Is it silly to post a year-end review for a blog that has only been in existence for 11 months?
Perhaps. But here goes.
Top 10 posts of 2011:
Of the 318 posts this year, the following were the most popular.
1. Why A Heterosexual, Married, North Carolinian Father Of Three Cares About LGBT Equality
I sat down to write this the day after the NC Senate voted to approve a proposed constitutional amendment banning any legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples. I never would have imagined that this post would have been read by over 127,000 people. Most of these people read it because someone else shared it or passed it along. This happy accident showed me that, while there's a lot of work to be done before the May 8 vote, there are a lot of people who are fired up and ready to fight this anti-LGBT amendment -- including many dedicated straight allies (a crucial piece of the campaign.) Common sense, empathy, and reason, are contagious.
2. Why Not? Evolution, Videos & Rockstar Scientists
My friend Matt Shipman, a science writer based in Raleigh, NC, was not the only person who grumbled after watching the Miss USA contestants discuss whether or not evolution should be taught in school. However, he very well may be the only one who did so and then decided to create a video response featuring several kick-ass female scientists discussing the importance of evolution education. Matt's post provided the backstory to the creation of this video, which has since been featured at Jezebel, The Guardian, BoingBoing, Scientific American, Nature, and by Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers. I am honored that Matt wanted to publish this post in these pages (his second post for this blog
). I look forward to more guest posts by Matt.
3. Penn Jillette's 10 Commandments For Non-Believers
As part of his book, 'God No,' Penn Jillette serves up his (godless) version of The Ten Commandments.
4. Hi, I'm Rick Perry, And I Don't Understand Things
Like many people, the minute I saw Rick Perry's 'Strong' ad, my blood began to boil. I believe he may have set a record for political ads (not to mention a record for Youtube dislikes). Never before has there been so much bullshit crammed into 30 seconds of video. Thirty seconds of lies, misconceptions, offensive presumptions, and good ol' fashioned bigotry.
5. Faith Healing: Six Die After Church Tells Them They No Longer Need HIV Treatment
Faith-healing church leader tells HIV-positive congregation members that they are cured and no longer need treatment. They die. The sad part? This is only one of many disgusting examples of faith healing ideology leading to deaths in 2011 -- nearly all of which could easily have been prevented by simply going to, and listening to, an actual medical doctor.
6. Douchebag Of The Day: Bryan Fischer
Although I wrote many posts about Bryan Fischer in 2011 (he may very well be the person I most blogged about), for some reason this is the one that hit a nerve with folks, and was shared and tweeted the most. There's plenty more where this came from
7. The Catholic Church's $2.4 Billion Bookstore Peddles Loads Of Smut
Hands-down hypocrites of the year, the Catholic church absolutely is very much involved in the publishing, manufacturing, distribution, and selling, of erotica.
8. The Relative Insignificance Of Your Problems (And Perhaps, Humanity)
Personally, I feel there's nothing more life-affirming and stress-relieving than truly appreciating one's place in the big picture. While many feel that acknowledging insignificance somehow detracts from their sense of meaningfulness, it can be incredibly awe-inspiring, and actually quite freeing. Don't sweat the small stuff, indeed.
9. Happy Birthday, Carl
This simple post comprised of the text from Carl Sagan's 'The Pale Blue Dot,' and an accompanying montage created by a Sagan fan and proponent of scientific literacy/education, resonated with a lot of folks who have been inspired and entertained by the late, great astrophysicist.
10. Does The GOP Really Want A President Who Believes We Are In The Last Days?
Michele Bachmann serves up an insane prayer for her homophobic heavy metal BFF's 'You Can Run But You Cannot Hide' ministry.
A Blogger's Dozen:
Part of what makes blogging so interesting is that one can never know which (or even if
) posts will find their way to readers in the bloated blogosphere (there are over 156 million public blogs in existence).
Here are a dozen posts readers might enjoy if they missed them the first time around:
1. Ask A Humanist: Reflections On Leaving Faith In The Bible Belt
|Leaving the flock|
This ongoing series of posts has been a way to publicly address many of the questions I've been asked by people here in the Bible Belt, where it is too often assumed that everyone belongs to a church congregation. Additionally, although there is no shortage of books about non-belief, there are not many which address the real-life impacts that leaving religion can have -- on our families, our neighbors, our children, and our emotions. I wanted, at the very least, to put my own views and experiences out there for others who might find them helpful.
2. Toss The Ten Commandments
Although many believe the Ten Commandments to be indispensable (and the cornerstone of American law), when you really look at them, they don't have much to offer from a moral/ethical perspective. We would do just fine by tossing them out and following only one.
3. Biblical Literalism and Circular Logic: Protecting the House of Cards
For many people, admitting that certain claims in the Bible are not true would mean reevaluating beliefs which had been treated as truths for a large part of their lives. They feel that any compromise on these beliefs might cause the whole house of cards to come down. It doesn't have to be that way.
4. Religion And Well-Being
A look at the striking similarities of US maps depicting religiosity, well-being, poverty, and political leanings. How much does religion influence well-being, and vice-versa?
5. Reflections on The Rapture That Wasn't
It appears that we needed the rapture more than it needed us. A look at how Harold Camping's bizarre end-times beliefs are really not much crazier than the beliefs held by many Americans.
6. That's Not In The Bible: Phantom Passages and Biblical Illiteracy
|No, that's not in The Bible|
We tend to attribute many anecdotes, ideologies, and quotes to scripture even though they do not exist anywhere in The Bible. This points to a larger problem, one that affects politics, science, education, and even the enjoyment of art and literature. This post offers a secular argument for biblical literacy.
7. 30 Reasons Why Bryan Fischer is Dangerous and Must Be Stopped
Despite his growing role as a kingmaker in Republican politics, not many people know about Bryan Fischer. The scariest thing about Bryan Fischer is that, despite the fact that he spews hateful bile on a daily basis (via his talk radio show and via his role as spokesperson for the American Family Association), GOP politicians continue to cozy up to him, and none of them seem to believe he should tone it down.
8. Jesus: Anti-Welfare, Randian Capitalist?
How are so many Christians able to reconcile their Randian anti-welfare, capitalistic ideology with a religion based on a man who urged his followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor?
9. Welfare Myths, Christian Charity, And The Insanity Of Welfare Drug Screening
In 2011, we witnessed a growing chorus of resentment among self-described Christians towards the recipients of welfare and the assumption that welfare recipients are lazy, good-for-nothing, baby-having, divorced, drug and alcohol-abusing, freeloading minorities who are gaming the system. A look at how these myths are dead wrong, and how welfare drug screening is idiotic.
10. Is Religion Complicit In The Suicides of Gay Teens?
|Bullied to death|
It's true that bullying has occurred for as long as humans have been social beings, and that much of bullying is not directed at LGBT teens, but the bullying that LGBT teens experience is something different altogether. While no bullying should be acceptable, the bullying of LGBT teens should be of great concern, due to the nature of the bullying and its devastating effects on our children. The religious component of bullying is especially damaging.
11. Rabbi Thinks Non-Believers Actually Believe (But I Don't Believe Him)
Over at Huffington Post, Rabbi Adam Jacobs tries to make a case that everyone, regardless of what they tell you (or what they think they believe), believes in God. While I was willing to give the Rabbi the benefit of the doubt, it didn't take long to realize that I don't think he knows what he's talking about.
12. A Godless Proposal: A Kinder, Gentler Atheist
I am quite fond of many secular organizations and their members. I applaud many of their fantastic philanthropic projects, awareness campaigns, community-building initiatives, and the support systems they provide and foster. However, I have trouble committing to some of them due to philosophical differences. Why atheists could stand to tone down some of the antagonism and build bridges with religious folks who share their views on equality, science, church-state separation, and social justice.
Thanks for reading in 2011. There should be plenty of fodder in 2012, and I don't plan on going anywhere.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year -- one full of sanity, tolerance, and reason.