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Clay Farris Naff
Clay Farris Naff ( is a science writer with a special interest in the rational reconciliation of religions with science. An award-winning journalist and author, he has been a Tokyo correspondent for United Press International, a freelance reporter for National Public Radio, a science-and-religion columnist for the Metanexus Institute, and is the author or editor of numerous books, including most recently Free God Now! He has been a freelance writer for Newsweek, Earth Magazine, The Humanist, and Scientific American, among other publications. You can follow him at Twitter @claynaff, or join his Free God Now! page on Google+.or Facebook. Any opinions expressed are his alone.

Entries by Clay Farris Naff

Three Simple Truths About Terror, Religion, and Islam

(28) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 4:03 PM

One: Terrorism is the illusion of power. It only becomes powerful when people fall for it. Picture a magician who performs a variation on the trick of sawing a person in half. The "victim" screams in agony as the saw appears to slice her in half. The magician then turns...

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Human Trafficking Jam: Sorting Out Consensual Sex From Slavery, Coercion and Abuse

(2) Comments | Posted September 17, 2015 | 10:18 AM

(Image credit: Wikimedia, public domain)

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court righted a longstanding wrong by ruling for same-sex marriage. The Obergefell v. Hodges decision includes a ringing affirmation of evolving moral views:

The nature of...

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In Backing Kim Davis, Republican Candidates Betray the Rule of Law

(27) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 4:19 PM

"We must ... never surrender to judicial tyranny." -- Mike Huckabee
"it's absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty." -- Rand Paul
"Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny." -- Ted Cruz

Kim Davis may be deluded, shrewd or both. Whatever her motives, the...

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OK, GOP Presidential Field, Who's for Bringing Back Slavery?

(1) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 9:49 AM

You knew it was coming. Like porno producers and morning-drive DJs, Republican presidential contenders are continually on the prowl for new ways to shock and offend. And in the Iowa State Fair season, no one makes the media porker squeal like the despicable Donald.

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Does Legal Gay Marriage Doom Evangelical Christianity?

(1139) Comments | Posted June 27, 2015 | 9:40 AM

2015-06-27-1435409091-7895659-17323224392_0da1d21ebf_z.jpg(Photo credit: Evert Barnes, Creative Commons)

Hell hath no fury like the religious right scorned. The ink was yet wet on the Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage when Southern Baptist minister and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called for an uprising.

"I will not...

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Caitlyn Jenner Unites Old Time Religionists and Gender Feminists in Wroth

(38) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 11:29 AM

For those who cling to rigid categories, transgender is a nightmare. Just look at how Caitlyn Jenner's splash on the cover of Vanity Fair has freaked out such strange bedfellows. Evidently, the category of people who need rigid categories is itself quite flexible. It includes, among others, the pope, evangelical...

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Christianity's Supernova: Why the Church's Loss Isn't Necessarily the Progressives' Gain

(208) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 10:49 PM

When a big old star runs out of fuel, it collapses of its own weight. That's what appears to be happening to Christianity, at least in the advanced countries where it once dominated. The latest Pew Center report shows that the rising generation will likely be the first...

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Not OK: Oklahoma Marriage Bill Is Jaw-droppingly Unconstitutional

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 10:13 AM

A preacher of the Gospel, a priest, and a rabbi.

Sounds like front end of a bad joke, right? But that's the full list of religious officials deemed competent to perform marriages under HB1125, the bill that Oklahoma's House just passed in an attempt to restore ecclesiastical...

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The Retreat From Universalism: How Identity Politics and Old Time Religion Corrode Human Rights Progress

(2) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 8:16 AM

Amid the ashes of World War II, with the stench of industrial-scale genocide in their nostrils, the nations of the world pledged to do better. They signed onto the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the rest of the 20th century, human rights blossomed.

How can it be...

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If We Equate Muslims With Terrorists, al-Qaeda Wins

(20) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 9:13 AM

Germans are a menace.

Long before there were Nazis, this was the prevailing sentiment in America's heartland. During World War I, patriotic Nebraskans formed "The Council of Defense" and went about intimidating anyone who spoke or published German. Propaganda, like the image below, stoked their righteous rage.

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An Open Letter to Warren Buffett: Why Not Run Those Coal-Fired Plants on Carbon Dioxide?

(0) Comments | Posted December 28, 2014 | 11:53 AM

Dear Mr. Buffett:

I hope this letter will please you. For one thing, this is the first open letter addressed to you in, gosh, nearly a month. What's more, I won't ask you for money, investment advice, or a tax-deductible contribution. I simply hope to point out...

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Do Bacteria Go to Heaven?

(10) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 10:53 AM

Pope Francis has hinted that all creatures go to heaven. 2014-12-15-popelamb717x450.jpg

"The Holy Scriptures teach us that the realization of this wonderful plan covers all that is around us, and that came out of the thought and the heart of God," Pope Francis said,...

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Does Ferguson Herald the End Times? Ptolemy Says No!

(4) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 9:12 AM

These are dark and bloody days.

In Russia, Putin is out to restore, of all things, the Soviet empire. In China, Hong Kong's promise of freedom endures slow strangulation. In Europe, neo-fascist parties are scaling the heights of power. The Middle East, never at peace, has...

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Islamo-Fascism for Real: To Appease Islamists, Egyptian Court Makes a Travesty of Justice Over Gay Wedding

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 8:04 AM

Eight men attended what may have been a gay union on a boat on the Nile. We know this because in September a video of the event went public. The men were not seen to have engaged in any sexual acts; the most "damning" thing in the video is that...

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Claiming Their Place in the Pantheon of Religions: Pastafarians Go Mainstream

(5) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 12:43 PM

Oh, dear. Have I unleashed a monster?

A Flying Spaghetti Monster, that is? Last month in these pages I published a call for government to treat the followers of His Noodliness just as they would believers in any other religion. This month, Pastafarians put the Feds to the test.


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The Vatican's Unfinished Business -- Accepting Gays Is Great, But What About Condoms?

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 9:11 AM

For all those who care more about fairness than doctrine, this is a moment to be savored. It is like the day in 1990 when Nelson Mandela was released from his South African jail: You just knew that apartheid's days were done.

Of course, South Africa was responding to tremendous...

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Is It Time for Government to Recognize the Rights of Pastafarians?

(17) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 5:39 PM

What a difference a year makes.

Last September, when I attended Apostacon, an Omaha-based freethought conference celebrating the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the mood was all ribaldry, mockery and piracy. (Pirates, of the "arrrr, matey" variety, are considered misunderstood divine beings.)

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Why Is ISIS So Awful? Evolution, Ideology, Culture, and Sex

(10) Comments | Posted August 11, 2014 | 1:11 PM

Tossing prisoners into chasms, executing children, putting severed heads on display: In a region where brutality is common, ISIS certainly has made a name for itself. The militant Islamist group -- born of the carnage in Syria and Iraq, and led by

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Sherlock Holmes Versus God Almighty: Who Is More Real? The Multiverse Says Go With the Gumshoe

(7) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 10:20 AM

All stories are true.

On its face, this is a preposterous statement. By definition fiction is false. The tourists who for decades sought out 221B Baker Street in hopes of glimpsing Sherlock Holmes were barking up an imaginary tree after fictional prey: neither the address nor the sleuth existed. Since...

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Michael Sam and the Last Few Yards: Will We Fumble?

(12) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 5:12 PM

The sight of Michael Sam's eyes welling with tears will stay with me forever. Unfortunately, for the fanatics of Old Time Religion it's the sight of Sam kissing his boyfriend after becoming the first openly gay man drafted into the NFL that will remain indelible.

The religious right is...

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