Podcast #61 – Adventures in Cobb County

“Ufologist” and Young Earth Creationist Gary Bates of Creation Ministries International presented “Aliens, UFOs and the Bible” on July 18th at the Sewell Mill Baptist Church in Marietta, GA.  We (John and Allison) were there, but the building did not spontaneously burst into flame, nor were there any clear-skies lightning strikes to manifest the ire of YHWH at the presence of infidels.  As for Bates…thanks a LOT, Australia!  For general creationist debunkage visit TalkOrigins.org.  [Late-breaking Bonus:  If you can stomach it, you can listen to Bates’s entire baloneython in podcast format at the church’s website–including the very session we sat in on!]

American Atheists president Ed Buckner delivers the invocation before a meeting of the Cobb County (Georgia) Board of Commissioners in Marietta.  Yes, we know that “atheist invocation” is an oxymoron, but Ed used the opportunity to go meta, delivering a four-minute invocation on the idiocy of invocations.  Go get ’em, Ed!

More Cobb Craziness:

  • Pelphry v Cobb – The ACLU (with Ed Buckner among the plaintiffs) sued the county over sectarian invocations before meetings of the BOC.  The ACLU lost, but the BOC has loosened up on who may deliver the invocation.
  • Evolution Stickers – The county was sued–and lost–over stickers placed in school biology texts that read “Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things.  The material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”
  • Olympic Scandal – In the mid-1990s the BOC passed a resolution declaring that homosexuality was “incompatible with the standards to which this community subscribes.”  After gay rights activists threatened to disrupt the Olympic Torch Relay (which was scheduled to go through Cobb on its way to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta), the Olympic organizers rerouted the torch.  Cobb rescinded the anti-gay resolution in 1997.
  • Annette Kesting – Cobb’s first black Commissioner got in hot water for stating, while speaking at a black church, “I love my enemies.  I pray every day with my enemies because I have to go up on the third floor and work with white women,” and “You would be amazed seeing the people I work with at the county.  They are not Christian people.”  Kesting lost the next election to Woody Thompson; to exact revenge, Kesting hired a South Carolina voodoo priestess to put a curse on Thompson that would kill him.  The curse failed; actually, it was never cast, since both of Kesting’s checks bounced.  In July 2009 Kesting and her husband were arrested for allegedly stealing a truck they had borrowed from a friend and failed to return.


Dragon*Con is only a month away!  Four day memberships are $90 (plus Ticketmaster charges) through August 15th.  After that, you’ll have to buy tickets at the door ($100 for four days, less for other packages).   American Freethought will record a live podcast at 11:30AM, Saturday, September 5th with the Skeptics Track.

We (meaning John and David and respective redheads) will also be attending the Star Party at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA on Thursday, September 3rd.  The Star Party is organized by the Atlanta Skeptics, will feature dinner, drinks, an opportunity to chat with Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy) and Pamela Gay (Astronomy Cast podcast), and stargazing through the Bradley Observatory telescope.  Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society in honor of the late Jeff Medkeff (Blue Collar Scientist).

Participation and Feedback:

Shop or Donate:

  • CafePress – Buy cool American Freethought swag, including t-shirts and mugs.
  • Amazon.com – Click-through and buy whatever you want.
  • PayPal – Drop some change in our virtual tip-jar.  You’ll help offset the cost of maintaining the website and producing the podcast.

Visit us online at AmericanFreethought.com.  We post new content (nearly) every day!

David will podcast new episodes of Secular Nation soon.  AtheistAlliance.org/podcast.

Interested in science fiction?  Then check out John’s other online project, SciFiDimensions.com.

Theme music by Body Found.

Recorded July 30, 2009.  Hosted by John C. Snider and David Driscoll.

To listen to this episode click here.

This entry was posted in astronomy & space, atheism, christianity, evolution, history, intelligent design, news, paranormal, podcast, politics, religion, science and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Podcast #61 – Adventures in Cobb County

  1. I Am says:

    Excellent podcast, as usual. Congrats to John for not saying the “so help me God” in the notary public oath! I don’t know what I would have done in that situation.

    I’ll have to listen to the Bates lecture. It’ll be a good to find out what the “other side” listens to on their iPods, as well as a break from the well-reasoned arguments I normally hear on your and other freethought podcasts.

  2. JHGRedekop says:

    A few years ago at an election here in Toronto — I can’t remember if it was provincial or federal — my partner couldn’t make it, so I asked if I could cast her vote for her. I was told that I could provided I swore an oath that I was accurately representing her wishes.

    The oath I was handed to repeat was similar to the one John mentioned, complete with “so help me God”, so I asked if they had one that non-Christians could use. The elections official shuffled some paper around a bit and pulled out an alternative one — and affirmation instead of an oath — which is legally equivalent and has no religious references. I used that instead, and everything went smoothly.

  3. skepoet says:

    On the ACLU lawsuit, that is the tactic they ACLU took with the schools: the equal access argument. Christian groups can use school property and have student groups with teaching advisers as long as other groups get access. The problem is that other groups don’t actually get access: no free thought or Wiccan or LGBT groups get approved.

    I, living in Macon, have always found Cobb county to be sort of funny. Its proximity to Atlanta is why it gets called out for doing many things that happen in smaller counties and cities in Georgia without fanfare. Recently one of the schools I worked for let a religious charity advertise on government property, which is illegal, and got away with it. The local churches thought about filing a law suit, but didn’t want to call the ACLU.
    I thought about filing the lawsuit, but I must admit that I didn’t have the courage because the all the out atheists I knew at that school have been fired or chased out.

  4. Doug Yencer says:

    Really enjoyed the latest show! It appears Cobb County offer lots of entertainment!

    Just one question, why isn’t Allison on more often?

  5. everettattebury says:

    The reason the ACLU went after the sectarian nature of the prayers is because of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Marsh v. Chambers.


  6. Pingback: The Voyage that Shook the World « American Freethought

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *