Secular Coalition’s Morning Read for Friday March 29, 2013

Politics and Policy
Supreme Court Likely to Overturn Part of DOMA

The U.S. Supreme Court appears more likely to overturn part of the Defense of Marriage Act after oral arguments in a case challenging the law’s constitutionality.

Movement and Related
Church-State Watchdog Files Four Friend-Of-The-Court Briefs Defending Workers’ Access To Birth-Control Coverage
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has told federal courts now considering the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s birth-control mandate that employers do not have a religious liberty right to deny their employees access to contraceptives.Morning Read

Suing Ourselves in the Foot
Westlaw, a website that tracks court decisions, shows twenty-seven cases where FFRF has gone to court as a party and gotten a final disposition1. They have won six. This 22% win percentage makes FFRF the least successful secular organization in the courts. They also happen to be the most litigious. In this article, I will argue (1) that FFRF’s litigation strategy is harming the movement, (2) that the secular movement needs to take lessons from the gay rights movement on how to be successful in the courts, and (3) I will make recommendations of where to go from here.

Atheism finding its way
This is the 50th anniversary of the American Atheists – that’s the hard-line atheist group with those in-your-face billboards that show Jesus in the manger with the words “You Know It’s a Myth.” It’s coming at a time when the number of non-believers is growing in America – especially among the ones under 35 – according to the Pew Research Center.

Is Coming Out as an Atheist Always a Good Idea? A Conversation with Three Former Pastors
I asked those well-known former pastors a series of questions to find out if there were legitimate reasons not to come out of the closet if you were an atheist still in the pulpit. They didn’t brush off the questions and say that coming out was always a good idea. Instead, they gave me honest answers as to why, at the very least, it deserves a second thought, while still encouraging those pastors to work through the difficulties.

International
Bangladesh widens crackdown on ‘blasphemous’ atheist bloggers
Bangladesh has widened a crackdown on allegedly blasphemous blogs after a threat by Islamic groups to march to the capital demanding the prosecution of atheist bloggers, an official said Wednesday.

Religion
Calendar: Today is Good Friday, Sunday is Easter

Pope washes feet of two girls, two Muslims at youth prison
Pope Francis on Thursday (March 28) washed the feet of 12 young inmates, including two girls and two Muslims, during a Maundy Thursday Mass at a youth detention center in Rome. The move has already stirred controversy.

Scholars piece together a ‘new’ New Testament
Is the New Testament missing a few books? In a move that may seem heretical to some Christians, a group of scholars and religious leaders has added 10 new texts to the Christian canon.

Dark-skinned Satan has a long history
When some people recently started questioning whether the Satan character on “The Bible” miniseries resembled President Obama, others posed a broader question: Why does Satan need to be dark-skinned at all? Religious experts and historians say the controversy points to a centuries-old tradition where dark is bad, light is good.

Femen calls for ‘Topless Jihad Day’ after death-by-stoning threats to Tunisian woman
Infamous Ukrainian feminists group Femen has declared April 4 as Topless Jihad Day in support of a Tunisian activist, 19, who was threatened to death by stoning after she posted two topless
pictures online. A petition defending Amina already garnered more than 100,000 supporters, including noted evolutionary biologist and prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, the report added.

Friday Fun
‘Strip For Me — Jesus’ Billboard Arouses Attention For Alabama Church (VIDEO)
It reads “Strip For Me — Jesus” and it is located right above the Palace Gentleman’s Club, where strippers doff their drawers on a daily basis.

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