Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Fellow Secular Humanists of Santa Cruz County,

Please join me, the Santa Cruz and Monterey County Atheists, the Santa Cruz Brights, and the UC-Santa Cruz Secular Student Alliance in marching in the annual Santa Cruz Holiday Parade, Saturday, December 4, 2010, behind our Reason's Greetings banner. Assemble in the parking lot for the Saturn Cafe, which is at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Laurel Street in downtown Santa Cruz, by 8:30 AM. Please wear festive attire, such as Santa hats, and any T-shirt or sweatshirt that identifies you as a member of SHSCC, the American Humanist Association, or as a humanist in general. Feel free to bring jingle bells to ring as accompaniment to us singing secular carols, such as Deck the Halls, and so on.

Sonya Newlyn

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama's Loyalty Oath

Before this country’s next President settles in to the Oval Office and gets down to business, he’s required to jump through a few hoops — walk in processions, attend a long parade and numerous balls, shake 1,428 hands and kiss 98 babies. Obama will perform some of these to meet the people’s supposed demand for pageantry, others to affirm his loyalty to the Constitution, and others to pretend his true loyalty is to a Christian nation.

Read the rest of this entry...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Abolish State Sanctioned Marriage

With the nomination of Sarah Palin as VP by the Republican Party, and the upcoming vote on an anti-gay marriage proposition in California the question of gay marriage has once again come to the fore. Everyone from Obama to McCain seems to have a problem with gay marriage except for the people most directly involved who, of course, are firm advocates thereof.

There is a way, however, to resolve the issue once and for all, abolish marriage as a state sanctioned institution. Marriage as presently constituted is a contractual agreement between two parties. Until recently these parties have been restricted to one male and one female. But why should this be the case? Under most circumstances a contract, whereby the rights and obligations of the signatories are delineated, should be universally applicable. Why not then establish civil unions as the contractual agreement by which the rights and obligations of two parties who enter into a relationship of cohabitation are codified? In this fashion everyone is treated equally. Once a couple enters into a civil union, which would convey the rights and obligations presently given to married people, they could then have that union sanctified by whatever religious or secular ceremony they wish. The status of marriage would thus no longer to certified by the state but would be something that would be bestowed upon the couple by whatever institution is willing to sanctify it. Thus the Catholic Church could grant or deny a certificate of marriage to whomever they want. The couple nevertheless would have a legally constituted civil union with the same rights and privileges as any other. To be married by the church or any other institution would require the legal standing of having entered into a civil union but having done so would not obligate the body that sanctifies the relationship to concur. Marriage would henceforth not be a legally recognized institution and the controversy would cease to exist, other than within the ranks of whatever group by which the couple wishes to be sanctified.

PS: I'm apparently not the only one to put forth this argument. For instance, see Michael Kinsley at Slate.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sarah Palin's Family Values

Our potential VP, Sarah Palin, has a set of well-articulated first principles regarding childbirth and raising families. She has put forth these believes without hesitation and they provide her ideological appeal to the right wing Evangelical base of the Republican Party. These first principles are 1) abstinence only education, 2) a ban on secular sex-education in the public schools, 3) prohibition of abortion except in the case of an imminent threat to the life of the mother (and this seems to be only grudgingly accepted), and 4) disapproval of any means of contraception.

These positions basically entail the following – if an underage child becomes pregnant she should carry the fetus to term. A further corollary of this way of thinking is that the father of the child should take responsibility for his behavior, marry the mother and support the family. Without passing judgment on the appropriateness of any one of these believes lets look at the consequence of their articulated acceptance. Given the biological realities of adolescence, promotion of abstinence only sexual behavior, without recourse to any other form of sex education and with an aversion to the use of condoms or other birth control devices will willy-nilly produce a significant number of teen pregnancies.

Under Palin’s ideology the prohibition of abortion precludes the teenage mother from any real choice as to whether or not to proceed with the pregnancy. The infant hence will be brought to term. After birth the pressure will be for the family to rally around the mother and child and force the young father to marry the mother, promoting the notion that the mother should for-go her education and rear the child at home. The only alternative would be to give the child up for adoption, in which case the teen mother has basically served as a baby factory, enslaved to produce the infant as a commodity to be dispensed with after birth.

For Palin and her ilk this would seem to be an unlikely outcome. The young family will then have to either rely on the resources of the adults to survive or the father will have to seek employment in a low paying job. In order to make ends meet there would be a great incentive for the young husband and father to enlist in the armed forces for the benefits that would accrue to the young couple.

When you combine Palin’s evangelical belief’s regarding abortion, contraception, and family values with her staunch support of the NRA and other similar stands, the picture that emerges is a tacit endorsement of teenage pregnancies and teenage marriages, with stay at home mom’s home schooling their children in creationism and other biblical fantasies while the fathers go off to wage war in the Middle East against the diabolical heathens, in preparation for the end days. These are the type of family values implicit in Palin’s ideology, which might find residence in the White House if worse comes to worse.

More on this topic can be found at Slate.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

That "God Forum"

I felt like writing volumes on this non-debate debate, but managed to keep it pithy. "'God Forum' Pits Candidates Against Truth - McCain Wins."

An Athiest In 10 Downing Street?

Our brethren in the UK are leagues ahead of US in the promotion of rational thought. While they still have hidebound proponents of religiosity stalking the corridors of power such as the discredited Tony 'God and Country' Blair, when surveyed more than half of the current Labour government cabinet members expressed their non-belief. Read AC Grayling's take on the issue which recently appeared in the Guardian.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All Hail Our Righteous Leaders!

Well, as we all know Rev. Rick, that is Rick Warren, the mega-church huckster, conducted a bogus sit-down with Barack Obama and John McCain. This was one of the most absurd two-hours that I’ve ever witnessed especially when the topic came around to exchanges about "evil".

As Marwan Bishara notes:

When asked how they would deal with evil if they were elected president - would they ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it, or defeat it - Obama said he would "confront it" while McCain said unflinchingly that he would "defeat it".

After this "civil forum" was broadcast on CNN, the network's so-called "best team on television" commented on the candidates' performance.

This only managed to add insult to injury.

One pundit commended McCain's steadfastness and courage in wanting to defeat, not merely confront, evil if elected president.

For the Republican contender evil is embodied in communism, Islamic fundamentalism and notably Osama Bin Laden, who he promised to hunt down.

Obama was also praised for acknowledging the existence of evil. He thought it present in Darfur but also on the streets of the US as well as in homes where parents abuse their children, and so on.
Well, well, well, once elected our dauntless crusaders will be tilting against the windmills of evil! I certainly hope they will be victorious! Imagine our chivalrous Lancelots clad in impenetrable armor (made in China?) confronting the devil incarnate in the guise of evil. Evil lurks everywhere in the hearts of man (and woman I can assure you). Smite that bastard evil oh you righteous McCain! Stare down that intractable evil oh Saint Barack. How lucky we are to have two such heroic figures leading us to a bright and gracious future!