" Corinthians and saying his favorite Bible verse is "an eye for an eye"--the one Bible verse that Jesus explicitly refuted! Anyway, a road is being paved to give conservative Christians an path (rickety at best) to vote for Trump as one of theirs.

Plus:

A federal judge blocks Mississippi's Orwellian "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act," a law expressly designed to ensure anti-gay, one-man-one-woman Christian bigots ever have to deal with anyone in the LGBT community. Look for this one to be resolved in a year or two by the Supreme Court, almost certainly on the side of those who want to see all citizens treated equally and without discrimination.

Ken Ham's Ark Encounter boondoggle has opened for business in central Kentucky. Holey Scripture looks at how the Ark (both Noah's and Ham's) was made. And just what the heck is "gopher" wood?

Direct download: 253_American_Freethought_Podcast_253.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:11pm EDT

Podcast 252 - Frank Lambert (Separation of Church and State)

We interview Dr. Franklin T. Lambert, author of Separation of Church and State: Founding Principle of Religious Liberty. In this, his latest book, he corrects the claims of revisionist "historians" like David Barton that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, and that separation of church and state is a myth promulgated by a conspiracy of left-wing elitist academics. Dr. Lambert is professor of History at Purdue University, where he teaches courses on Colonial and Revolutionary American History and American Religious History. He is the author of eight books, including The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America and Religion in American Politics: A Short History.

Plus:

A brief discussion of the recent massacre of 49 people in Orland0, Florida by a self-proclaimed follower if ISIS.

A brief discussion about the American Ethical Union (aeu.org), which has permanent congregations in several cities, including Washington, DC; Vienna, Virginia; and St. Louis, Missouri.

Direct download: 252_American_Freethought_Podcast_252.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:52am EDT

David Driscoll offers his on-site observations from Reason Rally 2016, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. For more info on the event visit ReasonRally.com

Direct download: 251_American_Freethought_Podcast_251.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:40pm EDT

Podcast 250 - Mary Roach (Grunt)

Whoo-hoo! It's our 250th episode! We'll celebrate by continuing to put out some more episodes.

Meanwhile, we interview Mary Roach, whose latest book is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (available in hardcoveraudiobook and for Kindle). Roach is the author of other insightful and humorous nonfiction titles like Stiff (an exploration of the ethical issues associated with the use of cadavers), Spook (at look at scientific evidence for the afterlife), Bonk (the study of human sexuality) and Gulp (eating and digestion). We last spoke to Mary waaay back in episode #99 about her book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. For more about Mary Roach and her work visit MaryRoach.net.

Plus:

Look for David Driscoll at the Reason Rally, June 4th at the Lincoln Memorial.

Direct download: 250_American_Freethought_Podcast_250.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:37pm EDT

Podcast 249 - The Faith of Christopher Hitchens

We discuss Larry Alex Taunton's new book The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World's Most Notorious Atheist (available in hardcover, as an audiobook, or for Kindle). In this memoir, Taunton (a Birmingham, Alabama based minister and founder of the Fixed Point Foundation) recounts the friendship that developed between himself and Christopher Hitchens. Considerable controversy has arisen over Taunton's insinuation that Hitchens, while he had no deathbed conversion, may have re-evaluated religion (if not Christianity) during his final months.

Direct download: 249_American_Freethought_Podcast_249.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:15pm EDT

Podcast 248 - Cruz Is No Lucifer, but Trump Might Be the Anti-Christ

Recently retired Speaker of the House John Boehner told a Stanford University audience that  Texas Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz was "Lucifer in the flesh" and "the most miserable son of a bitch" he's ever worked with. Nobody's less happy about the comparison than actual Satanists, who don't think Lucifer is real to begin with, and who object to Cruz's incessant moralizing and desire for full-on Christian theocracy. (Of course, Cruz has since dropped out of the campaign, leaving the field wide open for walking id Donald Trump.)

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore continues his crusade to make life miserable for the LGBT community. He's sticking to his orders to state officials to ignore the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v Hodges, which ensures equal treatment for same-sex couples who want to get married. Moore held a press conference recently, saying that "atheists, homosexuals and transgender individuals" were behind complaints against him. Well, duh.

Actor and fundamentalist evangelical Kirk Cameron is at it again. This time he's describing his (or maybe God's) version of a perfect marriage: "Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband's lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband." Yeah.

Announcements!

Get ready for the Reason Rally, June 4th at the Lincoln Memorial. David will be there--say hi if you can find him.

DragonCon will be here before you know it. John and Allison will be there, doing a live show if all goes as planned. Meanwhile, send your suggestions for topics we can cover or questions we can answer, and if you're looking to get married...

Direct download: 248_American_Freethought_Podcast_248.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:28pm EDT

Podcast 247 - Win Some, Lose Some vs RFRA, Part 2

More fallout in the aftermath of North Carolina's infamous law that prevents local governments from passing LGBT protections. Bruce Springsteen and former Beatle Ringo Starr are among the artists who have cancelled shows in the Tar Heel state.

Meanwhile, Mississippi has passed HB 1523, the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act," which more or less allows anyone to discriminate against LGBT citizens as long as they cite sincerely held religious beliefs. This law is seen as so extreme that some other state governments (including New York and Washington) and even local governments have issued (largely symbolic) bans against traveling to Mississippi for government business. 

Finally, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has vetoed a bill aimed at making the Bible the official state book, saying it trivializes the Bible (rather than giving the more obvious reason that the law is blatantly unconstitutional).

There's a Supreme Court showdown just over the horizon.

Direct download: 247_American_Freethought_Podcast_247.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:38pm EDT

Podcast 246 - Win Some, Lose Some vs RFRA

So-called Religious Freedom Restorations Acts are meeting with mixed success at the state level. RFRAs are ostensibly about protecting religious freedom, but they're really just pandering to religious conservatives who want to discriminate against the hated gays (just like Jesus would have).

In Georgia, under pressure from civil liberties organizations and business interests who warn the state could lose its lucrative movie-making industry, Governor Nathan Deal (a conservative Republican!) just wielded his veto power on a discriminatory bill, citing the lack of need for such a law and appealing to love and tolerance.

Meanwhile, North Carolina just passed a law prohibiting local governments from protecting LGBT rights (this in response to a Charlotte city ordinance allowing transgendered people to use restrooms that correspond with their self-identity). Supporters are crowing about "common sense," but others are already calling for boycotts of the state, and North Carolina's Attorney General (a Democrat running for governor) has already declared the law unconstitutional and says he won't defend it in court.

Look for a Supreme Court showdown in the next couple of years.

Plus:

A "Prophet of God" brandishing what turned out to be a pellet gun is shot and wounded by police near the US Capitol.

An anti-vaccination documentary directed and co-written by disgraced medical researcher Andrew Wakefield has been dropped from the TriBeCa Film Festival. Some cry censorship; others say the film will simply rehash old (bad) arguments and will rekindle a conversation not worth having. If you want to more more about vaccinations, listener Ted from New Jersey recommends this, and this, ...and this.

Finally, the latest in the recent batch of "Christian" films hits theaters April 1st: God's Not Dead 2: He's Surely Alive feeds the myth that Christianity is under attack in America's schools by evil ACLU atheists bent on proving God doesn't exist. Please.

Direct download: 246_American_Freethought_Podcast_246.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:03am EDT