November 30, 2013 |
Richard Dawkins was enjoying a coffee at the Mondrian Hotel when a star-struck waiter interrupted him to thank him for his work. It was the kind of thing that happens a lot at the swanky West Hollywood hot spot - but usually to showbiz celebrities, not biologists. Dawkins is used to the adulation. The British intellectual has become a celebrity thanks to his books on evolution - including "The Selfish Gene," written in 1976 - and his vocal atheism, expressed in works like "The God Delusion," published in 2006.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2013 |
Activist attorney Leonard J. Kerpelman, best known for representing atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair in the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case that outlawed prayer in public schools, died Thursday at a Baltimore hospital of complications from a tumor. He was 88. He took on numerous often unpopular causes during his long career that ended in disbarment in 1989, in part for disrupting a judicial hearing. And he was known as a colorful figure in Baltimore, driving a 1948 Cadillac and at times jumping into public fountains.
August 27, 2013 |
Years ago, desperate for a subject for a short “light and bright” editorial, I came across a news story about a telephone company that offered a “Dial-an-Atheist” service. The seeming absurdity of the idea appealed to me, and a punch line formed in my mind. I wrote: “ 'Dial-a-Prayer' has met its match and Lloyd Thoren has met his reward. His reward is the title of 'Atheist of the Year,' bestowed upon him in honor of his answer to 'Dial-a-Prayer.' Mr. Thoren's rural telephone company is the only one in America to offer a 'Dial-an-Atheist' line.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 23, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO -- California should compensate an atheist parolee for returning him to prison after he resisted participating in a religious-based drug treatment program, a federal appeals court decided unanimously Friday. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said a jury should award Barry A. Hazle Jr., a drug offender, compensatory damages for his loss of freedom and could consider possible punitive and emotional distress damages as well. The appeals court also ordered a district judge in Sacramento to reconsider whether to issue an injunction to prevent California officials from requiring parolees to attend treatment programs that emphasize God or a “higher power.” After Hazle served a prison term, California ordered him to spend 90 days in a residential 12-step program.
August 17, 2013 |
Jason Heap grew up in Texas among Baptists and Lutherans. He earned a master's from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. Now, at age 38, Heap wants to be a U.S. Navy chaplain. But Heap is a humanist who doesn't believe in God, and the U.S. military has never sanctioned a humanist chaplain. Nor has the Navy acted on Heap's application, filed last month, to become its first approved humanist chaplain. Heap says he's not trying to make a point or bring attention to himself.
May 28, 2013
Re "Prayers in public offices," Editorial, May 21 Here we go again: A few people are offended by official meetings in Greece, N.Y., beginning with a prayer. Just how do such occurrences actually constitute a "law respecting an establishment of religion"? I have never heard a good explanation of how the few activists who take offense to these things have actually had any rights infringed upon. In this case, there is no official religion and no way to enforce one. To the best of my knowledge there is no constitutional right not to be offended.