News and Notes

By George Kane

george head smallThe Secular Coalition for America ignited a major controversy when it announced that it had hired Edwina Rogers as its new Executive Director. Without question, Rogers brings to the job an impressive inside-the-beltway résumé; the problem is that her work has been entirely for the Republican Party. That party is firmly established in the minds of most organized atheists as the wholly-owned property of the religious right and the champion of undoing the separation of church and state. Rogers was an economic advisor for both Presidents Bush, and General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.   

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Book Review: Inventing Jesus

By Bill Lehto

Inventing JesusInventing Jesus: The New Testament Narrative as Fiction, by Paul Gabel
702 pages
©2012, Paul Gabel

In Inventing Jesus, Paul Gabel, a history teacher, argues that Jesus was an entirely fictional character, with no historical basis, having been completely invented by the writer of the Gospel of Mark. The book is 700 pages long, and covers a lot of ground. Gabel is a good writer, and some of his sections provide succinct and balanced summaries of critical thinking on particular topics: his sections on feminism in biblical studies and on the debate over whether Jesus was apocalyptic are good examples. But these sections are just asides to his main augment about the historicity of Jesus.

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Associate President's Column: Help!

By Eric Jayne

eric.mug.1 origIf you are thumbing through this month’s newsletter looking for the President’s Column, you’re not going to find it. Since August was busy with other adventures, including a debate with theists in Canada, I agreed to fill in with an “Associate President’s Column.” I’m going to use this platform to make a public confession followed by a plea for help.

First, the confession: I’ve been regularly attending church lately and I’ve been joining others in prayer. That’s right; the associate president of the Minnesota Atheists has been going to church…a lot! It’s a little bit of a personal existential crisis but before you demand a recall election, please allow me to explain.

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Book Review: Candidate Without a Prayer

candidate without a prayerBy George Erickson

Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt,
by Herb Silverman
702 pages
©2012

If a man is going to publish his life story, he had best take the precaution of leading an interesting life first. Or at least to being a very funny writer or of lacing his pages with wittily unconventional wisdom. Or even being just an exceptionally nice person. Fortunately, Herb Silverman ticks all these boxes, and more.

With these words, Dr. Richard Dawkins, yes, the Richard Dawkins, began the foreword to Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt, and Herb deserves every word.

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The Day of Reason

day of prayer 12.1From noon to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May third, Minnesota Atheists hosted the annual Day of Reason rally inside the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda. This is the seventh year that we have held this celebration of the separation of state and church to protest the Day of Prayer event held at the same time outside on the Capitol steps.

There are many ways in which the separation of state and church is violated, and this year we focused on the denial of equal rights to gays and lesbians, especially when it comes to civil marriage.

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