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Almost Everyone Thinks Atheists Are the Worst

'Atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous': study

(Newser) - When given a hypothetical scenario describing a fictional character who progresses from torturing animals as a child to murdering homeless people as an adult, most people assume that this person is an atheist—and that includes atheists themselves. That's what researchers at the University of Kentucky in Lexington are... More »

Christmas Is for Jews, Too

Two Jewish writers say they celebrate the holiday

(Newser) - People often try to tell Charlotte Alter that she shouldn't celebrate Christmas because she's Jewish. Her response? "First, mind your own business and leave my gingerbread house alone," she writes at Time . For many, this holiday is about Santa, not Jesus—and who's to say... More »

'Jesus' Musical Shelved for Offending Christians

Russians call 'Jesus Christ Superstar' a 'profanation'

(Newser) - Looks like some Russians don't consider Jesus Christ much of a "superstar." Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Jesus Christ Superstar had to shut down in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don after prosecutors began investigating the production, AFP reports. Several people had complained that the show offended Christians:... More »

In Tunisia, Islamist Victory Scores Big for Democracy

Islamism has become a democratic force: Noah Feldman

(Newser) - At first glance, it might seem that Islamists’ success in Tunisia’s election is a blow for democracy because the revolution that led to the election was secular. But the truth is that “the first leaders of a revolution are rarely a perfect sample of the broader population that... More »

Godless on the Rise

Religion in politics a sign of fear and dwindling numbers, not strength, says expert

(Newser) - Evangelicals might appear to be everywhere in American politics, but the number of believers is falling, according to studies. Agnostics and atheists are among the fastest-growing segment in the US, reports the Guardian . The number of secular Americans has likely doubled in the last three decades, and has grown especially... More »

Praying Banned in Paris Streets

The 'street is for driving, not for praying,' interior ministry says

(Newser) - Starting today, praying in the streets of Paris is illegal, and Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the ban could soon be extended to the rest of France, particularly to Nice and Marseilles, where “the problem persists,” the Telegraph reports. The “problem” in this case being Muslim worshipers... More »

Why Obama's Our Most Radical President

Chief executive runs a 'secular-socialist machine' from White House

(Newser) - Newt Gingrich is defending—and, in fact, repeating—his assertion that President Obama is "the most radical president in American history." Only those in the "cultural elite" could possibly view his administration as moderate, he writes in the Washington Post . It is a "secular-socialist machine,"... More »

Brit Hume Attackers Are Ignorant and Intolerant

Religious advice to Tiger Woods should be protected, respected

(Newser) - Sneering attacks on Brit Hume for suggesting that Tiger Woods should embrace Christianity are off base, writes Michael Gerson, and show his critics to be as ignorant and sanctimonious as they accuse him of being. The Fox host—despite his denials—was definitely proselytizing, but religious liberty in America means... More »

Culture Wars Took 2009 Off

Conservative protests were largely secular, writes EJ Dionne

(Newser) - America called a ceasefire in the culture wars this year as the economy and debate on the role of government pushed battles over religion and culture to the back burner, writes EJ Dionne. The change was most apparent on the right, where the loudest voices of protest came from the... More »

US Atheists Step 'Out of Closet'

Growing movement seeks acceptance, not members

(Newser) - Atheists across the country are turning up the volume, gathering openly and advertising their lack of faith, the New York Times reports. Their goal isn’t to win others over—“The most important thing is coming out of the closet,” said one activist—and win acceptance for their... More »

Islamists Lose Ground in Turkish Election

Government suffers setback as voters turn to secular parties

(Newser) - Turkey's Islamist-leaning AK Party won local elections yesterday, but fell short of the overwhelming victory leaders had hoped for, reports the Los Angeles Times. With most of the votes counted, the party of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan won 39% of the vote, but lost ground to secularists in Istanbul and... More »

DC Shrugs Off 'Miracle' in Iraq

Obama must support healthy Iraq, even if he opposed war

(Newser) - The US barely noticed the recent "small miracle" in the Middle East, writes Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post: Iraq's peaceful elections. The nation "moved away from religious sectarianism toward more secular nationalism”—good news for the US, bad for Iran. Even though our policies made it... More »

Atheists Offer 'Reason's Greetings' in Marketing Blitz

With fewer Americans claiming organized religion, nonbelievers step up campaign

(Newser) - It just isn’t the holiday season in America until nonbelievers and the devout begin sparring. This year, the godless are on the offensive, launching a marketing campaign to capitalize on the loosening grip of organized religion, telling neighbors, “We’re just like you,” the Wall Street Journal... More »

French Muslims Find Freedom in Catholic Schools

Students get better education, and allowed to wear headscarf

(Newser) - France has Western Europe's largest Muslim population, but its strict separation of church and state means that Muslim girls are forbidden from wearing the headscarves in public schools. In response, many Muslims have turned to an unlikely solution: the nation's large network of Catholic schools. "There is respect for... More »

Turkey Dodges Political Crisis

Top court votes not to disband Islamic ruling party

(Newser) - A major constitutional showdown in Turkey was narrowly averted yesterday when the nation's top court voted not to ban the ruling Islamic AKP party, which attorneys had argued is illegally attempting to dismantle Turkey's secular democracy. A judge described the razor-thin 6-5 vote as "a serious warning" to the... More »

Turkey Indicts 86 for Coup Plot

Secularists allegedly tried to overthrow Islamic government

(Newser) - Prosecutors today indicted 86 secular Turks—including high-ranking ex-military officials—on terrorism charges for their alleged involvement in plots to topple the Islamic-rooted government. The suspects, believed to include at least one former general and an opposition politician, are accused of having plotted to provoke a military coup to topple... More »

Americans See Many Stairways to Heaven: Poll

70% say chance for eternal life isn't unique to their religion

(Newser) - Reaching the afterlife is possible through more than one religion, 70% of Americans believe, according to a new poll. Surveying 36,000 people, the study confirms that while 92% of Americans believe in God, the country is growing more secular, the Dallas Morning News reports. Seven in 10 also agreed... More »

Turkey's PM Could Fall Over Headscarves

Attack by 'extreme' secular judges will hopefully fall short

(Newser) - Turkey's secular judges want to oust the ruling party for its moderate, and popular, stance on religion freedoms, Mustafa Akyol writes in the American. On paper, the judiciary seeks to punish the incumbent AKP party for crimes such as nepotism and corruption. In reality, Akyol writes, the AKP's support for... More »

Court Could Outlaw Turkey's 'Islamist Government'

Explosive trial could bar ruling party, prez and prime minister

(Newser) - Turkey's top court has agreed to hear a case that could outlaw the nation's ruling party and bar its president and prime minister from politics, Reuters reports. The AK Party is accused of trying to undermine Turkey's secular constitution and establish an Iran-style Islamic state. The case pits Turkey's popularly... More »

More Americans Cut Church Ties

50% have switched denomination, and 16% have no affiliation

(Newser) - Americans are swapping  religious affiliations at an accelerating rate, with 50% choosing  a different denomination than the one they were raised in, and 16%—double the number 20 years ago—saying the have no ties to a particular church, a new survey of religious life finds. That doesn't mean they're... More »

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