Consequential Maps

a map showing the second largest religious tradition in each state, 2010This recent map making the social media rounds depicts the runner-up religions for each U.S. state, based on data from the US Religious Census project. NPR, among others, has discussed the map, attempting to explain the anomalies in the map. Why is South Carolina’s second largest religion listed as Bahai and Tennessee’s Judaism when every other southeastern state is Islam? Why are Delaware and Arizona the only states with Hinduism as the second largest religion? Continue reading “Consequential Maps”

Matters of Classification

Picture 4The online debates have already begun, on the heels of yesterday’s deadly shooting at a Jewish community center, and then a nearby retirement community, in a suburb of Kansas City.

On the Southern Poverty Law Center’s site, where the suspect’s well-known far right background is reported, you can also find the above discussion among the reader comments, as part of a larger series of comments, concerning how we will now come to understand, and thus respond to, the event. Continue reading “Matters of Classification”

“The Jewish People”

Jueus_ultraortodoxes_satmar_a_brooklyn-2A meme circulating on Facebook recently came from the website JewsNews, which identifies its objective as “bringing truthful news to the world” for its readers, whom it identifies as primarily “Jews and supporters of Israel”. The meme entitled “Let’s Sum Up The Jewish People In A Nutshell” repeated a photo of a presumably Orthodox Jewish man with captions like the following: “Religion doesn’t allow pork . . . doesn’t try to make it illegal,” “Cashier says ‘Merry Christmas’ . . . doesn’t complain about a ‘War on Hanukkah,” and “Thinks differently than you . . . doesn’t tell you you’re going to hell.” I certainly read those captions as an effort to critique particular expressions among some Christians in the United States, presenting “The Jewish People” as more inclusive and respecting. Continue reading ““The Jewish People””

It’s Not Fair!

By Tim GeerA brief news story on Alabama Public Radio recently discussed the delay of an Alabama State School Board vote on social studies textbook adoption because of some complaints that several of the texts demonstrated bias. The groups petitioning for the exclusions, including the Eagle Forum of Alabama and Act for America asserted that several texts contained anti-Christian and pro-Muslim statements. Continue reading “It’s Not Fair!”

“My Morality” Doesn’t Need Your God


Culture on the Edge‘s Monica Miller is presenting (this morning at 11) at Skepticon 6, which is held annually in Springfield, Missouri. While there, she’ll be sending us her notes from the field.

She uses her sweet, melodic, and soulful voice as a lyrical window into her journey from Judaism to Atheism and as a tool of activism to challenge the dogmatic confines of religion in society. Meet Shelly Segal: a Melbourne based singer-songwriter heavily involved in secular activism who serenaded us last night with some songs off her most recent album “An Atheist Album,” which, according to Segal, “is a passionate response to dogmatic belief, inequality, religious oppression and the idea that only the devout can be grateful and good.” Continue reading ““My Morality” Doesn’t Need Your God”