The Sunday Assembly is a 501(c)3 charity that is creating massive Sunday events that are similar to church services, though they are atheist in approach (they don't insist that you be atheist in order to attend, but there are no supernatural beliefs espoused at the event). Atheists gather to sing, hear speeches about ethics, make friends, and organize community work. They call themselves "A godless congregation," and they've launched a 40 city roadshow along with a crowdfunding campaign to spread the non-gospel. There are already Assemblies in London, Bristol, Brighton, Melbourne, New York and many other cities, and there's instructions for starting your own..
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Earlier this week, I posted a couple batches of letters from grown-up Eagle Scouts who chose to resign their hard-earned, elite awards in protest of the Boy Scouts of America's policy banning gay and atheist scouts and troop leaders.
I'm still getting letters in the mail. These things are coming in faster than I can update the posts. Which is why I'm very glad that several former Eagle Scouts have taken matters into their own hands, starting a Tumblr that can play host to all these letters, and all the ones going forward.
Burke Stansbury put the site together. In his own resignation letter, he wrote:
I am not proud to be affiliated with an organization that excludes people based on their sexuality. Many of my closest friends are gay, lesbian, or transgender and it pains me to think that I invested time in an organization that prohibits their membership. It's a shameful, bigoted policy. Plain and simple.
I'll be contacting people who have sent me letters recently about whether it's okay to forward their emails to Burke. And if you'd like your letter to be archived on the Tumblr, there's an easy-to-use submission form right on the site.
Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges on Tumblr
Eagle Scouts Stand Up To the Boy Scouts of America
More Men Join the Ranks of Former Eagle Scout
Even those who agree with the great Christopher Hitchens that religion poisons everything might be surprised to learn that the toxin extends its reach even to football (soccer). Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, has two major football teams - indeed they are Scotland's two top teams - Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers.
By long tradition, the fans of these two teams break down by religion: Celtic represents the Catholics and Rangers the Protestants. Historically, the reason is the long association between this region of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Belfast and Glasgow have more in common than their depressed ship-building industries. The large Catholic population of Glasgow is mostly of Irish origin, while Orange Parades such as this one through the centre of Glasgow are all-but indistinguishable from their counterparts in Belfast.
If, in a crucial match between Rangers and Celtic, a referee's decision is unpopular, there is a high chance that he will be accused of sectarian religious prejudice, something that, I imagine, is not often seen in baseball or American football.
(photo courtesy BBC News)
This is the background to bitter storm that erupted recently, in which I seem to have become embroiled although I am neither Scottish nor a soccer fan. Hugh Dallas, czar of referees for the Scottish Football Association was fired because he passed on, in an eMail, a joke about Roman Catholic child rape. The pope is not, so far as we know, a pederast, but there is good evidence that he was deeply involved in covering up the crime and contributing to its repetition by priests moved to other dioceses and parishes. Anyway, this was the subject of the joke that was sent to Hugh Dallas, and he passed it on to somebody else.
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I am delighted to announce that Richard Dawkins will be joining us here on Boing Boing for a periodic series of guest blog posts. He is an evolutionary biologist and former Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He loves science, and is not much of a fan of religion.
Among his books are The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ancestor's Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Unweaving the Rainbow, and The God Delusion.
If you have questions or topics you'd like to see him address when he joins us here for a guest post, please suggest them in the comments!