SCA’s Morning Read for 5/31/13

SCA in the News
How long will the Boy Scouts ban atheists? Groups pressure BSA to lift ban (God Discussion)
The Religion News Service raised a good question today–now that the ban on gay Scouts has been lifted, when will the ban on atheists and other non-believers be cast away?
Morning Read
Secular Group Tells IRS ‘Hold Churches Accountable For Politicking’ (LGR)
In the letter, the Secular Coalition states “religious charities have been flaunting their flagrant disregard for [IRS] laws for years. Over 1600 pastors participated in last year’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday, where pastors not only violated the law by lobbying and endorsing candidates, but filmed their illegal actions and mailed them to the IRS.”

“Religious Freedom”
Coalition to protect religious freedom shows its fault lines (RNS)
The panelists who came to assess the state of religious freedom in the nation accepted the point that their various faiths might not stand together on anything beyond the need to protect religious freedom, and that at times, coalition building would present grand challenges that needed to be met head on.

Boy Scouts
One Scouts ban remains intact: Atheists
(RNS)
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to accept openly gay Scouts has raised the question: Are atheists and other nonbelievers — the only remaining group BSA still bans — next? No one is holding their breath, least of all Neil Polzin, an Eagle Scout who was fired from his job in 2009 as an aquatics director at a Boy Scout camp in San Diego after he admitted to being an atheist. “I don’t see that happening, at least not in the immediate future,” Polzin said. “The focus has always been on the Scouts’ discrimination against gays and it seems atheists were always on a back burner or not discussed at all.” But that doesn’t mean nonbelievers — atheists, humanists and other nontheists — have abandoned their quest for inclusion. In the wake of the BSA’s May 23 vote that led to the inclusion of gay Scouts — but not gay scoutmasters — every major organization of nonbelievers has issued a statement condemning their continued exclusion.

Why Mormons back the new scout policy (Washington Post)
For Mormons, embracing duty to God as a core value is inseparable from the behavior that is expected to follow – behavior that it instills in its young women as well as its young men, and encourages in adults as well as its youth.

Atheism
Can Atheism Really Replace Religion?
(Psychology Today)
The generalization that more developed countries are more secular is every bit as clear as the generalization that developed countries have smaller families. It is not impossible for people in modern societies to have large families, of course. It is just unusual. Similarly, it is not impossible for individuals to be deeply religious in developed countries. They are just thin on the ground.

Science
Facing Adversity, Some Find Solace in Science (Pacific Standard Magazine)
New research suggests that, for some secular people, a belief in science plays a similar psychological role as faith does for religious people.

The White House Hosts Science Hangout (The White House)
Today T at 2 p.m. EDT The White House is hosting the second in a series of “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangouts to talk asteroids with Bill Nye the Science Guy, former astronaut Ed Lu, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, and more. RSVP and they’ll send you a reminder to join the hangout.

States
Massachusetts bill claiming to defend student freedom to discuss religion really promoting religion in public schools (God Discussion)
A Massachusetts bill that claims to defend students’ freedom to discuss religion as others would discuss secular ideas in the classroom is being presented in the State House.

International
Nigeria passes anti-gay bill with penalties up to 14 years in jail (Reuters)
Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to criminalise gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and even membership of a gay rights group, defying pressure from Western powers to respect gay and lesbian rights.

Friday Fun
Michele Bachmann: ‘God Wants Me To Earn 7 Figures For A Lobbying Firm’ (The Onion/Satire)
Saying that it’s the Lord’s will, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced on her website Wednesday that she has decided not to seek reelection in 2014 because God wants her to earn millions of dollars working for a high-powered lobbying firm. According to Bachmann, God spoke to her directly after many days of intense prayer and ultimately told the exiting Congresswoman that there is no reason she should only make $174,000 per year when she could easily earn up to eight times that amount in the private sector.

Funny or Die release video parodying a ‘break up’ between Church and State (Huffington Post)
Glee” star Jane Lynch and “Key & Peele”‘s Jordan Peele teamed up with Funny Or Die and Americans United to record a funny music video advocating for the separation of church and state.

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