The Ones with the Deep Voices Who Were Always Hassling Christ

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 26, 2014

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

The episode of Saudi Arabia trying to get CFI "shut up" at the UN Human Rights Council is garnering a lot of attention and interest, so I did a more complete telling of what transpired and the surrounding context over at Friendly Atheist. Additionally, we've assembled a coalition to press the US State Department to intervene.

The FDA inexplicably decides to allow "cancer quack" Stanislaw Burzynski to continue his clinical trials of his baseless treatments. Expect to hear from us on this soon. 

A one-two judicial punch takes down same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Indiana.  

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I Don’t Need Science Because I Saw a Disney Movie about Bears

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 25, 2014

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

News outlet Middle East Eye reports on Saudi Arabia's attempts to keep CFI quiet about the Kingdom's human rights abuses at the UN Human Rights Council, where our main UN rep Michael De Dora says:

It doesn’t look good for Saudi Arabia. By trying to silence us, and looking a bit desperate in doing so, they have actually caused more attention to be given to the statement we were delivering.

I do a writeup at Friendly Atheist, where I note that "the work of CFI and its allies on the world stage are beginning to get under Saudi Arabia’s skin."

IHEU alerts us: Nigerian man Mubarak Bala has been detained and medicated in a psychiatric ward simply for being an atheist.

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Shiloh’s Consumption Cure

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
June 24, 2014

The word cure on an old patent-medicine bottle is an almost sure indicator of quackery. No doubt should remain when the product is touted as a cure for consumption (i.e., tuberculosis)! There were many such cures as related in the chapter “Consumption Cures” in Nostrums and Quackery, published by the American Medical Association in 1911. It is a sordid tale of the exploitation of sufferers of pulmonary tuberculosis by means of the temporary benefits of the placebo effect and a remarkable number of “treatments” and “cures,” which fall between worthless and addictive (Nostrums 1911, I: 72–169).

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A Fresh Dollop of Persecution Complex

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 24, 2014

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

Saudi Arabia tries (and fails) to bully CFI's representative at the UN Human Rights Council, Josephine Macintosh, who was delivering a statement regarding Saudi Arabia's flagrant human rights abuses. Three times the Saudi representative tried to silence her, but she persisted, with support from the representatives from the U.S., Ireland, Canada, and France. Check out the video here. Canada's Ambassador Andrew Bennett tweets, "Proud that Canada defended @center4inquiry right to speak in Human Rights Council on Raif Badawi case today." 

Speaking of which, Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar is now in Canada with their children, and is helping to put pressure on Canada's government to intervene

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Saudi Arabia Tries to Stop Center for Inquiry From Delivering Statement at Human Rights Council

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
June 23, 2014

This morning at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Saudi Arabia tried three times to stop the Center for Inquiry (CFI) from delivering a statement criticizing the country for its human rights violations. Ultimately, their efforts failed, and CFI was allowed to speak. 

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Religion Has No Answer for Sectarianism

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
June 23, 2014

In Iraq, we are witnessing yet again the tremendous harm caused by religious fanaticism.  One interesting aspect of the present conflict is that it largely pits Muslim against Muslim, with some fanatics in the Sunni tradition battling devoted adherents of the Shia tradition.  Both traditions, of course, rely on the Qur’an as the ultimate authoritative text.  So why the conflict? 

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Infinitely Malleable

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

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

Wonderful news from moments ago: Sudan's appeals court orders charges be dropped against Meriam Ibrahim and that she be released. 

CFI chief Ron Lindsay looks at the explosion of violence in Iraq, and sees religion as a root, not a solution, to the problem:

[T]he phenomenon of intra-religious strife highlights the key problem with using religious texts and doctrines to address ethical issues in general, and in particular, how we treat other human beings. All holy texts, and the doctrines derived from such texts, are infinitely malleable. Which is another way of saying that, in themselves, they are useless as ethical guides.  

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Choosing Our Targets for #TwitterTheocracy

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
June 20, 2014

Secular activists and other free speech advocates were pleased to see Twitter unlock the accounts of users who had been blocked at the request of the Pakistani government. So are we, but we also want to make clear that the problem has not by any means been solved.

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Step On it Until it’s Dead

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

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

Dig it, folks. Greece, NY was the town at the center of the Supreme Court public-prayer case of Greece v. Galloway, and guess who's coming to the July 15 town board meeting to give an invocation? Atheist Dan Courtney, along with CFI's Ron Lindsay at the accompanying press conferenceAP picks up the story.  

CFI-DC's Simon Davis at VICE interviews Hiba Krisht who runs the popular Tumblr blog The Ex-Hijabi Fashion Photo Journal

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9 Minutes with God

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

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

Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot writes in The Guardian about the fear behind Putin's tough veneer:

When the authorities have to crack down so hard for such small violations, it is hard to escape the conclusion that someone in our country is very much afraid. 

Eman Al Nafjan in the New York Times explains how Saudi Arabia is using the threat of "terrorism" as an excuse to crack down on dissent in any form. He sites some of the cases CFI has been working on, such as those of Hamza Kashgari (interviewed by our own Michael De Dora last year), Raif Badawi, and Badawi's lawyer, Waleed Abulkhair.

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