Thought of the day

I heard there are billboards in LA that indicate the rapture will happen between 5:30 and 7:00. Unfortunately, I was not told if that was a.m. or p.m. Can anyone help me out? I really want to be at the head of the line when the looting starts.

The march of progress

Increased civil liberties are on the horizon:

Fifty-three percent of Americans support making gay marriage legal, a Gallup poll showed on Friday, a marked reversal from just a year ago when an equal majority opposed same-sex matrimony.

The latest Gallup findings are in line with two earlier national polls this spring that show support for legally recognized gay marriage has, in recent months, gained a newfound majority among Americans.

It’s hard to say exactly what it is that is causing this shift. I suspect it’s actually a number of factors. For instance, the five states that have given basic civil rights to gays have not fallen into ruin, so people might be recognizing that the fear mongering of conservative bigots was just a bunch of lies. It could also be that more and more people are coming out the closet. As Harvey Milk said, if people realize that they know gays and gay couples, they’re less likely to hate. Or it could be that people are actually recognizing the principles they claim to hold, thus applying them consistently. After all, “I won’t give my approval!” is a rather dishonest argument.

Of course, there is one thing that can’t be missed:

In a sign of a generation gap, Gallup found 70 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 support gay marriage, compared to only 39 percent among those 55 and older.

The irrelevant generations do tend to hold back progress, but it really is so often that the energy and improved perspective of younger generations that brings about important, needed, and principled change.

Damon Fowler

Damon Fowler is a graduating senior in Louisiana. He is also an atheist and he didn’t like his school’s plan to include prayer at the graduation ceremonies. He contacted administrators and let them know their plan was illegal and he would involve the ACLU if necessary. Surprisingly, the school backed down right away. However, unsurprisingly, it still allowed prayer to go on during certain school-sponsored ceremonies anyway.

Damon has now become an outcast at his school, even receiving wildly inappropriate criticism from teachers. (One teacher, Mitzi Quinn, said Damon had contributed nothing to his classmates.) This isn’t that shocking coming from the South.

But there is good news. Various pro-First Amendment and atheist sites have picked up the story. One result has been a $1,000 college scholarship from The Freedom From Religion Foundation for Damon. At another site, Friendly Atheist by Hemant Mehta, even more money has been donated:

I’ve been gone most of the day, but when I looked tonight, I saw you that 244 of you had chipped in over $5,500…

I’m amazed at how much support you’re all giving him. I’m so proud to be part of this community.

I’m glad to see yet another atheist fighting for basic principles (ones to which so many Christians pay lip service and nothing more), while also being given the gift of a substantially reduced college bill. Now if only those in charge of Damon’s school could become half as educated as he already is, then no one would have to make blog posts like this.