Category Archives: news

The Right to Kill Your Child

Although she doesn’t know it, that is exactly what Colleen Hauser wants.

Forced Chemo

Police look for mom, son who fled to avoid chemo

SLEEPY EYE, Minn. (AP) — A courtroom clash between medicine and faith took a criminal turn, with police around the country on the lookout Wednesday for a Minnesota mother who fled with her cancer-stricken 13-year-old son rather than consent to chemotherapy.


Daniel has Hodgkins lymphoma, a highly curable form of cancer when treated with chemo and radiation. But the teen and his parents rejected chemo after a single treatment, with the boy’s mother saying that putting toxic substances in the body violates the family’s religious convictions.

Colleen Hauser said she had been treating the boy’s cancer instead with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and other natural alternatives — a regimen based mostly on information she found on the Internet.

Thanks to those dreadful interwebz, this poor boy’s mother has become convinced in the efficacy of a pseudo-Native American superstition called “Nemenhah”. Rather than letting the doctor’s treat Daniel she’s taken the boy on the run, where he will almost certainly die while taking vitamins and squatting in sweat-lodges.

What’s probably the worst fact of this case is that the Hauser’s have convinced Daniel of their nonsense. Though it’s hard to blame him. Undergoing chemotherapy is not a pleasant experience. It can often cause more pain than the patient has suffered from the cancer itself when the chemo treatments begin. And at the age of 13, how could a sick boy do anything but listen to his parents?

As strange as it may seem, I am not against adults refusing chemotherapy or other modern treatments. I’m not terribly happy when anyone makes a decision that ends up killing them, but an adult should have the right to do so if they can’t be convinced otherwise.

But a child doesn’t have that right. We recognize as a society that children don’t know enough and don’t have enough experience to come to decisions about their own safety. And as much power as parents do hold over their children, parents do not own them.

In Ancient Rome, the paterfamilias had ultimate authority over his family. He could put his children to death if they disobeyed him. But that is not the world we live in. You do not have the right to kill your child.

I just hope that the police find Daniel Hauser before it’s too late.


Army chaplains “hunt people for Jesus”

Below is a video from alJazeeraEnglish (say what you will, but they do better reporting than any American news agency) showing how evangelicals in the army stationed in Afganistan are proselytizing. They deny that they’re doing so even as they pass out New Testament bibles translated into local languages and preach to their congregation to “hunt people for Jesus” and “get the hounds hound of heaven after them”. HOUNDS HOUND OF HEAVEN?????

There’s a storm coming…a gay one…

As usual, it’s time for me to drop in with some light and simple humor to break up the deeper thoughts of my fellow FSGP bloggers.

Be scared, everyone. There is a storm coming. And it’s going to rain gay on everybody.

Pi Day

As many of you may know, Saturday was March 14th or 3.14 or Pi Day. This is a day in which we should all celebrate math and science and make learning fun. Many in the greater atheistic community have wanted to create atheistic holidays to celebrate since we don’t really celebrate religious holidays. I don’t have a problem with that, but it should be emphasized that atheism is not a religion and so we don’t need holidays. Humanism can be considered a religion to some degree and so a humanistic holiday would make more sense. In any case, Pi Day should be such a holiday. I was a little surprised however to hear Congress discussing the holiday in open session. In fact, Tennessee Congressman Bart Gordon sponsored a House Resolution honoring Pi Day. Here Tennessee Congressman Lincoln Davis addresses the Congress:

The really surprising thing about this House Resolution is that 10 Republicans actually voted against it!!! It seems the love of math and science is something they felt they needed to vote against. No money was appropriated with this resolution. No laws were created or changed with this resolution. All this resolution did was honor Pi Day and encourage scientific education through a simple acknowledgement. Yet 10 Congressman made the conscious decision to vote against this acknowledgement. So I am going to “out” these anti-science Congressmen:

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake
Nevada Congressman Dean Heller
Illinois Congressman Tim Johnson
Florida Congressman Jeff Miller
Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer
Texas Congressman Ron Paul
Indiana Congressman Mike Pence
Texas Congressman Ted Poe
Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster

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Religion On The Decline

Yesterday the results of the American Religious Identification Survey were released and it has become the topic of conversation on just about every news network. The big reveal is that religion is on the decline in America. This is of course in line with the Harris Poll which was released last year. Not only is religion on the decline in America as a whole, but the number of people who answered “No Religion” is on the rise in EVERY State.

One interesting statistic which might have gotten missed in the reporting is that Evangelical/Born Again Christianity is on the rise as is the “Non-Denominational” Christian label. Islam is also slightly on the rise (from .3% in 2001 to .6% today). Judaism on the other hand is on the decline… That is religious Judaism, not cultural Judaism.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, roughly 45% of all Christians consider themselves Born Again/Evangelical/Non-Denominational. While this is certainly not to say that 45% of Christians are Fundamentalists since Christians like former President Jimmy Carter considers himself an Evangelical, it certainly is a good indicator. In other words, I don’t think it could be accurate to claim that Fundamentalists or the Religious Right are just a small minority of Christian Extremists. It is clear from this survey and that of the Harris Poll from last year that the Religious Right (i.e. fundamentalists) makes up a significant number of the American Christian population. That is almost 34% of all adult Americans! Think about it that is one in every three adults is a fundamentalist.

The upside of the survey is obvious and should not only give us encouragement, but also help us plan for the future. While atheism is up in every state the important part is that we now know how much atheism is up in each state. For instance, we know that you are least likely to find a fellow person of reason in Mississippi and North Dakota than you are in Texas or Alabama. It would be much better to put some of our resources in Louisiana instead of Wisconsin. But we also need to make sure to continue educating people about religion and science on a national level. It does seem that the more outspoken we are becoming the more people are leaving their respective faiths. So I think it is important to continue being “out” as an atheist and to continue to be critical of ridiculous religious ideas.

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Jason Schnittker speaks about beliefs regarding mental illness.

Before I get to my regular post, I need to add a little something to my topic from last week. Tonight I watched the President’s address. On balance, I have to say that I really liked it. As is tradition, the opposition party broadcast a response following the address. The tradition is that the person chosen to give the response is a rising star within the party. Tonight was no exception: Bobby Jindal delivered the response.

I must confess that I didn’t watch the response. Tomorrow I’ll find out what he said, but I had absolutely no interest in hearing him speak. You see, Bobby Jindal is the evolution denying (pdf) exorcist Governor of Louisiana. And let me assure that these facts aren’t some closely guarded secret; it is common knowledge that Jindal is a creationist who claims to have once cured a woman of cancer by performing an exorcism on her. And yet (fully knowing his history) this is the man that the Republican party has chosen to be their face for this. It’s going to be a long, long, long, long time before I vote for a candidate from that party for any political office. [/political rant]

On the third of February, Jason Schnitker, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke to a snowy day depleted group at our monthly meeting. His presentation, An Uncertain Revolution: America’s Changing Beliefs Regarding Mental Illness, dealt with how the American public perceives mental illness (causes, treatment, stigma, etc.) and how those beliefs have evolved since 1950. The video is below, and his PowerPoint presentation can be found here (pdf).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Jason Schnittker: America’s Changing Attitudes towards Mental Illness from Freethought Society on Vimeo.

Adam Carolla: Freethinker, Atheist, Comedian and Modern Philosopher

Many of you have probably never heard of Adam Carolla.

Of those of you who have heard of him, you probably associate him with being one half of a sophomoric television show called “The Man Show”.

Sadly, not enough people know Adam Carolla as the deep thinker he is. He has spent the last 14 years on talk radio, and only last week had his show cancelled. In an attempt to ‘fill the void’ (his words) he has decided to podcast a daily show on his own.

Why should you be interested?

Although he does, admittedly, have a brand of humor that is considered sophomoric, he is also a very intelligent and deep thinker. He spent 11 years on the hit radio show “Loveline”, dispensing serious relationship advice to severely disturbed callers. Doing that and keeping it entertaining is no small feat. Occasionally, he would wax-poetic about atheism, rational thinking and the craziness of the religious.

If you want an ‘atheist’ show, Adam Carolla’s podcast may not be for you. But if you’d like to listen to a master of minutiae, there is absolutely no one better. So please, give support to a fellow Freethinker. You may just thank me for the recommendation.

You can find his new podcast at