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Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

50 Atheism & Humanism News Articles
from 2nd Quarter of 2015
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source

6-30-15 How same-sex marriage ruling skirts science of 'born this way'
How same-sex marriage ruling skirts science of 'born this way'
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage, but didn't declare sexual orientation a "suspect class", which would give it the same protection as race. Marriage for all, no gay gene required. For same-sex couples in the US, 26 June was a landmark date: the Supreme Court legalised marriage between two men or two women in all 50 states.But one thing the decision didn't do was declare sexual orientation a "suspect class" under the law, which would have given it the same protection as race. One of the criteria for this classification is that the trait must be immutable – an argument that the gay rights movement has internalised under the banner of "we're born this way". But although there is some evidence that sexual orientation has a genetic component, most scientists agree that it's not that simple. "There's significant consensus in the scientific community that there's enough different interacting causes for sexual orientation that two different individuals can be gay for different combinations of reasons." (Webmaster's comment: It doesn't matter whether by driven by genentics or it's simply free choice. All human beings have the same rights to choose their own sexual orientations for whatever reason and have the same rights as anyone else regardless of that choice.)

6-29-15 US gay marriage: Texas pushes back against ruling
US gay marriage: Texas pushes back against ruling
Texas' top law officer has called the US Supreme Court decision legalising gay marriage in all 50 states a "lawless ruling" and vowed to support state workers who refuse to marry couples on religious grounds. The court ruled on Friday that marriage for all is a constitutional right. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said clerks could be fined if they refuse to issue marriage licences. However, he said that his office would defend them in court free of charge. (Webmaster's comment: We've become a lawless nation where breaking the law has become a right. The Texas official's actions are in open violation of the law of the land. They should be arrested, convicted of breaking the law and serve time in prison.)

6-27-15 US Supreme Court rules gay marriage is legal nationwide
US Supreme Court rules gay marriage is legal nationwide
The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States. It means the 14 states with bans on same-sex marriage will no longer be able to enforce them. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the plaintiffs asked "for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." The ruling brings to an end more than a decade of bitter legal battles. Same-sex couples in several affected states including Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Texas rushed to wed on Friday. However officials in other states, including Mississippi and Louisiana, said marriages had to wait until procedural issues were addressed. President Barack Obama said the ruling was a "victory for America". "When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free " he said.

6-26-15 European Countries Among Top Places for Gay People to Live
European Countries Among Top Places for Gay People to Live
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on same-sex marriage, the 71% of Americans in 2014 who say their communities are good places for gays and lesbians to live is not one of the highest percentages in the world, but it is also far from the lowest. Across 124 countries, this hospitable attitude ranges from as high as 87% in Spain and the Netherlands to as low as 1% in Senegal. On average, about one in three adults (34%) say their city or area is a good place for gay and lesbian people to live.

6-26-15 US gay marriage: Reaction to ruling
US gay marriage: Reaction to ruling
On Friday morning many Americans wondered if the US Supreme Court would announce its decision on whether states could prohibit gay couples from obtaining marriage licences. Some of the political reaction wasn't as joyous, however. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee condemned the ruling.

6-26-15 Gay marriage: US Supreme Court rules same-sex marriages legal nationwide
Gay marriage: US Supreme Court rules same-sex marriages legal nationwide
Same-sex marriage has been ruled a legal right in the United States in a 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court. The decision means that the 14 states which currently ban them will no longer be able to enforce that law. The ruling, which sparked celebrations outside the court in Washington DC, brings to an end more than a decade of bitter legal battles.

6-26-15 Baseball welcomes first openly gay professional player
Baseball welcomes first openly gay professional player
Baseball has welcomed its first openly gay professional player, in a minor-league game in California. Pitcher Sean Conroy, 23, took the mound for the Sonoma Stompers after agreeing to come out publicly in time for the team stadium's gay pride night.

6-26-15 Tennis's reluctant transgender pioneer
Tennis's reluctant transgender pioneer
Renee Richards made history when she walked out on to the centre court of the Forest Hills stadium to play in the 1977 US Open. She was the first transgender woman to play in a professional tennis tournament.

6-17-15 Homosexuality 'not un-African': report undermines anti-gay laws
Homosexuality 'not un-African': report undermines anti-gay laws
In a move that gives hope to African's LGBT community, a leading academic group has published a report on human sexual diversity that criticises discrimination. A comprehensive review of recent scientific papers on the subject, it concluded that sexual behaviour is naturally varied, and discrimination unjustified. It stated that there is no evidence that orientation can be altered by therapy or that being gay is contagious. The report also sets straight the idea that homosexuality is a Western malaise: "There is no basis for the view that homosexuality is 'un-African' either in the sense of it being a 'colonial import', or on the basis that prevalence of people with same-sex or bisexual orientations is any different in African countries compared to countries on any other continent."

6-17-15 Confidence in Religion at New Low, but Not Among Catholics
Confidence in Religion at New Low, but Not Among Catholics
Americans' confidence in the church and organized religion has fallen dramatically over the past four decades, from 68% in 1975 to hitting an all-time low this year of 42%. Confidence in religion began faltering in the 1980s, while the sharpest decline occurred between 2001 and 2002 as the Catholic Church grappled with a major sexual abuse scandal. Since then, periodic improvements have proved temporary, and it has continued to ratchet lower.

6-11-15 All forms of medical marijuana are legal, Canadian court rules
All forms of medical marijuana are legal, Canadian court rules
Medical marijuana patients in Canada can legally use all forms of the drug, the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled. Medical marijuana patients will now be able to consume marijuana, not only smoke it. Cannabis oil is now permitted instead of only "dried" marijuana, meaning people can bake it into food products.

6-10-15 Gay couples still waiting for Australian recognition
Gay couples still waiting for Australian recognition
Australia's gay community has lobbied hard for same-sex recognition. The majority of Australians support same-sex marriage but unlike their conservative counterparts elsewhere, Australian politicians are making hard work of the issue. The UK and New Zealand have backed change but Prime Minister Tony Abbott remains opposed. Declaring himself the last holdout in his own family, the conservative Catholic Australian leader, whose sister is in a same-sex relationship, does not support gay marriage.

6-3-15 A guide to transgender terms
A guide to transgender terms
Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as 1970s Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, has announced she is transgender, appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. It's fair to say many people don't know how to speak to or about transgender people. So what do the terms involved mean and what's considered polite?

5-29-15 Alberta 'creationist' finds 60m-year-old fish fossils
Alberta 'creationist' finds 60m-year-old fish fossils
When Calgary digger driver Edgar Nernberg came across five fish fossils in his digger bucket, he knew right away his find was "extraordinary". The Albertan, who has a longstanding interest in fossils, was digging a basement for a new home in Calgary's north-west. "No, it hasn't changed my mind. We all have the same evidence, and it's just a matter of how you interpret it." "There's no dates stamped on these things." (Webmaster's comment: You can lead the ignorant to the evidence, but you can't get them to think.)

6-1-15 Science Seeks to Unlock Marijuana’s Secrets
by Hampton Sides in National Geographic Magazine
Science Seeks to Unlock Marijuana’s Secrets
As the once-vilified drug becomes more accepted, researchers around the world are trying to understand how it works and how it might fight disease. There’s nothing new about cannabis, of course. It’s been around humankind pretty much forever. In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. The Chinese were using cannabis as a medicine thousands of years ago. Marijuana is deeply American too—as American as George Washington, who grew hemp at Mount Vernon. For most of the country’s history, cannabis was legal, commonly found in tinctures and extracts.

5-28-15 Approval of Out-of-Wedlock Births Growing in U.S.
Approval of Out-of-Wedlock Births Growing in U.S.
A new high of 61% of Americans say having a baby outside of marriage is morally acceptable, while 35% say it is morally wrong. This is a reversal from 2002, when more said it was morally wrong (50%) than said it was morally acceptable (45%). The third straight year that roughly six in 10 Americans have sanctioned this once frowned-upon behavior. In 2002, when Gallup first asked the question, more Americans said having a baby outside of wedlock was morally wrong than said it was morally acceptable.

5-28-15 Nebraska abolishes death penalty after veto-override
Nebraska abolishes death penalty after veto-override
The US state of Nebraska has abolished the death penalty after a veto-override was passed through its legislature. Nebraska joins 18 other states and the federal district of Washington, DC, in banning capital punishment, and is the first traditionally conservative state in four decades to do so.

5-27-15 Brain implant that decodes intention will let us probe free will
Brain implant that decodes intention will let us probe free will
Designed to give paralysed people more independence, the implant also lets us see if brain activity can show a person's decisions – before they realise they've made any. A brain implant has been developed that can decode a person's intentions. It has already allowed a man paralysed from the neck down to control a robotic arm with unprecedented fluidity. But the implications go far beyond prosthetics. By placing an implant in the area of the brain responsible for intentions, scientists are investigating whether brain activity can give away future decisions - before a person is even aware of making them. Such a result may even alter our understanding of free will. (Webmaster's comment: We have free will but only if we use our conscious mind to modify the decisions make by our unconscious one. We have to CONSCIOUSLY THINK about what we are doing and not let the emotions and decisions from our unconscious mind drive and decide our behavior. That's what those great big pieces of gray matter, the frontal lobes that house our executive functions, are for, thinking. WAKE UP and THINK!)

5-27-15 Same-sex marriage: Irish vote 'defeat for humanity' says Vatican official
Same-sex marriage: Irish vote 'defeat for humanity' says Vatican official
A landmark vote to allow same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland was a "defeat for humanity", a senior Vatican official has said. In the referendum, 62% were in favour of changing the Irish constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

5-26-15 Americans Continue to Shift Left on Key Moral Issues
Americans Continue to Shift Left on Key Moral Issues
Americans are more likely now than in the early 2000s to find a variety of behaviors morally acceptable, including gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between an unmarried man and woman, divorce, and embryonic stem cell research. Moral acceptability of many of these issues is now at a record-high level.

Americans Continue to Shift Left on Key Moral Issues: Moral Acceptability: Changes Over Time

5-25-15 Fighting persecution with martial arts in Pakistan
Fighting persecution with martial arts in Pakistan
Religious minorities are under ever increasing threat in Pakistan, where the recent killing of members of the Shia Ishmaili community in Karachi has caused alarm. But young members of one minority community are refusing to be cowed. Young boys and girls from the Hazara tribe are taking up martial arts to protect themselves.

5-24-15 Ireland votes for gay marriage
Ireland votes for gay marriage
People living in the Republic of Ireland have voted in favour of same sex marriage. It's the first country in the world to hold a vote on the issue. Almost two million people voted, with 62% voting yes.

5-23-15 Snapshot of gay rights around the globe
Snapshot of gay rights around the globe
On Friday, Ireland became the first country in the world to vote on same-sex marriage in a national referendum. It is an important landmark in the movement towards more rights for the LGBT community. But as Ireland moves towards greater equality, many other countries are moving in the opposite direction. Being gay is a crime in 77 countries, many which impose the death penalty.

5-23-15 Ireland same-sex referendum set to approve gay marriage
Ireland same-sex referendum set to approve gay marriage
Early results suggest the Republic of Ireland has voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum. More than 3.2m people were asked whether they wanted to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Government ministers have said they believe it will pass, while prominent "no" campaigners have conceded defeat.

5-21-15 Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in U.S.
Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in U.S.
The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans' 25% estimate in 2011, and only slightly higher than separate 2002 estimates of the gay and lesbian population. These estimates are many times higher than the 3.8% of the adult population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Gallup Daily tracking in the first four months of this year. (Webmaster's comment: Oh, My Gosh! Lock your doors, they're everywhere! Please Note: That's HUMOR! All professionally done surveys and polls have been coming up with less than 5% for the last 50 years. Where most Americans get their information from is beyond me. Probably from Fox News and social media which is pretty much worthless except for sex, lies, and video tape! The percentage really doesn't matter. What really matters is that they get and have the same rights as all other human beings!)

5-21-15 Boy Scouts' chief says ban on gay adults 'unsustainable'
Boy Scouts' chief says ban on gay adults 'unsustainable'
The head of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has said that the organisation's long-standing ban on participation by openly gay adults is unsustainable. Robert Gates said no changes would be made at the meeting, but opened the door to a future policy review.

5-21-15 Irish same-sex marriage referendum vote
Irish same-sex marriage referendum vote
People in the Republic of Ireland will vote on a same-sex marriage referendum this Friday. If it passes Ireland will become the first country to introduce gay marriage through a ballot.

5-19-15 Majority in U.S. Now Say Gays and Lesbians Born, Not Made
Majority in U.S. Now Say Gays and Lesbians Born, Not Made
For the first time, a majority of Americans say same-sex orientation is something gays and lesbians are born with rather than something that is determined by their upbringing or environment. Over the past 15 years, Americans had been much more closely divided on the issue. And in the 1970s and 1980s, majorities attributed same-sex orientation to environmental factors rather than innate characteristics. 51% of Americans now say people are born gay or lesbian while only 30% say upbringing, environment determine sexual orientation. Also new high of 63% say gay relations morally acceptable.

5-19-15 Record-High 60% of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage
Record-High 60% of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage
Sixty percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on its constitutionality next month. This is up from 55% last year and is the highest Gallup has found on the question since it was first asked in 1996.

5-18-15 Republic of Ireland preparing to vote in same sex marriage referendum
Republic of Ireland preparing to vote in same sex marriage referendum
On Friday, voters in the Republic of Ireland could make history by introducing same-sex marriage by the ballot box rather than by a parliamentary vote or a judge's decision. All the main political parties are urging a Yes vote, while the Catholic Church and many social conservatives want a No.

5-16-15 Colombia bishop offends both believers and homosexuals
Colombia bishop offends both believers and homosexuals
A Roman Catholic bishop in Colombia has offended believers at a conference on gay marriage and adoption. Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba said that homosexuality was not a sin and that gays were welcomed by the church. He then wondered whether any of Jesus's 12 apostles might have been gay or Mary Magdalene a lesbian. (Webmaster's comment: A little something for everyone.)

5-15-15 Irish Republic referendum over legalising gay marriages
Irish Republic referendum over legalising gay marriages
Voters in the Republic of Ireland can take part in a referendum next Friday on whether or not to legalise gay marriage. In a Politics Europe film from Galway, Adam Fleming hears how the debate has become heated in a country where religion still has a big part in public life.

5-14-15 Camp comforts children questioning gender identity
Camp comforts children questioning gender identity
For children who may be questioning their gender identity, the world can be an confusing place. But for one long weekend, some children can freely express themselves alongside their parents and siblings at a camp designed specifically for them.

5-12-15 US Christians numbers 'decline sharply', poll finds
US Christians numbers 'decline sharply', poll finds
The number of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen nearly eight percentage points in only seven years, according to a new survey. Pew Research Center found that 71% of Americans identified as Christian in 2014 - down from 78% in 2007. In the same period, Americans identifying as having no religion grew from 16% to 23%. Fifty-six million Americans do not observe any religion, the second largest community after Evangelicals. Five million fewer Americans identify as Christian now compared with 2007. But the United States still remains home to more Christians than any other nation, with roughly seven-in-ten continuing to identify with some branch of Christianity.

5-12-15 Vienna brings in gay pedestrian crossing lights
Vienna brings in gay pedestrian crossing lights
Dozens of traffic lights in the Austrian capital have been changed to show gay couples crossing the road instead of the traditional lone figure. Vienna has changed the signal images at 120 pedestrian crossings - also showing heterosexual couples - in preparation for the Eurovision Song Contest.

5-1-15 Religion, Race and Same-Sex Marriage
Religion, Race and Same-Sex Marriage
Support for legal same-sex marriage is strongly related to religion and partisanship. Black Americans, who tend to be Democratic and highly religious, are particularly cross-pressured on this issue. Attitudes about same-sex marriage have undergone a rapid shift in American society. As recently as 2009, 40% of Americans said they believed that marriage between same-sex individuals should be legal and recognized by law as valid. Those views burst through the majority level in 2011, with support reaching a high of 55% in Gallup's annual Morals and Values survey in 2014.

4-29-15 US Supreme Court hears same-sex marriage arguments
US Supreme Court hears same-sex marriage arguments
The US Supreme Court has heard arguments in a historic case that could legalise same-sex marriage nationally. Outside the court, protesters for and against rallied with signs, music, and preaching - reflecting the deep and sometimes bitter national divide. Inside, the proceedings were interrupted by someone shouting that the justices would "burn in hell" if they were to back gay marriage. Currently, 36 of the 50 US states allow same-sex couples to marry. Based on their questions, the nine justices appeared divided on the issue.

4-25-15 Bruce Jenner: I am living as a woman
Bruce Jenner: I am living as a woman
After months of speculation, Bruce Jenner has said he is transgender and identifies as a woman. "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman," he told Diane Sawyer on ABC. Jenner was speaking in a two-hour interview on ABC News where he confirmed that he'd been wrestling with his gender since childhood. The former US Olympic gold medallist is considered the most high-profile American to come out as transgender.

4-25-15 Iceland's Facebook war over sex education
Iceland's Facebook war over sex education
Iceland is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to gay rights - but more conservative views are not unknown, and one prominent musician has started a social media storm by attacking a new sex education curriculum. Gylfi Aegisson was once one of Iceland's most well-liked musicians, known for his folk songs about sailors. But he's now attracted the ire of gay rights groups after criticising authorities in one small town who decided instruction about homosexuality would be included in sex education.

4-24-15 An Estimated 780,000 Americans in Same-Sex Marriages
An Estimated 780,000 Americans in Same-Sex Marriages
Approximately 0.3% of adults in the U.S. are married to a same-sex spouse, and another 0.5% identify as being in a same-sex domestic partnership. In examining the total population of 243 million U.S. adults, these survey estimates suggest nearly 2 million adults are part of a same-sex couple, of whom 780,000 are married.

4-22-15 Falling meteor may have changed the course of Christianity
Falling meteor may have changed the course of Christianity
The early evangelist Paul became a Christian because of a dazzling light on the road to Damascus, but one astronomer thinks it was an exploding meteor. (Webmaster's comment: We'll come up with practically anything to explain what we can't understand. We'll even invent a God.)

4-20-15 Patrick Matthew: The first natural selection proponent
Patrick Matthew: The first natural selection proponent
Horticulturist Patrick Matthew developed a concept of evolution by natural selection that pre-dates Charles Darwin's by 27 years. King's College London geneticist Michael Weale suggests Matthew should be given more recognition for his work.

4-16-15 Guam governor backs same-sex vote
Guam governor backs same-sex vote
The governor of Guam has backed a referendum on whether the Pacific island should become the first US territory to allow same-sex marriage.The decision comes two days after a couple filed a lawsuit when they were denied a marriage licence application.

4-13-15 Gay penguin story on list of disputed library books
Gay penguin story on list of disputed library books
A picture book about two male penguins raising a baby penguin has again made a list of books to have received the most complaints from library users. And Tango Makes Three came third in a list of titles the American Library Association said had received the most complaints from parents and educators. And Tango Makes Three - based on a real-life story of two male penguins who hatched an egg at the New York Zoo - is accused of promoting a homosexual agenda. Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, a graphic novel about a young Iranian girl growing up in the years after the country's Islamic Revolution, is ranked second. (Webmaster's comment: The movie based on this novel is listed on the website Sioux Falls Feminists under Heroic Women Movies: Persepolis (City of Persians). It is excellent.)

4-9-15 Obama calls for end to 'gay conversion therapies'
Obama calls for end to 'gay conversion therapies'
US President Barack Obama has condemned psychiatric therapies designed to "repair" gay, lesbian and transgender youth. Mr Obama's statement was in response to an online petition calling for a ban on conversion therapies. It gained over 120,000 signatures in three months. The petition was inspired by Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender youth who committed suicide in December. Some conservative groups and religious doctors support conversion therapy. (Webmaster's comment: Those who support gay conversion therapies are intolerant bigots and they preach hate of anyone who thinks differently than they do. They believe they are the chosen ones and condemn all others to the imagined fires of hell. These spiritually empty people consumed with hate who practice conversion therapy should be publicly condemned!)

4-3-15 Arkansas and Indiana pass changes to religious laws
Arkansas and Indiana pass changes to religious laws
Arkansas and Indiana have passed laws to quell the outcry over new "religious freedom" legislation that critics say encourages anti-gay discrimination. Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a revised version of his religious objections bill that he hopes addresses these concerns. The amendments mean his state's law more closely mirrors what Bill Clinton signed into federal law in 1993. Indiana also approved law changes which were signed off by its governor. The Indiana amendment prohibits businesses from using the law as a legal defence if they refuse to provide services to gays and lesbians, or other groups.

4-2-15 Indiana lawmakers unveil proposed changes to religious law
Indiana lawmakers unveil proposed changes to religious law
Lawmakers in Indiana have announced promised changes to a controversial religious freedom law that has created a national outcry in the US. The amendment prohibits businesses from using the law as a legal defense if they refuse to provide services to gays and lesbians, or other groups. The change does not apply to churches, religious schools, or non-profit religious organizations. In addition to barring businesses from discriminating against gays and lesbians, it also prohibits discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, religion, age, disability, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and military service.

4-1-15 Arkansas governor asks lawmakers to reconsider 'religion law'
Arkansas governor asks lawmakers to reconsider 'religion law'
The governor of Arkansas has called for changes to a "religious freedom" bill after a similar law in Indiana has drawn a firestorm of criticism. Wal-Mart and other companies had urged Governor Asa Hutchinson not to sign the bill. Hundreds in Arkansas have protested against the measure this week.

4-1-15 Arkansas lawmakers pass 'religion freedom' bill
Arkansas lawmakers pass 'religion freedom' bill
Arkansas has approved a religious freedom bill similar to one that has caused a storm of protest in Indiana. Critics of the law say it could be used to discriminate against gay people because it gives business owners a legal defense based on their faith. The bill would prohibit state and local governments from infringing on a person's religious beliefs without a "compelling" reason.

4-1-15 Don't believe in belief
Don't believe in belief
We trust leaders who speak with conviction – but statements of belief need to be backed by evidence and argument. FOR millions of people around the world, this weekend is a special occasion – a time to celebrate the central article of their religious faith, Jesus's resurrection and ascension to heaven. Not one of these people can really know what happened 2000-odd years ago in Jerusalem. And yet they believe their version of events is true. In some cases, they base their entire world view on it, and view the billions who do not share their belief as benighted. But the more we learn about how beliefs work, the less exceptional religion looks. It turns out that almost all of our beliefs are built on intuition, biases and gut instinct: yet another facet of our mental lives over which we possess less conscious control than we like to think. Science is not exempt. The scientific method is based on verifiable evidence, and is thus not a belief system, despite frequent claims to the contrary. But scientists, as humans, are influenced by their own beliefs about what is important, what they might find and what their findings mean. Yet it is still by far the best way to distinguish what we believe from what we know.

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50 Atheism & Humanism News Articles
from 2nd Quarter of 2015

Atheism & Humanism News Articles from 1st Quarter of 2015