Women and exercise in Saudi Arabia: a bad, bad thing

Adding to the seemingly endless list of things the Saudi Arabian government deems unsuitable for women is exercise. Yes, exercise. It’s not enough that their fundamentalist brand of religious stupidity bans women from a wide range of activities (including freedom of dress, driving, and the ability to leave the house without permission from a close male relative) – no, not enough. Now, clamping down on access to gyms and exercise facilities, the SA government has apparently decided that women are living too long and too healthily.

And by Allah, they can’t have that!

Unsurprisingly, gyms and sports clubs for men are being left alone. Those for women, however, are about to be closed if they are not attached to a medical centre.  This means, of course, that the majority of centres are likely to be removed. Future sports centres will be denied licenses. No doubt the prospect of obesity and heart disease in their spouses has Saudi officials rubbing their hands in glee.

Story here.

NYT: Nontheism Rising

The New York Times has published one of those feel-good stories today. At least, it makes me feel good: More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops.

More than ever, America’s atheists are linking up and speaking out — even here in South Carolina, home to Bob Jones University, blue laws and a legislature that last year unanimously approved a Christian license plate embossed with a cross, a stained glass window and the words “I Believe” (a move blocked by a judge and now headed for trial).

They are connecting on the Internet, holding meet-ups in bars, advertising on billboards and buses, volunteering at food pantries and picking up roadside trash, earning atheist groups recognition on adopt-a-highway signs.

Of course, those of us within the community have seen this sort of growth for some time now. It is nice to see a mainstream media source like the Times acknowledging it, though.

The Classics Never Die

I’m not sure what prompted a Chicago-area reader to fire off this retread of the dusty old cosmological argument earlier this week, but in a weird way it’s good to see the classics still out there. Sometimes, you just can’t keep a bad argument down, I guess.

BBC Invites Humanists to the Table

Here’s a welcome bit of news: The BBC will be including a Humanist in their newly formed Standing Conference on Religion and Belief. This is apparently the result of a 2003 change in the codes policing the BBC as a government entity. It’s nice to see that, six years later, they’re finally doing what should have been done even BEFORE the code were in place.  Better late than never.

Fear not, though–the move is already meeting with Christian criticism:

“This is like asking [known evironmentalist critic] Jeremy Clarkson to sit on a committee responsible for making programmes about the environment.”

Community Profile: freemonkey

How did you find out about online freethought communities, and what’s your favourite thing about them?

~ from Google and from members of one group or another. I don’t have the time to hang out at them much, but I have been reading a handful of atheist/freethought blogs when I can lately. My favorite things about them are the freethinkers! My favorite things about freethinkers are their wit, intelligence, sense of irony. I also like the feeling of connection to these people.

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