Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense


Another win by John E. Jones III

Equal RightsJudge John E. Jones III ruled today that the Pennsylvania ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. Judge Jones is the same judge that ruled in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case in 2005, scoring a big point for science standards, shutting down the attempt to push "Intelligent Design" into the Dover School District’s science curriculum.

This time, instead of protecting science, Judge Jones protected equal rights, saying of the Pennsylvania ban on same-sex marriages, "We are a better people than what these laws represent. It is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

Governor Tom Corbett can appeal the ruling (and probably will), but it’s doubtful that will accomplish anything other than rallying the backward-minded members of his political base and wasting time and money.

What Gov. Corbett should do, however, is leave well enough alone. Pennsylvania is (was?) the last northeastern state to disallow same-sex marriages. It’s sad and embarrassing. It’s well past time for Pennsylvania to leave the bigotry behind and stand up for equal rights. As Judge Jones stated, the term "same-sex marriage" will be abandoned in favor of "marriage" someday.

Let’s make that day today.

Who knew?

I just saw this store under construction at a local shopping center.

LifeWay Christian Store

It’s not open yet, but it will be so great when you can buy Christians! I had no idea that was even a thing!

Miracle Babies

Another currently relevant comic by The Atheist Pig

The Atheist Pig - Miracle Babies

(click the image to see it full-size at

Try again…

I would wager that this is the real reason most people who oppose gay marriage actually oppose it.

The Atheist Pig

I (heart) Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart addresses the birth control mandate and the oppositions claims of “religious persecution” and “wars” on religion.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Vagina Ideologues – Sean Hannity’s Holy Sausage Fest
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Jediism (via Virtual Shackles)

I thought this was perfect!

Jediism via Virtual Shackles

[click image to embiggen]

Hooray for New York!

New York finally passed legislation to allow same-sex marriage in their state. According to CNN (and other news sites), the vote was 33-29 in favor. It was the “first time a state Senate with a Republican majority has approved such a bill.”

Other than the awesome news that gay couples will now have the same rights as straight couples, that also means that there are still 29 people in the New York senate that are probably theocratic bigots.

Says the CNN article…

The new law, which will allow same-sex couples in New York to marry within 30 days, drew a sharp rebuke from opponents, who spent millions to try to defeat the measure.

Because, you know… those damn gays!

But the Catholic Church stepped up in support! Oh wait. No they didn’t.

“We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization,” the state’s Catholic bishops said in a joint statement released late Friday. It was signed by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and seven other bishops.

It’s an absurd argument. Marriage isn’t undermined by omg-teh-gheys!!!. It’s undermined (if it is at all) by drunken Vegas weddings, marriages of convenience, sex scandals and infidelity, hypocrisy, televised marriage contests, marrying for money, serial marrying, arranged marriages, and a myriad of other things, none of which have anything to do with two people of the same sex loving each other.

And to show how loving and considerate the opponents of same-sex marriage are…

Opponents of the marriage equality law have vowed to take political action against any Republican who voted for the bill.

Because presumably, standing up for equal rights is just wrong and should be punished!

Fortunately, there were enough rational politicians to get this measure passed. It’s sad that it needs to be passed at all. You’d think in a country that prides itself on freedom and human rights, this would be a complete non-issue, but the religious right can’t help but try to impose their twisted moral values on the rest of us.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets it, though.

“In recent weeks, I have had many conversations with our state Senators. I emphasized that not only is marriage equality consistent with bedrock American principles, but it is also consistent with bedrock Republican Party principles of liberty and freedom — and the Republicans who stood up today for those principles will long be remembered for their courage, foresight, and wisdom. In fact, 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, I believe they will look back at this vote as one of their finest, proudest moments,” Bloomberg said in a statement released shortly after the vote.

So three cheers for New York. Kudos to those Republicans who had the wisdom and courage to stand up to their party’s archaic stance on the matter.

And congratulations to all those who are waiting to be married and now are able.

Dear Christians…

“Dear Christians who find Harold Camping crazy, you’re not that different if you think Jesus is still coming back, but at an unknown time.”

Tweeted by Hemant Mehta of The Friendly Atheist.

Retweeted and posted here due to the plain truth if it.

Why take them seriously?

Here’s why it’s really hard to take the religious right seriously.

“I don’t believe in global warming,” said conservative activist Kim Simac, a horse trainer and mother of nine from Wisconsin who also believes that the teaching of creationism and prayer need to be brought back to public schools.



One delegate, Sue Phelps, drew comparisons between Barack Obama, Fidel Castro and Adolf Hitler – “they were good orators too” – and said the president’s nationality and religion were “unanswered questions”.



“Today in America, far too many young people enter adulthood unprepared for college, career, and life,” said Allan Golston, president of The Gates Foundation’s U.S. Program. [Drew] Dickens agrees and believes that “part of the problem is that we have removed prayer and the Ten Commandments from our schools and curriculum.”


I could go on. When people are that vocal, yet that oblivious to facts, that ignorant of the Constitution, and that eager to force their religious beliefs on others, they’ve really got no room to complain when they are ignored or mocked.

A Better Approach

At the beginning of last month, I wrote about the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s sign at the Olympia, Washington capitol building, stating that I wasn’t all that pleased with the approach they took with the wording of the sign. Since then, I’ve read a lot (and I mean a lot) of commentary about that situation and have decided two things.

First, I think the point of displaying the sign wasn’t to further atheism, per se, but was more to demonstrate the point that government buildings shouldn’t be hosting religious displays of any kind. Not only was the FFRF’s sign displayed, but because of the “open door” policy required due to the Alliance Defense Fund’s lawsuit, there were displays requested  for other “religions” as well (Pastafarianism, Festivus) including an application by the Westboro Baptist Church to put up a sign declaring that “Santa Claus Will Take You To Hell.” It turned into quite a fiasco which, to anyone who wasn’t too incensed to miss the point, demonstrates in grand fashion just why religious displays have no place in government buildings.

Second, I still don’t think it was the best approach. FFRF’s stated goals are (from their bylaws) “to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.” I think both of those goals are admirable and could have been accomplished in a way that would have brought far less scorn to atheists.

I read this article today by David Gleeson (who has a similar view about the situation) and was impressed with his suggested alternate message.

At this season, may reason triumph over fear and superstition, and may we renew our commitment to life, love, and the bonds of our shared humanity.

That’s good stuff.

David makes a number of other good points in his article as well and I especially agree with him about the absolute statements in the FFRF’s sign. Dan Barker of the FFRF should know better. Lack of evidence does not necessarily mean lack of existence. It might. It might not. We don’t know and we cannot possibly know… for certain. Claiming to know with certainty cripples us in the same faith-based trap as religion. Based on the evidence (or lack thereof in this case), I can believe there is no god, but I cannot know there is no god.

So David’s softer, more positive message is a winner in my book. I think it would have been a much better approach. It  probably still would have stirred up enough controversy to make the “separation of church and state” point, but it would have done it without putting another black mark on atheists.