The Freedom of Will

Stuart Hartill reviews a novel by Kenneth Clatterbaugh, pictured above. Will Tillett is young, Texas born but abandoned soon after and raised in small town Louisiana by a kindly aunt and uncle, the fourth generation of an American preacher dynasty. As the novel starts, his uncle’s traditional ministry is losing its last punters to the […]

Atrocities and the churches

On the Sunday morning after the brutal murder of a young, idealistic UK politician, I turned on the BBC news to hear that ‘memorial church services for Jo Cox are being held around the UK this morning’, though they forgot to add ‘and lonely, cash-strapped vicars around the country shouted ‘Kerr-ching!’ Yes, I am a […]

Coming soon: part one of ‘The Cartoon History of Humanism’

When Dale Debakscy, above, made his first contribution to the Freethinker a couple of years back, I jumped with joy. Here was one humanist with an encyclopaedic grasp of humanism’s philosophical and ethical roots from the ancient Greeks onward, also with a fresh, informed and thoughtful take on current affairs. Most important of all, he […]

Time to derail this ‘hate train’

The train line that inspired an Edwardian clergyman to write Thomas the Tank Engine is at the centre of an unholy row, thanks to a much nastier contemporary televangelist. In the Reverend Wilbert Audry’s day, the Isle of Man Railway was a small gauge working steam railway connecting the island’s major towns. Audry was pals […]

Prayers and parking fees

I WONDER if other Freethinker readers have noticed the phrase “Pay to Pray” sneaking into local media recently? The context is usually reports about churchgoers having to pay to use car parks or parking meters on Sundays. It might just be a catchy little phrase dreamed up by an unknown sub-editor, but as it’s so […]

Interfering with the anguished

When will the religious stop praying for (and preying on) our grief?   I WAS –  hope – as saddened as anyone by the recent widely reported murder of a small girl in a seemingly idyllic Welsh village.* But as both an atheist and a former local newspaper reporter I was also appalled by an […]