Morning Read for June 6, 2013

SCA in the News
House Republicans Denigrate Atheist Chaplains in Military, Saying They Would Make a ‘Mockery of the Chaplaincy’ (Friendly Atheist)
Yesterday, Andrews (an Episcopalian), with strong support from the Secular Coalition for America, suggested an amendment (PDF) to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would bring Humanist, ethical culturist, or atheist chaplains to the military: “The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist.”

Democrats’ push to create military chaplains for atheists falls flat (Washington Times)
Lawmakers on Wednesday defeated a Democratic-sponsored amendment that would have created chaplains for atheists who are serving in the nation’s military. Mr. Andrews‘ amendment had been supported by the Secular Coalition for America, which puts out that 23 percent of those serving in the military have no religious preference, or claim outright atheism, the Marine Times reported.

Atheists Disappointed with Boy Scouts’ Continued Discrimination Policy (Out Smart)
The Secular Coalition for America today said the Boy Scouts’ recent decision to allow openly gay boys is a positive step in the right direction, but does not go far enough. The SCA expressed disappointment that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has decided to continue its policy of discrimination against atheists and gay Scout leaders.

Atheism
Atheist monument going up soon in Bradford County (Ocala Star Banner)
Later this month, the Ten Commandments which stand in the courtyard in front of the courthouse, etched in white on black granite will be joined by another granite structure — the first public monument dedicated to atheism in the nation.

Recovering from Religion offers a toll-free hot line for doubters (God Discussion)
Recovery from Religion created a toll-free hotline for those who doubt their beliefs or desire to leave, but are afraid of a variety of things, including starting a new journey on their own or even going to hell for doubting. Morning Read

Politics

AZ legislature considers lowering property tax for religious groups (Democratic Underground)
The Arizona Senate passed a trio of bills Wednesday that seek to lower property taxes for religious institutions and make it easier for some people to sue over the First Amendment, much to the chagrin of civil liberties and secular groups who claim Arizona lawmakers are violating the U.S. Constitution by favoring the faithful over non-believers.

TODD STARNES: Group sues over war memorial cross- Boy suspended for saying word ‘gun’ (Bayou Buzz)
The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit against a California city demanding that a proposed war memorial be scrapped because it features the image of a soldier kneeling at a graveside cross.

Rep. Stephen Fincher under fire: ‘Hypocritical with a capital ‘H” (Tennessean)
For Rep. Stephen Fincher, the last few weeks have not brought the kind of publicity most members of Congress desire. During a recent hearing of the House Agriculture Committee, Fincher invoked biblical verses to back up his belief that food stamp spending, which totals $80 billion annually, needs cutting — by at least $20 billion over the next 10 years, about a 3 percent cut.

Why Va. Republican Lt. Governor Candidate Doesn’t Believe In Evolution: Monkeys Can’t Talk (BuzzFeed Politics)
The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E. W. Jackson, wrote in his book Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life that he doesn’t believe in evolution because animals don’t have the ability to write or talk. Jackson wrote the book in 2008 in his capacity as minister before his failed bid for Republicans nomination for Senate in the 2012 or his current race.

Congressmen live large on farm supports while fighting federal food safety net (Business Blog)
In supporting billions of dollars in cuts to federal food assistance, a U.S. House Republican from Tennessee and a fellow GOP member from California insist the government has no business feeding the hungry but themselves receive tens of thousands of dollars annually in farm subsidies.

House LGBT Equality Caucus Staffs Up In Pursuit Of Ambitious Agenda (BuzzFeed Politics)
With a record number of out LGBT lawmakers, the caucus is aiming to change the Hill — and the country.

General
The Morning Heresy: Creation Was an Inside Job (Center For Inquiry)
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Creation Museum Adds Zip Lines And Other Secular Fare, As Ticket Sales Decline (Huffington Post)
Reports surfaced today of a vast, secular outdoor complex in the works at Kentucky’s controversial Creation Museum. The network of 20 zip lines and 10 sky bridges opens June 20, and is hoped to attract “people who might not be interested in the [museum] but…have zip lines on their bucket lists…”

Crowd stunned after valedictorian rips up speech, recites Lord’s prayer (Before It’s News)
A South Carolina valedictorian garnered wild applause after he ripped up his pre-approved speech and delivered the Lord’s prayer at his high school graduation on Saturday.

Reflections
A Precis on Humanism (Before It’s News)
In modern times humanism has been associated with Karl Marx and one of his teachers, Ludwig Feuerbach. The latter was an atheist who believed that it wasn’t God who created man but the other way around. Since, however, this left no one to command us to do the right thing, an alternative source of morality was proposed by Feuerbach, namely, humanism.

America is Not a Christian Nation (Daily Kos)
From time to time, we all hear the well-worn calls of the conservative, fundamentalist Right. They may be arguing for one policy proposition or another, but their arguments eventually meander to a trusted place: “America is a Christian nation.”

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