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FW: AANEWS for Thursday, July 29, 2010

From: Jim H.
Sent on: Friday, July 30, 2010 12:43 AM


-----Original Message-----
From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, July 29,[masked]:40 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: AANEWS for Thursday, July 29, 2010


A M E R I C A N   A T H E I S T S

            A A N E W S

#1337 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 07/29/2010

 Dave's NoGodBlog --

 The Atheist Viewpoint (video) --

 The Voice of Reason (Podcast) --



 A Service of AMERICAN ATHEISTS, a nationwide movement that defends

 civil rights for non-believers; works for the total separation

 of Church and State; and addresses issues of First Amendment

 public policy.


"ATHEIST is really a thoroughly honest, unambiguous term, it admits

of no paltering and no evasion, and the need of the world, now as

ever, is for clear-cut issues and unambiguous speech."

-- Chapman  Cohen


"All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the

politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher."

- Lucretius, On the Nature of Things



In This Issue...

* Death-by-stoning case: Iranian defense attorney missing, sign

  the on-line petition!

* Gay priests urged to leave church

* Worth Noting -- Santa rips Catholic Church, Day of Prayer flap

* Voice of Reason Pod cast

* Check out Dave's NoGodBlog!

* Follow AANEWS on Twitter

* Resources

* About this list...






The attorney for a 34-year-old Iranian woman convicted of adultery

and sentenced to death-by-stoning has gone missing, amidst a growing

international outcry protesting the brutal form of execution.


Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the mother of two children was found

guilty of adultery; she was originally sentenced to receive 99 lashes;

but a Tehran court, examining new charges against her, re-instated

the death-by-stoning.  An international campaign against the brutal

punishment was promptly launched.  This past week, the Iranian

Embassy in London announced that the stoning verdict had been

suspended, but amnesty groups fear that some other method such as

hanging will be used.


Mass protests are scheduled this weekend.


An on-line petition has been established urging that

the practice of death-by-stoning be abolished, and that

the verdict against Ashtiani be set set aside.  Visit

<> to

participate and sign the petition.






For more information, please contact: Ed Buckner, President

[masked] (cell) or[masked] (office/fax) Dave Silverman,

Communications Director[masked]


              REPORT: 25% - 50% of Catholic Priests Gay!



An Atheist advocacy group today called upon Roman Catholic priests

who are gay to resign from the church and reject the Vatican's

repressive teachings on homosexuality--and much else.


This comes following an expose by the Italian weekly news magazine

Panorama titled "Good Nights Out For Gay Priests." Investigative

journalist Carmelo Abbate who spent time undercover filming and

interviewing gay clerics who often flaunted their lifestyle, and

even hired male escorts for private parties. Panorama's expose

seems to confirm a 2000 study by Father Donald Cozzens whose book,

The Changing Face of the Priesthood suggested that as many as 60%

of American Catholic priests were gay.


Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, said, "In an

institution where men and women are treated as equals--as human

beings!--double lives (hypocrisy) aren't necessary. These men

should choose integrity, honest lives, not continuing support for

unsupportable, irrational dogma that misleads millions and expands

human suffering rather than easing it."


Dr. Buckner added, "The issues of sexual abuse of children by clergy

and the church's policies regarding accepting homosexuality are

connected (though the abuse has certainly not been exclusively of

boys); hypocrisy and dishonesty plague the Vatican in many ways,

but these are perhaps the most damaging. Sexual orientation is a

different question altogether from clerical pedophile abuse. The

church considers gays to be 'sinners,' and we think it appropriate

that any gay clerics reject this superstition."


Dave Silverman, Vice President and Communications Director for

American Atheists, encouraged recognition of gay rights and openness

about problems: "Gay men and women continue to speak out for civil

rights and social recognition. There is no longer any need to hide

in the shadows even of the priesthood."


Silverman added: "There are many religions out there, and some

are far less intolerant or antiquated than Catholicism. We agree

with the Vatican that any gay priest should leave the priesthood,

and pursue a life of tolerance and civility."


AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights

for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the

total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First

Amendment public policy.


American Atheists press releases are sent to published media

addresses. If you do not wish to receive them, simply reply with

"unsubscribe" in the subject line and you will be removed from

distribution. American Atheists, Inc. PO BOX 158, Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel.: (908)[masked] Fax: (908)[masked]




                      WORTH NOTING...


Gay Priests Blasted For Leading 'Double Life' By Church

 The Catholic Church in Italy, still reeling from the clerical sex

 abuse scandal, lashed out Friday at gay priests who are leading a

 double life, urging them to come out of the closet and leave the

 priesthood. The Diocese of Rome issued the strongly worded statement

 after the conservative Panorama newsweekly said in a cover story

 and accompanying video that it had interviewed three gay priests

 in Rome and accompanied them to gay clubs and bars and to sexual

 encounters with strangers, including one in a church building.





Religious freedom, hypocrisy clash at Ground Zero Far too many

Americans are hypocrites, demanding rights while denying those

same rights to others.  Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf wants to build a

community center (that will include a space in which Muslims can

pray) two blocks from Ground Zero--the site of the terrorist attack

on the World Trade Center in New York City.





Over 30 Pro-Family Groups Ask Court for Role in Day of Prayer Case

Over 30 conservative organizations are asking the U.S. Court of

Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to allow them to participate in oral

arguments supporting the National Day of Prayer, with at least one

group calling the Obama administration's defense of the observance

"inadequate. "In a motion filed this week, the organizations -

which include Focus on the Family Action, Liberty Counsel, and

slew of pro-family groups - said the brief filed by the Obama

administration does rely upon, or even mention, some key rulings

by the court that they say would foreclose any possibility that

plaintiffs have standing to bring Establishment Clause suits. Over

30 Pro-Family Groups Ask Court for Role in Day of Prayer Case





Atheists: Faith Not Needed to Love Country

John Kieffer's faith first wavered on a Vietnam battlefield. The

platoon leader enlisted for religious reasons - to fight faithless

communists, he said - but left battle a nonbeliever. Kieffer,

now president of the Atheists of Florida, recounted the moment

to a crowd of believers and fellow atheists Thursday night at the

Lakeland Public Library.





The Hidden Dimensions Of Science Vs. Religion Have the extremes

of the Science vs. Religion run their course?  Is it time to step

beyond the vision of Science and Spirituality as a one-dimensional

spectrum?  Is it time to say to those who fight from the poles of

that spectrum "enough!" and move on? This question drew sparks in

the science blogosphere, last month.  I was glad to see the issue

raised.  The extremes of the science and religion debate have had

their say. They offer little to us anymore but a tired standard

that fails to meet the most important challenge of our moment -

the need to create something new.





FIRST-PERSON: Atheism among scientists

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

From time to time, a column in a newspaper is more revealing than its

author probably intended it to be.  That seems to be the case with

"Myths Widen the Science-Religion Divide" by Elaine Howard Ecklund,

published in the July 19 edition of USA Today.  From time to time,

a column in a newspaper is more revealing than its author probably

intended it to be.





Santa Claus Rips Catholic Church Talk about piling on -- now even

Santa Claus is taking shots at the Catholic Church. An explanation,

of course, is in order. It's not the jolly old elf who lives at the

North Pole with toy-crafting elves and flying reindeer. No, Virginia,

this is a decidedly more politicized Claus, an ordained bishop from

Nevada with the likeness and legal name of his famous doppelganger.





The Vatican's Gay Priests For residents of Rome, the sight of

courting priests is hardly an anomaly. But a recent expose© is

rocking the Catholic Church.

 A gay priest, wearing his clerical collar, a shirt, and little else,

 was caught on video in an Italian newspaper's investigation. In the

 basement dining room of Le Mani In Pasta, a trattoria in central

 Rome, a young, glossy-eyed couple stare at each other across a

 table for two.





Christian Coed Sues to Stay in Counseling Program When officials

at Georgia's Augusta State University told counseling student

Jennifer Keeton they were concerned her outspoken Christian views

might affect her ability to work with gay, lesbian and transgender

clients, they gave her a choice: participate in a remediation plan

or leave school. Instead, she has chosen to sue.





Polygamist Warren Jeffs Can Now Marry Off Underaged Girls With

Impunity While it comes as no surprise that the Utah Supreme Court

has overturned the convictions against polygamist Warren Jeffs today,

the outrage is no less palpable for feminists watching around the

world. Jeffs, the so-called prophet of the Fundamentalist Church

of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), was convicted as an

accomplice to rape in 2007 because he forced a 14-year-old girl,

Elissa Wall, to marry her 19-year-old cousin.





Just How Far Is the "Ground Zero Mosque" From Ground Zero? The

"Ground Zero Mosque" that we have been and will be hearing so much

about is not exactly a mosque, nor is it at Ground Zero. Here's why:

you can't see Ground Zero -- the former site of the World Trade

Center -- from the future site of the Cordoba From 45 Park Place,

the former Burlington Coat Factory building that will make way for

the Cordoba House, it's two blocks, around a corner, to get to the

WTC site. Park Place doesn't lie between the construction site and

any mass transit stations, so you would need to go out of your way

to have it offend you.House.





Tim Lahaye, Evangelical Christian Minister, Warns Obama Bringing Us Closer

To 'The Apocalypse' (VIDEO) Evangelical Christian minister

Tim LaHaye says that the policy initiatives put forth by the

Obama administration are bringing the country "closer to the

apocalypse. "LaHaye issued the dire warning in an appearance this

week on Mike Huckabee's talk show on Fox News.





Sharia, Marital Abuse and Rape As I noted in a comment yesterday,

the one big example of Sharia law allegedly coming to the United

States that all the wingnuts talk about -- the case in New Jersey

where a state judge refused to grant a PPO for an abusive Muslim

husband because his religion gave him the right to beat his wife --

has been overturned by the appeals court. There are a couple of

important things to note here. First, this really had nothing to

do with Sharia law. The judge did not attempt to apply any such

law. It was a very narrow finding on the question of intent, with

the judge concluding that because the husband had the expectation

that it was okay to beat his wife and force her to have sex, he

lacked any specific criminal intent. That's a horrible, horrible

ruling -- but it isn't an application of Sharia law.





Atheists and (economic) foxholes Church attendance rises when

the economy slips: Every day, the economist Daniel Hungerman

looks at the graph that hangs above his desk at the University of

Notre Dame. One jagged line goes down and up. This is America's

gross domestic product since 1972. Another jagged line goes up and

down. This is the religiosity of Americans over the same period, as

measured by church attendance. The lines show an almost exact inverse

correlation. "You can see as clear as day a negative relationship

in this picture," says Hungerman, who threw the chart together for

fun. "When the business cycle goes up, religious attendance goes

down, and vice versa. The good mystery is why."





Updated: Obama skips, McDonnell attends historic boy scout jamboree

President Obama may not be planning to speak at the 100th anniversary

of the boy scouts' jamboree today in Virginia, but Gov. Bob McDonnell

wouldn't miss it.  McDonnell was a boy scout. His two sons were

boy scouts. And his wife, Maureen, and all three of their daughters

were girl scouts or brownies.





Iran stoning mum's legal rep missing A lawyer who defended an

Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning has gone missing,

Amnesty International said last night. Also, two of Mohammad

Mostafaei's relatives have reportedly been detained.







"The Voice of Reason" is a new Podcast service sponsored by

American Atheists featuring news and commentary of interest to the

non-believer community.  Visit to

download episodes.  You can also follow "The Voice of Reason" on

Twitter and receive updates when new broadcasts are available. Sign

up at .






It is one of the fastest growing blogs in the

Atheist/Freethought/Secular Humanist community, and you can get in

on the discussion!


Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists is in

the Blogosphere at  It's filled with insight,

wit, hot news, controversial opinion -- and polite, thoughtful

commentary.  So join the conversation!  Sign up (it's free) by

visiting and click on the blog navigation

button, or go directly to .






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                   ABOUT THIS LIST...


AANEWS is a free service from American Atheists, a nationwide

movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair that defends the civil

rights of nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church

and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.


You may forward, post or quote from this dispatch provided

that appropriate credit is given to both AANEWS and American

Atheists. Please do not post complete editions of this

newsletter indiscriminately to news groups, boards or other

outlets. Edited by Conrad F. Goeringer ([address removed]).  The

Internet Representative for American Atheists is Larry Mundinger

([address removed]). The President of American Atheists is

Ed Buckner ([address removed]).



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