Tag Archives: atheists

Yesterday we joined with Tri-State Freethinkers to protest the opening of the Ark Encounter theme park. It was a very well attended protest and a great time! But perhaps more importantly, we got lots of media attention.

The day before the protest, Ed and I were interviewed by WDRB and the story aired the same day at 4pm. You can read the story and see the video here.

http://www.wdrb.com/story/32385364/atheists-planning-to-protest-at-public-opening-of-ark-encounter

They also did a follow-up interview at the protest itself, and the story can be seen here.

http://www.wdrb.com/story/32395779/ark-encounter-opening-draws-passion-from-both-sides-of-biblical-argument

Due to the protest, rather than news stations doing fluff pieces on a new theme park in Kentucky, they also covered the opposition and reasons that we oppose it. And that is good news!

The International Humanist and Ethical Union has recently published the findings of a unique study on the discrimination against, and sometimes outright persecution of, atheists and the non-religious all around the world. The examples from a variety of countries range from increased difficulty for atheists in finding jobs due to religious bias, to laws that require choosing a religion and participating in religious rituals,  to actual prison time and hard labor for statements expressing disagreement with religion on social media sites. Even in countries where freedom of religion is the law, many important aspects of life such as family law may be handed over to religious authorities who are almost inevitably biased against the non-religious. I encourage everyone to read the report for themselves, and I have provided a link to the PDF formatted report below.

While much has been written about persecution of religious minorities, very little study has been done on the persecution and discrimination against the non-religious around the world. When such a report is published, it is vital that we inform ourselves and then spread the word that freedom of belief, conscience  and speech is just as important for atheists and the non-religious as it is for those who follow a religion. "Freedom of Religion" does NOT mean freedom only for the religious but for all humans.

IHEU Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Nonreligious

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Ed was on the Mandy Connell show today, and did a fantastic job representing Louisville Atheists in a pretty hostile environment. Topics covered include the Kentucky Homeland Security case, claims that America is a "Christian Nation," discrimination against atheists, and the case by the Center for Inquiry to gain legal marriage rights for secular celebrants. You can listen to the whole hour below.

Ed Hensley on Mandy Connell

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In a sad decision against religious equality, the Indiana federal court court ruled that it is a necessary part of religious freedom for churches and religious organizations to have rights in marriage that are denied to the non-religious.

“According to the court, what is a required accommodation for the religious, is just a matter of convenience for the nonreligious. It would be difficult to imagine a clearer way to classify nonbelievers as second-class citizens,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of CFI. “A wedding is one of the most important ceremonies in a person’s life, and it is just as meaningful to atheists as it is to theists. It’s disappointing that a 21st-century court refused to recognize this reality."

If marriage were merely a religious affair, it would not come with legally binding rights and responsibilities. And clearly if it were a religious thing only, then atheists would have no more interest in getting married than they would have in going to church. For any country with freedom of religion to favor believers in the supernatural legally in this way is shameful. Why should secular citizens have to get a generic bureaucrat to sign papers to make their marriage legal when the religious get to have the leader of their community offer both a meaningful AND legally binding service in one step?

The full CFI press release, and the text of the court decision, may be found at Court Denies Atheists Right to Choose How to Get Married

UPDATE:

Ed Hensley will be a guest on the Terry Meiner's show on Louisville radio WHAS 840 tomorrow (Nov 30) between 4 and 5 p.m. They will discuss the Ky Homeland Security lawsuit and challenges atheists face living in a community dominated by believers.

Ed will also be a guest on the Mandy Connell show on the same station on Tuesday (Dec 4) between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m.  The topic hasn't been announced. Both shows are available online at http://www.iheart.com/live/969/?autoplay=true.