Heather would never make it over there:
Reg - as you might have guessed, I couldn't resist leaving a comment - why is it their god can't do his own punishing?
I suppose it does not really matter which god we talk about when it comes to religious intolerance. Is it not strange though that whichever god it is, its followers tend to have the same intolerances as it does? I recall someone posted a good picture with a similar theme about a month ago if anyone can link a url to it.
Restricting the life or liberty of anybody because religious dogma.
The intolerance shown toward homosexuality and all of the rhetoric that goes with it. If one can love the person but hate the sin, that is no better than saying one can hate the person for the sin. The final nail in christianity's coffin for me was this matter alone. I could not follow an organized religion that condemned me and many others without a single thought on the matter. Homophobia finds refuge in the bosom of religion.
The rejection of legitimate scientific theories and teaching in schools (public or private) for the preservation of an interpretation of the bible. Intelligent design is not a theory. Evolution is...like gravity. The cry to have so-called intelligent design taught in schools is not the right way to critique the theory of evolution. Critique it by finding new evidence. Poking holes may spur the search for new answers, but those holes do not mean that God did it without being able to show evidence that that is indeed the case.
Additionally, the subtly ubiquitous proselytizing and presence of religion in everyday life. The desire is to proselytize everyone, to convert all, but not everyone wants it. And the worst part is that when people critique the views and beliefs being imposed upon them, the religious folks cry foul, claiming persecution. When a view or belief is made public it is subject to criticism and is no longer "sacred" (off limits), there is no special frame from which a person can argue when trying to tell everyone else to believe what he or she believes or else. This is not persecution, this is public discussion, and if you are willing to initiate the discussion you had better be prepared for the critiques and reactions.
My state constitution says that I'm not allowed to marry the person I love.
But seriously Lindsey - and I say this with no reference intended to differentiate same-sex marriage from any other kind - but isn't the institution of marriage itself, a hold-over from religion? A formal uniting of two people in "the eyes of god"?
Wouldn't it be more honest of atheists if NONE of us married? Civil commitment ceremonies I'd have no problem with, if the purpose was to hold yourselves up to friends, neighbors, and in effect, the world, but marriage - for ANYone - seems to have such religious connotations, and for atheists, to be so hypocritical.
I know, I know, there are legalities to be overcome regarding insurance, government benefits, etc., but if those could be overcome, wouldn't it be more logical for atheists not to recognize marriage as a valid institution?
The real purpose of marriage, many would argue, was to create a commitmment ultimately to the benefit of children, making two people (usuallly the parents) responsible for the care and well being of the child until adulthood. We could perhaps provide a law performing this function, but while it might not be called "marriage," in effect it would be much the same.
But apart from children, why marry?
Marriage has served a lot of different functions through the ages, but I'd say it's more like a business agreement than anything else. Religion and 'love' just got tacked on as decoration.
True, marriage customs have been dynamic since human culture first began, thousands of years ago. One of the first purposes of marriage was to define how property rights and/or political power and/or other cultural heritage (e.g. productive skills) would "properly" follow family lineage. Family connections affected community functioning, and vise-versa.
Traditionalist cultures have the most difficulty questioning such traditions, and explaining their "true" origins without mythical embellishment.
So it seems more true than ever to me now that most of (common) modern culture should keep their religious interests completely separate from their legislature's determination of civil union. We (or each state) can discuss what the definitions of civil union are--especially for the sake of children--for fiduciary/tax definitions of family/kinship, power of attorney, hospital visitation rights, and so on.
Religion can still say whatever they want about family relationships and behavior, but without imposing their will by meddling with civil law.
@Brad, it would even make sense for a legislator to always consider an atheist's perspective while passing laws that might affect them. Have we ever heard of that happening before? Nope! It's recently been religion that claims rights to special treatment by the law. I could be really cynical and say thanks to Bin Laden for making Christians rise up to seize power in secular nations, such as the US.
I was married - divorced, and have been living in a relationship for 23 years. Nobody cares. I really don't understand why anybody wants to get married - I think it is a purely symbolic gesture. Marriage does not protect children.
In Australia, xians are trying to get ethics and morals stopped being taught in secular schools. They are trying to tone down the sciences and push intelligent design.
The ongoing protection of catholic pedophiles is still ongoing to this day.
All religions hate women and sex - including buddhism.
How many religious familes of all persuasions - reject a family member, including their own children if they dare to question their particular religion - and even put them out of the house. Look at the cults of Scientology, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Judaism, Muslim - all will reject family members. I think it is the loving side of religion that inspires me the most. Just do the research.
Of course there are a lot of good religious people around, but it is the hate and vehemence of the above, that actually scares and mortifies me. I don't hate god, no god to hate - or religious people, but they sure do hate me.
In Australia, we have an Atheist female Prime Minister - could that ever happen in America - if not why not?
Marriage brings a whole lot of extra legal benefits not given to any other kind of couple, like joint taxes, hospital visitation rights, the ability to make medical decisions for your partner if he/she is injured badly or terminally ill, legal custody of children, and a whole bunch of other crap that makes life easier for two people living together. Marriage is no longer simply a religious thing, it is a civil contract between consenting adults that grants them extra benefits. I know that a lot of you dislike the idea of marriage, but not everyone feels that way and if two consenting people wish to get married then they should fucking be able to, because Christians don't have a monopoly on marriage. It would be nice if people could just sign a contract to gain all of those rights and we could do away the institution of marriage altogether but frankly, that's never going to happen so marriage should be available to anyone who wants it. I don't think I even need to mention the insulting and hurtful implication that my relationship is less valid and less deserving of recognition and protection.