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This Week: (Cast) Out for Love

Winning: The Elections and Islam

Sam and Becky chat with guest Heina Dadabhoy  and her book A Skeptic’s Guide to Islam.  Heina is busy writing her manuscript after a very successful Kickstarter funding campaign.

After that, Libbie joins us to talk about the R74 and the elections in general.   We also discuss the lack of atheism representation in government and the obvious solution to it as enacted by James in Nebraska.

Here’s the original email from James that spurred the interview:

The last time I wrote your show, I asked a question about your show’s
music.

This time it is for a much different reason.

In September, a long-standing member of our village government resigned for
health reasons, and passed away October 2. His term is up in 2014.

In accordance with the village’s ordinances, at the October meeting the
chairman sought candidates from the village to complete the remainder of
his term.

Though I’ve only lived here a bit more than a year, and figured I would be
the “candidate without a prayer” (plagiarising Herb Silverman of South
Carolina), I applied for the position. Four others also applied (including
one candidate on the ballot for another seat, which he lost on election day
to the incumbent 34-33).

On an aside, this was the first election I ever participated in that was
decided by a single vote.

A few days before the November meeting of the board, the chairman mentioned
to me while I was doing volunteer work for the village that he was going to
place my name in nomination. Of the five candidates he found me the least
divisive in the village (though I am openly an atheist in the most
religious state outside the Bible Belt).

At the November meeting, I was selected to succeed the former member
unanimously. I will take the affirmation of office at the December meeting,
when the new board is sworn in following the General Election.

It occurs to me that much of the reason atheists are reviled is because
they are unseen. Folk do not realise atheists are their neighbours, their
friends, their customers, or volunteers.

While I don’t go out of my way to plump for atheism, when asked I do not
shy away from the answer either.

Broadwater is one of the smallest incorporated cities in Nebraska,
population 128, in the panhandle. My wife (also an open atheist) serves on
the village Public Library board as vice-president, and we co-founded the
village’s Friends of the Library group to help continue funding our
library.

Another aside, the first donation of the Friend’s group to the library will
be a brand-new hardbound copy of Richard Dawkin’s “The Magic of Reality,”
unavailable anywhere around here.

Like the Evangelical movement entering mainstream politics by taking over
little-known political seats and moving up; perhaps atheists, agnostics,
and don’t cares should do the same. We are the largest religious (?)
demographic group, yet no party actively courts our votes.

The future of our secular democracy is at stake, and if atheists will not
stand up for separation of church and state, which protects the religious
every bit as it protects the unbeliever, then atheists have quit the field
and ceded the battle for religious freedom to those who would not allow it.

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1 Comment 0 Trackbacks
Jeff November 13, 2012 at 12:57 am

Which Canadian was Heina talking about when she said that one who did absolutely nothing wrong was released to his family after a decade imprisonment? It sounds like she may have crossed the Omar Khadr story with the Maher Arar story.

Omar Khadr was just released after about a decade in Guantanamo, and as far as I know is still accused of throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan. Whether or not he threw it, it seems pretty clear that he was fighting with the Taliban, even if he was only 15 at the time.

Is there a case that I am not aware of in which an innocent Canadian was held for 10 years?

Maher Arar is the Canadian citizen who spent about a year being tortured in a prison in Syria, after being imprisoned and deported from the United States while simply trying to get a connection back to Canada. He has been cleared of any wrongdoing and won a settlement against the Canadian government for its role in providing erroneous information to the Americans about him, and I believe also for failing to ask for him to be sent to Canada instead of Syria.

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