SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: “How Atheist Campaigner Madalyn Murray O’Hair Became America’s Most-hated Woman” / The Guardian ☮

This week, the film The Most Hated Woman in America comes to Netflix, with Melissa Leo playing Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist who campaigned against the church’s influence in public and political life (the title comes from the headline on a 1964 interview with her in Life magazine). While Murray O’Hair is not widely known outside of the US, she had an extraordinary life. Long before the likes of Richard Dawkins, she gained notoriety for helping to push bible readings out of schools, and in 1963 she founded American Atheists. It’s a group that is still going today, campaigning against Donald Trump’s plan to abolish the rule that forbids religious institutions, among other charitable organisations, from getting involved in political activity and funding). For the next few decades, Murray O’Hair devoted her life to campaigning against the church’s power. She was a contentious figure, and when she disappeared in 1995, along with her son and granddaughter from their home in Austin, Texas, that too was controversial.

h/t: Continue reading . . .

A true-crime biopic about the disappearance of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of the “American Atheists” and pioneering firebrand in the political culture war, The Most Hated Woman in America captures the rise and fall of a complex character who was a controversial villain to some and an unlikely hero to others.

The film stars Academy Award® winner Melissa Leo, Josh Lucas, Adam Scott, Vincent Kartheiser and Juno Temple, and was directed by Tommy O’Haver from a script by O’Haver and Irene Turner. Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman and Laura Rister produced.

The Most Hated Woman in America premieres on Netflix on March 24, 2017.

ATHEISTS AND LIBERALS: ” People with Atheist Beliefs and Liberal Views are More Intelligent Than Conservatives, Study Finds” ☮

atheist-beliefs-intelligentThe studies  

There is data to support Kanazawa’s claims about IQ scores and the relation to liberalism and religion. Studies from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health support Kanazawa’s theories. They found that young adults who describe themselves as being “not at all religious” have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as being “very religious” have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.  

In terms of liberalism, young adults who identify as being “very liberal” have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as “very conservative” have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence. It is worth noting that both the description of very religious and very liberal is subjective, and means something different to each participant in the study.

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THE GREAT AGNOSTIC: “What I want for Christmas” / Freedom From Religion Foundation / Robert Green Ingersoll ☮

Robert Green IngersollWHAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS
By Robert Green Ingersoll
The Arena, Boston, December 1897

If I had the power to produce exactly what I want for next Christmas, I would have all the kings and emperors resign and allow the people to govern themselves.

I would have all the nobility crop their titles and give their lands back to the people. I would have the Pope throw away his tiara, take off his sacred vestments, and admit that he is not acting for God — is not infallible — but is just an ordinary Italian. I would have all the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and clergymen admit that they know nothing about theology, nothing about hell or heaven, nothing about the destiny of the human race, nothing about devils or ghosts, gods or angels. I would have them tell all their “flocks” to think for themselves, to be manly men and womanly women, and to do all in their power to increase the sum of human happiness.

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