Episode 36 – Interviews with Secular Coalition for America’s Herb Silverman, Woody Kaplan and Edwina Rogers

Well, Legionnaires, I’m back from Kansas City. Hopefully I’ll know how things went some time this week, but on the whole I have a pretty good feeling about how things went there. In fact, the longer I don’t hear anything, the better, it seems to me. If there was a reply today it would probably be a “thanks but no thanks” one.

No new stuff this week. I need a short break. Instead, I’m unleashing two interviews Kris did at the American Humanists conference in New Orleans earlier this year. In the first, Kris interviewed Herb Silverman and Woody Kaplan. Herb Silverman was a mathematician at the College of Charleston that decided to challenge the religious test for office in South Carolina by running for the office of governor. In Silverman v Campbell, the state supreme court ruled unanimously that the sections of the state’s constitution which read “No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution” violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution. He is a founder and current president of the Secular Coalition for America (http://secular NULL.org/). Woody Kaplan also has a Chair with the Secular Coalition of America and is a former member of the ACLU’s National Board of Directors, the founder of the Civil Liberties List, a political action committe, and is an active civil liberties activist.

In the second interview, Kris talks with the executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, Edwina Rogers, who took over the positoin earlier this year from Sean Faircloth, who Kris interviewed in Episode 26. Edwina has served in public policy positions in the US Senate, White House, private, and international sectors for over twenty years. She is what I think a rarity in the secularist movement, a conservative, whose cv includes a stint at the Department of Commerce from 1989 to 1991 during George Bush Senior’s years in the White House.


Episode 35 – Bad anti-Islamic films, more anti-vaxxer nonsense and atheist Gideons, oh my!

Hello once again Legionnaires! I’ve finally caught up on episode release. Yay! But we did have some Skype issues and you’ll know where it happens. We use Skype for communicating, but we record our own feeds and I use a Skype recording as a backup and to align audio. But on Monday night the intertubes were apparently a bit clogged. Anyway, we look at an Ontario couple trying to get atheist literature distributed in a school (http://cnews NULL.canoe NULL.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2012/08/28/20150556 NULL.html) in a very Gideon-like fashion and Twylla gets fiesty over anti-vaxxer Mary Tocco (http://www NULL.bionutritionalcare NULL.com/?page_id=389) peddling misinformation in Red Deer (http://revitalize NULL.myavena NULL.com/). First, though, we discuss that abysmal anti-Muslim film (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=MAiOEV0v2RM), the violent response in Islamic countries (http://www NULL.guardian NULL.co NULL.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/sep/19/anti-islam-film-protests?newsfeed=true) and local imam Syed Soharwardy’s take (http://www NULL.calgarysun NULL.com/2012/09/14/calgary-muslims-plan-saturday-protest-at-city-hall) on it.

Episode 34 – Listener comment and other stuff

Welcome once again, Legionnaires! I’ve been delinquent in getting this episode on the intertubes as there’s a lot happening right now in my personal life, and it can go one of two ways from here: it could get really, really quiet, or really, REALLY hectic. So, I’m an episode behind as we recorded the next one last night. Anyway, we discuss a good listener comment – not everything about which we agree with, but a good one nonetheless – and you can go to our website to find it and sing along. Some other weirdness happened to me that weekend at our garage sale. Either I’m a woo magnet or nonsense is more prevalent in the population than I’d feared. The director of CFI Calgary Nate Phelps has put out a call to arms asking for volunteers to help fight Bishop Fred Henry and his war on young women in schools. You can email Nate (nphelps null@null cficanada NULL.ca) or message him on Facebook if you are interested. And there’s a bit of other bric-a-brac we discuss as the conversation meanders like the blue waters of the Danube ….

LoR – Episode 33

Well, in our last episode I implied that something was going to happen on Monday. A Polish documentary crew was in town to do a piece on Artur Pawlowski and his street ministry. They couldn’t find anyone that was willing to create any balance to the story and Artur thought of us. So Haysn, Kris and I were interviewed on camera and we share our thoughts on that. On the day of recording was Calgary’s Gay Pride Parade (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/Calgary+Pride+event+generates+growing+political+support/7182265/story NULL.html), in which I took part and got some thoughts from people along the way. I apologize for the poor soundbite audio quality, but it was quite windy. We inject a little skepticism into the episode as a woo advertisement shows up in a British Columbia newspaper (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/oregano-oil-ad-a-health-hazard-b-c-health-official-says-1 NULL.938929) and a visiting speaker who believes in the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin (http://uchurch NULL.ca/wall/is-god-dead-a-scientific-skeptics-search-for-answers) (amongst other apologetic arguments). And finally, somewhat outside the perview of this podcast but something had to be said, we discuss the comments by a Friar in the US who blames some of the instances of priestly pedophilia on the victims (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/michael-dantonio/appalling-sexual-truths-from-friar-groeschel_b_1843120 NULL.html) (like that makes a difference even if true, which I highly doubt) and the almost instantaneous backlash that resulted.