Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Reason Review 1-5

The Reason Review - Volume 1 Issue 5


Editorial Message

Dear Readers,

Welcome to The Reason Review 1-5.

I hope everyone is coping well with the aftermath after one of the most contentious American presidential elections in living memory. The stakes being as high as they were, we will need to find a way forward from this great setback, to protect the civil rights of both disbelievers and people of all beliefs, and to buttress the wall of separation between religion and state. Our first post-election secular forum focused on this issue, and it will surely appear on the agenda again, as the challenges will.

Consequently, a great majority of our content this cycle has to do with the implications of the elections on secularism and science in America. The Media section, in particular, includes a number of great podcasts by atheists discussing precisely this.

A silver lining is the success of a growing number of liberal disbelievers in local elections, including many from gender and/or ethnic political minorities. We have mentioned a couple of the latter, and for those interested in learning about more, The Friendly Atheist has covered them extensively. Hopefully, this will put a little wind in our sagging sails, and encourage more of the activism that can still make a difference.
Hope you enjoy the issue.


Sohan Dsouza
Editor of The Reason Review

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Openly Atheist Politician Juan Mendez Has Won His Race for Arizona State Senate

Secular politicians Salman and Mendez
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Mendez has long been on our radar, having served as a legislator in the Arizona State House since getting elected in 2012. He memorably delivered a godless invocation on the House floor and gave up his seat for this chance to run for the State Senate.

Ben Carson will not take position in Trump administration

Carson business manager Armstrong Williams tells The Associated Press that Carson has opted out of being considered for any cabinet or other administration positions, including leading the Department of Health & Human Services and the Department of education.

County officials again deny ‘Freedom from Religion’ banner 

Whitsett asked for equal access to courthouse display, placement where the banner would be easily visible; equal time with the traditional Nativity scene; and the banner being set up and taken down by county employees as the Nativity scene is. He claimed equal protection by the Constitution; and noted many dissenters, saying that requires more freedom of speech, not less. “Freedom of speech means nothing if it’s not applied to everyone,” Whitsett said.

Ten Commandments monument restored

The 3,000-pound monument was knocked down in August, setting off a new round of discussions as to whether or not the religious symbol violates the constitutional provision of separation of church and state.

Pasco considers religious freedom resolution for Arlene's Flowers case

The resolution notes that religious rights may come into conflict with other asserted rights at times and need to be balanced, and that "such conflict exists in the case of the state of Washington vs. Arlene's Flowers.

Germany Bans ‘True Religion’ Muslim Group and Raids Mosques

The True Religion is the sixth Islamist organization to be banned in Germany since 2012, under an effort to ensure domestic security and to prevent radicalized young people from leaving the country to fight for extremists abroad.

Jerusalem chief rabbi calls homosexuality an ‘abomination’

He also came out against rabbis trying to build bridges with the LGBTQ community: “There is no such thing, to show understanding or tolerance for this. A simple truth needs to be stated – there is a severe prohibition, and there is no allowance for it.” The rabbi emphasized he would not budge on his position, even at the price of estranging secular Jews from religious life.

Bangladesh considering dropping Islam as state religion, according to senior minister

“I have said it abroad and now I am saying it again that Islam will be dropped from Bangladesh’s constitution when the time comes. The force of secularism is within the people of Bangladesh. There is no such thing as a ‘minority’ in our country.”


Attorney Mark Naugle Has Helped 2,500 Mormons Leave the LDS Church, All Free of Charge

Two weeks ago, the LDS church introduced new policies that label same-sex couples as apostates and prohibit their children from being baptized into the faith until they are 18. Since the changes were announced, Naugle has flooded with requests.

How Evangelicals Helped Donald Trump Win

These advisors say that Trump’s commitment to evangelicals—and divine providence—put Trump across the finish line Tuesday night. It was a strategy Trump chose early.

Religious Right Believes Donald Trump Will Deliver on His Promises

There were prominent evangelicals publicly opposed to Mr. Trump — a phenomenon that Mr. Reed argued only brought more attention to those who supported him. But now that Mr. Trump is headed for the White House, some of those “Never Trump” evangelicals are coming around.

Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup

“Our eyes are now on the midterm elections,” said Sarah Levin, senior legislative representative for the Secular Coalition for America, a lobby that represents 19 atheist, humanist and freethought groups in Washington, D.C. “We are going to double-down. We really have to.”

Mike Pence Will Be The Most Powerful Christian Supremacist In U.S. History

Pence has been a reliable stalwart throughout his public life in the cause of Christian jihad — never wavering in his commitment to America-First militarism, the criminalizing of abortion, and utter hatred for gay people (unless they go into conversion therapy

Freethinkers make way to social media

"There is not a week that goes by when we don't come across the harms of religion. Honour killing over caste, caste discrimination, people fasting to death, absurd rituals that lead to the death of children and so forth. We are most bothered by this unnecessary suffering."

How Games, Piracy, and Religion Come Together in Saudi Arabia

"Inevitably, the other big part of my life at that time was religion. Religion is ubiquitous in Saudi Arabian culture. We had three or four religion classes a day in school, each focusing a different aspect. Nothing is excluded. Religion even influenced the way we played video games."

Celebrating the first atheist MP Charles Bradlaugh

A Victorian politician, who founded the National Secular Society 150 years ago, was the first atheist MP and paved the way for the separation of religion and public life.


Judd Birdsall -- Care about religious freedom worldwide? One of the candidates would be a disaster.

Second, for Clinton, religious freedom is more than a human right, it’s a social good. During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton regularly reminded us that religious freedom is not just an American value and international norm, but part and parcel of “a climate of tolerance that helps make a country more stable, more secure, and more prosperous.” In other words, religious freedom is a strategic issue.

Sierra Norman -- I Did What I Had To Do

He called me “Satan” on Twitter and another commented that I would “fly back to the underworld.” Other various threats and comments were made on how much I was “hated”, should be “slapped in the face”, and just “leave” because it was my “fault” the community was breaking apart.

Herb Silverman -- Post-Election Healing: An Atheist's Perspective

A secular US Constitution helped make America great. When religion mingled with politics is no longer business as usual, then we together can make America even greater

Hiba Krisht -- That meme comparing hijabis to nuns needs to die in a pit of fire

I’m concerned not only with what a certain sect says about hijab, but with an epidemic crushing the lives of millions upon millions of women and girls worldwide, where modesty is the sole and final arbiter of everything they have and do in their lives, a phenomenon that is largely denied, downplayed, and obscured.


Polite Conversations -- Episode 18 - Election rant with Eli Bosnick

@NiceMangos, @EliBosnick from Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies & SkepticRat in a chat about the US election, America wtf have you done?!

Polite Conversations -- Episode 17 - Sam Harris

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sam Harris! We had an excellent, robust discussion on a variety of topics. We didn’t necessarily agree on everything, but even in disagreement Sam is an absolute pleasure to speak with. I admire his integrity, intellectual honesty and willingness to engage in difficult conversations.

Atheist Experience -- 20.45 with Matt Dillahunty and John Iacoletti

The Atheist Experience episode 20.45 for November 13, 2016, with Matt Dillahunty and John Iacoletti. How Trump will Impact SCOTUS. Matt and John discuss how the new president will impact the Supreme Court and its later rulings.

Godless Spellchecker -- Taking The Myth – 10 Nov 2016 Election Edition

This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight (@Gspellchecker) and Iram Ramzan (@Iram_Ramzan) discuss the big topics. We talk about newly elected President Trump, how we got there and what it means for the future. We also update you on the Louis Smith saga, discuss national pride and gender segregation and much, much more!

Point of Inquiry -- Trump’s Victory and the Challenge to a Secular America, with Larry Decker

Larry Decker, Executive Director of Secular Coalition for America, believes that much of America’s core secular values are in grave danger with a Trump presidency. He asserts that SCA and its contributing members are preparing to fight relentlessly to make secular American voices heard in order to defend the wall of separation between church and state.

Atheistically Speaking -- AS292: President Trump, With Eli Bosnick And Andrew Torrez

It f*cking happened. President Trump. We elected President Trump. The first 12 minutes of this episode are my live reaction from Tuesday night when it happened. It may make you uncomfortable.

Atheistically Speaking -- AS293: President Trump’s Second Term, With Eli Bosnick And Andrew Torrez

Here is part 2 of my truly excellent recording with Andrew and Eli. We commiserate, we give our answers to a lot of the common questions, we laughed, we feared and I feel slightly better knowing I’ll still have these two amazing people and more to get me through this. I hope everyone else is as lucky as I am!

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 135 - Sarah Levin, Secular Coalition for America's Senior Legislative Representative

Following Tuesday's elections, we spoke about what church/state separation advocates should be worried about over the next few years, the positive developments (and there were some!) from Election Day, and what atheists need to do to become more of a political force in the future.

ScathingAtheist 196: Full Pence-etration Edition

In this week’s episode, Donald trump announces a brand new skull-shaped White House, he also makes a few other decisions based on skull shape, and Reince Priebus finally gets to be on a list where he’s not the worst person.

ScathingAtheist 195: WTF Happened Edition

In this week’s episode, Lucinda invents a time machine made of rage and microwave parts, we hook up Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to a monatomic gold respirator, and the 2020 presidential election begins.

Dogma Debate / David Smalley -- #277 - Trump vs. Atheists: with Aron Ra & Rachel Nanon Brown

Liberal atheists react to a Trump victory, and Aron Ra & Rachel Nanon Brown discuss evolution vs. creation.

Dogma Debate -- #278 - Noah's Ark vs. David Smalley, Aron Ra, & Dan Arel

Eric Hovind took a group of atheists on a personally guided tour of Ken Ham's Ark Encounter. This is the full audio of what happened.

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 136 - Dr. Steven Tomlins, Atheist Bus Campaign Researcher

Dr. Steven Tomlins is a researcher and graduate of the University of Ottawa who has just co-edited a new academic book called The Atheist Bus Campaign: Global Manifestations and Responses. It looks at the various atheist advertising campaigns -- billboards, bus ads, and the like -- all over the world. We spoke about how this idea went viral, which kinds of ads are more successful, and whether the media coverage matters more than the messages themselves.

Atheist Experience -- 20.44 with Russell Glasser and Jen Peeples

The Atheist Experience episode 20.44 for November 6, 2016, with Russell Glasser and Jen Peeples. Hacking the Election. Jen and Russell talk about what it would take to actually hack a presidential election.

The Thinking Atheist -- The Mystery Letter

In the spring of 2016, Seth Andrews received a strange letter in the mail...a letter which has roots dating back over three decades.  In September of 2016, he told his entertaining story about "The Mystery Letter" to a live audience in Riverside, California.


Ep#22 - Blasphemy - The Godless Spellchecker Podcast

Michael Sherlock returns, this time bringing Acharya and Michael Nugent to talk about the misery created by blasphemy laws. We talk about the consequences of these laws in the countries enforcing them & the potential consequences for countries not. Yet. They're spearheading a petition to have these oppressive laws abolished

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