TAM 8 – Friday pt 1

The day started with a live recording of a two-part episode of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. The whole SGU crew was there for the event. Every year it seems like someone has proposed marriage to Rebecca Watson. This year, she said yes.

Of course the one making the proposal was her husband of one year, Sid Rodrigues. So I’m not sure if that really counts. Either way, a new tradition was born.

The first speaker of the day was Michael Shermer. Dr. Shermer, for those who may not know, is the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society (http://skeptic.com), a monthly columnist for Scientific American and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine. This year the Skeptics Society, as well as the New England Skeptical Society and the Center for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) banded together to host TAM 8. This is the first time that all the national skeptical organizations have banded together to host a national event.

After Dr. Shermer’s brief speech, Sean Faircloth, the Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America spoke about his challenges as a lobbyist for secularism in the US. He spoke about the difficulty of keeping a separation between Church and State, not only in the current presidency but even more so in the Bush years.

For clarification purposes, Mr. Faircloth was not discussing the abolishment of religion: only that the Constitution states that religion and government should be kept separate. That means keeping prayer out of schools as a part of formal activities, removing the words “Under God” from the pledge of allegiance and insuring that non-believers have the same rights as believers in this country.

My personal feeling is that the spirit of the Constitution should be adhered to. If your school is receiving federal tax dollars then prayer must be left out. If youth organizations within the school would like to pray during their club time, then that’s completely acceptable. But a minority should not be forced to endure what the majority wishes simply because they are a majority.

If you would like to learn more about the Secular Coalition, please visit: http://secular.org

Stay tuned for the next installment of TAM 8 coming up tomorrow.


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