Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Overheard (Jan/Feb 2019)

Vol. 36 No. 01 Jan/Feb 2019

If you’ve used your religious beliefs to justify the condemnation of an entire group of people based on who they love, then your religion is unjustifiable. Homophobia is a willful act of hate.

Cheryl Strayed, in her advice column “Sweet Spot,” regarding a closeted teenager stuck in a conservative town.

The New York Times, 10-23-18


This isn’t the Religious Right we thought we knew. The Christian nationalist movement today is authoritarian, paranoid and patriarchal at its core. They aren’t fighting a culture war. They’re making a direct attack on democracy itself.

Katherine Stewart, in the op-ed, “Why Trump reigns as King Cyrus.”

The New York Times, 12-31-18


Not a lot. I mean, um, no. No. I went to Catholic school and grew up Catholic, but I am not Catholic. I am of no religion. I’m a humanist. 

Actress Kristen Bell, after podcast host Conan O’Brien asked: “You have a great moral compass. How much of that do you credit to Catholicism growing up?”

“Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” podcast, 11-25-18


I do not see how placing the motto ‘In God We Trust’ is going to protect us from someone coming down the hallway and shooting students and teachers.

Greg Pittman, teacher of honors U.S. history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the Florida school where 17 people died in the February shooting, in response to an “In God We Trust” law passed in the state.

The Washington Post, 12-1-18


Our assimilationist answer to Christmas [Hanukkah] is really a holiday about subjugating assimilated Jews.

Michael David Lukas, in the column “The Hypocrisy of Hanukkah.”

The New York Times, 12-2-18


Black churches are often oppressive spaces for black women. . . The black church would not exist without black women. However, for far too long, black men have forced them to be second-class citizens. It’s time for black churches to do better.

Lawrence Ware, minister and co-director of the Center for Africana Studies at Oklahoma State University

The New York Times, 12-2-18


Some people think the enemy is death, and some people think the enemy is suffering. That’s a very personal decision. People are in charge of their own lives and that means being in charge of their own death. If that means continuing to fight to live, fantastic. If you want hospice and palliative care, that’s your decision. But many people reach a time when the suffering is so severe, suffering is the enemy and death is comfort.

Maine state Rep. Patricia Hymanson, speaking about the state’s “death with dignity” legislation, modeled after Oregon’s landmark 1997 law.

Fosters.com, 12-2-18


It is my opinion that we as an all-inclusive board do not need an invocation prayer each meeting.  . . . This is the right thing to do on behalf of our Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, agnostic, et cetera, constituents.

DuPage County (Ill.) Board member Dawn DeSart, on the board’s plan to evaluate its tradition of beginning meetings with a prayer. 

Chicago Tribune, 12-15-18


The scale of the [Catholic] Church’s complicity was clear previously, from revelations heaped upon revelations. The conviction of [Cardinal] Pell, though he is the highest-ranking Church official so implicated, is simply the latest, among countless pieces of evidence, that argue for broad, deep and painful reforms — precisely the sort of overhaul that the pope has so far resisted.

Newspaper editorial titled, “The No. 3 ranking official in the Catholic Church has been convicted of sex abuse. Where is the reckoning?”

Washington Post, 12-17-18


In order to be constitutional policy, it cannot be promoting or favoring a religious set of beliefs. And it cannot overly involve the government with religion. 

Gig Harbor, Wash., Council Member Jeni Woock, who was the only one to vote against reversing a decision from 2016 that prevented a resident from putting up a nativity scene on public property (after FFRF threatened to sue).

The Peninsula Gateway, 12-20-18


When officials make statements like this, it poses a threat to the fundamental American values of freedom, democracy and security. Our nation’s diversity is to be celebrated — not feared.

Clarke Tucker, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District, after state Sen. Jason Rapert posted on Twitter a quote from another article, which stated, “95% of Muslim voters participated in this year’s midterm election. Do you want them ruling everything in America?”

THV11.com, 12-5-18


I think it’s a shame that “Nones” mostly shrug while white evangelicals throw themselves into elections. . . . I wish that the booming secular movement could find ways to motivate nonreligious voters. Until that happens, I simply hope that the steady retreat of  religion in America will reduce white evangelicals to an ever-smaller fringe, a petty clique unable to sway elections.

James Haught, in the column “Evangelicals vote, Nones falter.”

Patheos.com, 11-28-18