Secular Cafe: End of an Era

The Secular Cafe messageboard has now been shut down. Its content has been preserved as the Secular Café Archive – Index page, generously hosted at Talk Freethought.

If you are a member there, your password should still work, and it should still give you access to members-only areas.

As I write this, the original board is now inaccessible except from its hosting company’s pages, and it will soon disappear outright from that company. But I ended its shutdown message with

Daisy daisy…

Secularism without Guillotines or Gulags

This is a reference to two big villains of opponents of secularism, the French Revolution with its guillotines and Communism with its gulags. But in recent decades at least, several nations have had a growth of secularism and outright atheism without such coercion, and they have had that growth without debilitating consequences.

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Atheism Plus

A new movement has emerged in atheist activism: Atheism Plus. Its advocates describe themselves as

Atheists plus we care about social justice.
Atheists plus we support women’s rights.
Atheists plus we protest racism.
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia.
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

In my opinion, it is an entirely legitimate movement. Different activists specialize in different things, and some people may want to specialize in social-justice issues without compromising their atheism. However, it has provoked some people to call it divisive and to claim that it associates a lot of issues with atheism that do not have any real connection with atheism.

What started it?
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The Reason Rally

A week ago in Washington, DC was the big Reason Rally. It was a big atheist/freethought gathering in the Washington Mall in Washington, DC, and several noted atheist/freethought authors, bloggers, and activists spoke at it. Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, Taslima Nasrin, Greta Christina, Cristina Rad (ZOMGItsCriss), Hemant Mehta (Friendly Atheist), PZ Myers (Pharyngula), Annie Laurie Gaylor, Jessica Ahlquist, Nate Phelps, etc. Politicians Pete Stark and Tom Harkin sent video messages to the gathering.

Jessica Ahlquist is a high-school student in Cranston, RI who had successfully sued to get a prayer banner removed from her school as a violation of church-state separation. A lot of people there hated her for it, and a Cranston politician called her an “evil little thing”. A label that she has jokingly adopted.

Nate Phelps is a son of Fred Phelps, the infamous homophobe and activist and attention whore and troll. He described how he came to leave his father and to deconvert.

It was not the first such gathering. Ten years ago was the Godless Americans March on Washington (GAMOV), a name that brings to my mind physicist George Gamow. This one was even bigger, having something like 20,000 people attending, and a good variety of people at that. Seems like the New Atheist movement has staying power.

Freethought Literature Translations

Some years back, I (lpetrich) tried to start a Freethought Literature Translation Project, to reach all those people who prefer languages other than English. I did not get much interest, however. But I am happy to report that some other people have been interested. Some of Ebonmuse’s fans have translated some of Ebon Musings: The Atheism Pages into various languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and Belarusian. So the more the better.

Daylight Atheism > New Translations on Ebon Musings