Episode 18 | The Dangers of American Theocracy

This week, Justin had a conversation with his friend Adriane about abuse, neglect, and harm done in the name of religion. They discussed her upbringing and eventual path to atheism, how religious exemption laws harm public health and children’s rights, the current political climate, and the value of citizenship.

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Episode 16 | The Interview: Jim Helton

This week, Justin talked with Jim Helton, National Field Organizer for American Atheists and the co-founder of the Tri-State Freethinkers.

They discussed his deconversion, how he got into atheist activism and helped co-found Tri-State Freethinkers, his activist philosophy, protesting the Westboro Baptist Church and the Ark Encounter, and his new position as the National Field Organizer for American Atheists.

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The Special Comment: “We Must Continue the Dream”

This originally appeared in Reason Revolution, episode 12.

Heinrich “Henry” Becker arrived in the United States in 1849, stepping off the passenger ship Hermann and claiming a new life for himself in Baltimore, Maryland. His family had lived in Prussia all their lives, but they embarked on a new path for themselves in America. His father, Friedrich Becker, brought his wife, Elizabeth, and their five children (including Heinrich) to United States. He worked as a tailor most of his life in Baltimore but frequently made trips back to Germany. Heinrich, by contrast, likely had odd jobs before settling in Ohio as an employee of an oil mill. He became a  naturalized citizen in 1854 and lived the next six decades in Dayton, Ohio. He died in 1912.

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It’s Time to End the War on Pot

This originally appeared in Reason Revolution, episode 8.

In 1936, a church-funded film called Tell Your Children was released in theaters. Originally produced by George Hirliman as a propaganda film, Tell Your Children displayed youths gone wild under the influence of marijuana. However, it is best known to the world under its later title, Reefer Madness. A more salacious version, released just years later, cemented its place as one of most ill-conceived, yet undeniably fascinating pieces of film. In both versions, young people have their lives ruined by the “dangerous” effects of marijuana, with violence, promiscuity, and death as a result of their inhalations. This type of presentation is known as “voodoo pharmacology,” the idea that any drug, no matter how benign, could cause “uncontrollable urge[s] of craving and compulsion.”

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