Skeptimus Prime » Arizona One atheist's thoughts on politics, religion, and philsophy Wed, 22 Apr 2015 06:30:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I’ll be in Arizona this weekend. Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:31:00 +0000 I’ll be at the ASU origins project on Violence this weekend among other things so if you are there maybe I’ll see you.

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Arizona campus preacher tells anti-rape protesters: ‘You deserve rape’ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 08:16:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Christian preacher Dean Saxton wants women to know that they deserve to be raped. 

Saxon was quoting as saying:

if you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped. I think that girls that dress and act like it, they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.

Feeling that Christian love yet?

A short message for Saxton: No one deserves to be raped. Even if a woman is doing naked cartwheels in front of you don’t have a right to force yourself on her. If you really look at a woman in a mini-skirt and think that her skimpy dress gives you (or anyone else) the right to sexually assault her there is something wrong with you not her.  The only time it is reasonable to have sex with someone is when they also want to have sex with you, this shouldn’t even be that complicated.

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“Academic freedom” bill proposed by Arizona state senate. Wed, 06 Feb 2013 04:30:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> These so called academic freedom bills have been making their way around various states the last ten years or so. In fact, one just died in committee in Colorado. Now we have one on the docket in Arizona.

To read the wording of the bill the purpose doesn’t seem so bad.

1.  Create an environment in schools that encourages pupils to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.

Doesn’t seem so bad right? We all believe in critical thinking, and who doesn’t want to encourage students to explore science and learn about scientific evidence?  The problem is that these bills are just the latest scheme by creationists to promote non-scientific opinions in the classroom regarding scientific conclusions that some politicians have decided they don’t like.

Even their own bill states states the following as one of the intents of the bill:

2.  The teaching of some scientific subjects, including biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning, can cause controversy.

The first three are obvious, evolution, abiogenesis, and global climate change are the three main things that get heavily politicized, the first two due to religion and the last one due to the all of the lobbying done by oil and coal companies to prevent any changes to energy policy.  I’m not sure why cloning is on there since no one is trying to clone a human right now, but it seems to be brought up in these bill a lot.

In case you doubt that academic freedom bills are promoting the teaching of creationism and climate change denial lets look at a few facts.  The discovery institute is one of the major promoters, these are the same people who promoted “intelligent design” right up until they lost Kitzmiller v. Dover in 2005, when the judge flat out ruled that ID was just attempt to repackage creation science.  “Creation science” was itself ruled as not science by several courts decisions in the 1980’s such as McLean v. Arkansas.  The people who came up with the idea for “academic freedom” are creationists who, just as with ID, changed the name to see if it would allow them to sneak in their pseudo-science.

Luckily, even though these bills have been popping up all over the country, most of them have died in committee before they got to a vote.  Information provided by the NCSE. Hopefully the same thing will happen here.

Here is a list of the legislature members who introduced this bill.  If you live in one of their districts email them and let them know you are not satisfied with leaders who promote bills which are designed to permit the teaching of pseudo-science to our students.  If your legislator is not listed below I have also included a link to the entire AZ legislator list.  Email them and ask that they do not support this bill. 
Judy Burges, Dist-22 R 
Chester Crandell, Dist-6 R 
Rick Murphy, Dist-21 R 
Steve Pierce, Dist-1 R or Justin Pierce, Dist-25 R 
(not sure which one because the bill only lists last names)
Don Shooter Dist-13 R 
Steve Yarbrough, Dist-17 R 

Update: I emailed the rep in my district.  (Katie Hobbs, Dist-24, D) and she let me know she is opposed to this bill.

2-27-2013 Update: This bill has died at least for this session as of Feb 22 when the deadline for Senate bills to be heard in their Senate committees passed. It is still possible that the bill may resurface again in latter in another state senate session so I’ll keep my eye out.

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Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School Fri, 25 Jan 2013 23:25:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> So I ran across this on the Friendly Atheist today.  Since it is in my home state I felt I should comment.

Bill HB2467 has been put forward in by Republicans in the Arizona legislature  which requires students to repeat the following oath in order to graduate.

I, _________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

From what  I can tell there is no exceptions allowed in this bill, ether you say this oath or you don’t get a diploma.  This would require atheists, as well as anyone who has any other objections to this oath to ether lie or not be allowed to receive the diploma they have worked to get for basically their entire lives up to that point.

If we fight this in the courts it isn’t likely to stand of course.  Religious groups such as the Quakers or Jehovah’s witnesses have already successfully challagned similar loyalty pledges.  The problem is we shouldn’t even need to be defending against nonsense like this. 

This is not only a violation constitutional rights it’s a massive waste of time they could have spent on doing something that might actually improve education in this state.  Getting rid of the abstinence only laws would be a nice start.  My only question is how these jesters got elected in the first place.

In case you want to know the jesters in question this list of legislators that sponsored the bill.

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FLDS church memebers bury cat alive in Concrete? Tue, 10 Jul 2012 07:03:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Wow, I wish I had something creative to say here, but this is just sick.

The cat was discovered at the home of an ex-FLDS member who has spoken out about some of their unethical practices. I guess some FLDS members decided to prove they were ethical by burying a cat in concrete….OK, so that kinda backfired for them.

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Jail Time for Phoenix man in jail over bible study. Sun, 08 Jul 2012 06:09:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Jail Time for Phoenix Man Who Hosted Bible Study at His Home

Well, that’s what the headlines of the all the articles read. But then we all know how the press loves sensationalism.

Truthfully when I first read about this my reaction was that Salman has every right to have a bible study on his property, but I thought back to my time as a Christian and I attended many bible studies and no one ever went to jail over it. Furthermore out government is primary run by Christians, it seemed a bit unlikely that he was being “persecuted for his faith” as many were claiming.

I was sure that there had to be more to the story than this. In fact the man was not really running a bible study at all, but a church, or something very much like a church, with 30 to 40 attendees a week on his property. The courts ruled that his building was not up to codes. I can also imagine his neighbors were probably unhappy to have several dozen cars park on the street once a week. Further, the building permits he filed for his building was for a “game room” not a church building, so it seems he was trying to skirt those zoning laws and safety regulations.

I wish I could say this sort of thing is uncommon, but it seems I see it quite a bit.  A Christian disobeys or ignores laws, justifying the disobedience in his own mind by believing he is doing God’s work in some way.  Then when he gets caught and punished he cries religious persecution and claims his first amendment rights are being violated, when nothing of the kind has happened. 

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Arizona High School Forfeits Baseball Final over Female Player Fri, 11 May 2012 21:08:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Arizona High School Forfeits Baseball Final over Female Player Paige Sultzbach    Saw this today, now why would a group forfeit a game because the other team has a female playing for them? Unsurprisingly it is because the school is a conservative Catholic religious school.
They had this to say on fox news.

Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty. Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls.

I’ve written about this before but Conservative Christians usually don’t respect women, they think they do, but clearly have no idea what respect actually is.  What they respect is an idea or concept they have about women, not the women themselves.

It really is not that hard, respecting women works the same way as respecting men, you have to treat each person as an individual, but this school is not seeing this baseball player as an individual, they only see her as a woman.  It is not enough to respect women in general, in fact that is not even a useful concept.  If you want to respect women you have to respect each woman as an individual.

This is not respect, forfeiting this game was extremely disrespectful of her because they chose to see her as nothing more than her gender.  It is clear that the only thing they respected is their religious regulations, and that is fine, they have a legal right to do that, but Our Lady of Sorrows should not disrespect our intelligence by pretending they did it out of a respect for women.

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Arizona passed a law banning funding to Planed Parent hood. Sat, 05 May 2012 04:30:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> So a law was just signed into law banning any funds from going to places preform abortion including Planed Parent hood.

Sometimes I am so disappointed in my state, all they have done is cut funding that helps many poor women get health care.

I particularly like the part where Jan Brewer says:

By signing this measure into law I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion.

This is a complete misrepresentation since there are already laws in place that prevent public funds from paying for abortions, the money given to planed parent hood by the state went to other services, but way to go supporting your narrow interpretation of your religion over the needs of the people in the state you serve.

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Forget Employers Refusing to Cover Contraception. Arizona Bill Would Allow Them to Fire You For Using It Thu, 15 Mar 2012 01:07:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Forget Employers Refusing to Cover Contraception. Arizona Bill Would Allow Them to Fire You For Using It
Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.

Yes folks this is my state, apparently they want to make it totally cool for your employer to dig into your personal life to make sure you aren’t doing anything that violates your employers moral values.

Seriously, what the fuck people?  You’re employer should not have the right to ask for this sort of information, your medical coverage is between you and your doctor and as long as it does not impact your job it is none of your employer’s business.

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Asking to be treated as equal citizens is “whiny”…apperently. Fri, 16 Dec 2011 04:02:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> First I’ll apologize for not posting more.  Skyrim has been taking up a lot of my time lately so I haven’t been keeping up with things very well.

I happened to read something interesting today between calls at work and thought I would post a few comments on it.

This article, found on a catholic blog was published just two days ago.  First, as a bit of back story this was commenting on the suit that the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed against Arizona governor Jan Brewer over her proclaiming a day of prayer in the state of Arizona.  The state in which I happen to live for those who don’t know.

Now, FFRF lost that case, and from what I have read it seems that it was poorly argued by the atheist side.  The issue, of course, is one of church state separation.  I don’t particularly care what religion Jan Brewer belongs to, she can worship Jesus, Allah or Pez dispensers for all I care.  However, using her position as governor to as a pulpit for her beliefs is (or at least should be) wrong.

My god dispenses candy, what has yours done lately?

I may speak more in another post on that issue later, but to be honest I’m not educated enough on the particulars of the actual lawsuit to really make a more detailed analysis of it.  I mostly wanted to speak about the article by Mary Kochan that I posted a link to.

She starts out by suggesting that, and I quote:

Let’s get this straight.  The atheists are suing because they had to turn off the television to avoid the topic of religion or news announcements about the Day of Prayer.  They had to alter their conversation to avoid the topic of religion. This made them feel like “outsiders”.

To be clear, as I mentioned previously, the issue is about something a little be bigger than just feeling like outsiders.  The ironic thing is that in her third paragraph she actually intones the exact fundamentalist view point that this is really about.

Yes, you are outsiders. Go start your own damn country.  This one was started by Christians, you puerile dimwits. It is Christians who established and largely Christians who fought and died to maintain the freedoms you enjoy. And Christians are still the majority. Apparently your vaulted belief system doesn’t equip you to handle being in the minority. (added bold for emphasis)

Without realizing she her very article justifies the reasons for the FFRF’s lawsuit.  She apparently wants to use religion as a criterion for citizenship.  Then she goes on to justify the abuse of power by saying Christians are the majority so we just have to suck it up if we want to live here.  Now irregardless of the religious beliefs of the founding fathers, they very carefully setup the U.S. government to avoid a tyranny of the majority.

The further irony of this article is that it is written by a Catholic, who is conveniently the friend of the founding fathers even though those of them who were religious were undeniably protestant and did not have a lot of nice things to say about Catholics.  In fact an anti-catholic sentiment was rather common for most of American history and they were often views as unpatriotic because of their allegiance to the Pope.  There were plenty of people in our country at that time who would have loved it if Catholics gone and found some other country to live in.

Isn’t it odd that as soon as Catholics became accepted as part of the majority they turn around and and join in persecution of some new minority all the while claiming that us atheists are attacking them and we are somehow the real danger.

Help, Help, I’m being repressed.

If anyone has a question about the inherent bigotry against atheists that most of her article intones just mentally replace the word atheist in her article with Jew, Black, or Hispanic and reread it and ask how many KKK members would suddenly agree with her article.

Now if only Kochan could managed to produce this kind of unbridled anger at her own church for protecting child rapists then maybe us “evil” atheists would have one fewer things to complain about.

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