[Hac-announce] Fwd: The Weekly Wrap Up: AZ Lawmaker, "I am an atheist"

Halina Platt hplatt15 at gmail.com
Fri May 24 12:55:26 EDT 2013

Begin forwarded message:

From: Secular Coalition for America <wrapup at secular.org>
Date: May 24, 2013 11:16:27 AM EDT
To: <hplatt15 at gmail.com>
Subject: The Weekly Wrap Up: AZ Lawmaker, "I am an atheist"
Reply-To: Secular Coalition for America <wrapup at secular.org>

May 24, 2013
AZ Lawmaker Announces: "I am an atheist"
Gives Humanist Invocation on House Floor

Image: RawStory

Arizona Democratic state Representative Juan Mendez invoked astronomer Carl Sagan on Tuesday when he was tasked with giving the opening prayer for the state House of Representatives and announced "I am an atheist." Secular Coalition for Arizona executive director, Serah Blaine, left, helped organize Mendez' "invocation."
Exciting news from our Arizona affiliate! The Secular Coalition for Arizona was instrumental in organizing the announcement of a state legislator as an atheist, and the offering of a humanist "invocation" instead of a prayer to open the session. Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, acknowledged that he is an atheist as he gave the daily House invocation Tuesday, urging legislators to look at each other, rather than bow their heads, and "celebrate our shared humanness." Mendez, who said it was freeing to be open about his secular views, also introduced about a dozen fellow members of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, who watched from the House gallery. View of a few of the many articles written about Mendez's announcement here.

The Secular Coalition this week named the Daily Caller the "most unethical news publication" after receiving several hateful messages from an editor at the publication, Christopher Bedford, including one that read, “Take a day off from hating God, kids and babies.” Bedford's actions were supported by Daily Caller Editor in Chief, Tucker Carlson. The Coalition decided to issue the award as a lighthearted way of drawing attention to media bias against nontheists.

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will review whether a New York town council that starts most of its meetings with a Christian prayer violates the separation of church and state -- they will weigh whether prayers at meetings violate separation of church and state. The court decided 30 years ago, in a case involving the Nebraska legislature, that legislative meetings that open with a prayer do not violate the First Amendment’s prohibition of government-established religion as long as they do not advance a single faith.
Track the past week's most troubling federal and state legislation. View whole updated and listen to the weekly call here. Or, view all of our newsletters and updates.

May 30- June 2 -American Humanist Association Annual Conference, (San Diego, CA)
May 30 - United Coalition of Reason Conference (in conjunction with AHA's in San Diego, CA)
June 1 - International Doubt Day
June 6 - Atheist Pride Day
June 7 - British Humanist Association Annual Conference (Leeds, UK)
June 13 - Ethical Union Lobby Day (Washington, DC)
June 13-16 - American Ethical Union's Annual Assembly (Fairfax, VA)
June 15 - SkeptiCal 2013(Berkeley, CA)
View our full calendar
Secular Movement News & Updates

After the tragic storms this week in Oklahoma, the nontheistic community has come together to raise money to help the victims. The Humanist Crisis Response program of Foundation Beyond Belief has opened a donation drive and by Friday morning the group had already raised $37,860. (Click here to contribute.)Atheists Giving Aid has also mobilized a fundraising campaign to help the tornado victims and as of Wednesday afternoon, they had already raised more than $16,000. (Click here to contribute.)

Tornado aftermath image at left courtesy of Shutterstock.

Graphic: Washington Post
A distressing map of religious freedom around the world


Wolf Blitzer Asks Atheist Tornado Survivor If She 'Thanks The Lord' (VIDEO)
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