Yes, Richard Dawkins, your statements on Islam are racist

[Disclaimer 1: this post isn't intended as a character assassination - I'm not sure it's helpful to talk about people (as opposed to actions or statements) as being innately racist, and what I say here refers to the latter.] [Disclaimer 2: I'm writing from the point of view of a white atheist who isn't and [...]

100 of Britain and Ireland’s secular thinkers you should know about, who aren’t white men

Preface One of my most prominent blogs in the early part of my writing history was a list of 100 atheists in Britain who weren’t old, white, privileged straight men - atheists, that is to say, who didn’t fit the stereotyped image of atheism. Some months back, I was asked on Twitter to produce an updated version. [...]

Hearts and Minds.

You’re a new parent. In between the constant check-ups that your newly born son has to undergo in his first few years, you notice that he’s being pricked with an awful large amount of needles throughout the visits to the pediatrician. “Just your ordinary childhood vaccines,” the doctor tells you. You don’t remember getting as [...]

Wrongful Death.

• This past Wednesday, 76-year-old John Spooner was found guilty of first degree murder for the shooting of Darius Simmons, his 13-year-old black neighbor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After having his house broken into and several of his guns stolen two days previous, Spooner confronted Simmons on the sidewalk in front of his house and demanded [...]

More creationism at the Keswick Convention (Judgement and the Wrath of God Edition)

Remember the ‘Scale model of Noah’s ark‘ creationist exhibit, from this time last year in my hometown? The Keswick Convention is in full swing again, and a friend just linked me to this footage from the local marketplace. Watch out for more young earth creationism, threats of Hell, the blood of Jesus and salvos against [...]

Stigma.

The most common thing about the cold is the pity we extend to its sufferers. The sniffling, sneezing, leaking messes we become at the hands of an entirely armless organism no larger than Mitt Romney’s* credibility is a sight to be mourned by friends and enemies alike. We are given apologetic consoling – ‘Oh, you [...]

‘May he grow up in Thy constant fear’ – on digging up my certificate of baptism

Until last week, I didn’t know I was an Anglican. In Britain, the Church of England by and large is an object of humour. We joke about its reputation for tea and cake, leaking roofs and village fêtes, its desperate, undignified attempts to be trendy and current, the notion half its members are private atheists. [...]