American Freethought Podcast
Podcast 238 - War on Christmas Special

It's War on Christmas! There is no War on Christmas--there's only a war on the alleged War on Christmas. Example: A new group called Faith Driven Consumers has published the so-called Faith Equality Index, which ranks major companies on, among other things, whether they use "Christmas" in their holiday literature, discriminate against LGBT persons, or oppose women's sexual freedom. Basically, if you're a bigot they want Christians to shop at your store. So...we're encouraging our listeners to do the opposite: if Faith Driven Consumers don't like a company, we love 'em.


We offer our annual Top Five Suggestions for Gifts for Nonbelievers:

David's list:

5. The Story of God by Chris Matheson

4. A subscription to Skeptic magazine.

3. A charitable donation in your friend of family member's name to the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

2. A trip to France! Show your support and show you're not afraid.

1. Singer/songwriter Ellis Paul's new children's book The Night the Lights Went Out on Christmas and/or his new album of original holiday music City of Silver Dreams.

John's list:

5. The albums of Baba Brinkman.

4. For shock value: A statuette of Baphomet (look on eBay or etsy).

3. A charitable donation in your friend or family member's name to the Humanist Society.

2. The albums of Eagles of Death Metal (the band that was playing Le Bataclan in Paris during the November 13 terrorist attacks).

1. The 30-meter long fold-out science book "Evo" by Dutch artist Jurian Moller.

In other news:

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz implies that nonbelievers aren't fit to become president.

Presidential candidate John Kasich says he'll create a federal organization to promote "Judeo-Christian" values. (He later tried to walk that back a bit.)

How knowledgeable are you on world religions? Try your hand at the "Are You Smarter Than an Atheist" quiz.

Go see the film Spotlight. Stop arguing. Just go.


Direct download: 238_American_Freethought_Podcast_238.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:00am EST

Podcast 237 - Thanksgiving and the Atheist

It's Thanksgiving time again, and atheists face the usual challenges when dealing with religious family members. Dear Prudence over at fields a question from a woman whose husband likes to enrage the in-laws with obnoxious anti-prayers and offensive t-shirts. (Then again, he'd be hard-pressed to top the late William S. Burroughs' deeply cynical poem "Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986.") Of course, if you'd like to get through the weekend by not being an asshole and having fun with the family instead, you could do worse than heeding the advice in Herb Silverman's "Seven Tips for Atheists at Thanksgiving Dinner."

But we do have some things to be thankful for. Recent studies show kids from nonreligious households are more generous and less vengeful than kids from religious households. And yet another poll shows that America continues to be less religious.

Plus: We get email.


Direct download: 237_American_Freethought_Podcast_237.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:24pm EST

Podcast 236 - Baba Brinkman (The Rap Guide to Religion)


We interview Canadian rapper Baba Brinkman, whose new album The Rap Guide to Religion, is available starting October 23rd. Brinkman has carved out a distinctive niche in the rap world, frequently infusing his lyrics with philosophical, literary, scientific and skeptical themes. For more visit

Plus: We look at the recent case from New York, in which members of a reclusive Christian cult beat a 19-year-old man to death and put his 17-year-old brother in the hospital, reportedly because at least one of them wanted to leave the group. There's sure to be more in upcoming weeks and months, and it'll probably be depressing.

Direct download: 236_American_Freethought_Podcast_236.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:13pm EST

Podcast 235 - Linda K. Wertheimer (Author, Faith Ed.)

We interview Linda K. Wertheimer, author of Faith Ed: Teaching about Religion in an Age of Intolerance. Most people understand that the Constitution prohibits religious indoctrination in the public schools, and that the Supreme Court has repeatedly supported that position. What many may not realize is that there's nothing wrong with teaching students about the world's religions, but it's a cultural and political minefield for teachers and administrators. For more about Linda and her work, visit

Plus: Check out Shelley Segal, an Australian singer-songwriter currently touring North America. Her lyrics often reflect atheist, skeptical or scientific themes. For more visit

Direct download: 235_American_Freethought_Podcast_235.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:53pm EST

Podcast 234 - Chris Matheson (Author, The Story of God)

We interview Chris Matheson, author of the new satirical novel The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate). While Chris isn't exactly a household name,  you're guaranteed to know his work: he's also a screenwriter and director, most notably the co-writer of the 1989 comedy film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter) and its 1991 sequel Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.


Rowan County (Kentucky) County Clerk Kim Davis has surfaced again, this time to receive the "Cost of Discipleship Award" at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (And after this episode was recorded, Davis's lawyers revealed she had a brief, secret meeting with Pope Francis while he was in town. The Vatican has not denied the meeting, but all the details are coming from Davis.)

survey at Harvard University shows that an unprecedented number of incoming freshmen (37.9%!) identify as atheist or agnostic. Since Harvard alumni are disproportionately represented in American halls of power (e.g. CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, inhabitants of the Oval Office), there is some reason to be optimistic for future leadership with a rationalist outlook.

Tennessee Judge Jeffrey M. Atherton wins our inaugural "F*ck That Guy" award for his petty and facetious ruling denying a couple's divorce because: "With the U.S. Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’ s judiciary must now await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court as to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage.” Atherton should be disciplined for abusing the powers of his office.

Direct download: 234_American_Freethought_Podcast_234.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:55pm EST

Podcast 233 - Julie J. Ingersoll (Author, Building God's Kingdom)

We interview Professor Julie J. Ingersoll, author of Building God's Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction.We talk about how the "DNA" of an obscure conservative movement can be seen in today's headlines.


Rowan County, Kentucky's "other Kim" has the patience of Job and a sense of humor to boot.

Finally... Look out, Washington, DC! The Reason Rally returns on June 4, 2016. And the Museum of the Bible is set to open right off the National Mall in the next couple of years.

Direct download: 233_American_Freethought_Podcast_233.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:11pm EST

Podcast 232 - Rev. Barry Lynn (Author, God and Government)

We interview the Reverend Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the author of the new book God and Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom of Conscience (available in paperback and for Kindle). For more about Reverend Lynn and his work, visit


Rowan County (Kentucky) county clerk Kim Davis continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses in protest of the Supreme Court's recent ruling on same-sex marriage, despite having run out of delaying tactics. She has a hearing in federal court Thursday (September 3rd) and could face fines or imprisonment--let's hope she gets both.

We discuss--and highly recommend--An Honest Liar, the much-praised documentary about the life and career of magician and skeptical debunker James "The Amazing" Randi, one of the founders of Center for Inquiry and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). For more visit

Finally, bad news and good news from South Asia. The bad news: M. M. Kalburgi, an Indian rationalist, was shot dead at his home in Karnataka in southwestern India on Sunday, August 30th. He was an academic and an activist against predatory superstitions. He had been in the news recently for criticizing idol worship, which offended hardline Hindus. The authorities are still investigating. Good news: Center for Inquiry has opened an office in Pakistan. There are currently three associates involved with CFI-Pakistan, operating under pseudonyms for reasons we can readily understand. We wish them best of luck in this courageous enterprise.

Direct download: 232_American_Freethought_Podcast_232.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:44pm EST

An ESPN profile of National Football League's Arian Foster (a running back with the Houston Texans) highlights the fact of his atheism in a sport (and a state) that's notoriously religious. Meanwhile, evangelical poster-boy Tim Tebow (well known for his history of pious displays on the field) has been given a fourth chance in the NFL, this time as a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.


The Oklahoma Supreme Court has refused a request by the state attorney general to reconsider their ruling that Ten Commandments monument installed on the state capitol grounds is unconstitutional. It's not clear when the monument will be removed, but conservative legislators are already plotting to set in motion an amendment that will revoke the state's separation of church and state. Meanwhile, the Satanic Temple will be looking for a new home for their recently unveiled statue of Baphomet (which they had planned to donate to Oklahoma as a counterbalance to the Ten Commandments).

There's been a sudden outbreak across the South and Midwest of sheriffs and police chiefs who want to spend taxpayer money to put IN GOD WE TRUST decals on their offical vehicles. Sure, it's officially the national motto, but inevitably the bureaucrats behind it can't help blathering on about the rights of the majority, America is a Christian nation, yadda yadda yadda.

Yet another secularist blogger (the fourth this year!) has been hacked to death in Bangladesh by Islamic extremists. Niloy Neel was murdered in his own apartment while his wife was held in another room. While the vast majority of Bangladeshis are understandably outraged, the police and courts seem slow to show progress in preventing the violence and bringing those responsible to justice.

Direct download: 231_American_Freethought_Podcast_231.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:39am EST

Podcast 230 - Jeffrey Selman (God Sent Me)

[Due to technical difficulties this episode suffers from poor sound quality. We'll have the issue resolved before we record again. Our apologies for any inconvenience.]

We interview Jeffrey Selman, author of God Sent Me: A Textbook Case of Evolution vs. Creation, a behind-the-scenes look at Selman v Cobb County School District, the federal case in which he successfully sued to have "evolution is only a theory" disclaimer stickers removed from the school system's biology textbooks.

For more about Jeffrey's work in defending liberty and church-state separation, visit

Direct download: 230_American_Freethought_Podcast_230.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:42pm EST

Podcast 229 - Blowback on Same-Sex Marriage

We look at the ongoing blowback--at the state and local levels--against Obergefell v Hodges, in which the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional. Specifically, we look at the refusal by two county clerks--Casey Davis in Casey County and Kim Davis in Rowan County (pictured)--to issue marriage licenses in Kentucky, and a proposal in the state legislature to allow clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses if it offends their religious beliefs.


Six people are dead in Chattanooga in an apparent case of homegrown Islamist terrorism.

And...another victory for LGBT rights!  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that discrimination against someone based on their sexual preference is sex discrimination pure and simple.

Direct download: 229_American_Freethought_Podcast_229.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:56pm EST