10 Happy Dancing Lepers

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 27, 2014

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

Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times came to the Women in Secularism 3 conference, and came away with stories of women leaving Islam for atheism

Amy Davis Roth took the opportunity of Women in Secularism to do some portrait-taking (and a few CFIers are in there).  

CNN.com looks at the challenges faced by atheists in the Bible Belt

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The Morning [CENSORED LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU]

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 23, 2014

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

We learned from Right Wing Watch and Ed Brayton that the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice has been talking out of both sides of its mouth on blasphemy laws, condemning them in one place and endorsing them in others. I take them to task:

Now we see that for the ACLJ and its affiliates [free expression] extends only to Christians. For dissidents in Russia, be they non-Christian, gay, atheist, or simply at odds with the regime, CFI will seek to defend their freedom of expression; the ACLJ and its friends will work to see them behind bars. 

Robert Mackey at NYT on Twitter agreeing to censor "blasphemous" tweets in Pakistan:

This censorship comes as challenges to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy law have become increasingly deadly, amid a flurry of arrests, killings and assassination attempts on secularists.

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The ACLJ’s Hypocrisy on Blasphemy Laws

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
May 22, 2014

Combatting the global epidemic of blasphemy laws, apostasy laws, and other draconian measures that severely restrict free expression, is a core part of CFI’s mission. For some of us, myself included, it’s the most important work we do, fighting to free those being persecuted for expressing their beliefs, and working to curtail the laws that enable this kind of oppression. And while it can’t be at the top of every group’s agenda, I often take for granted that everyone in the U.S. at least generally agrees with us: that free expression is a universal human right. But leave it to the religious right: They never fail to disappoint.

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I Hereby Declare War on Peace and Happiness!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 22, 2014

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

Kimberly Winston reports on the efforts of CFI and its interfaith coalition partners to keep a prayer plaque out of the World War II memorial, here at the Washington Post.

(Winston also interviews Zeke Piestrup, who has a new documentary film about Mr. Apocalypse himself, the late Harold Camping.) 

Here's a new visualization of an old problem: Atheists portrayed as jerks and weirdos on TV. Hmm.

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Rheumatic Cures

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
May 21, 2014

The adjective rheumatic pertains to rheumatism, a general, if a rather archaic term describing such acute and chronic conditions as inflammation, joint pain, muscle stiffness and soreness. “Rheumatism” once referred to arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease, and various other conditions (Taber’s 2001, 1806–1807).

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A Rush to Embrace the Stupid

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 21, 2014

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

CFI has joined a coalition of religious and secular groups asking Congress not to add a prayer to the WWII Memorial

Sharon Hill writes at Skeptical Inquirer about attending a conference mixing academics with the paranormal, and she comes away better for it:

[J]ust after I had been outed as one of the “skeptics” in the crowd, one lady rather brusquely asked, “So you’re one of the skeptics? Why are you here?” For the same reason you are, lady, to learn and explore evidence and ideas. ... It's impossible to get that deeper concept if you are prejudiced against the field entirely. Likewise, if you pigeonhole skeptics and close off the skeptical commentary, you risk continuing to waste effort, make mistakes, and fail to progress.

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A Lot of Things That I Don’t Like

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 20, 2014

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

The first of the Women in Secularism III reflections start to come in, starting with this enthusiastic recap from Jim Newman at Skeptic Money

The photos of the conference from pals-of-CFI Brian Engler and Bruce Press are up to browse, enjoy, and humorously caption. 

Sarah Jones of Americans United (who was a speaker at WiS and was awesome) writes at Faith Street about identifying specifically as a "None"...

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India Votes, with Consequences for Secularism

by Bill Cooke
May 19, 2014

The election just held in India, the world’s largest secular democracy, should attract more attention than it has. With a voting population of more than 800 million people, the election takes five weeks to complete, broken into nine phases. It has resulted in a new Prime Minister for India: the BJP leader Narendra Modi. 

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LARPing in the Sky with Diamonds

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 19, 2014

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

Women in Secularism III was a huge success. Inspiring, enlightening, some even shocking and challenging. Expect to hear more from us on all the great stuff that went on at the conference. In the mean time, check out some photos of the event by Bruce Press, a member of our DC branch (Brian Engler will have some great ones soon, too). Also, Chris Stedman has an interview with conference speaker Barbara Ehrenreich

CFI responds strongly to the death sentence put on Sudan's Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag for apostasy with a demand for her release sent to the Sudanese UN ambassador, and further reaction in our released statement:

Religious belief must never be coerced and free expression must never be punished, through threat of imprisonment, violence, or any other means. This cannot go unanswered, and the world will not stand for it. 

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Sad Goat Man

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 16, 2014

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

Women in Secularism III kicks off today! Kimberly Winston previews the conference with a piece at RNS with CFI's own Debbie Goddard and Melody Hensley. We'll be tweeting about the conference all weekend with the hashtag #WiSCFI, though expect that some unpleasant folks will also be chiming in with same, so arm your block and mute buttons.

CFI responded to the death sentence of pregnant Sudanese woman Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag, charged with apostasy for marrying a Christian man, by reaching out to the Sudanese government and demanding she be freed. In our press release, we say:

Religious belief must never be coerced and free expression must never be punished, through threat of imprisonment, violence, or any other means. This cannot go unanswered, and the world will not stand for it. 

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