Episode 53 – The Office of Religious Freedom. Again.

Welcome back listeners! Later on in this episode of The Legion of Reason we have one of Kris’ interviews from last year. This time the subject is David Niose (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/David_Niose), currently the president of the Secular Coalition for America (http://secular NULL.org/) and past president of the American Humanist Association (http://www NULL.americanhumanist NULL.org/). He is also the author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Nonbeliever-Nation-Rise-Secular-Americans/dp/023033895X). We also shoot the bull as we discuss in a totally unscheduled session about how each of us arrived at where we are in terms of our atheist activism, explore the latest rumor surrounding the resignation of Pope Palpatine (http://www NULL.guardian NULL.co NULL.uk/world/2013/feb/21/pope-retired-amid-gay-bishop-blackmail-inquiry), and discuss the recent inauguration of the Office of Religious Freedom (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/19/pol-ambassdor-office-religious-freedom-announced NULL.html), its first Ambassador-at-large and why we think it’s bad idea from the get-go. First off, though, we answer a great email from one of our listeners.

Andrew Bennett’s anti-secular world view (http://globalbrief NULL.ca/blog/2011/02/18/what-role-for-faith-in-21st-century-politics/)
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s troubling remarks that atheist/agnostics not worth the same protections from the ORF (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/commentary/letters/the-conversation-feb-23-letters-and-other-talking-points-of-the-week/article8988893/)
More troubling remarks from John Baird… (http://www NULL.international NULL.gc NULL.ca/media/aff/speeches-discours/2012/05/24a NULL.aspx?view=d)
Baird’s comments in Liberty magazine (http://www NULL.libertymagazine NULL.org/index NULL.php?id=1878)

Episode 52 – Ozzie Zehner, Author of Green Illusions

We have a treat for you today. In this episode, Kris and I interview Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Green-Illusions-Secrets-Environmentalism-Sustainable/dp/0803237758). Ozzie is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley after attending Kettering University and the University of Amsterdam. He has written pieces for Christian Science Monitor, The American Scholar, The Humanist, The Futurist and other publications, and has appeared on PBS, BBC, CNN and MSNBC. The central thesis of Green Illusions is that we do not have an energy crisis, but a consumption crisis. We spoke to Ozzie on the phone about how alternative energy sources tend to be zero-sum and about changing our habits and culture to diminish our dependence on oil.

Episode 51 – Bad Pope, Bad Pope… Whatcha Gonna Do?

Well, as you might guess, the one topic this week that we explore is the abdication and legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Not a good one, I fear. From the policy of obfuscating justice for child victims of sexual assault to the continuation of harmful doctrine, we explore Ratzinger’s tenure in the Vatican and discuss why there may be another reason other than the official one for ending his papacy before death do him part. It will be very interesting to see what the next few weeks reveals on the matter.

Intervening in punishmet of predatory priests:
Ratzinger refuses to allow defrocking of Father Lawrence Murphy for 200 incidents of sex crimes (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican NULL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)
Ratzinger accepts resignation of Father Marcial Maciel rather than allow prosecution for sex crimes (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Marcial_Maciel)
Ratzinger dismissed requests to laicize Father Stephen Kiesle after sexually abusing 11 year old (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2010/04/10/world/europe/10pope NULL.html?pagewanted=all)
Father Joseph Henn escapes house arrest in Vatican just before being extradicted to the US to face sex crime charges (http://ncronline NULL.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/priest-disappears)

Interference in sound public health policies to fight AIDS epidemic in Africa (http://news NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/2/hi/7967173 NULL.stm)

Ratzinger continued in the proud Catholic tradition of anti-gay bigotry (http://www NULL.cbsnews NULL.com/8301-202_162-57560487/pope-gay-rights-an-attack-on-traditional-family/)

Apparently, rape is not as serious a crime to the Catholic Church as abortion is (http://www NULL.time NULL.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00 NULL.html)

No change in contraception policy (http://archive NULL.lifenews NULL.com/int947 NULL.html) even though 82% of Catholics in US have no problem with it (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2012/06/07/birth-control-morally-acceptable_n_1575446 NULL.html)

Defrocking of priest shows Vatican holds rape to a lower standard than not towing the line when it comes to the ordination of women (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/michele-somerville/light-action-sacrifice-th_b_844038 NULL.html)

Vatican Bank scandals:
Banco Ambrosiano fiasco of 1982 (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Banco_Ambrosiano)
Money laundering allegations in 2012 (http://www NULL.spiegel NULL.de/international/europe/a-growing-vatican-bank-scandal-threatens-catholic-church-image-a-842140 NULL.html)

Pope to spend his remaining days hiding out in the Vatican to avoid prosecution (http://www NULL.examiner NULL.com/article/pope-will-remain-vatican-to-avoid-prosecution-for-child-sex-abuse)

2010 Indictment of Ratzinger for “crimes against humanity by the Center for Constitutional Rights (http://news NULL.yahoo NULL.com/abuse-victims-seek-intl-court-case-against-pope-100135627 NULL.html)
2011 Indictment of Ratzinger for “crimes against humanity” (http://www NULL.scribd NULL.com/doc/50317284/Pope-Lawsuit-2011-The-Pope-Has-Been-Indicted-In-The-International-Criminal-Court)

Scandalous popes in history (http://freetruth NULL.50webs NULL.org/C2b NULL.htm)

Episode 50 – Avec Tracie Harris

My wife and I were at the local Safeway today and I was perusing through the National Geographics on the magazine rack and out of the corner of my I spot one called – wait for it! – “The Law of Attraction”. You know, the whole “the secret” thing. A whole magazine dedicated to the belief that the universe gives a damn about the reader and to the proposition that if the reader would only picture good things happening to them that they will? If I think positively about a world devoid of religious belief would the universe reward me by making it so? I don’t think so.

Well, today we are in for a treat. Tracie Harris of “The Atheist Experience (http://www NULL.atheist-experience NULL.com/)” and “Godless Bitches (http://godlessbitches NULL.podbean NULL.com/)” fame is the first of what are to be many guests this year on the Legion of Reason. We had a great time chatting about her coming out as an atheist and we shared a little Canadian insanity in the form of two news items. One of those we discussed a bit last week, the letter several backbenchers sent to the RCMP requesting late term abortions be investigated as “potential murders” (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/politics/story/2013/01/31/pol-cp-conservative-mps-rcmp-letter-abortion-homicide NULL.html). The other was the cessation of financial support from the federal government for an anti-gay faith-based organization (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/10/pol-cp-anti-gay-religious-group-gets-funding-from-ottawa-to-work-in-africa NULL.html) doing relief work in anti-gay Uganda. We’re more American than we often consider.

Episode 49 – Following Alice Down the Rabbit Hole

Welcome once again to the Legion of Reason! Kris, the ever feisty Twylla, Haysn and I make like Alice and dive into the insanity that can result from the intersection of religion, alternative-to-medicine and conspiracy paranoia. Yes, we have found an example of the skepticism trifecta! Next up we anti-vaccination proponent Jenny McCarthy (of the Jenny McCarthy bodycount infamy). She was invited as a guest fitness instructor for an Ottawa cancer fundraiser called “Bust A Move”, but was dropped after a backlash by skeptics. Victory is ours! And we are going to have a special guest co-host next Sunday, but you’re going to have to listen to the damn episode to find out who! And the coming Darwin Day on February 12 has officially been recognized in the province of Saskatchewan and the city of Vancouver! Great accomplishment! And several Conservative backbenchers attempt yet another end-run around the fact that abortion is legal by – wait for it! – claiming that abortions being performed after 20 weeks gestation are “possible homicides”, and want the RCMP to investigate! Oy… But first, we discuss the question of whether prosthyletizing in the workplace is – as a recent Billy Graham Ministries video makes it out to be – appropriate behavior. Spoiler alert: the answer is HELLS no!

Billy Graham video: That Awkward Moment When You Try to Share Your Faith (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=0fQ4K3lyZFE)
Saskatoon’s Shiloh Biblical Institute of Natural Medicine (http://www NULL.sbinm NULL.com/)
Director Carol Bird’s bio (http://www NULL.sbinm NULL.com/#!faculty-and-staff/c1a8i)
Supposed leaked Pentagon video: FunVax (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=2MuXgpl2Sxg)
Official Darwin Day recognition in Saskatchewan (http://saskskeptics NULL.com/2013/02/03/2013-saskatchewan-darwin-day-recognition/) and in the city of Vancouver (http://darwinday NULL.org/proclamations/vancouver-canada-darwin-day-proclamation-2/)
Julia Belluz’s Science-ish article on the Jenny McCarthy debacle (http://www2 NULL.macleans NULL.ca/2013/02/01/how-did-anti-vaccine-campaigner-jenny-mccarthy-earn-a-platform-at-an-fundraiser-for-cancer-care/) in Mcleans