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This Week in Atheism 2018–12–16


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/12/16

“Today, we have just one story for you, because it’s a longer read than most other stories I share. It is absolutely worth the read, however, the author, James, is eloquent and clear. I really loved this story and I hope you will, too:

For most of my life, I was Jewish. I was raised Jewish by my Jewish parents and didn’t, in fact, never, saw any reason not to follow in their footsteps. We weren’t a very religious family. The topic of God, tradition, or faith didn’t come up very often. In fact, even the very concept of religion didn’t come up except for our occasional trips to the local Synagogue for the Jewish high-holidays or on random Friday nights where me and my family would practice a simple Shabbat consisting of the lighting of candles, the eating of challah, the drinking of grape juice, and the saying of a few short prayers in Hebrew. I did believe in God and some of the stories of the Torah (Old Testament), but not in a very meaningful way; it almost never seemed to have any impact on my daily life, thoughts, or other beliefs. I did hold a literalist interpretation of several biblical stories, but I didn’t think about them very often, if at all. My parents, nor no Rabbi, ever told me that that was the way I should read passages in that way, but I’ve always been a very literal person. I understood what metaphor was, of course, but I often had a hard time discerning when, if at all, a non-literal meaning was appropriate.


“(CNN)An atheist couple in Canada who complained about classroom celebrations of religious holidays was awarded $12,000 (almost $9,000 in US money) by a human rights tribunal after their daughter was barred from re-enrolling in her preschool.

The outspoken parents sued Bowen Island Montessori School (BIMS) in Bowen Island,”


“LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — He spent decades in the financial world, even co-founding a bank in the weeks leading up to 9/11.

Now, Scott Shay has a new book out called “In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism.”

He joined us live via satellite to talk about the book and how he approached the issues.”


“The US Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office, however, being an atheist in politics has been a powerful political taboo in our nation. New research finds that this bias against candidates who don’t believe in God has notably weakened. A poll conducted by Lake Research Partners for the American Humanist Association and the Center for Freethought Equality and funded by the Stiefel Freethought Foundation shows that being nonreligious, agnostic, or atheist need not be considered an impediment to a candidate’s electoral success.

Talking with candidates running in the 2018 midterm election about the political cost of identifying as an atheist was the impetus for the poll. A candidate in a very red district, where the last Democratic opponent received less than 20 percent of the vote against the Republican incumbent, said he couldn’t possibly identify as an atheist because he couldn’t afford to lose any more voters. He said he automatically lost voters by identifying as a Democrat, more since he is pro-choice, and even more with his support of LGBTQ equality. This begged the question: Would the supporters of a pro-choice, LGBTQ equality Democrat care if their candidate was also an atheist? Reliable data was needed to answer this question.”


“Atheism and faith can coexist in schools but it takes more tolerance from both sides, according to diversity and inclusion expert Alden Habacon.

Habacon’s warning comes after the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal recently ruled in favour of an atheist family who didn’t want their young child exposed to religious celebrations like Christmas and Hanukkah at the Bowen Island Montessori School.

The parents were asked by the school to sign a letter saying they accept the school’s cultural programs before their child could re-enrol, which was found to violate their human rights. The school was ordered to pay them $12,000.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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