I feel that cbayer is no longer able to maintain a sense of neutrality in this group as a group host.
In the last couple of OP's by her father, she has staunchly defended his posts and responses, seemingly without regard to the validity of the charges laid out against the OP she is defending. While I can understand a family connection and a natural reaction to defend one's kin, the following remark she made should automatically disqualify her from a position of authority in the group.
"There is no doubt that he has offended some here and has not been particularly sensitive at times. However, he is a good man, an honest man and a man who has made a positive difference in this world. This group of relentless bullies who will attack him for syntax or just using the wrong word need to stop. Once they target someone, they are vicious. I know it, you know it, everyone knows it. "
For a group host to make such a biased statement AND personal attack against a wide range of members is unacceptable.
This is DEMOCRATIC Underground, and for those of us that participate in this group regularly, we should be able to choose and recall those we allow to moderate it. I move that cbayer is replaced immediately as a group host.
On edit: Spelling
Answer: Oh, come on, you already KNOW the answer!!!
A former New Jersey Republican city chair has been arrested on multiple charges of using a hidden camera to videotape naked boys using communal showers at a Catholic high school.
Patrick Lott, the 54-year-old assistant principal at Bernardsville Middle School since 2009, is facing more than 50 counts including endangering the welfare of a child and invasion of privacy at Immaculata High School in Somerville, where he volunteered as a coach.
Investigators raided Lotts home about two weeks ago and seized computer files that included videos of naked male students in the shower. Nine or more of the students were under the age of 16, according to WABC.
The following sermon was given at a UU fellowship on Dec. 11th. I think that everyone who participates in the forum should read this, and get a greater understanding of just who WE are. We who reject your beliefs as superstition. We who choose a naturalistic view of the world. We who call ourselves atheists. To understand us is to know us. To know us is to understand us. Will you listen? Will you understand?
Am I speaking for all atheists? Of course not. I speak for me, and no one else. But I am willing to bet that those with whom I share the trait of non-belief will agree with the following, or at least I would hope so.
We are all Heretics in this room. At least according to sociologist Peter Berger who
thinks we are all heretics just by living in a pluralistic society. The English word heresy comes
from the Greek verb which means "to choose." In a society as diverse as our own none of us are
stuck with the religion we were raised in. Unlike most humans for most of history we have real
alternatives. This is why, to Berger, we all face what he calls the heretical imperative. No one
can avoid choosing their religious identity for themselves. This freedom comes with a
tremendous responsibility. Nothing shapes who we are and what we value more than our
convictions regarding ultimate reality.
I am here to represent people who do not worship any gods, people who choose live
without belief in the supernatural. We are called by many names: atheists, agnostics,
freethinkers, skeptics, secular humanists. I am comfortable with any one of these labels but
please do not call me an unbeliever. If you ask you'll find there are many things I believe in, and
I suspect you probably share some of those beliefs. I believe through reason, observation and
experiment we limited human beings can find some measure of understanding in this world. I
believe that the pursuit of truth and the cultivation of virtue are the most noble of human
aspirations. I believe patriarchy, authoritarianism and fundamentalism are the greatest threats
to human progress. I believe that the survival of human species depends on education and
empowerment of women worldwide. I believe that friendship is what makes life bearable. We
should choose our friends carefully, but once chosen, we should give ourselves to them fully. I
believe in many things and these beliefs help me make sense of the world. They inform my
goals. They direct my actions. I turn to them in times of hardship and uncertainty, because they
remind me who I am and the purpose I have chosen for my life.
It's not a lack of beliefs which earns me and my fellow atheists that label unbelieverit
is our lack of faith in the supernatural. The vast majority of people living on this planet believe
in a God or some other higher reality that transcends the physical world. Having faith seems to
be as ordinary a human activity as breathing. Its only natural to regard the relatively few who
reject the supernatural with suspicion. Why havent they signed on to faith? To answer that we
must return to the heretical imperative I spoke about earlier.
Faced with so many options how do we choose? By the authority of a tradition or
scriptures? Whos tradition? Which scriptures? Christians and Muslims both take their
scriptures to be the word of God but the Bible and the Quran contradict on numerous and
essential points of doctrine. By what criteria can we decide which scriptures are truly inspired
by God and which are merely the invention of human beings? What about miracles? Both
Hindus and Catholics point to supposed miraculous events and supernatural signs as proof of
their claims. On what ground do we affirm Catholic miracles yet deny Hindu miracles? What
about personal religious experience? What about the power of religion to transform lives?
Many Christians insist they know their faith is true because they can feel Gods presence. They
have direct knowledge of God through the inner witness of the spirit, but Muslims also feel the
divine peace that comes with submission to Allah and Zen Buddhists catch a direct glimpse of
enlightenment through the experience of Satori. Every one of these religions can point to
people who've turned away from violence or substance abuse through the redemptive power
of their faith. On what basis other than prejudice or an arbitrary preference for my own
tradition do I take the experience of Christians seriously and simply dismiss the experience of
Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists? Perhaps in the end it all boils down to faith. Perhaps you
must first believe and then you will see the truth. But what help is that? Centuries ago Julius
Cesar observed "Men are generally ready to believe what they wish to be true." Knowing this
we should be all the more hesitant to simply commit to believing something, without evidence.
Download the entire sermon here: http://www.doubtcast.org/docs/an_atheists_sermon_by_jerermy_beahan.pdf
...for the Religion group, but not here.
The US is increasingly portrayed as a hotbed of religious fervour. Yet in the homeland of ostentatiously religious politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, agnostics and atheists are actually part of one of the fastest-growing demographics in the US: the godless. Far from being in thrall to its religious leaders, the US is in fact becoming a more secular country, some experts say. "It has never been better to be a free-thinker or an agnostic in America," says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF.
The exact number of faithless is unclear. One study by the Pew Research Centre puts them at about 12% of the population, but another by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford puts that figure at around 20%.
Most experts agree that the number of secular Americans has probably doubled in the past three decades growing especially fast among the young. It is thought to be the fastest-growing major "religious" demographic in the country.
Professor Barry Kosmin of Trinity College, who conducts the national Religious Identification Survey, believes up to a quarter of young people in the US now have no specific faith, and scoffs at the idea, prevalent in so much US media and culture, that the country is highly religious or becoming more so. "The trending in American history is towards secularisation," Kosmin said.
In what way has religion contributed to the betterment of mankind that has ONLY come from religion and no other source?
Please, be specific.
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