American Freethought Podcast
Podcast 263 - Too Faithful to Be Faithless

A Texas member of the Electoral College has resigned rather than cast a vote for Donald Trump, stating that the president-elect is not "biblically qualified" to hold office. 

Also in Texas, the Republican-controlled government is implementing a new regulation requiring abortion clinics to dispose of fetal tissue only via cremation or burial. They cite health and public safety concerns, but offer no explanation as to how such tissue differs from other medical waste like removed organs, amputated limbs, etc. in terms of its danger to the community.

Finally, Donald Trump has selected Georgia Congressman Tom Price as his Secretary of Health and Human Services. Yes, an anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-regulation, anti-global warming, anti-Obamacare crusader will be in charge of the nation's healthcare system.

 

Direct download: 263_American_Freethought_Podcast_263.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:07pm EST

Podcast 262 - Democracy Good and Hard

H. L. Mencken said, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." They (and we) are about to get Donald Trump, a crooked businessman with no governmental experience who channels old-school misogyny, racism, bigotry, and near-complete ignorance on almost every topic of importance. Trump has pulled off one of most unlikely upsets in political history. He stunned the Republican establishment, as well as nearly every pollster and pundit, to capture the most powerful office on the planet.

So how did he do it? How could voters support a candidate like this? To help us understand, we talk with political scientist Arthur Lupia, author of the new (and incredibly timely) book Uninformed: Why People Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It, available in hardcover and for Kindle. (Please note: a technical glitch which led to some problems in sound quality and continuity. We apologize for the inconvenience.)

Direct download: 262_American_Freethought_Podcast_262.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:54pm EST

Podcast 261 - SPLC vs Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Why has the Southern Poverty Law Center placed Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz on their list of "anti-Muslim extremists"? Certainly both Ali (who was the victim of female genital mutilation and narrowly escaped an arranged marriage before making a success of herself in the Western world) and Nawaz (himself once a jihadist who spent jail time in Egypt, and who now heads a counter-extremist think-tank in the UK) have been critical of Islam, but is it fair to call them extremists in turn?

Plus:

Virginia pastor Terry Wayne Millender and his wife have been arrested, accused of orchestrating a $1.2 million scam that victimized members of their church.

In recent years, churches have organized "Hell Houses" at Halloween. Instead of traditional scares like vampires and zombies, Hell Houses showcase sadistic fundamentalist fantasies of the horrors that await the unsaved in the afterlife. This year, a Chicago area church abandoned a plan to recreate Orlando's Pulse nightclub massacre (which took the lives of 49 LGBT victims) as part of their annual Hell House. The key word here is "abandoned"--but it's pretty disturbing that a church would think of doing such a thing, even going so far as to put out an ad for actors to play the victims.

The 2016 election will be over soon, and Republican candidate Donald Trump is widely expected to lose. Most analysts and consultants expect the GOP to face an "existential crisis," an epic tug-o-war between the more traditional leadership (the mundane pro-business foreign policy hawks who would ordinarily be happy to compromise with the Democrats so both sides can win something) and the rabid "base" who are so desperate to burn "the system" to the ground they were willing to vote for Donald Trump. Grab the popcorn.

Direct download: 261_American_Freethought_Podcast_261.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

Podcast 260 - Moore No More

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended without pay from his office until the end of his term, effectively putting an end to his judicial career. Moore becomes (as far as we can tell) the only judge in US history to be removed from office TWICE (the first time over his installation of a 2.5 ton Ten Commandments monument in the judiciary building; the second time over his obstruction of the US Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. Moore is appealing the decision, although there seems very little chance it will be reversed. Good riddance, we say, although it wouldn't surprise us to see him continue in the political arena; e.g. running for governor or for Congress.

Plus:

Teresa MacBain, who left the Methodist ministry in 2012 and "came out" as an atheist, has in recent months quietly returned to religion. The freethought community is obviously dismayed and disappointed by this decision, although we wish her the best as she explores what she has describes as a more "progressive" Christianity. (Listen to our interview with Ms. MacBain back in episode 160.)

Baseball legend Curt Schilling (lately an infamous anti-evolution tweeter and anti-transgender pinhead) has said he's considering running against Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018. This could be interesting, but it seems a fair bet at this point that Warren would crush him like a bug.

 

Direct download: 260_American_Freethought_Podcast_260.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:44pm EST

Podcast 259 - Karen Garst (Women Beyond Belief)

We interview Karen Garst, editor of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion. This new collection contains 22 essays by women from various backgrounds, telling their stories of how the decided to leave religion and embrace secular, rational values. Women Beyond Belief is available in paperback and for Kindle.

For more about Karen Garst and her projects, visit faithlessfeminist.com.

Direct download: 259_American_Freethought_Podcast_259.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:25pm EST

Podcast 258 - Live at DragonCon 2016

John Snider (sans David Driscoll, sadly) presents another live show at DragonCon's Skeptrack in Atlanta. He's joined by Mandisa Thomas (founder and president of Black Nonbelievers) and Gina Colaianni (student activist and former president of Kennesaw State University's Secular Student Alliance) in discussing "Diversity in the Skeptic/Freethought Community."

Many thanks to Derek Colanduno (organizer of the Skeptrack and co-host of the pioneering Skepticality podcast), as well as Mark Ditsler of Abrupt Media for providing stellar audiovisual services.

Direct download: 258_American_Freethought_Podcast_258.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:37pm EST

We discuss a recent article by Donald Prothero in Skeptic magazine, in which he looks at the state of the Intelligent Design movement, ten years after its stinging defeat in Kitzmiller v. Dover. The overwhelming majority of scientists are against ID (and Creationism in general), and the courts have ruled that it's purely religious. They're not gone, but the IDiots are shifting their tactics. Can Intelligent Design make a comeback?

Plus:

An anti-gay preacher who gloated in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub massacre has been arrested on suspicion of molesting an underaged male.

Islamophobia at home and abroad! Newton County, Georgia has issued a moratorium on ALL religious construction, now that a Muslim group from metro Atlanta wants to build a mosque there. And in France (where they're still reeling from devastating terrorist attacks) several townships are trying to ban the burkini (a modesty swimsuit favored by some Muslim women) from public beaches.

Direct download: 257_American_Freethought_Podcast_257.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:21pm EST

Podcast 256 - Matthew O'Neil (After Life)

We interview Matthew O'Neil, author of After Life: Solving Science and Religion’s Great Disagreement. In his new book, he looks at what the Bible actually says about things like Heaven, Hell, the soul and Resurrection, and how it differs from modern, mainstream Christian ideas. He also delves into what science can tell us about an afterlife and about the process of death.

We previously spoke with Matthew in episode #242 about his book What the Bible Really Does (and Doesn’t Say) about Sex.

Plus:

If you're coming to DragonCon, come see American Freethought live at the Skeptrack, Monday, September 5th at 11:30am. The topic will be "Diversity in the Freethought/Skeptic Community" and there will be special guests.

Direct download: 256_American_Freethought_Podcast_256.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:39pm EST

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 EST

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 EST