One of the largest secular lobbying groups in the U.S. recently fired its executive director, who says she was let go from the coalition due to a recent embezzlement scandal involving two of her subordinates.
It was reported last week that Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America since May 2012, had been fired from her position at the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group comprised of a network of nonreligious organizations.
Rogers, who previously served as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration, told The New York Times late last week that she had been given no reason for her firing, but believes the termination is related to the recent revelation that two of her subordinates had embezzled $78,805, using the organization's credit cards on personal expenses, such as plastic surgery. more >>
Author Sam Harris, credited with launching the new atheist movement with his provocative book The End of Faith, is now striving to fill the immeasurable spiritual void left from abandoning religion with a new "Spiritual" book.
When the working title was announced last year, Waking Up: Science, Skepticism, and Spirituality, I knew it may mislead potential readers. Little did I know the extent to which the marketing would conceal and deceive spiritual seekers. To understand how such a simple title could be so transparently deceptive, one must first know what Sam Harris means when he uses the word "Spirituality."
In a blog post defending why he uses the word spirituality instead of another word Harris wrote, "The word 'spirit' comes from the Latin spiritus, which in turn is a translation of the Greek pneuma, meaning 'breath.' Around the 13th century, the term (Spirit) became bound up with notions of immaterial souls, supernatural beings, ghosts, etc." He continues, "We must reclaim good words and put them to good use-and this is what I intend to do with 'spiritual'.....Of course, 'spiritual' and its cognates have some unfortunate associations unrelated to their etymology-and I will do my best to cut those ties as well." more >>
Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie responded to British atheist professor Richard Dawkins' comments that fairy tales and belief in Father Christmas may harm a child's development, saying "a little magic" helps impart important moral lessons.
"There are morals in these stories and you want a little magic – it's important to have something that we're a little bit in awe of," Jolie, 39, told the Psychologies magazine. "Kids grow up fast enough these days, so let's allow them to have a little bit of childhood for as long as they can."
Jolie, who is raising her six children, was responding to the 73-year-old evolutionary biologist's talk at the Cheltenham Science Festival earlier this week where he said it is "rather pernicious to instill in a child the view that the world is shaped by supernaturalism." more >>
As students prepared for their summer vacation in Boone County, Kentucky this week, they found two books waiting for them as they exited their school campuses: the Bible and The Young Atheist's Survival Guide, written by blogger Hemant Mehta.
The Boone County School System agreed to allow the Gideons International evangelical group and the Tri-State Freethinkers to distribute their books near the district's high school campuses, including Boone, Conner, Cooper, and Ryle schools this week. The religious and nonreligious materials could not be present on the campuses, so volunteers from both groups stationed themselves at the public area outside of the schools to pass out the literature, given explicit directions to only provide the literature to those who were interested.
"We cannot allow any groups like this within the schools because the federal court has ruled that unconstitutional," Barbara Brady, community relations coordinator for the school district, told Cincinnati.com. more >>
Boone County Schools students in Kentucky will see the distribution of both Gideon International Bibles and The Young Atheists Survival Guide book, after the Christian organization and a local atheist group were given permission to hand out literature.
Gideons International and the Tri-State Freethinkers group will reportedly offer Bibles and by Hemant Mehta's book on Tuesday, Fox 19 reported.
In a short email message to The Christian Post on Tuesday, Gideons Director of Communications Jeff Pack said: "From our standpoint, what work we do is through the school board and we follow whatever direction they give us. That¹s our standard practice." more >>
An atheist couple from Virginia is accusing a local court-appointed officiant of refusing to perform their wedding ceremony because of their lack of faith in God.
Tamar Courtney and Morgan Strong of Roanoke County recently contacted the nearby Franklin County courthouse for information on finding an officiant to oversee their wedding ceremony. Franklin County Judge William N. Alexander reportedly pointed the couple in the direction of two officiants, the first one being Bud Roth.
Courtney and Strong reportedly began the process of planning their wedding ceremony with Roth, until the officiant reportedly asked the couple about their religious denomination. When the couple responded that they were atheist, Roth reportedly opted out of performing the ceremony, saying that he could not marry them because they did not believe in God. more >>