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Richard Dawkins defends ‘mild pedophilia’: Teacher putting hands down my shorts didn’t do ‘lasting harm’

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Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins refused to condemn sexual abuse he admitted to having suffered as a child in an interview with The Times magazine of England, Religion News Service reported on Tuesday.

While he told the Times that an unidentified schoolmaster “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts” when he was a child, he argued that he did not think the abuse — which he referred to as a “mild touching up” — against himself and other children in his class “did any of us lasting harm.”

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“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,” Dawkins was quoted as saying. “Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

Dawkins’ remarks were quickly criticized by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, (NSPCC) a British organization that works with children either at risk of being abused or survivors of abuse.

“Mr. Dawkins seems to think that because a crime was committed a long time ago we should judge it in a different way,” NSPCC child protection director David Watt told RNS. “But we know that the victims of sexual abuse suffer the same effects whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday.”

Peter Saunders, founder of another British survivors’ advocacy group, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, challenged Dawkins’ attempt to draw a distinction between forms of abuse.

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“Abuse in all its forms has always been wrong,” Sanders told The Times. “Evil is evil and we have to challenge it whenever and wherever it occurs.”

In April 2013, Dawkins, an outspoken atheist, accused parents who forced their children to accept their religious beliefs of being abusers, and has also compared being raised as a Catholic to sexual abuse. He continued to defend his arguments on his personal Twitter account Tuesday, writing, “Is anyone seriously denying that raping an 8-year-old to death is worse than putting a hand inside a child’s clothes? Are you that ABSOLUTE? [sic]

[h/t Salon]

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Christian conservatives are giving Americans an ‘allergic reaction’ to religion:: researchers

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The number of Americans identifying as atheists is increasing -- and recent social science research suggests that the Christian Right is playing a key role in making that happen.

As reported by Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, new research has found that distaste for Trump-loving Christian conservatism has not just turned some Americans off from individual churches but from religion altogether.

"As recently as the early 1990s, less than 10 percent of Americans lacked a formal religious affiliation, and liberals weren’t all that much likelier to be nonreligious than the public overall," FiveThirtyEight notes. "Today, however, nearly one in four Americans are religiously unaffiliated. That includes almost 40 percent of liberals — up from 12 percent in 1990, according to the 2018 General Social Survey."

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Trump taps Mike Pompeo lieutenant as new national security adviser

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President Donald Trump has announced a new national security adviser.

The president abruptly fired John Bolton last week via tweet, and he tweeted out the announcement Wednesday morning of Robert O’Brien as a replacement.

"I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O’Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Advisor," the president tweeted. "I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!"

O'Brien has worked alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had been considered for a dual role leading the national security council.

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GOP consultant shreds Trump for latest rant about ‘The Hispanics’: ‘Textbook definition of racism’

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President Donald Trump this week mocked one of his Hispanic supporters during a campaign rally by claiming that he looked white and then asking him, "Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?"

In an interview with ABC News, Republican consultant Mike Madrid slammed Trump and said his remarks made it sound like he was trying to make "a distinction between Hispanics and true Americans."

Madrid added that the president seems to believe that Hispanics must renounce their heritage in order to be truly accepted as American citizens.

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