July 21 - Creation Museum Event - with no hint of irony, our local creationists are holding an event called "Reaching the Closed Minded". On July 21 in Santee, they are leading a discussion on such topics as "Three questions we can ask our skeptical friends", "Tactics for Evangelism", and my favorite, "Witnessing to non-believers using Intelligent Design and the Human Genome". (You know, because that idiot Craig Venter just doesn't get it.) You can get more information (and tickets) here - want to gather "intelligence"? You should coordinate with other atheists! - but either way, keep in mind that this is the opposition, and they practice. Have your own "elevator pitch" for evolution and naturalism ready, because they have theirs, even if they're wrong.
2013 - Rock Beyond Belief 2 - Paul Loebe is planning a second Rock Beyond Belief, this time at Camp Pendleton in 2013. People had a blast at the first one, and here are some more details, along with plenty of facts that Paul researched about the relationship between churches and the government at Camp Pendleton. Are you a non-believer in the military? You are by no means alone. Paul cites a statistic that 39% of the Marines in his unit are atheists. (And to our men and women in uniform, thanks again - I just finished my surgery rotation at Balboa Naval Hospital and I'm more grateful than ever to you.)
Atheist church?This person on Ask.com was looking for an atheist church in San Diego. It may have been a goof, or it may have been a newly-minted atheist who just wanted community. So I answered it.
The Mount Soledad Cross: when Americans try to end government interference in religious freedom, it's often spun by PR professionals and lawyers as exactly the opposite, intentionally or otherwise. For example, the San Diego Atheist Coalition now has a permit to have a sunrise service at Easter on Mt. Soledad. This of course is considered an attack by some Catholics, in particular by San Diego Catholic League chapter president Carl Horst, who actually asked "Would they similarly honor a request from Nazis at an annual Jewish event?" I'm sure Carl is a nice guy, but he's way off. It's nowhere near the same. In fact I'd love to have him and his family over for dinner to explain that atheists have never tried to exterminate Catholics, and we're not now (and by the way that dinner is a serious offer if you read this, Carl - I live about 2 miles from the monument. Have any of us atheists ever sat down for a meal with the people most upset about the cross? I would seriously love to.) Another take-home lesson is not to hold your services in a public place if you want privacy.
How about the Pendleton crosses? This editorial tries to make attempts to equalize all Marines under the law into a freedom of speech issue. (If he thinks all Marines at Pendleton are Christian then he needs to talk to Paul's unit - see above.) When you see these kinds of spin-control articles appearing on news sites, take 2 minutes to give 2 cents, seriously - you really have a chance to get people to think.
The Secular Coalition for Americais launching a California chapter. One issue: did you know that California's Assembly opens with a prayer every time? It's not just Mississippi...
Remember that holiday display in Santa Monica? Now it's been decided that nobody can have a display there - oddly enough, after atheists won the lottery to put something up last year. To be honest it seems kind of sleazy and disingenous to say "any religion can put up a public display in December" anyway, when the majority religion (and not others) has its major holiday in that month.
And finally: can you prove it's NOT the Flying Spaghetti Monster?