Blog Update – Follow Me @!

I’m not actively blogging here at the moment, although I am writing about religion and the religious right quite regularly for Salon.Com.  There are a couple very good ones up right now on religious issues: One on Todd Starnes’ terrible book and another on the Air Force Under God debacle.  Check them out!

In the meantime, keep up to date, follow and subscribe to my general, ongoing blog at!

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It’s Not a Talk Show, It’s a Win Show

Guest Column by RobRoy McCandless

A friend of mine, defined by conservatives as a “liberal” but really just a left-leaning moderate, did a talk show with Jesse Lee Peterson, a pretty far-right conservative host.  I don’t have a lot of experience with these shows.  I’ve listened to a few Rush Limbaugh episodes, and of course the attendant sound bites that receive media attention.  A few others have passed across my radar without making much of an impact.  They aren’t speaking to me, just about me.  Because I voted for Obama, or support Social Security and unemployment protection, I’m labeled.  It’s interesting to be told how I’m a liar, how I hate America and how I’m tearing down the country, but only for so long.  It gets stale after the first ten or fifteen minutes, and it’s a rote script pretty much across the board.

The caveat here is that I don’t listen to liberal talk shows either, unless NPR can be considered that.  The wire to my TV was cut years ago, so neither liberal or conservative news programs make it into the house either.  I have no idea if the same is true on the other side of the extreme. But far-right conservative talk show hosts seem to operate by a rote script dictated from the hive mind.  It seems like they have a checklist of things they know their audience will equate with and latch onto, and spend their allotted airtime filling in as many boxes as possible. Continue reading

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Quoting Scripture and the Laziest Rhetorical Device Ever

I wrote an article a couple years ago about “Crucifixion Porn.”  I don’t want to rehash it, so follow the link if you’d like to read it, but for some reason, this now-old article still generates occasional comments from Christians who often respond with the duel strategy of disavowing “religion” while at the same time quoting scripture to me to make me see the error of my ways.

Continue reading

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Will This Never End?

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and I’ve already seen several news stories on the War on Christmas.  I’ve written about this before, but I never expected this to become as regular as Eggnog and as ubiquitous as the fat man himself.

Fortunately, I’m not the only one noticing.  Here’s a great piece about it from the Humanist perspective. And just for fun, here’s a great Meme.  Happy Holidays:

Stop the madness!

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A Love Letter to Bryan Fischer of the AFA

Dear Bryan Fischer: I adore you.

Ah, sweet Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, delightful, sentimental, hateful, misinformed, conspiracy theorist, and racist hatemonger. You are the greatest gift to the secular moment since Christopher Hitchens passed too soon from the planet.

Hitch was shrewd, funny, charismatic and intelligent—all the things that you are not, but still, Bryan, you are an inspiration to us all.

Your brand of Christianity is more offensive than the caricature many atheists create of Christianity to try and scare the people on the fence. Even better: Your opinions are real.  For a while I was stuck on Poe’s Law, assuming your radio, television and media empires were just some elaborate joke. Continue reading

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Calling Oneself a ‘Patriot’ Does Not Make It So

This essay appeared in the Good Men Project: One of my favorite web outlets.  Check out that version here!

I first noticed America’s problem with labels while reading about so called “family groups,” like the American Family Association, Focus on the Family and others.  The more these groups harped on “family,” the less I could see my own family reflected in their “values.”  In short, these groups don’t represent—or even recognize—my secular, progressive family.

I could not be more delighted.

The latest word that rings in my ears daily is “Patriot.”  Take a moment to think about how often you’ve heard this word over the past year or so, and you’ll notice it’s always used in the context of some person or group self-identifying.  It’s almost exclusively a self-adopted label. Continue reading

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