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Because Margaret Doughty, 65, objected to the pledge to bear arms in defense of the U.S. on her application--she explained that she's morally opposed to war and killing--she must be granted an exception as a conscientious objector. And in order to do that, the immigration office in Houston says the atheist must show proof by Friday that she belongs to a church that holds such views.

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"God Is Not Great" author Christopher Hitchens got a feel for the evangelical climate at the Air Force Academy in May and came away with some troubling questions. In a column headlined "In Defense of Foxhole Atheists," he asks: "Is there a clique within the United States military that is seeking to use the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an opportunity to mount a new crusade and to Christianize the 'heathen'?"

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The percentage of Americans who follow no religion has doubled since 1990, according to a new survey of religious identity. At 15 percent, they are now the third largest group, behind Catholics and Baptists. The Christian majority has dwindled by 10 points in the last 18 years.

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It's hard to pick just one nutty attack ad from this election season's overflowing cornucopia o' nonsense, but CNN's Campbell Brown thinks she's found the worst in Sen. Elizabeth Dole's truth-challenged spot insinuating that her Democratic rival, Kay Hagan, is a secret atheist. Updated

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So what was with all of the invocations of the deity at last week's Democratic National Convention? Stephen Colbert talks about the Dems' public displays of piety with Lori Lippman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition for America, producing another kind of sacred text to take the Bible's place as he swears Brown in for her "Colbert Report" testimonial.

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