Free Inquiry

This magazine provides essays, editorials, poems, features and reviews on secularism and a life guided by reason, science, compassion for human beings and ideals of human freedom.

Articles from Vol. 19, No. 1, Winter

10 Reasons Why the Religious Right Is Not Pro-Family: A Tradition of Harm
"America is involved in a Second Civil War," screams the cover copy on James Dobson and Gary Bauer's 1990 book Children at Risk: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Our Kids. "On one side are those who defend family, faith and traditional values....
Abortion Access under the Gun
Editor's Note: The Religious Right may succeed in eliminating abortion not by legislation or a constitutional amendment, but rather by cutting off the supply of physicians willing and able to perform the procedure. A single cohort provided most U.S....
A Vision of Families for the Twenty-First Century: A Declaration of Secular Family Values
Family is at the heart of human life. Our family experiences - as children, parents, partners, or relatives - shape our own lives, and enable us to give meaning and love to the lives of others. In the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,...
Christian Literalists and Homosexuality
For biblical literalists and "true believers" in Christianity, whether Catholic or Protestant, homosexuality is equated with the sin of Sodom. The homosexual is a sinner and it is important that he or she repent and become whole. James C. Dobson of...
Facts and Myths about Women
Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, originally published in French, caused a sensation when it appeared in 1949. Her analysis of woman's place in society from ancient times to the twentieth century has been a basis of modern feministic thought. "Enough...
From Salman Rushdie to Taslima Nasrin: A Letter of Support
Salmon Rushdie wrote this open letter to Taslima Nasrin to demonstrate support and understanding from another who has lived with a fatwa on his head. His works are especially poignant as, after this, an Iranian foundation raised the bounty to $2.8...
God and the Philosophers
FROM NIETZSCHE TO LOGICAL POSITIVISM: PART 3 OF A THREE-PART SERIES In the first and second part of "God and the Philosophers," Paul Edwards traced the development of philosophers' views of God from the ancient Greeks to the early twentieth-century...
Has Science Found God?
When the results of the Cosmic Microwave Background Explorer (COBE) satellite first became public in 1992, mission scientist George Smoot remarked, "If you're religious, it's like looking at God." The media loved it. One tabloid front page showed the...
Humanists Speak Out: Protect Taslima Nasrin!
A PLEA TO THE BANGLADESHI GOVERNMENT FREE INQUIRY Editor-in-Chief and International Academy of Humanism President Paul Kurtz recently sent the following letter to the head of the Bangladeshi government to urge protection for dissent Taslima Nasrin....
Letting Children Die for the Faith
What kind of society would we have if everyone were allowed to violate laws that offended his or her religious beliefs? Most people would see that as anarchy. Children, however, die because of their parents' religious beliefs about medical care, and...
One Brave Woman vs. Religious Fundamentalism: An Interview with Taslima Nasrin
The following interview was conducted by Matt Cherry and Warren Allen Smith in the months before Taslima Nasrin's return to Bangladesh. - EDs. FREE INQUIRY: Tell us something of your background. TASLIMA NASRIN: I was born into a middle-class...
Racism and the Risks of Ethnic Humor
Howard Stern, the wildly popular radio talk-show host, in commenting a while back on a local news story about a race-related murder of an African-American teenager, mentioned that a rumored motive for the crime was that the victim had been suspected...
RFRA Clones Stall in Congress, Several States
Bills designed to curb government power over religion have stalled in Congress and in four of seven states. The Religious Liberty Protection Act (RLPA) failed to attain congressional "fast track" status and remains in the Senate and House Judiciary...
Science and Sensibility
WHERE WE STAND AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM PART 1 OF A TWO-PART SERIES Richard Dawkins delivered the following lecture in London in the spring of 1998 as part of a series called "Sounding the Century: What will the Twentieth Century Leave to...
The Failure of Faith in Russia
I am an atheist. I believe in the rational approach to interpreting facts and phenomena (even those that cannot be explained at first), to living life, to critically examining scientific data and the materialistic viewpoint. Modern humanism, in my...
The Jesus Seminar: Historians or Believers?
Currently one of the hottest-selling species of "Jesus junk" (as it is actually called in the Christian trinket trade) is a whole series of items, from T-shirts to Teddy bears, emblazoned with the letters "WWJD." They stand for the question posed in...
The McCarthyites of Virtue
So much has been written and said about the Clinton-Lewinsky morality play - what can we add at this late date that is new? Perhaps that the situation vividly illustrates the deep Kulturkampf between two contending conceptions of morality engulfing...
Tracking Challenges to the First Amendment
Welcome to Church-State Update, a new FREE INQUIRY department that will track continuing developments in important federal, state, and local church-state issues. Each item is preceded by an up arrow ([up arrow]) or a down arrow ([down arrow]), based...
Trying to Prove That the Bible Is Pro-Woman: How Some Feminists Perpetuate Patriarchy
In the August 1993 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Cullen Murphy, managing editor, wrote an article called "Women and the Bible." The article is alluded to on the cover of the monthly by the following statement: "A new generation of scholars is bringing...
When the Government Pays (Religious) Helping Hands
A quiet revolution is under way in the delivery of social services in America. Thanks largely to the efforts of one man, U.S. Senator John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), a Religious Right favorite and aspiring presidential candidate, government money is for the...
Why There Is No 'Crisis of Families': They're Different, but Better
What constitutes a family is no easy question. The Latin word familia comes from the word famel, a slave who was the property of his or her master. Later the tenn was used to denote domestic property as well as persons. Aristotle used the Greek equivalent...