Our Beacon Forum

Hearts in the Wrong Place
By:Richard Dawkins Foundation, UK
Date: Wednesday, 14 February 2018, 4:43 pm

For the Religious Right, it seems like every day of the Trump presidency is Valentine's Day. The White House and the GOP Congress are like lovesick suitors that keep sending gifts and candies to the most radical and least tolerant segments of religious conservatism.

This week we see how Republicans are taking federal disaster relief money and diverting it to churches, like a teenager stealing flowers from the neighbor's garden to give to their sweetheart.

We'll bemusedly look back on the GOP's repeated and failed attempts to repeal the Johnson Amendment, like an overeager admirer that hopes to impress the object of their affection by giving them a gaudy present they may not even want.

And of course there will be love letters, cribbed from the classics or hastily written in desperation. These awkward epistles take the form of religious language either misinterpreted or shoehorned into our motto and pledge of allegiance. It's almost embarrassing!

But there are nobler expressions of devotion this Valentine's Day. This week we'll meet the scholar who will lead the University of Miami's new atheism studies program, a wonderful new opportunity to share a love of reason, ethics, and secularism.

Plus, we'll be serenaded by one young world leader singing the praises of inclusion, tolerance, and equality. And we'll see a truly outlandish gesture of affection for science, so extravagant and over-the top, that it can't help but touch one's heart … and it involves launching a Valentine-red car into space.

Robyn E. Blumner

President & CEO, Center for Inquiry

Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science