Heretic on the Hill: O Come, All Ye Unfaithful

What is the atheist’s favorite Christmas movie?

Coincidence on 34th Street.

Thank you. I like to open with a joke, I just don’t usually have one. If you’re interested in a scholarly study on whether atheists and Christians have different senses of humor, you can find one here in the journal Humor. Read sentences like,”The overriding determiner of funniness was found to be the inherent comical quality of individual jokes as well as, to some degree, the joke category from which humorous passages were drawn, rather than the presence or absence of Christian faith among the joke recipients.” That’s right, it’s in a publication called Humor.

Regular readers of this feature will recall the October 11th installment that looked at the question, Is Demography Destiny? (They are all in the Blog.) Last week we got new demography. OK, demographics. A new study from the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian is down to 63 percent and the number who identify as religiously unaffiliated is up to 29 percent. Read it here. Maybe the Hallmark Channel will back off on those Christmas movies. Maybe radio stations won’t start the Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Perhaps not quite as many people telling you Merry Christmas. Who says we’re not winning the "War on Christmas"?

Thank you to everyone who responded to our Action Alert concerning a provision that prevents religious organizations from discriminating in childcare programs they run if they receive federal childcare funding from the Build Back Better legislation. That bill, the President’s enormous social welfare effort (education, childcare, healthcare, and more) has stalled in the Senate. There just aren’t enough votes to pass it this month.

At the beginning of each year the ancient Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. After Julius Caesar whipped up a new calendar in 46 B.C.E. and named the first month for the god Janus, who looked both backwards and forwards, Romans began to offer sacrifices to Janus and made promises of good conduct for the coming year. Who am I to ignore 4,000 years of people promising to return things and, more recently, to lose a few pounds? Here are some resolutions for 2022:

• See the Do No Harm Act passed into law. It would be surprising if the House did not flip to a Republican majority after the November Elections so this is the year to pass this important bill that clarifies the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and prevents it from being misapplied in religious freedom cases.

Work with the White House to rescind remaining Trump Administration regulations that undermine the separation of religion and government (we have seen several rescinded this fall). And work with them to promote new regulations to strengthen that separation throughout the government agencies going forward.

Work with SCA supporters on how to be active and effective in advocating for a secular government.

• Devise a way to convince six Supreme Court justices that God has spoken to them and encouraged them to back off their attack on religious freedom issues. (Note to self: look into LSD.)

On a serious note, your support is what keeps our coalition in the fight for secularism. For 20 years, the Secular Coalition for America has brought together atheists, agnostics, humanists, and freethinkers, to fight for freedom without favor and equality without exception. Join us in the fight! Please include SCA in your end of year giving. Your contributions go directly to our lobbying work on your behalf and through December 31 will be matched up to $25,000. Click the button below to learn more. Thank you.

Wishing you a Merry Solstmas!

Scott MacConomy
Director of Policy and Government Affairs
Secular Coalition for America

Spreading Happiness

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