Monthly Archives: April 2010

Californy is the place you oughta be

This October, Jerry and I (along with several of our good friends) will be attending the “Setting the Agenda: Secular Humanism’s Next 30 Years” CFI conference in Los Angeles!

I am just *beyond excited* about all the speakers I’ll get to hear and the people I’ll finally be able to meet. Here’s part of the conference description:

Scheduled speakers include Richard Dawkins, who will accept a very special award (to be announced); authors Sam Harris and Robert Wright, who will dialogue on humanist stances toward faith; and a glittering roster of speakers, including James Randi, P. Z. Myers, Eugenie Scott, Paul Kurtz, Lawrence Krauss, Chris Mooney, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Victor Stenger, Shadia Drury, Mark Johnson, Barry Kosmin, Ibn Warraq, and many more.

Oh. my. goodness.  I’m not exactly who I’m more excited to see/hear in person — Dawkins (!), PZ (who it’s no secret I just adore), the debate between Harris and Wright (who’ll have his ass handed to him, I have no doubt), Lawrence Krauss, Eugenie Scott … I could go on!

For the last 3-4 years, I’ve listened to these speakers on various podcasts and YouTube videos, I’ve watched movies or I’ve read (or listened to) their books — now I’ll have a chance to be in the same room with them, AND be surrounded by fellow atheists, agnostics, skeptics, secular humanists, etc.  I know I don’t believe in a heaven anymore, but I think this conference sounds like it could be pretty close.

And, we’ll be in California!  Without a toddler!  Emma will be staying with some family (who’ll I’ll be forever indebted to) — but Jerry and I will have a chance to be actual adults who won’t have to carry around granola bars and coloring books and wipes and all the other parenting paraphernalia required on most trips to the States.

The hard part now will be to have enough patience until October rolls around.  Stay tuned!

What he said:

Earlier this week in the Star Phoenix there was a letter to the Editor where the author attempted to condone (or at least badly explain) the pedophilic priest epidemic by blaming the “sexual pollution” of our day and age.

Today, the paper published this letter of response, which I just love.  Here’s the letter’s forceful conclusion:

The only sexual pollution society needs to be rid of are the pedophiles who use the confessional as a torture chamber and those who support them, financially and otherwise.

Both letters are worth the read!  Here’s hoping the author of the latter will join ranks with us Freethinkers in town.

Hope Race for Recovery

This afternoon we braved the Saskatchewan elements to participate in the Hope Race for Recovery event — and by elements, I mean SNOW.

We walked with a group of people from the Saskatoon Freethinkers, and it was our second year we participated in the event.  One element I really like about this walk/race is the ability to be able to participate in honor of, or in memory of someone you know who has fought cancer.  This year, Jerry walked in honor of his father, a cancer survivor, and I walked in memory of my grandmother (my dad’s mom), who died of cancer before I was born.

Despite the unfriendly elements, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!  Our friend Allen captured the finish line of our 2k walk on video, so here it is, for your enjoyment:

“in Christian love…”

In case you didn’t grow up in the church, that’s code for: I’m going to offend you, but I get a free pass to say whatever I want to with this disclaimer.

Tonight Jerry turned on Larry King Live, and we watched an interview with Christian singer Jennifer Knapp, who this week officially “outed” herself to the world as a lesbian.  Thankfully, more and more these days this kind of announcement is becoming less “news” — but in Knapp’s evangelical context, announcing you are a content lesbian in a committed relationship is pretty high up there on the list of SIN (usually mentioned in the context of bestiality and pedophilia).

I can remember listening to Knapp, back in my believer days.  In fact, I still have her CD and find myself still digging her song “Undo Me“.  I thought of her as part Alanis, part Melissa Etheridge (little did I know how right-on I was in my generalizing!).

Anyway, this week Knapp did an interview for Christianity Today, Reuters, and The Advocate — talk about three very different audiences!  I enjoyed listening to her chat with King, and he did a good job of asking some pretty interesting questions (I’m usually not a fan of his interviews).

The show took an interesting turn when King invited “Pastor Bob” Botsford on the show, to talk about his post, Straight to the Truth: A Response to Jennifer Knapp’s Coming Out.

If you’re ever curious about one of the (many) reasons why I left the church and haven’t looked back, watch this clip:

Needless to say, Knapp had way more composure than I would have had if we were to have traded spaces.  I find the patronizing, pious righteousness of people like Pastor Bob incredibly nauseating.  It was difficult to watch him sit there and say that he “loves” Jennifer, and then spew such religiously-motivated discrimination — let’s just say I was glad that he was so confident to be speaking the words of Jesus.  Anyone with a mind (or heart) can see how wrong and bad he looked in his judgement.

Anyway, of course I had to look up good ol’ Pastor Bob, and let him know how much I appreciated his representation of his side of the issue — after all, the more people like him speak out publicly, the more others will see how bankrupt this “moral” position really is.  Here’s the comment I left on Pastor Bob’s blog — one that finally showed up, after several attempts to have it get past the moderator:

(if this comment doesn’t get published, I’ll realize it’s because the moderator is only allowing supportive comments to be shown — which states a lot about the character of this “Pastor Bob.”)

Pastor Bob, your pious faux-compassion shown on Larry King Live tonight reminded me of why I left the church, and haven’t yet looked back. It’s “compassionate Christians” like you that give your faith system a bad name. (and this is coming from an evangelical pastor’s kid who grew up in the church)

I’m just glad your righteous homophobia will now be recorded on tape, for all posterity. It’s going to be hard to explain these discriminatory statements to your flock and grandkids, when as the world continues to change and leave this religiously-driven bigotry behind.

And all the people said? Amen.

What she said:

The ostensibly principled position these folks are taking is that they want smaller government.  They want government to do less.  And just because so many of them are retired Medicare and Social Security recipients who get to their protests in national parks via public mass transit, don‘t let that get in the way of their anti-government message.

When you are shown to demonstrably not believe something you say you believe, that‘s hypocrisy.  And reasonably speaking, it should undermine your claim that you‘re acting on principle.  You can‘t say you hate government-run health care, for example, and then profess your love for Medicare.  It is one or the other.  Or you don‘t make any sense.



It’s been a wild and wacky day for Long story short, my career as a dedicated Blogger user is officially over, and I’m now a WordPress convert.

There’s much more to say about the saga of the last 2 days, including saying HUGE THANKS to Colin, Jeff, Garrett, Todd, another Jeff from Rawk Media, and anyone else who put up with my bitching and gnashing of teeth and other complaining I’ve done over the last 36 hours.

I’m back online, and all’s right (read: write) with the world.  Now to tackle these 40 student reports waiting to be marked before FRIDAY MORNING.

[I never realize how attached I am to this little website of mine until its life appears to be in jeopardy]

A certificate in religion’s BS

World’s best Facebook ad:

Get your Religious BS here!

…and I just love that Falwell’s “university” is behind the ad.

FYI, Facebook: I may not be your target audience for this advertisement.