Yes, the Civil War was about slavery

Robert E. Lee

In the wake of the Charleston shootings and debate over the meaning of the Confederate Flag, I have found myself in debates with others over whether or not the southern states were actually fighting over slavery. The idea that the American Civil War was not fought over slavery has been thoroughly debunked by historians and scholars, and hopefully I’ll make it evident why in this brief post.

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Way to go, Mormons, way to go (clap clap)

What most Americans know about Mormonism: Some combination of Mitt Romney, a popular Broadway musical, and multiple wives.

The Mormon/polygamy joke is an obvious one to make, but for obvious reasons. Polygamy as a practice was officially sanctioned by the Mormon Church throughout its early history, and was such a hallowed institution within the Church that it led the Mormons to fight a war against the United States in 1857. (No, really.) Brigham Young—known as the “Father of Mormon Polygamy”—was both the leader of the  Church and the governor of the Utah Territory in the 1850s. Federal law prohibited polygamy, but the territorial government of Utah allowed it; Utah argued that the polygamy prohibition abridged its First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, the Federal Government disagreed, and the two sides came to an armed conflict. The issue wasn’t resolved until 1890, when the Church abolished polygamy, and Utah was finally admitted to the US as a state shortly thereafter.
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Disney’s Game “Frozen: Double Trouble” & Religion are Twinsies!

All those interested in playing a game where the object is to endlessly tease an animal with carrots so that it can keep going down the same pointless path, you have 2 options:

1) Play Disney’s online game Frozen: Double Trouble:


2) Practice a religion of your choosing.


Mississippi Wants to “Protect” Its Slaveholding Tradition

Mississippi is the nation’s poorest, fattest, and least-healthy state*, and it’s bottom-two in education and infant mortality. But it wasn’t always so, my friends, it wasn’t always so. In the antebellum South, the city of Natchez was home to half of the millionaires in the United States. The state was one of the richest in the country, and, as time went on, the center of the massive (and massively wealthy) slave economy shifted from Virginia to Mississippi, the cotton explosion of the area enriching the burgeoning planter oligarchy of the Deep South.
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BREAKING: Climate Change Is Not Real, Because the Bible

Facts & Science of Climate Change

So there was an election yesterday and, just as we’ve known would happen for two years, Republican senators won a majority of seats and now control both houses of Congress. And what does that actually mean? Well, for one thing, there will be a slew of new committee leaders, including, as leader of the Environment and Public Works Committee—the most significant environmental body in the Legislative Branch—the author of this book:
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Escaping the Echo Chamber: Is It Worth It?

Winston Churchill is famously quoted as saying, “Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.” He never actually said this, and it’s just one of many quotes attributed to Churchill that he didn’t say, but the sentiment is appealing and persists because it makes everyone feel good about themselves, no matter what they believe. Liberals can feel caring and youthful, conservatives can feel learned and wise.
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Prayer In Public School

I’m trying out a series of posts highlighting how religion interacts with the law—specifically with the courts—in the United States. In this first post, I’ll look at the history of how the legal system has viewed prayers in public schools.

Most modern freethinkers reflexively understand that prayer recitation in public schools in this country is illegal, and has always been. After all, public school prayer is a pretty clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution (“Congress shall make no rule respecting the establishment of religion…”), a fundamental doctrine on which our country has stood from nearly the beginning.
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Don’t Call Women “Females”

Years ago I made the decision to stop saying the word “fag.” I don’t think I was a homophobe back then, and I used the word in the same way that South Park once argued is okay—as a synonym for “lame,” not in reference to a gay person. But still, I had been persuaded by enough gay people that the word is hurtful in any context, and decided that they, not I, should make that call. So I eliminated that word (along with “gay” in the similar sense, as in, “that’s so gay, brah!”) from my vocabulary altogether.
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Clarity on a Word’s Meaning

I notice how often Christians use the Bible’s prohibition against “sodomy” to stand in for “homosexuality.”

Let me be clear: The Bible absolutely prohibits homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13 makes it pretty clear), just as it prohibits so many things (like eating rabbits). I’m not contesting that. But I am objecting to the lazy equating of sodomy with homosexuality.
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Live Tweet Post: “Thief in the Night” a Rapture Movie You Should Miss Even if God Doesn’t Take You

Care to watch a rA_Thief_in_the_Night_posterapture movie from the 70s? Then look no further.

Enjoy the cinematastic, expression of end times fear, that is “A Thief in the Night,” produced by Russell S. Doughten. Which is the first film in Doughten’s four-part series on the Rapture and Second Coming of Christ (or so Wikipedia tells us).

To further your viewing pleasure, please click the Storify link for the corresponding twitter commentary by Skeptical South contributor, Karen Williams. Read More…