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Discriminatory Insurer Fined in Kentucky

kyflagKentucky just can’t seem to untangle itself from religion. From being home to the Creation Museum to housing a legislature that has apparently never heard of the Establishment Clause, Kentucky is slowly, but surely, making me feel slightly better about living in Alabama.

The most recent incident of religious boneheadedness concerns the extension of discounts to insurance policyholders who were churchgoers. Offering a discount based on religion is in violation of the Fair Housing Act, a federal statute that “protects” buyers and renters by maintaining their right to discriminate.

I hope I don’t lose anyone here, but hear me out. While I am not at all a Libertarian, the following part may make some of my Libertarian friends moist in their nether regions.

While it is generally a good thing to keep religion out of things like buying a home, there are certain places where the marketplace could course-correct and eliminate the need for Federal intervention. If I were to own an insurance company, of course I would gladly take the money of anyone that walked through my door, regardless of their religious beliefs. As an atheist, it would absolutely make my day to meet a fellow non-believer, and if I wanted to tip them a discount, I should be able to. After all, I would be doing no harm except to my bottom line. Hell, if I was in a progressive enough area, I might be so bold as to offer a discount on auto insurance to customers who show me their Darwin fish emblem. But none of these things are legal thanks to the Fair Housing Act.

What makes this a particularly sticky situation is that our current system is not sufficiently competitive to allow for consumers to have access to alternatives to such religious buffoonery, as was the case in Kentucky. There are many laws (particularly state and local laws) which prevent some properties from being insured by out-of-state insurance policies. This could be super sucky for someone living in Kentucky who may have no other choice but to purchase homeowner’s insurance from a fundy.

However, it would be nice if some brave soul opened the Atheist Insurance Agency and his or her loyal customers from all 50 states could enjoy discounts, great service, and truly be in “good hands”.

Atheists = 1, Kentucky = 0

Nelson-HahaIt’s been almost two weeks, so the most dedicated atheist newshounds out there will already have seen this. A Kentucky circuit judge ruled that the 2006 statute that created the State Office of Homeland Security is in violation of the establishment clauses in both the U.S. and Kentucky Constitutions.

Ten brave Kentucky residents and the American Atheists sued the state and WON! In their case, they successfully argued the following:

“It is clear that the purpose underlying the display of the plaque and the contents of Office of Homeland Security training materials is not to celebrate the historical reasons for our great nation’s survival in the face of terror and war. Its purpose is to declare publicly that the official position of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is that an Almighty God exists and that the function of that God is to protect us from our enemies. Consequently, a reading of the statute’s plain language makes that clear. Effectively, the General Assembly has created an official government position on God.”

Judge Thomas Wingate delivered an 18-page decision in favor of reason stating:

“The statute pronounces very plainly that current citizens of the Commonwealth cannot be safe, neither now, nor in the future, without the aid of Almighty God. Even assuming that most of this nation’s citizens have historically depended upon God, by choice, for their protection, this does not give the General Assembly the right to force citizens to do so now.””This is the very reason the Establishment Clause was created: to protect the minority from the oppression of the majority,” he wrote. “The commonwealth’s history does not exclude God from the statutes, but it had never permitted the General Assembly to demand that its citizens depend on Almighty God.”

I have to admit: I didn’t think Kentucky was going to do the right thing on this one. A tip of my hat to Judge Wingate for proving me wrong.

Christian Dating Sites – Are They Even Necessary?

christiandatingOnline dating is not a new phenomenon. Well, I guess that all depends on your frame of reference. I doubt the Department of Defense individuals that first utilized networked computers were doing any e-dating on the side, but as far as a prominent business, it has existed for several years.

I’m sure everyone has seen an e-Harmony television commercial or any of the millions of banner ads online for everything from match.com, gaysingles.com, peoplewholoveparcheesi.com, and every other crowd you can think of. The point it — it’s prolific. The one niche that I’ve noticed in greater numbers recently, is Christian dating sites. I don’t know if this is because there are more of them or because I am just noticing them more.

I really have two thoughts on them. 1) Good for them. The internet has really opened the world up for people to connect with others that they otherwise never may have met in their lives. 2) Are you effing kidding me? Christians exist in such massive numbers in this country, it surely can’t be hard to meet others. I live in a college town in Alabama, where the cup runneth over with Christians, and with all the meetings of Campus Crusade for Christ, Reformed University Fellowship, Baptist Student Union, Navigators, Beta Upsilon Chi (Brothers Under Christ), Baptist Campus Ministries, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, Christian Student Center, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Ministries in Action, Encounter, Students for Life, and the Wesley Foundation, you’d think they’d have plenty of opportunities to find a mate.

By the way, that list is in no way exhaustive as there are many more campus and local organizations affiliated with individual churches and sects. There are a plethora of opportunities to find similarly brainwashed people just in a small college town in Alabama. Surely it is similar elsewhere, if not just in the Bible Belt.

If anyone needs help with dating in my town, it’s atheists, gays, and Muslims. And if you are all three, you are screwed (though not literally).

Maybe I’ve interpreted this all wrongly. Maybe it is difficult for Christians to find someone else who shares their same twisted, literal interpretation of an ancient, contradictory text.

Anyway, the CALL TO ACTION! I’m sure on your travels around the interwebs you’ve encountered particularly humorous postings or profiles on Facebook, MySpace, or dating sites that are of the Christian-seeking-Christian type. There are too many sites out there for me to browse, so if you’ve ever bookmarked a particularly ridiculous specimen, please share it here!

I leave you with a small excerpt taken from a Christian singles group on Facebook. This girl had written this massive treatise on how guys pursue their prospective Christian mates. It was quite nauseating, and for your courtesy, I have pared it down to just a taste of what was written. You can easily find more on the thousands of Christian Facebook groups.

I had a guy friend, or two, tell me that I should be flattered that men liked me. That’s when it hit me: there was some serious miscommunication going on. I didn’t feel flattered! I felt worthless. I felt like a trendy dress hanging up in Forever 21, next to the other exact replicas of me in different colors. Yes– Those clothes are cute; but they aren’t special by any means. I am hand made by a God who isn’t into trends. So, where is it? Where does a man’s intention of treating a girl right, turn into treating her like a mass produced clothing item? I believe I have found it. It’s in the pursuit.

Barf. No wonder you’re single.

Christopher Hitchens Debate in Birmingham, Ala.

christopherhitchensOn March 3rd, Christopher Hitchens will be debating Christian apologist John Lennox at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. The debate is sponsored by the Samford Socratic Club, which seeks to promote debate and hold no idea so sacred that it cannot be questioned. While that is an admirable claim, I suppose we will see if this debate changes any minds. Samford University is a private, Baptist-affiliated school which has the right to deny any person or group from speaking on campus. For my sake, and the sake of all others that will be in attendance, I am glad they did not intervene.

The Samford Socratic Club is, at its heart, a Christian organization, though I can immediately striate them among other Christians in Alabama as having reason and decency enough to at least present a public forum with an opposing worldview. The organization’s website has the following explanation in their mission:

It is our strong conviction that Biblical Christianity is neither dead nor dying, and we are willing to test that belief by inviting people of different worldviews, Christian or not, into open and honest discussion. Our goal is to seek the truth and to follow the argument, wherever that might lead. We are not without opinion, but that does not mean that we are incapable of objectivity. We hope to win people to our own viewpoint, however we are more concerned with causing people to think for themselves than we are with indoctrinating them with our own ideas. So we have only three simple requests: Noise off, brain on, let’s talk.

For those in the Birmingham/Atlanta/Chattanooga/Tupelo driving radius that are interested in attending, the pertinent information is as follows:

What: “Is God Great?” debate between Christopher Hitchens and John Lennox
Where: Samford University’s Wright Center Concert Hall (Calculate Driving Distance)
When: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 at 6:00 pm Central
Tickets: Purchase Online

I wonder how many “Burn in Hell, Atheist!” signs I will see being held up on the way in the door?

EDIT: (from the Socratic Club website)

Note: Dinesh D’souza’s participation in this event was unexpectedly cancelled due to family matters. We are willing to refund any tickets purchased before now if you deem such necessary. We are honored, though, to have Professor Lennox take his place, as he is a skilled debater and has debated Hitchens previously in a lively event at the Edinburgh International Festival.