Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.

If you did hear it and don’t want to hear it, that is even worse.

Jun 8th, 2012 7:15 am | By

Football fan racism.

Uefa has confirmed there were “isolated incidents of racist chanting” aimed at Netherlands players during an open training session.

But the governing body has not revealed whether it is investigating the incident in Krakow, Poland.

Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said monkey chants were directed at players.

While Van Bommel complained specifically of racist abuse, the Dutch FA had earlier said this was mixed with anti-Euro 2012 chanting believed to have been prompted by the fact the city has not been given any matches in the tournament.

When this was put to Van Bommel on Thursday, he said: “Open your ears. If you did hear it and don’t want to hear it, that is even worse.”

Yes sounds familiar. “Oh that’s not racism, that’s just me hating you. Totally different thing. The fact that I use racist words or chants or sounds is neither here nor there.”



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

How will we know if you don’t tell us

Jun 8th, 2012 6:44 am | By

Via Kylie – a brilliant thank you note to The Footsoldiers of Commenting.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

SSA week Blogathon

Jun 7th, 2012 5:25 pm | By

You know it’s Secular Student Alliance week, right?

Right now, SSA supporters Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss have pledged a $250,000 matching offer. That means that every contribution is matched dollar-dor-dollar up to a quarter of a million dollars.Hitting the Hawkins/Strauss match means we can offer previously unimagined levels of support for our affiliates during the coming fall semester.  But we need help from the non-students to get there.

The goal of SSA Week is to raise $100,000.  Is it ambitious?  Yes.  Can we do it?  Yes.  Surely there are 20,000 people out there who support the cause of empowering secular activists at the college and high school level.  $5 apiece from each of them gets us to our goal.  The little box over there on the right sidebar will tell you how we’re doing.

There’s one here too, over there on the right sidebar.

I’m going to do a piece of that blogathon thing. Not 24 hours like heroic Jen, just a quarter of that; six hours. Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pacific Time.

Got any subjects you want me to blab about? Donate and make a request. Lots of people are doing this, on FTB (hive mind! anarchic hive mind!) and elsewhere. There’s a big ol’ list and schedule on the SSA week page.

SSA is a good thing. I will give you just two words to explain why: Jessica Ahlquist.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

An explosion of Pepto Bismol

Jun 7th, 2012 4:31 pm | By

Via Christopher Moyer – women tennis players are given their own special court to play on.

…the revered Stade Roland Garros, which first hosted a national women’s  tennis tournament in 1897, had turned a court bright pink and set up an on-site salon and spa for female sportswriters in honor of “Ladies Day.”

Well good good good good. And female surgeons will get their own special bright pink OR, and female pilots will get their own special bright pink cabins, and female judges will get their own special bright pink robes.

More from Joanne Gerstner, who was there.

The carpet is hot pink. The tennis court is rose pink. The champagne is pale pink. The nail polish is cotton candy pink. Even the hair dryer is flamingo pink.

The French Tennis Federation declared Thursday to be its first “Ladies’ Day” at the French Open, and somebody thought it was a genius idea to go heavy on the pink to drive the theme home. Because all females love pink and live to be Elle from “Legally Blonde.”

I was welcomed into the Village de la Femme, aka a little tent setup on Court 4 by the eye-searing pink carpet. Two guys wearing baby pink polos guarded the door to prevent male interlopers. When I got onto the court, there were little chalets where we ladies could get our nails done, a blowout, a coffee/juice/pink champagne bar and massages.

So this was the definition of Ladies’ Day at a place where Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Serena and Venus Williams, Suzanne Lenglen and other amazing female athletes showed their muscles, sweated and made their mark? Nope, no recognition of women as making up half the athletes at the French Open.

Gee, I guessed CFI missed an opportunity by not draping everything in pink bunting for the Women in Secularism con.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

New Atheists since 1881

Jun 7th, 2012 3:45 pm | By

Also – I have a new gig. I get to be a columnist for The Freethinker.

Cutting”, “abrasive”, “sarcastic”, “offensive” … These are just some of the words used to describe the Freethinker magazine, which was launched in Britain in 1881 and has continued publishing without a break ever since. But it was the word “blasphemous”, dropped from the lips of a hostile judge, that that got its founder and first editor G.W. Foote into serious trouble. As a result mainly of irreligious cartoons published in the Christmas, 1882, edition, the judge declared the issue “blasphemous” and Foote was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment with hard labour. GW Foote

But the magazine, under caretaker editor Edward E Aveling, kept rolling off the presses, to the chagrin of the Home Office and the police, and to the delight of a growing number of readers who could hardly believe that any magazine in respectable, Victorian England, would dare attack religion in such an aggressive manner.

In issue 1 of the Freethinker (May, 1881) Foote wrote:

The Freethinker is an anti-Christian organ, and must therefore be chiefly aggressive. It will wage relentless war against Superstition in general, and against Christian Superstition in particular. It will do its best to employ the resources of Science, Scholarship, Philosophy and Ethics against the claims of the Bible as a Divine Revelation; and it will not scruple to employ for the same purpose any weapons of ridicule or sarcasm that may be borrowed from the armoury of Common Sense.

Ever since, the Freethinker has remained faithful to Foote’s founding principles, and has never wavered in its opposition to religion.

Good, eh?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The Intersection of Non-theism and Feminism

Jun 7th, 2012 3:27 pm | By

The panel I did at Women in Secularism with Rebecca and Jen and Sikivu is now posted.

In case you look at it, just a note – I’m really not as furious and grim as I look, that’s just the way my face goes. In my head I’m actually as mostly-amused as Rebecca looks (and is).

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Better news

Jun 7th, 2012 3:10 pm | By

There’s a report that the women in Pakistan haven’t been killed after all. That would be a relief! Thank you for not killing some women for singing and dancing at a wedding. You are very kind.

Pakistani campaigners say they have made contact with two out of five women previously feared murdered for singing in a wedding video.

Dr Farzana Bari met the two women after travelling with officials to a remote village in north-west Pakistan.

The team did not meet the other three women, but said local elders had given assurances that they were also alive.

Well good. I’m glad there’s one less horror in the stack of horrors.

After several hours climbing, human rights activists – travelling with local officials – say the two women appeared relaxed, and did not show any signs of physical ill-treatment.

“If these two are alive, I believe the others are as well,” campaigner Farzana Bari told the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Islamabad.

Dr Bari said that the other three women were at a more remote location that could not be reached easily.

Good. I hope they flourish.

She said that she believed there had been no death sentence from a tribal council, but there was a real risk to the women because the wedding video had been widely seen.

“There’s a strong tradition in this area of taking the law into your own hands,” she said. “The authorities should keep on monitoring the women. There is still a risk, we cannot relax.”

Best wishes. Fingers crossed.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Stalinist anarchist fascist chaotic organized hive scattering in all directions

Jun 7th, 2012 12:14 pm | By

Ed has a great post replying to a hilariously absurd one by John Loftus wondering what the Freethought blogs “mission statement” is. That question is swiftly answered: there ain’t one.

Ed points out a certain confusion.

On the one hand, if several FTBers agree on a subject and each write about it expressing a similar perspective, that’s bad and it’s obviously all orchestrated behind the scenes; on the other hand, when we disagree we’re drowning each other out and undermining atheism in the process.

Don’t I know it. I’ve just seen a little knot of people on Twitter agreeing with each other that FTB thinks as one and is horribly messily anarchic. If I’ve seen it once I’ve seen it a million times: someone saying “this one FTB blog said something bad; FTB is bad terrible horrible awful.” Apparently what one FTB blogger says, we all say. We’re One Big Giant Robot, with multiple limbs but only one brain. But also anarchic. Bastards!

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Joe sends Brenda a thank-you card

Jun 7th, 2012 10:44 am | By

Hilarious headline department:

Pope praises Britain’s Queen Elizabeth’s “noble vision” of a Christian monarch

You don’t say!

Well he would, wouldn’t he. She’s praised his “noble vision” of a Christian pontiff, too, for the same kind of reason. They’re colleagues. They both work in the unelected unaccountable head of an absurd hierarchy business. They both draw their illegitimate magical pseudo-authority from a non-existent “god.” They both wear expensive outfits when appearing to worshipful crowds. They both tell people what’s what, based on nothing in particular.

In a message released Wednesday by the Vatican, Benedict said the British monarch has over the past 60 years been an “inspiring example of dedication to duty and a commitment to maintaining the principles of freedom, justice and democracy.”

Oh? What has she done in the way of maintaining the principles of freedom, justice and democracy? I don’t say she’s opposed them, particularly, but what does she do that makes any difference to them? Nothing I can see, except that her performance of monarchy is an implicit rebuke to democracy in the broadest sense.

Ah well, it was just a formula, like a Mother’s Day card.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Save Sanal Edamaruku

Jun 7th, 2012 10:34 am | By

Another petition for you, via the New Humanist:

We call on the Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay to withdraw their complaint against Indian Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku

You bet; I certainly call on the Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay to do that. Seriously? Edamaruku investigated a claim that a little statue of Mary was leaking tears, and he found that it was seepage from sewer water under the statue. That’s not a crime, to put it mildly, and the Catholic archdiocese has no business complaining about it.

Hey Catholic archdiocese of Bombay – I say the guy named Yeshua who was executed by the Romans 20 centuries ago is still dead, because dead people stay dead. Come and get me!

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Punish and repunish

Jun 6th, 2012 4:32 pm | By

Katha Pollitt reports bad news about the woman in Indiana who is being prosecuted for murder because she attempted suicide when she was 33 weeks pregnant.

The state Supreme Court has refused to review charges of attempted feticide and murder against Bei Bei Shuai. Just before Christmas 2010, Shuai, who was thirty-three weeks pregnant, attempted to kill herself by consuming rat poison after her boyfriend, father of the baby, abruptly announced he was married and abandoned her to return to his family. Rushed to the hospital, she had a Caesarean section, but her newborn daughter died after a few days of life. (Here’s my column on the case.) Despite amicus briefs from eighty respected experts and relevant medical and social organizations—the state of Indiana, for reasons best known to itself, will do its best to send Shuai to prison. Potential sentence: forty-five to sixty-five years. The only good news is that after spending 435 days in jail, Shuai is now out on bail.

Indiana? You’re being disgusting.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

More light

Jun 6th, 2012 3:54 pm | By

Stairs to no end reminded me of something: one of my favorite last-two-minutes of the ’90s tv show Northern Exposure, which had a lot of glorious final two minutes. I’m slow, so it took me awhile to remember that I might be able to find it, and by golly…

Chris the DJ-autodidact-ex-con has spent the episode preparing a surprise winter celebration thing for Cicely, and that celebration thing is the end of the episode. Check it out.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Singing dancing sluts killed for singing and dancing

Jun 6th, 2012 3:07 pm | By

Well now I feel sick.

Last week there were news reports that four women and two men in Pakistan had been sentenced to death for singing and dancing at a wedding. Yes that’s right; singing and dancing at a wedding. It’s fornication, you see, because they were mixed. Only they weren’t – the photographs and video waved around to show the fornicators fornicating actually don’t show that.

Abdul Majeed Afridi, district police officer, said: “It was decided that the men will be killed first, but they ran away so the women are safe for the moment. I have sent a team to rescue them and am waiting to hear some news.”

“All of them were shown separately in the video. I’ve seen the video taken on a cell phone myself, it shows four women singing and a man dancing in separate scenes and then another man sitting in a separate shot,” he added.

Yes don’t bother us with details; they were fornicating.

Anyway, those women who didn’t manage to run away and who were safe? They’ve all been killed.

 The four women among the six persons sentenced to death by jirga elders on May 28 were killed on June 3 in a remote area some 80km away from Kohistan, according to reports.

Earlier, district police chief Abdul Majeed Afridi confirmed the jirga’s verdict and assured the accused that all available resources would be utilised to stop the executions. A local resident told The News that the provincial government had intentionally tried to deny the killings so as to avert a massive crisis in case human rights organisations discovered the truth. It has also been learnt that the four women — Sehreen Jaan, Begum Jaan, Bazigha and Amna — had all been subjected to physical and mental torture even though they had not committed any major crime, and that after their execution they were buried without a proper Islamic funeral.

Because they sang and danced at a wedding. Three things that should have been joyous and pretty and fun and loving – and wo, maybe even sexy – and they were tortured and then murdered for it.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Insulting Islamic values in Twitter messages

Jun 6th, 2012 10:51 am | By

Another entry in the annals of Persecuting and Prosecuting People For Having an Opinion That Reactonaries Dislike.

A court here on Friday charged Fazil Say, a classical and jazz pianist with an international career, with insulting Islamic values in Twitter messages, the latest in a series of legal actions against Turkish artists, writers and intellectuals for statements they have made about religion and Turkish national identity.

Mr. Say, 42, who is also a composer, is accused of “publicly insulting religious values that are adopted by a part of the nation,” the semiofficial Anatolian news agency said. A trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 18, with Mr. Say facing up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Charged with insulting Islamic values – there it is again – that bone-headed idea that nonsentient nonconscious nonalive abstractions like “values” can be “insulted” and that “insulting” them is a serious crime. An idea so bone-headed and so primitive that it’s as if the very concept of free speech and inquiry had never been formulated. An idea that, enshrined in law, would seem to make any kind of public discussion and investigation and forward motion impossible. An idea that belongs in a frozen static stonelike thoughtworld, where “yes” is the only word in the language.

And all this over tweets, for fuck’s sake.

It is unusual for Twitter posts to be the subject of an indictment in Turkey. Some of the messages were written by Mr. Say, but one, which poked fun at an Islamic vision of the afterlife, was written by someone else and passed along by Mr. Say via his Twitter account. Likening heaven’s promise of rivers of wine to a tavern and of virgins to a brothel, it referred to a poem by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam, Mr. Say said in a text message from Slovenia, where he had just arrived for a concert.

Retweeted, in other words. It’s faintly risible that the Times thinks it has to spell that out, but it’s also faintly risible that adults spend their time tweeting and retweeting – and yet we do. It’s an odd world we live in.

But anyway, the point is, he’s being prosecuted partly for retweeting something. For retweeting something. People often retweet things because they’re so stupid or wrong or nasty; it’s not always an endorsement! It’s certainly not law enforcement’s job to decide it is. (But in Turkey it is. I know. Turkey is wrong.)

The pianist, who has frequently criticized the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party government over its cultural and social policies, publicly defines himself as an atheist — a controversial admission in Turkey, which is overwhelmingly Muslim.

And bossy. Incredibly, searchingly bossy.

 Many intellectuals and writers have faced similar charges in recent years, including Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel laureate, who last year was fined $3,700 for saying in a Swiss newspaper that Turks “have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians.”

The European Union, which Turkey is seeking to join, and other international organizations have criticized such actions as violations of free speech.

Little bit.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Stairs to no end

Jun 6th, 2012 9:34 am | By

Via Stewart, a fantastic (in both senses) video “inspired by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Richard Dawkins.” It needs to go viral.

“Not to ask questions is to live life asleep.”

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Attention whores unite

Jun 5th, 2012 5:15 pm | By

Oh looky here – That Weird Atheist Girl on the concept of the “attention whore.” Back in November. Funny how it just never goes away, isn’t it.

As any women who’s online a lot (in certain places) or who games will tell you, the number one sin is admitting you’re female (in any way). You can never do this, even if it’s relevant to the current conversation. Everyone assumes you’re male unless you say that you’re female (ugh, it’s like they think they’re real people or something!). The second you let that bit of information slip, you’re told one (or more) of the following three things: (1) tits or GTFO, (2) get back to the kitchen, or (3) you’re just an attention whore.

Hipster misogyny, in other words, as Natalie Reed put it.

It’s depressing that the battle for feminism has to be waged all over again but this time against what would otherwise be one’s own tribe – the off-center, the nerdy, the eccentric, the seeded onion roll as opposed to Wonder bread. Four centuries ago when I was a yoof and Second Wave feminism was roaring, the opposition was…you know…the growns, the stodgy, the timid, the conformist, the unthinking.

Well no, that’s not actually right. That was part of what put the roar in: the fact that lefty men were not one bit better than anyone else. You know: the position of women in SNCC is prone. Hardeharhar, that’s a good one. But still – the way I remember it they caught on pretty quickly, if only because they had to. But hipster misogyny just sits there, sniggering and saying tits or GTFO.

TWAG is on the board of directors of the Florida Humanists (pres. EllenBeth Wachs), and she introduced a no-harassment policy. Go Weird Atheist Girl!

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Report all the things

Jun 5th, 2012 4:36 pm | By

You’ve probably seen DJ’s comment at Skepchick, if you’ve been following this, and you’ve probably seen Stephanie’s excellent analysis of it today. I just want to say a couple of things – which probably duplicate things Stephanie and others have said, but never mind.


let me say how sincerely and deeply regretful I am that I blamed you as the messenger. No woman – no person – should ever be blamed for being a victim or for speaking out about sexism or any social problem. I was wrong to write anything that could even be construed that way, and it was never my intent. I am sorry.

How could it never have been his intent? What does he mean “could even be construed that way”? He said

I think this misinformation results from irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe, and I find that unfortunate.

And when Rebecca pressed him for specifics, he replied

Rebecca: Off the top of my head, your quote in USA Today might suggest that the freethought or skeptics movements are unsafe for women. This is from the article:

“I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space. . . ”


So how could it possibly not have been his intent to blame women, and specifically Rebecca, for speaking out about sexism? There is no other way to “construe” what he said.


Talking about sexism isn’t the problem, sexism is the problem — I completely agree. But when trying to solve the problem, I believe reporting instances of being groped or grabbed (these may be criminal acts) to be the most effective way to help organizers make sure events are safe for everyone.

But what if the groping happened where no one else saw? What about non-contact harassment? What about misogynist slurs as opposed to groping or grabbing?

One, groping and grabbing is far from all there is to harassment, or a hostile climate. Two, reporting is fraught with difficulty unless there are multiple witnesses, which there usually aren’t. And irony of ironies, DJ’s complaint about women skeptics demonstrates exactly how and why reporting is fraught with difficulty. It all goes around in a circle, so his urging women to report all the things is just a sour joke. Oh right, we’ll do that, so that you can scold us some more.

This is all very obvious, and yet there are people who think it isn’t, so I say it one more time.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

It’s almost like going to law school

Jun 5th, 2012 3:16 pm | By

At least people are making a stink about the “work programme” that makes people travel for four hours in the middle of the night then throws them out at 3 a.m. to stand waiting for 20 minutes and then be ordered to sleep under London Bridge, in order to wake up refreshed a few hours later, change their clothes outside in public, then work for 14 hours in pouring rain with no toilet access, and then take the tube to camp out in a swamp in Essex. No food provided. Oh and for all this? No pay, either. I know you already know, but it’s worth reciting it all over again. Such a deal. Bus, night, sleep outside, dress outside, work double shift, no toilets, no food, tube to Essex, camp in swamp, no pay.

Ministers are being urged to look into reports that unemployed people hired as unpaid stewards for the Diamond Jubilee ended up having to sleep outside.

Volunteers from the government’s work programme spent part of the night under London Bridge before Sunday’s Thames pageant, the Guardian said.

Is “volunteers” the right word? It doesn’t sound like the right word, given the part about “if you refuse this gig you don’t get the Olympics gig, which actually pays a wage.”

In a statement, managing director Molly Prince offered her “sincere apologies”, but accused the newspaper of trying “to sensationalise an unfortunate logistics planning problem”.

Again – I would like to know how much time Molly Prince has spent lying down under a bridge at 4 a.m. to prepare for working a double shift in the rain with no food or toilet access or pay.

She added: “There was no intention to exploit anyone or indeed supply cheap labour.”

No? What was the intention then? Since the labour was not paid at all, what else could one call it, and what else could the intention possibly be?

But Lord Prescott has written to Home Secretary Theresa May calling on her to urgently investigate what happened.

“If the allegations are true, it is totally unacceptable that young unemployed people were bussed in to London from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth and forced to sleep out in the cold overnight before stewarding a major event with no payment,” he wrote.

“I am deeply concerned that a private security firm is not only providing policing on the cheap but failing to show a duty of care to its staff and threatening to withdraw an opportunity to work at the Olympics as a means to coerce them to work unpaid.”

Quite so. Not “volunteers” and not so much “cheap labour” as free labour.

Close Protection said the unpaid roles were a trial for paid positions at the 2012 Games, for which it also has a contract to provide stewarding.

That’s fascinating; since when is that legal? Since when do companies get to demand that people do a job unpaid as “a trial” before doing it for real?

Oh no wait, I know, these were “internships.” Yeah that’s it – these lucky young people had “internships” being stewards for Big Events in London. That puts the whole thing in a completely new light.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Do atheists lean left?

Jun 5th, 2012 11:30 am | By

Adam Lee asks a question.

All these data points show that, while there’s no necessary connection between atheism and progressive political views, in practice it usually does work out that way. I leave it up to you, readers, to weigh in on why that is.

That’s an interesting question, and one that I think about sometimes. Maybe I should make that my talk at TAM. Or maybe I should make my talk at TAM be about sexism in the skeptic/secularist/atheist community. Or is there something even more guaranteed to be annoying that I could talk about? Locker rooms, gossip, naming names, evidence, slut-blaming, feminist-blaming, women-blaming, the economy and its relationship to registration for skeptic cons?

It’s between talking about the most guaranteed to be annoying thing I can think of, and just not going. I can’t make up my mind. Given that the head of the organization that invited me has recently gone out of his way to make me feel (to use the technical language) “unwelcome,” it has to be one of those.

Here’s what I think is one answer to Adam’s question: atheism is the rejection of god, and god stands for hierarchy and obedience. Atheism is inherently opposed to arbitrary hierarchy and demands for obedience. That by itself makes atheism tend progressive.

You can say “but libertarianism.” True. But then libertarianism is partly progressive.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Well there’s still South Dakota

Jun 5th, 2012 11:11 am | By

Check your wallets, by which I mean various rights and freedoms and capabilities. North Dakota might pass an amendment to its constitution called the Religious Liberty Restoration amendment, and you know what that means. Religious liberty to deny children medical treatment, to hit them with sticks, to say that HoMoSeckShuals are evil, to refuse to provide women with abortions or contraception even when that is your job, to teach children that genocide is good and total obedience to “God” meaning to whatever is in the bible is mandatory. It means a lot of horrible fundamentalist shit dressed up as Religious Liberty and allowed to proceed, no matter how illegal it would be in any other context.

…opponents argue the measure is both unnecessary and potentially dangerous — and could raise new ways for people to define their own extreme religious views.

Gladys Cairns, the former administrator of North Dakota Child Protective Services, says she worries that criminals will hide behind a religious cloak.

“If I were a defense attorney, I’d be making sure that my client would be doing that,” she says.

It’s not as if this never happens.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)