The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics

A quick update, and my response to a comment on Jessica’s victory

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Hello everyone!

I apologize for the lack of updates lately; lots going on. I’m in Philadelphia right now for a funeral, but I will be posting much more soon. So many things to write about – forthcoming are more articles in the Facebook series about the atheist-turned-Christian video, an article about Jessica Alhquist’s recent victory, an article about the current crop of Republican candidates, an article about the Jewish funeral I attended today (this could go a couple of different directions… death rituals and meaning within Judaism, the ethics and economics of modern funerals, atheists & grief…), some articles about several other interesting Facebook threads that I’ve participated in lately (religious delusions as a justification for faith, what’s comfortable to believe versus what’s true…), responding to some comments on some of my previous articles, and more.

I have to get going, but I’m going to leave this open to an informal poll among our members & our other readers: What would you like to hear about? Please leave me a comment here or on our Facebook group’s Wall about what idea from the list above sounds interesting to you, or suggest a topic of your own. Looking forward to hearing from you!

In the meantime, here is a quick thought about the Cranston ruling:

Kevin Harris wrote:

It’s a sad day when a judge confuses the establishment clause with the [free] exercise clause. The public schools belong to the people. If the people in the community express a religious heritage in public, so be it. What you would rather do is force YOUR secular philosophy into the public schools by removing any religious or Christian expressions. There IS NO NEUTRALITY! The removal sends a message that secular philosophy is the choice of the academy and to be preferred in the public square.

My response:

I think people confuse secular with anti-theist. (Also, I think people confuse atheist with anti-theist).

“Secular” means “not overtly or specifically religious; of or relating to the state as distinguished from the church, civil; of or relating to the laity as distinguished from the clergy; not formally related to or controlled by a religious body” (source).

We have a secular government in the United States. That doesn’t mean that we have an atheist or anti-theist government; all it means is that we are not a theocracy, [nor] a monarchy (divine right of kings), etc. It means that we govern ourselves in a way that’s distinguished and separate from the church, that is, not under the control of a religious body. Our public schools, Cranston among them, are included in this.

I think that a lot of this could be resolved simply by helping people understand that their idea of what these words mean is incorrect and skewed by religious motivations.

You can bet your ass that the people who support the banner, all Christian no doubt, would NOT be so supportive of the idea if instead of opening with, “Our Heavenly Father,” it said, “Our Overlord from Hell,” even though they are equivalent statements in principle.

Let us know what you’ll like to read about next!

Take care,


(573) 424-0420 cell/text

Dave Muscato is Vice President of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A junior at Mizzou majoring in economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. His website is

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About Danielle Muscato

Danielle Muscato is a civil rights activist, writer, and public speaker. She has appeared on or been quoted in Rolling Stone, People, Time, The New York Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, and on MTV News, VH1, NPR, MSNBC, ABC, "The Real Story" with Gretchen Carlson, The O'Reilly Factor, Huffington Post Live, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Raw Story, CNN, CBS, and Howard Stern Danielle is the former Director of Public Relations for American Atheists. She is also a board member of MU SASHA (University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists & Agnostics). Her website is Follow her on Google+ Follow her on Twitter @daniellemuscato Subscribe to her on YouTube at

2 comments on “A quick update, and my response to a comment on Jessica’s victory

  1. Jared Cowan
    January 13, 2012

    What you’re suggesting already is interesting, but the issues of secularism that people would bring up in discussions claiming it is dangerous would certainly be something to talk about, though you’ve already pointed out one of the biggest mistaken ideas and that is the underlying assumption that secular=anti theist or anti religion, neither of which is necessarily true at all.

  2. Pingback: Why I’m Not Donating to Jessica Ahlquist’s Scholarship Fund « The Official MU SASHA Blog, Updated Daily

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This entry was posted on January 13, 2012 by in Author: Dave Muscato, In The News and tagged , , .
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