secular

Are Atheists The New Campus Crusaders?

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This month at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a select group of students will show their humanitarian spirit by participating in the Bleedin’ Heathens Blood Drive. Later in the month, they will eat cake to celebrate Darwin Day, and earlier this year, they performed “de-baptism” ceremonies to celebrate Blasphemy Day, attended a War on Christmas Party, and set up Hug An Atheist and Ask An Atheist booths in the campus quad.

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What’s Islamophobia, and Do I Have It?

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I’m not arguing that Islamophobia is racist, or that Islamophobes are racists, because that’s not quite what’s happening. For one thing, Islamophobes embrace ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and racists wouldn’t (indeed couldn’t) do the same. But consider the similarities: the Islamophobe must assume Muslims suffer some sort of pre-Islamic inferiority, sufficient to explain how some (largely non-white) people—actually, a lot of people—not only fell for Islam in the first place, but then stayed down. How long do enforced ideologies last? Nazism: twelve years. Communism: some decades. Islam: Fourteen centuries and counting.  

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The Princess Bride: Royal Weddings for Everyone

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Unromantic as it may sound, the celebration of the transformative power of consumption seems to be part of the magic of the wedding day for many women. On this day I am more beautiful, elegant, and radiant than any otherOn this day everything is perfect and lavish and matching. A real-life royal wedding, televised and celebrated by millions, represents and encapsulates this magic. It might be tempting for some to argue that the wedding-as-princess-pageant represents a secularization of the marriage rite. But the truth is that the celebration of consumption, the acting-out of the princess ritual, is its own expression of what has become sacred.

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