Raif Badawi sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
May 07, 2014

Raif Badawi, founder of the website Liberal Saudi Network, has been sentenced to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and fined one million riyal (USD $266,631) for insulting Islam. 

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They Would See Us as Bacteria

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 07, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Terrible news: Raid Badawi, the persecuted Saudi dissident, facing a horrific penalty for "insulting Islam" and perhaps even death for apostasy, has had his sentence made even harsher: 10 years in prison (from 7), 1000 lashes (from 600), and a fine equal to about $267,000 US. We'll have more on this soon. CFI and allies held a protest outside the Saudi embassy for him this past Saturday, in concert with other protests around the world.

CFI is urging lawmakers in Ohio to nix a resolution that would endorse the work of religion and ideology-driven "Crisis Pregnancy Centers":

[C]ertainly you can see that the Ohio state government should not endorse or financially support CPCs, which mislead the public, spread dangerous anti-scientific views, and advance sectarian religious beliefs. 

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Khuy, Pizda, Ebat’, and Blyad

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 06, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

The Supreme Court completely blows it. In a 5-4 decision, the Court rules in favor of sectarian prayer at government legislative functions. CFI's response is to call the decision "ill-reasoned," "hostile to the rights of religious minorities," and "dangerous," among other unflattering things. CNN notes our reaction, including our boss Ron Lindsay's statement that "those of us who believe in a secular government must redouble our legal and advocacy efforts. The New York Times called the decision "lamentable."  

We agreed with the dissent of Justice Kagan:

[M]onth in and month out for over a decade, prayers steeped in only one faith, addressed toward members of the public, commenced meetings to discuss local affairs and distribute government benefits. In my view, that practice does not square with the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share in her government.

Calling the Court's bluff, the Satanists are ready.

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SCOTUS Rules for Legislative Prayer, CFI Says Court Appears ‘Hostile’ to Religious Minorities

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
May 05, 2014

The Supreme Court decided 5-4 in favor of sectarian legislative prayer today in the case of Greece v. GallowayIn CFI's official statement, we said, "this ill-reasoned and constitutionally infirm decision sets a dangerous precedent for the blending of religion and government, and sends a message of exclusion to those who do not follow the majoritarian belief system." Here's what our president and CEO Ron Lindsay had to say.

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Oh Variola, What Are We Going to Do With You?

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 05, 2014

a The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Saturday, CFI and allies protested Saudi Arabia's persecution and imprisonment of Raif Badawi, the dissident atheist blogger. I'm told the folks inside the embassy were perturbed. Here's a couple of pics from our boss Ron Lindsay and our public policy office.  

Meanwhile, another major focus of CFI's free expression efforts, Indonesia's Alexander Aan, was profiled in the New York Times

Lindy West of Jezebel will be among the amazing speakers at Women in Secularism III (11 days away!), and she's interviewed at Skepchick as part of their series on conference speakers. 

Make sure you catch up on everything else CFI community members are up to in the latest edition of Cause & Effect.  

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Let’s Invade Puny Mars

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 02, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Tomorrow is the demonstration at the Saudi embassy in DC for Raif Badawi, the imprisoned atheist dissident. Come and help us speak out for free expression.

Lauren Becker's National Day of Reason essay yesterday was so well-liked, we meme'd it

The Satanist monument for the Oklahoma Statehouse? It exists. And, like, wow.

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Why We Need to Lose Religion to Save America

by Lauren Becker
May 01, 2014

On this National Day of Reason, it’s time to remember that revolutionary ideas work better than religious ideology.

It’s 1784 and James Madison has a problem: the General Assembly of Virginia has just proposed a bill that would establish a special tax to pay for “teachers of the Christian Religion.” The bill has wide support because the Episcopal Church—the dominant church—will benefit greatly from having taxpayers pay for its teachers. Madison, however, knows better. He knows the bill is an attack on the principle of freedom of conscience and a threat to the liberties so recently wrenched from King George III. ...

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A Manifestation of a Foul Substance

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 01, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

It's the National Day of Reason (also the National Day of Prayer, but come on, who celebrates that?), and to mark the occasion we have a powerful piece by CFI's Lauren Becker on why we need to lose religion to save America.

Bill Nye goes on Seth Myers' show to tell the world: Don't ask me for a selfie while I'm defusing a bomb

This is like a birthday present for skeptics: Harriet Hall knocks out a pretty darn comprehensive introduction to homeopathy for Skeptical Inquirer. Of course, it has only the essence of words that were once there. I'm kidding! But seriously, here's a homeopathic cartoon

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More on Mummies

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 30, 2014

Regarding my previous blog, “Mummies’ Secrets,” here are two artistic responses to the same exhibition; a poem (in my “improvisational rhyming” style) and a sketch of a natural mummy (a 17th-century nobleman discovered in 1806 in a German castle crypt, dressed in fine boots).

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The Truthiness of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 30, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Okay, there is some really awful stuff in the news this morning. I'm going to start with some important and more general stuff, and I'll try to get the bad stuff all out in one shot. I'll warn you. First, some CFI news: 

May 3 in Washington, DC, CFI will join allies around the world in protesting for the freedom of Raif Badawi, the Saudi writer and dissident jailed for blasphemy, and facing a possible death sentence for apostasy.  

Two CFI Institute online courses are about to get underway, so sign up now to feed your brain on "Modern Humanism" and "Science and Its Institutions," both taught by David Koepsell.

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