The new year is here and that means that it is a great time to look back at some of the stories I covered in twenty-twelve. There is no doubt that 2012 has been an interesting year for atheists and so there were a lot of great stories but I will try to limit this retrospective to ten, because everyone loves the number ten. There were however many great stories over the last year.
Twenty-twelve started off with a huge victory for the separation of church and state: Atheist teen defeats high school prayer banner. At the age of 16, Jessica Ahlquist took on her school, her community, prominent political leaders, and religious fundamentalists from across the nation. She didn’t back down when the threats came either. Ahlquist stood up for the Constitutional guarantee of church/state separation and has become a rising star within the greater community of reason.
Speaking of rising stars, Christians are not without their own. Jefferson Bethke became a YouTube sensation with his video, ‘Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.’ I refuted his spoken word in this article: Refuting ‘Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus’ video.
The next story was almost certainly the biggest story for atheists in 2012 -- Reason Rally: 30k godless undeterred by rain. Despite the weather, it was an awesome event. In fact, there is now even talk of having another one in 2016.
In entertainment news, the summer of 2012 brought us the blockbuster that was the breakup of TomKat. Katie Holmes: Out of one cult and into another? It wasn’t a good summer for Scientology.
In the wake of the Colorado shooting during a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” mega-church pastor, Rick Warren had a purpose driven Tweet: Rick Warren deletes Tweet blaming shooting on evolution. He later claimed the Tweet had nothing to do with the shooting. Apparently evolution is to blame for some other atrocity.
Toward the end of the summer, a new Gallup-International poll revealed what most atheists knew and many religious leaders feared: Atheism on the rise; religiosity declining. This may end up being the story of the decade, but it is still way too early to tell…
…Or is it? Another poll showed that America will vote for an atheist. This is the first time atheists crossed the 50% mark in this type of poll. It signifies that atheism is becoming more acceptable to most Americans.
Blasphemy! Not the polls, the YouTube video. Sept 11 brought new terror as a Blasphemous video sparks Muslim violence. The violent riots were used as cover for a terrorist attack on a United States embassy resulting in the deaths of four embassy workers including the Ambassador.
The video was dreadful, but it wasn’t a sign of the end of the world… or was it? Fourteen percent of the world believe the end is near. But don’t count on the Mayans to predict it; 2012 is over.
More good news on the horizon, a Gallup poll showed that one third of American voters are non-religious. Atheists might have even given the edge to President Obama in his re-election campaign. That issue is certainly open to reasonable debate. Will atheists decide the next election? Let’s see what 2013 brings.
Please check out the Atheism 101 Series for frequently asked topics.
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