8/23/15

Jackson Mayor Promotes Prayer

Take a look at this tweet from Tony Yarber, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.


Forget for a moment that this is an elected official who should know better than to promote his religious beliefs from office. Set aside the notion that the Christian community of Jackson would be up in arms if a Muslim mayor were to do this. And forget for a moment that Mayor Yarber is tasked with working on behalf of all the residents of Jackson, including the atheists who live there.

8/4/15

Voting Reminded Me Where I Am

English: Current Lamar County Courthouse in Pu...
Lamar County Courthouse in Purvis, Mississippi, circa 1956. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I entered my local voting precinct this morning to vote in the state primary, the optics that greeted me were a powerful reminder of my location and why things are the way they are. The large room was nearly empty except for the poll workers who were sitting three to a table behind approximately six or seven small tables. I'd estimate that there were maybe eight other people in the process of voting when I arrived. No surprise there - poor voter turnout is the norm, and this is especially true for state-level primary elections.

7/30/15

Mississippi Subverse on Voat

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Have you heard of Reddit? It is a popular aggregator site in which users form online communities called subreddits to share content on various topics. In fact, I told you about one such subreddit not too long ago focused on atheism in Mississippi. Reddit has several communities dealing with subjects like atheism, freethought, skepticism, and the like.

As you may or may not know, Reddit has been in the news lately due to some questionable decisions by their interim CEO (who has since resigned), leading some users to jump ship for a much smaller alternative called Voat. Voat's primary claim to fame at this point is that they have positioned themselves as being more supportive of free speech than Reddit has been of late. I'm hoping this proves to be accurate and that they are able to maintain this commitment. I've was disappointed with recent statements from Reddit's former interim CEO about how they are not interested in being a free speech platform, and it appears that they are continuing down that track now that she has left. While I am still on Reddit for the time being, I have been spending more time at Voat and have liked much of what I have seen so far.

6/30/15

Mississippi Politicians Need Reminder About Secularism

Mississippi State Capitol building
By Allstarecho (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

As you know, the question of whether to change Mississippi's state flag has been receiving considerable attention in our state recently. When asked about his thoughts on changing the flag, Attorney General Jim Hood had this to say to the Associated Press:
You've got to ask yourself the question: What would Jesus do in this circumstance?
This is coming from our state Attorney General in his official capacity as Attorney General, a position in which he is tasked with representing all Mississippians. Is he unaware that there are plenty of us here in Mississippi who have little interest in what Jesus would do?

6/26/15

Marriage Equality Comes to Mississippi

Rainbow flag breeze21
Benson Kua, via Wikimedia Commons
When it comes to civil rights, Southern states do not have the best record. Again and again, we seem to require federal intervention to force us to do the right thing.

I have long wondered whether Mississippi would be the last state in the U.S. to ban same-sex marriage. Given that we are the most religious state in the U.S. and that "most religious" means not only most Christian but most evangelical fundamentalist Christian, I figured this was a good bet. At the same time, I held out hope that Mississippi would not have the opportunity to earn such a distinction.