Friday, May 29, 2009

I Revamped My Atheist Page on Squidoo

Last night I made some pretty major changes on my Atheist page on Squidoo, An Atheist View. I added some YouTube videos on topics including the Elizabeth Dole Atheist smear campaign, Illinois Representative Monique Davis' rant about atheists, and a Steve Harvey clip claiming Atheists have no morals. I've also added a short link list to articles about people who have been fired for being Atheists. A few days ago, I played with the photos and HTML and I'm pretty pleased with the result.

My next Squidoo project is an "Ask an Atheist" type page to get some interaction going.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Woman Fired for Husband's Atheist Blog

I just learned about something despicable that went down in Texas. A young woman just back to work after surgery for breast cancer was fired from her job due to the Atheist sentiments expressed in her husband's blog. Apparently, her boss had tried to get her to accept Jesus into her life and she politely declined. It's a lot more complicated than just that but you can read about it here.

A few blog posts later Mr. Donaldson (Amanda's husband) posted an article published by journalist who called Amanda's employer and did a phone interview. You can find the article here.

This is an important issue, one we can't shut our eyes to.

I Saw Something Today

Today, I saw and read something so powerful, I felt it just needs to be shared. It's today's journal entry in another Atheist's blog. The images and words are powerful and painful.

Which Kind of God is Yours?


This really isn't a post about atheism, it's a post about censorship though I suspect it may be religious misogyny and prudery that's responsible.

A page about homelessness I put up on Squidoo on 12/03/2008 has just been flagged for adult content. If you click on the link to the site a big Adult Content splash comes up and doesn't allow non-Squidoo users to even view the page.

First of all, the page is not adult content. I used the word 'rape' in the context of saying "After my first rape..." then explaining about the beautiful, heroic homeless man who saved my life.

It really irks me because this will send its ratings plummeting because it will no longer get any views from non-Squidoo users. Right now it is riding on its previous views and it's number 13 out of almost a million pages on the site.

It also really irks me that a friend sent a link to that page to everyone on his email list and he had to explain to his sister that, no, he had NOT sent porn to his 16 year old niece.

If you want to help me keep the page "alive" until I can get this flagging business resolved you can register for a Squidoo membership (it's free and relatively non-invasive, they never spam) and visit my lens. If you are feeling particularly magnanimous you can give it a star rating and favorite it, too.

You can find the page at What I Learned While I Was Homeless and I absolutely double dog promise you it is not porn. You can sign up for a Squidoo account here - I assure you that other than for some flag-happy parents it's a cool place to be. Of course Squidoo was created by Seth Godin who is da bomb and we love him.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why I Live With Fundies

I've gotten a few messages and emails lately asking why I worked with conservative Christians if I don't like Christian fundamentalism. One asked why I didn't "just find another f-ing job." A few similar, but more polite messages asked the same question.

There are some areas of the country where there is a large conservative Christian population. If you live in one of those areas, and would like to have a place to work, chances are that you will work with, if not for, Christian fundamentalists.

So why don't I just move to a nice liberal area where gay bashing and atheist bashing aren't popular activities? Somewhere where no one says Methodists, Lutherans, and Catholics aren't Christians?

I can't afford to move anywhere. I'm broke. Florists make crap wages anyway and then I got really sick - seizures, high fevers, chronic pain, loss of consciousness, and all sorts of other unpleasantness.

I am no longer working with fundies. I am a freelance writer. However, this isn't because I couldn't handle conservative Christians at work anymore, it was because I couldn't work an all day standing job (like a floral designer does) any more.

As to why I'm poor - it's hard to earn a living as a freelance writer and I'm still learning. Also, though I can write sitting down, I still need to take more breaks than a healthy person would especially since anything I write with a high fever ends up looking as if it were written in an alien tongue.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Religious Child Neglect Turns into Kidnapping

Last week a judge in Minnesota ruled that the family of a boy suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma could not refuse the child's chemotherapy for conflicting with the family's religious beliefs.

I was pleased with the decision because it meant one less child would die from his parents' magical thinking and spiritual beliefs. Last year we were all horrified to hear of poor little Madeline Neumann who died a slow, painful death for her parents religious beliefs. I thought the ruling in the Daniel Hauser case to be a great victory for childrens rights. Every child deserves medical treatment, no child should die of a treatable disease and no child should be denied treatment due to his parents' religious beliefs.

Hauser's mom believes in holistic medicine, herbalism, and planned to treat him with vitamins and herbs instead of proven chemotherapy. The judge's ruling now requires that the boy receive medical care including chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Daniel Hauser's mom is dead set on preventing her child from getting the medical care he needs to survive. Even after a doctor appointment which indicated Daniel is getting worse and his disease has progressed without treatment his mother ran off with Daniel into hiding.

13 year old Daniel's parents had told him that chemotherapy would kill him so I have no doubt he'll do anything to aid his mother in hiding him until it's too late to successfully treat his illness. If this results in the child's death, the family will feel justified and blame his death on the last ditch efforts of medical professionals trying to save a child treated too late.

This poor kid's parents talked him out of life saving treatment by telling him that chemo would kill him. This is not an adult we are talking about who may make an informed decision to die from a treatable illness if they want to, Daniel is a thirteen year old child with a learning disability.

In my opinion, the child's mother, Colleen Hauser, should be tried for kidnapping and attempted murder - or murder if the child dies as a result of delayed treatment - and his father should be charged for accessory to those crimes.

Now police suspect Hauser may be taking Daniel to Mexico to escape medical treatment of his illness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Charlotte Allen Anti-Atheist Editorial In LA Times

A couple of days ago the Los Angeles Times released an anti-atheist rant by Charlotte Allen that clearly shows the lack of understanding many religious people have regarding atheism.

Charlotte Allen is bored of atheists? We're bored of the standard Christian arguments and hate speech - there's nothing new under the sun there.

Clearly Allen has apparently never visited a discussion board where atheists and theists debate with her insistence that "few of them [atheists] are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God's existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God's omniscience with free will or God's goodness with human suffering." Many atheists can play "God's advocate" and perform the arguments used by theists for the existence of God and can recite those theologians' attempts to defend God's goodness in the light of suffering and God's omniscience with man's free will.

When Charlotte Allen questions, "If there is no God -- and you'd be way beyond stupid to think differently -- why does it matter whether he's good or evil?" she forgets one major thing. The followers of God believe in Him. No matter what we believe, almost everyone around us believes in God. If those believers follow an evil God it will manifest in their behavior. It will manifest in excusing and fueling bigotry. Belief in the existence of and a desire to worship and obey an evil God or even a God of questionable ethics will manifest in hate crimes and hate speech, marginalization of people of other or non beliefs, and feelings of justification for these actions.

She needs to read some news and get into some discussions with real atheists. She belittles the problems real atheists face by saying, "My problem with atheists is their tiresome -- and way old -- insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What -- did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?" She writes as if atheists don't get death threats from Christians simply for writing about atheism or talking about it in public. She writes as if we don't get our property vandalized by Christians if we get outed as atheists. She writes as if there are no parts of America where we could lose our jobs for being atheists. Allen writes as if completely unaware that Christians spend millions of dollars every year to put their religious beliefs into law - laws which everyone, regardless of religion or non-religion, will be required to follow. She writes as if Christians don't intimidate the children of atheists in attempts to convert them which sometimes ends up in peer violence visited upon those children.

Show me several million atheists trying to force their beliefs into law, trying to use legal force to coerce all Americans to follow their beliefs. Show me the school children forced to perform atheist rituals under fear of punishment from adults and peers. Show me the atheists protesting at funerals - and I might start to listen to you, Ms. Allen.

Stop the things we are "whining" about such as Christian laws, religion-based bigotry against gays, religious discrimination in the workplace, religious influence in child custody cases, remorseless atheist bashing, and evangelism - and we'll stop "whining" about them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Must Admit...

I must admit that I was seldom "out" as an Atheist at a workplace.

I live in a strangely mixed area. There are a dozen Bible "colleges" in the city and hordes of Calvinists of varying sorts. But through the magic of the Internet, I've found the other part of our population. Unfortunately, few businesses in my area are owned by people who are openly tolerant of non-theists.

Everywhere I held a job when I was in the 9 to 5 world, God was a frequent topic of conversation and disdain for non-Christians and Christians of other sects was made abundantly clear. At one workplace, a co-worker was accidentally outed as a non-theist. Two days later she was canned but not before the valve stems were cut on all four of her tires in the employee parking lot. My own accidental outing by a friend who picked me up for lunch one day resulted in getting my car vandalized in a different way - profanity and threats had been scratched into it with a sharp object.

My co-worker was supposedly fired for being late in excess of three times. However, the last incidence of lateness had occurred over a year earlier and it was very minor. Michigan is an "at will" employment state which allows employers to sack a person for any reason at any time, so long as they don't express a discriminatory reason. They also don't need to give a reason, they can just terminate you with no explanation. So, for years and years I bit my tongue and remained in the Atheist closet, because I wanted to be safe and I wanted to keep my job.

Now that I'm disabled and working out of my home, it's not an issue anymore. I can be as out as I want to and not fear job loss. I am a bit ashamed that I wasn't out before.

It feels great to stop the lying by omission that being closeted requires.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

That's Evolution Years!

While working in a flower shop one's hands are busy all day but one's mind is not. This leads to lots of conversations with co-workers while all of you are arranging flowers. Being a bit of a science nut and having a tendency to go on and on and on about science news that interests me, usually beyond the tolerance of most mortals it's unsurprising that one day, when a co-worker was talking about dogs having a long history living with mankind, I regurgitated the latest tidbit I had heard on dogs.

I'd recently read that new DNA evidence from canine remains found in the Americas supported the idea that dogs had come out of Africa with human beings and crossed the Bering Strait with us some 50,000 years ago. I thought that was pretty cool and inoffensive so I shared that with my dog-loving co-worker.

What I got in response was, "50,000 years? That's evolution years!" as she looked at me, completely aghast.

What does one say to that?

It's the area I live in, unfortunately.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Own Version of Fundies Say the Darndest Things

Recently I was relating several stories about weird or funny things I'd personally heard hardcore religious people say. Since I've been slacking off on my Atheist blog in favor of trying to earn some money for my writing, I figured some of those stories would make good blog entries.

I was working in a flower shop amongst highly religious co-workers. I was always extra careful to keep my language clean and my opinions (aside from those on floral design) strictly to myself. Little did I know that my determination not to swear in front of customers might get me into an uncomfortable spot.

As sometimes happens in a flower shop, I lost my grip on a slippery glass vase. My normal inclination would be to paint the air blue with words relating to bodily functions or procreation. But, trying to keep it clean, I exclaimed, "Rut Ro!" (the appropriate expression often used by a certain cartoon dog) as the vase began to slip from my hand.

My co-worker asked, "What on earth was that?!?"

To which I responded, "Rut Ro. Haven't you heard that before?"

She replied, "No, is it from something?"

"It's from Scooby-Doo, he says it whenever something bad is about to happen."

"That's Satanic! That show is Satanic! It's from the Devil with witches and demons."

I quickly tried to explain, "But none of the monsters or witches were real, it was all smoke and mirrors - a rubber mask or a movie projector..."

"That show is just from the Devil, and I don't want to hear about it!"

I got the cold shoulder for from her the rest of the day and angry glares from her and another co-worker for several days afterward.

So, I guess Scooby-Doo is a big time Satanist.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Back After A Long Illness

I've been sick as a dog for about a month now so my blog has fallen by the wayside. But I'm back and should be posting more again.

I just updated and edited my Squidoo atheist lens and realized that I haven't written much free thought material lately. So, I'm off to have some deep thoughts and should be typing away soon.

Have a fabulous day!