29 April 2010
Anyway, here is the list of charities as posted on that site:
Three of the four greatest American philanthropists have been atheist/agnostic:
Bill Gates & Warren Buffett (also two of the world's wealthiest men)
In alphabetical order
Afghan Children's Fund National Geographic fund to educate Afghan children
Alternative Gifts International
American Civil Liberties Union
American Lung Association
American Red Cross
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Americares Delivering medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in crisis around the world.
Atheist Centre of India runs 3 charities: disaster relief, women's empowerment, criminal tribes
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation working to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. It is ironically satisfying that this goal is very close to that of "healing amputees", yet Christopher Reeve was an atheist.
Coalition to stop the use of child soldiers
Direct Relief International
Doctors Without Borders
Feeding America formerly known as America's Second Harvest
Freedom From Religion Foundation
The Halo Trust Princess Diana apparently supported this land mine charity.
Fred Hollows Foundation preventing blindness
Humane Society US
Humanist Charities same as American Humanists
International Committee of the Red Cross
Kiva person-to-person micro-lending
Lions Club International
Meals On Wheels some local affiliates may be run by churches
Orbis saving eyesight worldwide
Partners In Health
Peace Corps U.S. government org
Ryan's Well Foundation Digs wells in Africa
Secular Coalition for America
Secular Student Alliance supports freethinking kids on college campuses
The Smile Train funds surgeries to correct children's cleft palate
SOS Children's Villages
Note: Charity Navigator is a very useful resource to learn about the efficiency and overall rating of various charities.
FWIW, this site http://www.networkforgood.org/ may be useful. I typed "non-religious" into their search engine and got three pages of hits. Take the results with a grain of salt however - the American Islamic Congress calls itself "non-religious", and many other charities with obviously religious names turned up.
22 April 2010
It's not clear to what degree Yemeni officials are truly outraged over this and to what degree they are only outraged because of the international attention they are getting. Even if they were genuinely outraged, though, how easy would it be for them to change the religious culture of the people in their nation? A third of all girls in Yemen are married before they are 18 and most of them are married off to men who already have multiple wives. The parents are no help because they are happy to be rid of girls in a religious culture where females just aren't valued -- except perhaps for child-bearing and sex.
20 April 2010
I get a lot of books and such sent to me, and I rarely have time to look them over. It’s a blessing and a curse, I guess. I want to see what everyone else is doing, but I’m doing too much to look!
But I got an email from James Dunbar, asking if I’d look over his rhyming verse comic book called BANG! The Universe Verse. He made it easy, since there’s a small version online I could look through.
I like it! It describes the Big Bang model using simple terms, and goes through the timeline breezily, making it easy to read. Someone unfamiliar with the science will get a passing familiarity with it from reading this, and enough info to go online and find out more.
And if you are familiar with the science, you might get a kick out of the drawings anyway. I really liked this one:
Clever use of visual similes, with the iris resembling an explosion.
BANG! is freely available as an e-book, and you can ping him if you want a PDF. He also sells a bound copy for $10, which is pretty reasonable given he’s self-publishing it.
He’s a talented guy, and I hope he can do more stuff like this. I wonder how many kids he can inspire to get more interested in science?
18 April 2010
Grassroots Skeptic Launches Skeptical Speakers Bureau
Philadelphia, PA – 4/5/2010: Grassroots Skeptics today announced the official launch of its new Skeptical Speakers Bureau. The group's most recent project is aimed at helping skeptical organizers find speakers for their events.
“There are skeptics’ groups meeting all over the world,” said Grassroots Skeptics founder K.O. Myers, “and many of them are moving from purely social gatherings, and adding more informative and educational content to their programs. We want to make it easier for organizers looking to expand that part of their mission to find the perfect speaker for their next meeting or conference.”
At launch, the Bureau features a lineup of 35 speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. The roster includes scientists, educators, bloggers, podcasters and skeptical activists, who are ready to educate and enlighten on many different facets of science, skepticism and critical thinking.
“We’re also looking to add to our roster of speakers,” Myers said. “We want to encourage new voices to add to the chorus, and to raise the profiles of skeptical activists who want to foster reason and critical thinking by educating the public.”
At GrassrootsSkeptics.org, organizers can get more information, see the full lineup of speakers, and request an appearance for their next event. Skeptics interested in joining the Speakers Bureau can also sign up on the site.
Grassroots Skeptics is a volunteer organization that promotes critical thinking and a reason-centered worldview by helping local skeptics groups to share tools, information and strategies, and connect with skeptical individuals and activists both locally and globally.
I wish everyone one Earth– including Oprah, and Jenny McCarthy, everyone — would take 19 minutes of their lives and watch Michael Specter talk about why science is so important:
Of course, Jenny McCarthy won’t listen. But if the people who listened to her did, then they’d stop listening to her. And what a wonderful world that would be.
13 April 2010
Kewwwwl. That’s the Rosette Nebula as seen by the Herschel far infrared observatory. The Rosette is a huge star forming region, and one that’s been around a while. In optical images its name is obvious; it resembles a huge flower in space. The central region looks empty, and that’s because it mainly is: fierce winds from newborn stars have excavated a giant bubble in the center of the nebula. Acting like a snowplow, they have pushed the material from the middle of the gas cloud out to the edges, where it piles up.
That’s what you’re seeing here; the inner wall of the nebula. This image is a long walk from the optical, though. It’s false color, where blue, green, and red represent the light from the nebula at 70, 160, and 250 microns. For comparison, the reddest light your eye can see is less than one micron in wavelength, so this is way far out in the IR. The reddest light in the image is coming from dust that’s only a few degrees above absolute zero!
The bright spots you see peppering the image are cocoons of gas and dust surrounding stars in the process of birth. They’re not alone; see the finger-like tendrils all pointing off to the right? Those are regions of slightly denser dust which have resisted the winds from the central stars of the nebula (off the edge of this image to the right). Like sandbars forming behind rocks in a stream, these fingers indicate that the tips are denser, and are probably where stars are forming as well.
What I can’t get over is how three-dimensional this image looks! It’s like the mouth to Hell from Poltergeist. Well, a little bit. If the mouth were 5000 light years away, 100 light years (a quadrillion km, or 600 trillion miles!) across, and kept at a chilly -260° C.
That’s a big, cold, far away mouth.
And the analogy isn’t fair, anyway. In the movie, that mouth was where you went after you die, but in reality, this cavernous cloud is where life gets started. Maybe our own Sun was born in a nebula like this; some research indicates it may have been. So while this picture may look a little bit frightening, to me it’s comforting. Even sweet.
After all, who can resist a nursery full of babies?
Image Credit: ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortium/HOBYS Key Programme Consortia
*Some people say "pike" which is understandable (pike as in road) but I think "pipe" is funnier and apropos, so that’s what I’m sticking with.
Actually, there are weak willed, morally bankrupt individuals that will continue to stand up for these sickos and pussies. And they sure as hell have a lot to "apologize" for.
I will take exception with Paul's characterization of the pope as a Hitler Youth. I think that one is pretty much behind us. And when you compare it to his horrible handling of this scandal, that is the least of his offensive behaviour. Heck, the popedopes horribly racist and colonial actions of earlier this year pale in comparison to this...
“Please Excommunicate Me”
Paul Constant wants to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church, so he wrote his Bishop a letter. Here’s an excerpt from the full letter:Today, Bishop Malone, I am demanding that you excommunicate me. I cannot in good conscience belong to your church anymore; I do not want to be counted with the 200,000 Catholics in Maine, or the 68,115,001 Catholics in the United States of America, or the 1.1 billion Catholics in the world.
I have been watching the events of the last few weeks with horror. The pope (an ex–Hitler Youth whom your fellow bishops used to refer to, lovingly, as “God’s rottweiler”) whined during a Palm Sunday homily about what he called “petty gossip.” That “petty gossip” is a tsunami of reports of child rape perpetrated by Catholic priests across the globe and attempts by bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and the pope himself to cover up that child rape by moving ordained rapists to new parishes where they could, and did, rape again. That “petty gossip” includes one case in which the pope halted an internal investigation of a Catholic priest in Wisconsin who is alleged to have raped more than 200 deaf boys.
And then, on March 30, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights placed an ad in the New York Times dismissively accusing the Times of “looking for dirt” that “occurred a half-century ago” and saying that the church’s “pedophilia crisis” has “all along” been a “homosexual crisis.” He accused the Times of flogging this story to further a progressive agenda that includes “abortion, gay marriage, and women’s ordination.”
I demand to be excommunicated because I do not believe women are second-class citizens. I demand to be excommunicated because your missionaries are informing impoverished citizens of third-world countries that birth control is a sin when it is in fact the single most important thing they could do to gain some small amount of control over their economic situation and health. I demand to be excommunicated because your church has become a hate group as virulent as any this world has ever seen, one that is unnaturally obsessed with the sex lives of good men and women across the planet. I demand to be excommunicated because I do not condone child rape or the concealment of child rape.
12 April 2010
Now, I understand that painting with a broad brush is not fully warranted, but the incredible lack of leadershi and even acknowledgement is staggering. The popedope hasn't said anything about the expanding scandal. The incompetent mouthpieces he's allowed to speak on the subject have been insulting at best. really, is this organization that fucked up? Oh yeah, they believe in magic skyfaries... I suppose I should have answerd that for myself.
I like how PZ Myers summed it up:
The reason they oppose it isn't some conservative legal principle. They spilled the beans already — it's the cost to the church.The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.
Oh? Why are they worried? Do they have a gang of septuagenarian child
molesters tucked away somewhere in the bosom of the Connecticut church?
The poor babies... here is the CNN Story. You can't make this shit up!
Hartford, Connecticut (CNN) -- A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.
Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.
The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.
The letter is posted on the Web site of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, the public policy and advocacy office of Connecticut's Catholic bishops. It asks parishioners to contact their legislators in opposition of the bill.
The "legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools, and our Catholic Charities," the letter says.
The Catholic archdiocese of Hartford also published a pulpit announcement on its Web site, which was to be read during Mass on Sunday, urging parishioners to express opposition to the bill.
The bill has been revised to address some of the church's concerns about frivolous abuse claims against it, according to Connecticut state Rep. Beth Bye, one of the bill's sponsors.
"The church didn't recognize that this bill makes improvements," Bye said. "The victims -- their lives have been changed and some will never recover from years of sexual abuse. For me, it's about giving them access to the courts."
Under the bill's provisions, anyone older than 48 who makes a sex abuse claim against the church would need to join an existing claim filed by someone 48 or younger. Older claimants would need to show substantial proof that they were abused.
"They were worried about frivolous lawsuits and so we made the bar high," Bye said.
The bill does not target the Catholic Church, she said.
The bishops' letter raised concerns that the bill would allow claims that are 70 years or older, in which "key individuals are deceased, memories have been faded, and documents and other evidence have been lost." The letter said that the majority of cases would be driven by "trial lawyers hoping to profit from these cases."
The bill passed in Connecticut's House of Representatives, and Bye said the state Senate should vote on it in the next week or two.
10 April 2010
the NSF has decided to omit the fact.
This is very strange. It is a serious problem in our educational system that so much of the public is vocal in their opposition to a well-established set of ideas — these ought to be relevant data in a survey of national attitudes towards science. Why were they dropped? It isn't because of an overt whitewash to hide our shame away, it seems — instead, it sounds like it's an accommodationist's discomfort with highlighting a conflict between religion and science. At least, that's how I read the excuses given. John Bruer, a philosopher who led the review team on this section of the report, is open about his reasoning.
Bruer proposed the changes last summer, shortly after NSF sent a draft version of Indicators containing this text to OSTP and other government agencies. In addition to removing a section titled "Evolution and the Big Bang," Bruer recommended that the board drop a sentence noting that "the only circumstance in which the U.S. scores below other countries on science knowledge comparisons is when many Americans experience a conflict between accepted scientific knowledge and their religious beliefs (e.g., beliefs about evolution)." At a May 2009 meeting of the board's Indicators committee, Bruer said that he "hoped indicators could be developed that were not as value-charged as evolution."
Bruer, who was appointed to the 24-member NSB in 2006 and chairs the board's Education and Human Resources Committee, says he first became concerned about the two survey questions as the lead reviewer for the same chapter in the 2008 Indicators. At the time, the board settled for what Bruer calls "a halfway solution": adding a disclaimer that many Americans didn't do well on those questions because the underlying issues brought their value systems in conflict with knowledge. As evidence of that conflict, Bruer notes a 2004 study described in the 2008 Indicators that found 72% of Americans answered correctly when the statement about humans evolving from earlier species was prefaced with the phrase "according to the theory of evolution." The 2008 volume explains that the different percentages of correct answers "reflect factors beyond unfamiliarity with basic elements of science."
George Bishop, a political scientist at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio who has studied attitudes toward evolution, believes the board's argument is defensible. "Because of biblical traditions in American culture, that question is really a measure of belief, not knowledge," he says. In European and other societies, he adds, "it may be more of a measure of knowledge."
I've emphasized the key phrases in that summary, and actually, I rather agree with them. These are issues in which ignorance isn't the fundamental problem (although, of course, ignorance contributes), but in which American culture has a serious and active obstacle to advancing scientific awareness, the evangelical stupidity of religion. That is something different from what we find in Europe, and it's also something more malevolent and pernicious than an inadequate educational system.
It seems to me, though, that that isn't a reason to drop it from the survey and pretend it doesn't exist and isn't a problem. Instead, maybe they should promote it to a whole new section of the summary and emphasize it even more, since they admit that it is an unusual feature of our culture, and one that compels people to give wrong answers on a science survey.
Maybe they could title the section, "The Malign Influence of Religion on American Science Education".
I also rather like the answer given by Jon Miller, the fellow who has actually conducted the work of doing the survey in the past.
Miller believes that removing the entire section was a clumsy attempt to hide a national embarrassment. "Nobody likes our infant death rate," he says by way of comparison, "but it doesn't go away if you quit talking about it."
Exactly right. But if we do talk about it, we end up asking why it's so bad, and then we make rich people squirm as we point fingers at our deplorable health care system. And in the case of the question about evolution, we make religious people, and especially the apologists for religion, extremely uncomfortable, because they have been defending this institution of nonsense that has direct effects on measurable aspects of science literacy.
Unfortunately, Bruer has also been caught saying something very stupid.
When Science asked Bruer if individuals who did not accept evolution or the big bang to be true could be described as scientifically literate, he said: "There are many biologists and philosophers of science who are highly scientifically literate who question certain aspects of the theory of evolution," adding that such questioning has led to improved understanding of evolutionary theory. When asked if he expected those academics to answer "false" to the statement about humans having evolved from earlier species, Bruer said: "On that particular point, no."
What was he thinking? The question on the NSF survey is not asking about details of the mechanisms of evolution, so his objection is weirdly irrelevant. I don't know if he's hiding away any creationist sympathies (that phrasing is exactly what I've heard from many creationists, after all), but it does reveal that he's not thinking at all deeply about the issue. And for a philosopher, shouldn't that be a high crime?
06 April 2010
One of the views shared by many who have posted on the apposite forums over the years was formulated by the user Calilasseia thusly: ‘Bad ideas exist to be destroyed.’ Indeed, this is the central thread that links this collection of writings, disparate as they may otherwise be.
Many of the essays included in this collection also share another similarity: the use of what may be considered, by some, profanity. Also know as swearing, cursing, and foul or bad language.
The often liberal use of expletives in some of these tracts may appear gratuitous and immature, even offensive. The reader is advised to bear in mind the aforementioned notion: bad ideas exist to be destroyed, in this case formulated as what has become known as Goldenmane’s Third Rule of Public Discourse, commonly referred to as Rule #3: swear a lot.
Rule #3 was formulated initially as a joke, the point being that it serves as a way of distinguishing between those conversational opponents who were capable of addressing an argument intellectually, rationally, and logically, and those who were governed entirely by emotion. The key here is to realise that those governed by emotion would be those who would be offended (and loudly) by the use of words like fuck, cunt, shit, piss, arsehole, and sundry others. Such people would tend to leave a debate or conversation in high dudgeon, complaining loudly about the language their interlocutors were using. So much the better. There is little worth in continuing a discussion with someone who bases their entire position on emotion, and it’s all to the good if they can be induced to chuck the shits and storm out, since it starkly highlights the intellectual vacuity of their entire approach.
What started as a jest (as all good jests do) rapidly developed more profound ramifications. For example: the words used to refer to swearing (including, tellingly, “swearing”) reveal an unholy (or perhaps overly holy) reliance upon certain magical notions. ‘Cursing’, ‘swearing’, ‘using God’s name in vain’ and the like all rest upon the rather quaint and somewhat silly notion that words have magical power. Whilst words do have power (the power to communicate ideas being primary), there’s no evidence whatsofuckingever to suggest that incantations can make shit magically happen.
The idea that certain combinations of sounds (always culturally determined) can have inherent magically ‘bad’ properties is, to be blunt, bullshit. Most such words from around the world’s different cultures are related to one of two things: fucking and shitting. Why these two essential processes for a complex sexually-reliant species that needs to eat should become the ‘bad’ words I’m not going to debate here. Suffice it to say that from a rational modern perspective, it’s a little bizarre. But I’ll work with it. It’s my fucking medium, after all.
Bad ideas exist to be destroyed. The notion that words can inherently be bad is a bad idea. It springs from primitive beliefs about words being magical. Similarly, the intellectual coward’s retreat from debate under the banner of ‘my opponent swears’ is rooted in the same notion. It also provides them with an easy escape route, and in this sense it is offered up as a service: allowing them to exit with the personal sense that they have retained the moral high ground, even if they have been unable to support their own arguments.
What renders the whole notion of ‘bad language’ truly ludicrous is that words are just effectively arbitrary collections of sounds (or letters, if written down). Start with ‘c’. Add a ‘t’: ‘ct’. Add a ‘u’: ‘cut’ Wow, we now have a word that we recognise. There’s nothing bad about the word, just as there’s nothing bad about the letters it is made from. Now add an ‘n’: cnut.
That should, properly, be rendered Cnut, it being a proper noun. Chap is famous for arguing with the sea, or something. The sea, of course, ignored him, because words aren’t actually magical. Changing Cnut around a little makes him a cunt. Where’s the fucking magic?
In writing this, I have been reminded to add a little explanation of Rules 1 and 2. An explanation was posted some time ago. Here it is, and I hope the reader gains some understanding:
Sweet juicy Mohammed on Satan's glistening prong, you want comedy and explanations on demand?
I can give you the explanation, but I can't guarantee the comedy. I've got stage fright, and as everyone knows stage fright causes the balls to shrink and try to hide in the body, and as everyone also knows the balls are where the comedy glands reside, which is why (as Hitchens so rightly pointed out) women aren't funny. Unless they have balls. Evidence of this, in case anyone was wondering, is there to be seen. Just look at the scrotum. Take a long, hard (or flaccid, depending on your proclivities) look, and tell me that the scrotum isn't fucking funny. You'll be lying if you say it isn't. The scrotum is like the world's most honest packaging. It says, "Here be comedy. There is literally and categorically nothing as funny as this.
It's an evolutionary thing. Dick Dawkins even touched on it (well, there's really no other way to put it, is there? No quote mines, please, I won't have it said that Dick touches his, or any other, scrotum any more than strictly necessary) in The Greatest Show on Earth, where he points to the completely ridiculous path the vas deferens takes. It's fucking bizarre and surreal. Any designer who came up with that and was still responsible for the entirety of everything is a joker on a colossal scale. It's the only possible answer that isn't pants-shittingly terrifying. And as it is, it's minor-incident-of-bowel-incontinence scary. You wonder why God is referred to as He? It can only be because the fucker's a sadistic practical joker, with testicles the size of... well, how do you measure such balls?
The other option is that He doesn't exist, of course, but some well-known people have, historically, bet against that.
Anyway, enough (as the sage said) of that guff: Rule #3. The strict name of said rule is Goldenmane's 3rd Rule of Public Discourse, and stackhishash has quoted the short form verbatim: Swear a lot. The reasons are, I hope, obvious, and need no further explanation. Rules #1 and #2 are both the same as, and yet separate from, Rule #3. Simply put, Rule #1 dictates the rules (whilst being identical to Rule #3) and Rule #2 fucks about in the background somehow making globules of retarded effluent seem to mean something that gives Rule #3 its efficacy.
To put it another way, Rules 1,2 and 3 are the same goddamn rule, but invoking Rule #3 is all that is needed to have a cock-suckingly good life, and if you fucking well understand Rule #3, you'll stop asking for explanations. Fuck.
04 April 2010
Xtiantity: The belief that a cosmic jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree... yeah, that makes perfect sense...
Speaking of that verse... Both xtians and skeptics focus on the resurrection of jesus as the “extraordinary” event. But the tombs opening and dead people walking around are just as incredible (literally), if not more so. If all these dead people were walking around, why is it only mentioned once in ancient history — and that one time is in a biased, anonymous story about the life of jesus written generations after it happened?
Dead people rising and walking around would have had people talking. And yet no one seems to have thought to mention it except the gospel of matthew.
What’s odd is that many of the people who believe this story refuse to believe in evolution, claiming it has no evidence. What hypocrisy and inconsistency!
02 April 2010
I suggest you read matthew 5:22. Oops! I guess you're fucked. Sucks being the follower of that sadistic bastard of a fictional character. Don't worry though, it's all a giant con, there's no such place, and you'll be exactly like you were prior to your birth. Nothing to fear. Now please just leave me the fuck alone?
Dear "Persecuted" American Christian:
Last week while doing some research for future blog posts, I noticed that many of you feel that you are persecuted for your faith. In this letter I thought I'd explore that belief, and write an open response to your perceived victimization at the hands of your alleged oppressors.
Image by loswl via FlickrIt's very true that your brothers and sisters in Christ who live and work overseas are often subject to real hardships for practicing their faith. Missionaries in North Korea and China face censure and death, Coptic Christians in Egypt are isolated and marginalized, Laotian church workers are regularly arrested, and so on. It should not be denied that religious persecution takes place, that it is devastating to the cause of international civil rights, and that it needs to be curtailed wherever possible. It should not be denied that Christians the world over have been the targets of violence, abuse, oppression, and discrimination. As a firm believer in human liberty and free religious expression, I stand with you in seeing such persecutions as the abhorrent practices they are, and in believing that they need to be halted and redressed.
I understand that many of you also believe that here in America, Christians face dire oppression as well. I can certainly recall my own days as a Christian, when I was taught that believers are beset on all sides by agents of Satan, who seeks to destroy our relationship with Christ wherever he can, using whatever agency he can. Like many of you, I believed that my right to worship was being restricted more and more, and that Christianity was under attack from a sexualized media, increasingly secular education, and a hostile political environment. The Bible told me that I would be persecuted and insulted for my faith, and like many of you, I saw such persecution quite easily.
But was I really being persecuted? Are you? Is there really a systematic, widespread oppression of Christianity permeating American society?
No. There isn't.
Christianity is the dominant religion in America. Most Americans are Christians of one stripe or another. Oh, plenty of you complain about atheists picking on you with our books and our blogs and our criticisms of your belief. Plenty of you cry foul when atheists make our presence known in some way or another, as if our mere existence is a threat to your religious freedom. Plenty of you whine that our assertion of our rights entails a violation of your own. Plenty of you believe that there's a widespread War on Christianity, that enemies such as the "liberal media" or secularization of public schools or the division of church and state are destroying your perceived right to impose your religious morality on the rest of us.
But the real truth is: when you claim that America is a Christian nation, you're right.
I don't mean to say that America is a Christian theocracy, though some of you would like it to become one. What I mean is: Christianity is the dominant religion in America. Most Americans are Christians of one stripe or another. The Founding Fathers were affiliated with Christian congregations, and sought to create a secular government that nonetheless accommodates religious freedom. You're everywhere. Your churches count as non-profit organizations and are exempt from paying income taxes, and you are allowed to educate your children at home or send them to a private Christian school if you wish.
You are not arrested simply for being Christian. You are not fined for it. You are not put to death for it. Your houses are not raided in search of Bibles or Christian propaganda. You are not barred from marrying, owning property, or running for public office because you're Christian. You are not detained and beaten by police because you're Christian. Your women are not systematically raped for being Christian. You are not barred from receiving an education because you are Christian.
You can broadcast your beliefs via any media you like: radio, television, internet, or satellite. You can publish religious books, blogs, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, broadsheets, or posters. You can release Christian albums and play Christian music on the airwaves, on your very own channel if you like. You can take out ads or purchase billboard space in any major city to advertise whatever religious message you like. You can show up at women's health clinics with graphic images of bloodied fetuses smeared across sandwich boards and protest signs and scream whatever insults you like at the women seeking treatment there.
There are churches on every corner. There are Christian businesses listed openly in the Yellow Pages. You are allowed to pray, preach, or proselytize on any street corner you like. You can read your Bible openly, in public, at school, and sometimes at work. You are allowed to form private Christian clubs which exclude anyone you wish. You've managed to influence science education, sex ed, and medical research by electing officials that will use federal dollars and government oversight to shape public policy as you see fit. You've hijacked an entire major political party, turning its agenda to your own ends.
Under certain circumstances, you are even allowed to use your right to free religious expression as an excuse to discriminate against groups you don't like. You can bar women from serving in positions of authority in your churches if you want to, something that would never fly in either the corporate or government world. You can deny same-sex couples the right to marry, not only by citing your right to be selective about who your church will or won't marry, but also by banding together and contributing millions of dollars to political campaigns to make same-sex marriage illegal. You can deny someone a job in your church or religious organization because they're the wrong religion.
You put god on American money and into the Pledge of Allegiance. You can open sessions of public legislative bodies from Congress to town council meetings with a prayer, and if anyone other than a Christian says the prayer, some of you are rude enough to walk out or boo in protest - and it won't get you impeached. (In some localities, it'd even get you re-elected.) Every President has been a Christian of some sort. Christian displays are allowed in and on government property in many places, despite your belief to the contrary.
Moreover, you can freely insult and abuse atheists for our lack of belief without anybody batting an eye about it. You can convince the courts to deny us custody of our children just because we're atheists. You can force atheists in the military to attend religious services whether we want to or not. You can spread lies about who we are and what we believe, calling us immoral or un-American or questioning whether we're fit to hold public office.
If there's any widespread religious persecution going on in America, then Christians, you aren't the target of it. You are pampered, protected and supported by a nation that considers you the religious standard to which the rest of us must conform. You hold a position of power and privilege, not one of downtrodden disadvantage. Your noise is not the justly outraged cry of an oppressed minority, but the petulant whine of a spoiled child who suddenly finds that he has to share the playground with other kids too.
No no, dear American Christians, on this soil, in this land, you are not victims of persecution. The presence of atheists might make you uncomfortable, you might not like some of the more sordid parts of American morality, or you might not get to legislate that everyone else should live according to your beliefs, but such things do not constitute persecution. You inflict all sorts of indignities on nonbelievers, but you yourselves are only victims of your own persecution complex.
So I have just one question for you: what the fuck are you whining about?