Disorganised atheism in America

From the good boys over at the Economist:

What accounts for the failure of atheists to organise and wield influence? One problem is that they are hardly a cohesive group. Another issue is simply branding. ‘Atheist’ has an ugly ring in American ears and it merely defines what people are not. ‘Godless’ is worse, its derogatory attachment to ‘communist’ may never be broken. ‘Humanist’ sounds too hippyish. A few have taken to calling themselves ‘Brights’ for no good reason and to widespread mirth. And ‘secular’ isn’t quite the word either; one can be a Christian secularist.

But another failing of the irreligious movement has been its tendency, frequently, to pick the wrong fights. Keeping the Ten Commandments out of an Alabama courthouse is one thing. But attacking a Christmas nativity scene on public property does more harm than good. Such secular crusades allow Christians-after all, the overwhelming majority of the country-to feel under attack, and even to declare that they are on the defensive in a ‘War on Christmas’. When a liberal federal court in California struck the words ‘under God’ from the pledge of allegiance, religious conservatives rallied. Atheists might be tactically wise to accept the overwhelming majority’s comfort with such ‘ceremonial deism’.


Gideon bibles in hotels down 18%, condoms and sex toys becoming more common

What might be surprising to many Americans is that the Bible-free room isn’t a development just in hip New York City hotels. Across the country upscale accommodations are doing away with the Bible as a standard room amenity. And in its stead have arrived a slew of “lifestyle” products that cater to a younger, hipper (and presumably less religious) clientele. Since 2001 the number of luxury hotels with religious materials in the rooms has dropped by 18 percent, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The Nashville-based Gideons International, which has distributed copies of the Christian scripture to hotels since 1908, declined to comment on this trend.

Edgier chains like the W provide “intimacy kits” with condoms in the minibar, while New York’s Mercer Hotel supplies a free condom in each bathroom. Neither has Bibles. Since its recent renovation, the Sofitel L.A. offers a tantalizing lovers’ dice game: roll one die for the action to be performed (for example, “kiss,” “lick”) and the other for the associated body part. The hotel’s “mile high” kit, sold in the revamped gift shop, includes a condom, a mini vibrator, a feather tickler and lubricant. The new Indigo hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., a “branded boutique” launched by InterContinental, also has no Bibles, but it does offer a “One Night Stand” package for guests seeking VIP treatment at local nightclubs and late checkout for the hazy morning after.

Full Story: Newsweek.

(via Hit and Run).

See also: Alabama legislator attempting to repeal sex toy ban.

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