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OPINION
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.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
April 22, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
An anonymous family of New Jersey atheists is asking a state judge to find that the words “under God” should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance. The lawsuit , filed Monday, is nearly identical to one brought in Massachusetts by an unidentified family there. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court could rule in that case any day. “Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God,” said David Niose, an attorney for the American Humanist Assn.
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OPINION
December 16, 2012
Re "Threatened by faith," Opinion, Dec. 11 It was a good angle to have a rabbi argue in favor of a Christian display, but the problem is that he, like many believers, greatly distorts the atheist point of view. We're no angrier than the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Gertrude Stein or Simon Wiesenthal in the face of injustice. But we are resolute about enforcing the 1st Amendment. I think city-endorsed religious displays are threatening and divisive in a pluralistic society such as ours.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By David. L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Barbara Ehrenreich never meant to write a memoir. "It seems very self-involved," she says by phone from her home in Arlington, Va. "I have anxiety about it. " That anxiety is heightened at the moment because her new book, "Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything" (Twelve: 240 pp., $26), is as personal a piece of writing as she has ever done, built around a journal from her teenage years that traces both a spiritual quest and a youthful mystical experience, each having to do with "an impression of intention" - the sense that there is some underlying shape or meaning to the universe.
OPINION
December 14, 2012
Re "Threatened by faith," Opinion, Dec. 11 Although I am an atheist, I am not an angry one. Like Rabbi Michael Gotlieb, I do not feel threatened by the Nativity scenes that for nearly 60 years were put up in Santa Monica's Palisades Park. But if Gotlieb really thinks there should be Nativity scenes during the holiday season, why not erect some around his own Westside Congregation? If Gotlieb thinks this might be offensive to his congregation or regarded as an inappropriate expenditure of contributions, perhaps he can understand the reaction of residents who are atheists, Muslims, Hindus or others to Christian displays on public property.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 4, 1988
I was appalled to read that state Sen. Jim Ellis would like to throw all atheists into jail ("Coalition Formed to Keep Hilltop Crosses," Nov. 19). Is this his "final solution" to dealing with the ever-increasing numbers of non-Christians in our proud land? Coming on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of another "final solution" to eliminate non-Christians, Sen. Ellis owes both the atheists and the American public an apology. KATHLEEN REINERT Oceanside
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 21, 1989
I find it no coincidence that whenever an objection is raised about the city-sponsored Christian crosses on Mt. Soledad and Presidio Park, they are conveniently relabled "secular" symbols and veterans' memorials. And City Atty. John Witt bends over backward in trying to find legal loopholes to permit these public crosses. Certainly he would not do the same for a Star of David. Wouldn't it be nice if the city put a fraction of that effort into erecting "real" secular symbols and veterans' memorials?
NATIONAL
September 28, 2010 | By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times
If you want to know about God, you might want to talk to an atheist. Heresy? Perhaps. But a survey that measured Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term "blind faith. " A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
NEWS
December 12, 2012 | By Stuart Bechman
Rabbi Michael Gotlieb, in his Dec. 11 Times Op-Ed article, " Threatened by faith in Santa Monica ," decries efforts to remove Christian Nativity displays from a publicly owned oceanfront park in Santa Monica as being driven by an “unprecedented, angry form of atheism.” Gotlieb's anger is misplaced and says more about the his religious prejudices than of the situation. Santa Monica, a city of only 8.4 square miles, is home to scores of Christian churches with their own land and buildings.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 20, 1991
I applaud Renee Kogel! I applaud the Randall family! Morality and ethics are not dependent upon belief in a god or membership in a church. CAROL HEITZ Rolling Hills Estates
SCIENCE
November 30, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
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 | By Frederick N. Rasmussen
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.
NEWS
August 27, 2013 | By Michael McGough
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 | By Maura Dolan
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.
NATIONAL
August 17, 2013 | By David Zucchino
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.
OPINION
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.
OPINION
July 19, 2005
Re "A Time of Doubt for Atheists," Column One, July 18 In the name of Allah, suicide bombers have killed thousands; in the name of Jesus Christ, the Bush administration invaded two nations and killed tens of thousands more. Followers of Christ in this country routinely preach one thing and do the opposite, whether it be prohibiting civil rights for gays and lesbians or sending hate mail to atheists. I don't need to believe in a deity to see the wisdom and beauty of actually treating others as you would be treated.
OPINION
May 28, 2013
Re "Bigger education, better outcomes," Opinion, May 24 Ronald Brownstein well documents this country's worsening crisis in higher education and how it bodes ill for our future. He presents compelling statistics, to be sure. But Jane Close Conoley, UC Riverside's interim chancellor, sums up the root problem in a disquieting nutshell: the public is "pulling back from a notion that they should be … supporting the education of the next generation. " Those loath to support higher education probably are too shortsighted and self-absorbed to appreciate Nelson Henderson's timeless aphorism: "The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit. " Edward Alston Santa Maria ALSO: Letters: Scouting's new path Letters: Easily offended atheists Letters: Taxing life-saving devices
ENTERTAINMENT
May 22, 2013 | By Patrick Kevin Day
They say there are no atheists in foxholes. But apparently, they do exist in the middle of category EF-5 tornadoes. That's what CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer learned during a recent interview with survivors of the destructive Oklahoma tornado on Tuesday. In a clip making the rounds online, Blitzer stands in front of tornado wreckage in Moore, Okla., and asks survivor Rebecca Vitsmun, holding her 19-month-old son, "Do you thank the Lord?" for her survival from the storm. After an awkward pause, Vitsmun replies, "I'm actually an atheist.
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