Mar 1, 2014
We look at the recent rash of legislation (either proposed or actually passed) in several states that try to protect anti-gay discrimination under the banner of religious freedom. Briefly, these broadly-worded bills require the state to show that there is a compelling state interest and no practical alternative when infringing on the religious freedom of citizens. That's all fine and dandy, but what it's really sets out to do is allow discrimination against homosexuals, among other things.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer just vetoed one such bill, arguing (correctly, but much to her chagrin, we are sure) that she could not find "one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated."
Herbert and Catherine Schiable have just been sentenced to no more than seven years in prison for allowing their infant son to die of pneumonia without medical attention because they believed in the power of prayer. Even more outrageous is the fact that another son--two years old--died a few years ago under similar circumstances.
Americans are stunningly ignorant of basic science facts. 26% of those surveyed said the sun orbits the earth, while 48% did not know (although we suspect they "know" but simply "deny") that humans developed from earlier species. If it's any consolation, Europeans didn't do much better in the same survey.
We're excited about the upcoming revival of COSMOS, a continuation of Carl Sagan's classic documentary miniseries. The new COSMOS, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, premieres on FOX TV, Sunday, March 9th, 9pm Eastern.
We're less excited about the new feature films Son of God (February 28th, nothing more than an edited version of the Jesusy episodes from the recent television miniseries The Bible) and Heaven Is for Real (April 16th, based on the "non-fiction" baloney-fest book in which preacher Todd Burpo claims his son Colton had a near-death experience and saw Jesus riding a rainbow pony).
All is not lost at the cinema, however: Darren Aronofsky's Noah comes out March 28th, and it's already pissing off religious types because it promises NOT to be a straight-up Old Testament documentary.
Finally, the American Freethought podcast is now on Stitcher!