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Scotland is a beautiful country, rich in heritage and culture. They have contributed everything from medical advancements to technological invention to the rest of the world. There is not a day goes by that most people worldwide do not make use of at least one Scottish innovation. The people are friendly and welcoming and let’s be honest, they speak with one of the warmest accents in the whole world.

However, there is part of their tradition that is holding them back in the way of societal advancement and includes something that here in the United States we don’t have to worry about. It’s called Religious Observance (R.O.) and it’s not just limited to private or denominational schools either. What this means is that every week of every school term children can be pulled from academic instruction to receive what amounts to religious indoctrination. Children generally attend holiday observances about six times a year, but it can vary by school. Now this is not a mandatory attendance, by any means. However generally speaking only about half of all parents are informed that their children don’t have to attend. The way it’s set up is what is referred to as “Opt-out” which means that as default every child attends unless otherwise specified.

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Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 08:32 AM PDT

Weekly Overdose

by NationalAtheistParty

Wait – What just happened? A roundup of the week in news, June 16, 2013

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you had a Pussy Riot in an Orthodox Cathedral in Russia, wonder no more! This week Russian parliament passed a law making “offending religious feelings” a crime punishable by a year in prison and up to three years if you desecrate a religious building or artifact. Members of the Russian parliament that passed the law wanted people to know that they weren’t being frivolous, this law only applies to people that act out in public, or go out of their way to offend religious sensibilities. Well, as long as they’re being reasonable about it...

Duck Mania is headed for the shores of the United States!  Florentijn Hofman, a Dutch artist has created a 54 foot, inflatable, yellow, rubber duckie. It gets taken from port to port and inflated for two week spans to bring “joy to the people” according to Hofman. It left Hong Kong on Thursday and began making its way across the ocean to the welcoming shores of America. This giant bath time fun toy has already visited the harbors of Osaka, Sao Paolo, Sydney, Amsterdam, and most recently, Hong Kong, where the big yellow guy received his most loving welcome to date.

You may have read our recent article about the rise in hate crimes this year, particularly in New York, but what you may not have heard about, are the superheroes patrolling the streets of Greenwich Village. Spyder, Spectre, Zero, and the Dark Guardian all don tactical gear and bullet proof vests, and take over where Batman and Robin left off. If there’s one thing gays love more than walking the streets of Greenwich Village, it’s walking the streets of Greenwich Village and encountering superheros of the night!  Defenders of an alternative lifestyle!  Protecting gayness wherever gaiety has been targeted!

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(originally posted on dividedundergod.com)

Margaret Doughty, a 64-year old woman from the UK who has spent the past 30+ years in the U.S., is in the process of applying for United States Citizenship and happens to be an atheist. She is currently a permanent resident running non-profit adult literacy organizations, doing her part to enrich the lives of American citizens. In the process of applying for citizenship, all candidates are asked if they’d be willing to take up arms in defense of the United States of America.  Ms. Doughty responded,

“I am sure the law would never require a 64 year-old woman like myself to bear arms, but if I am required to answer this question, I cannot lie. I must be honest. The truth is that I would not be willing to bear arms. Since my youth I have had a firm, fixed and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or in the bearing of arms.  I deeply and sincerely believe that it is not moral or ethical to take another person’s life, and my lifelong spiritual/religious beliefs impose on me a duty of conscience not to contribute to warfare by taking up arms…my beliefs are as strong and deeply held as those who possess traditional religious beliefs and who believe in God…I want to make clear, however, that I am willing to perform work of national importance under civilian direction or to perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States if and when required by the law to do so.”
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Photo courtesy of http://blog.timesunion.com/

In Texas, it’s illegal to solicit, pay for, and engage in sexual activity with a prostitute. What’s NOT illegal is shooting a woman you ‘perceived’ to be a prostitute, because she wouldn’t put out. That’s what many are taking away from the the San Antonio jury’s verdict to acquit a man of shooting an escort he hired from Craigslist.

For anyone not familiar with San Antonio, Texas, it’s probably the best place to get Mexican food in the states. It’s about five hours from the Mexican border, and one other little thing they won’t ever let you forget: San Antonio is the home of the Alamo. Ozzy Osbourne knows this very well after being banned from the city in 1982 for peeing on it while drunk, clothed in a green dress and heels.

San Antonio is rich with Hispanic and European culture, but what outshines everything is their impenetrable ‘Good-Old Boy’ mentality and way of governing that affects every aspect of life there, to one degree or another. Any time you see that many trucks, boots, and cowboy hats, you know you are no longer in the United States of America, you are in the Land of Tejas, and if you forget that, you’ll only do it once.

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Born of immigrant parents in 1924, and one of the greatest champions of the separation of church and state, Frank Raleigh Lautenberg simply was the American dream.

He served in WWII, earned a degree in Economics financed by the GI Bill, and worked his way up a little known payroll company called Automatic Data Processing…becoming its CEO in 1975. Moving to politics in 1982, he was New Jersey’s longest serving senator, the oldest sitting senator, and sadly, he passed away June 3, 2013 of viral pneumonia at the age of 89.

Looking back over Frank Lautenberg’s track record, one can’t help but feel like the loss of something tremendous. There aren’t any senators like Lautenberg left in Congress today.  Not just because he was the last “New Deal Liberal,” but because of what being a senator meant to Frank Lautenberg. He has resigned from politics twice, and both times he hoped he could get back in.  The last time was about three months ago when he acknowledged that because of his health, he would not be running for a sixth term.  Even as he made that statement, he followed it up with a hope that something would go wrong, and he’d be “called back” to Congress.

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With the help of the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) established in 2008 and the recent passing of HB 116 on May 6, Louisiana lawmakers have proved themselves able to go to great lengths in order to inject creationist propaganda into their state’s public schools. Now, at a recent Senate hearing, they’re really pulling out all the stops.

Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory testified at this year’s state Senate hearing (which was held primarily to repeal LSEA), voicing his views that faith healing and witch doctors should not be prematurely considered pseudo-science. He argued that if LSEA was repealed, then children would be kept from learning about the “science” behind the experiences individuals have had when it comes to faith healing, including his own.

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Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:50 AM PDT

Weekly Overdose

by NationalAtheistParty

Wait – What just happened? A roundup of the week in news, June 9, 2013

Oh Swiffer…
Rosie the Riveter. A cultural icon who represented the women in the United States who tirelessly worked in factories during World War II while their men were fighting overseas. Rosie “convinced” women that it was their patriotic duty to join the workforce and in doing so, inspired a social movement that allowed women to take off their aprons, put on coveralls and become the main breadwinners for their families, nearly doubling the amount of working women in the U.S. in a period of two years. Rosie has become a feminist symbol…and now a symbol for…clean floors?
As reported by Thinkprogress.com:
“The image is perhaps particularly insulting as it comes out just days after the news that, more than ever, women are becoming primary or co-breadwinners in their households. But Swiffer does get one thing right in their targeted advertising: As women are doing more work in the office, they are still expected to provide most of the help in the kitchen.”
“For her” advertising is outdated and offensive, and yet ad agencies and product companies still keep getting it wrong. BIC Crystal For Her was mocked to death on Amazon (do yourself a huge favor and read the comments). The ePad Femme, a pink tablet, was released with apps geared towards cooking, fitness and “pleasing your man”. And the list goes on.

Given the extreme backlash at the ad, Proctor & Gamble pulled the campaign. We screamed loud enough and they folded. To quote Rosie, “Yes we can!"

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A stereotype we shall not overcome

What's in a name like the National Atheist Party? Other than the obvious implication of nontheistic sentiment not a lot, perhaps – unless you count the fact that there are millions of "nones" (not associated with a particular religion) in this country, compared to mere thousands of registered members in the NAP.

Depending on the survey, those unaffiliated with any religion are estimated to comprise up to 20 percent of the U.S. adult population. But don't assume this means the “nones” are Atheists. Most are estimated to be Agnostics and likely to balk at being associated with the reviled word “Atheist.”

I believe this to be the case since even most Atheists I know – about 98 percent of them, if I had to gauge it – refuse to join the NAP because they don’t want to be associated with the word “Atheist.” So how can we expect Agnostics or other Progressives not adhering to any Christian sects to support an organization that contains a word that sounds so negative to the majority as the National Atheist Party?

Poll

Which name do you think will benefit this party in the long run?

12%3 votes
87%21 votes

| 24 votes | Vote | Results

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Sign our Petition to Require Officials to Pass Test to Hold Office

In recent months, several legislators have wasted public funds by proposing legislation that would either circumvent Constitutional law, or is redundant because of Constitutional protection, in order to further their personal agendas.

For example, in April of 2013, North Carolina state officials attempted to pass a bill that would allow them to declare a state religion – a clear violation of the First Amendment. Legislators felt the Establishment Clause did not apply to the states, displaying their lack of awareness of the Fourteenth Amendment and related Supreme Court decisions. Presumably because of national attention and public outcry from non-Christians, the proposal was shot down before anyone was able to vote on it.

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Unrest is brewing once more at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the infamous site of the last Indian Massacre in our nation’s history – a massacre that claimed the lives of approximately one hundred fifty Lakota men, women and children. This land is now up for sale and bids are already on the table from investors eager to make a profit while the Oglala Sioux Tribe, in a recent and unexpected course of action, has moved to seize the land using eminent domain (the power to take private property for public use by the state).

Unfortunately, many legal experts have doubts as to whether or not the Oglala Sioux Tribe will have grounds to use eminent domain in what has become a desperate and last-ditch attempt to save land that they, and many American Indians across the country, consider sacred.

According to an article in the Buffalo Post, speaking under the condition of anonymity, one top federal Indian law attorney in Washington D.C. expressed his grave doubts as to the projected outcome of such an endeavor.

“It would be very hard for me to see the tribe pull this off,” said the source. “If this was truly a viable option for tribes than it would be extremely easy for tribes to consolidate their land bases. They could simply seize whatever they wanted from non-members within the confines of the reservation, provided they pay just compensation. Who determines what just compensation is?

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Colorado’s groundbreaking amendment is signed into law.

Amendment 64 is something you may want to familiarize yourself with because it’s the first law of its kind anywhere in the world. In the November 2012 elections 55.32% of Colorado residents voted ‘YES’ on Amendment 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Only 50% of Colorado residents voted for Obama in that same election. Washington State also voted on a similar bill called I-502 in November that passed with 55.70% voter support. Washington’s new laws and regulations are set to go into effect on December 6, 2013. For a different perspective on Washington’s Initiative 502, Sensible Washington offers some caution.

Colorado however, had no plans of waiting to institute its new freedom and made the recreational (yes – recreational – not just medicinal, but recreational) use of marijuana legal for anyone over the age of twenty-one as of December, 2012. This past week we saw Governor John Hickenlooper sign our country’s very first set of regulations and laws regarding the selling, growing, and consumption of marijuana.

The plant is still federally classified as a schedule 1 drug along with heroin, acid, and meth. Schedule 1 drugs are classified as such because they have been deemed as very dangerous drugs with no medicinal value at all. We of course know that marijuana has many medicinal possibilities that range from pain management and aiding with ADD to the treatment of PTSD, which has shown tremendous support to veterans coming home from war. So why does marijuana remain on the Schedule 1 list, while cocaine sits comfortably at Schedule 2 with opiates?

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Sun Jun 02, 2013 at 07:00 AM PDT

Weekly Overdose

by NationalAtheistParty

Wait – What just happened? A roundup of the week in news, June 2, 2013

The German Cardinal of Cologne, Joachim Meisner, who is 79 and retiring soon wanted to make sure he got a parting shot at women on his way out. He bemoans the encouragement of women to establish themselves in the workplace or develop any kind of autonomy. He says immigrants are too needed in their home countries and should be encouraged to learn new trades in Germany before shipping them back home. He’d also like to see childcare out of the home done away with.

Mississippi is trying desperately to hold onto its title as the most anti-abortion state in the union. Mississippi heard arguments in April about the state’s case against Nina Buckhalter, who delivered a stillborn baby back in 2009 and is being charged with manslaughter because of methamphetamine that was in her system. Doctor’s cannot conclusively say what will and will not be ‘THE’ cause of a stillbirth or a child that dies shortly after birth as the restriction list you get from a doctor while pregnant can range from weight lifting restrictions, to food restrictions, and many variables in between. The biggest question of all is, "if it’s legal for a woman to abort an unwanted pregnancy, why is she being charged as a murderer for the unintentional death of a wanted child?"

Kids for cash program in Pennsylvania brings in millions! How shocked were you to find out this week that Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr has spent the last 5 years taking bribes from private prison institutions in exchange for maximum sentencing of all juveniles brought before him. Prisons, private or Federal are all funded by taxpayer money but try and understand why a “for profit” business is allowed to receive so much public assistance. The more prisoners they house, for longer, the more money they are able to bring in. Ciavarella’s request for leniency was ignored when he was sentenced to almost 30 years. For information on the 400,000 immigrants being jailed since 911 and those exorbitant costs, read this.

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