I Hope You’re Not Squeezing Their Liver or Pancreas

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 01, 2013

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

CFI's Debbie Goddard joined Sikivu Hutchinson, Jamila Bey (both Women in Secularism alums) and Ronnelle Adams on HuffPost Live to talk about atheism in the African American community.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom reminds Saudi Arabia of its obligations under international human rights treaties, as it condemns the persecution (and coming physical abuse) of dissenting activist Raif Badawi, convicted of blasphemy.  

Aasia Bibi, accused of blasphemy in Pakistan and held in a women's prison, is in terrible danger, as security is weak and she is targeted for violence from both within and without the prison. 

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Tactful Phrasing, Polite Omissions, and White Lies

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 31, 2013

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

The AP covers the Raif Badawi story, the Saudi liberal activist convicted for "insulting Islam" and sentenced to a prison term and 600 lashes, noting that the judge spared Badawi the charge of apostasy, which would have meant the death penalty. Muslims for Progressive Values slams Saudi Arabia over this case, and its violation of its duties under international treaties.

David Mizner looks more broadly at the human rights crisis in Saudi Arabia

Given Bawadi's conviction, and yesterday's verdict in the Bradley Manning trial, this effort seems all the sillier: A Kenyan lawyer, Dola Indidis, wants to overturn Pontius Pilate's conviction of Jesus of Nazareth. Little late, dude.

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‘Atheophobia’ Hysteria?

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
July 30, 2013

Has the slandering of atheism, long heard from religion, been detected as lurking treachery within our own secular ranks?

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Monks and Their Molotov Cocktails

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 30, 2013

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

Saudi liberal Raif Badawi is sentenced to 7 years in prison and 600 lashes -- 600! -- for blasphemous blogging. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin has his plea for permanent bail rejected, and is sent back to jail on blasphemy charges.

Ron Lindsay went on HuffPost Live yesterday for a very interesting discussion on religious homeschooling, and the meaning of religious persecution. 

Soraya Chemaly has five suggestions as to why there are not more women in the movement. 

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Spiritually Itchy

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 29, 2013

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

CFI's Student Leadership Conference has just wrapped up, and I think it's safe to say that almost everyone has been inspired (and exhausted). Most importantly, though, folks laughed at the jokes in my talk, so that makes it an undeniably big success. 

While the secular youth were getting jazzed to change the world, this weekend also brought the Pope-a-palooza, as he made his big trip to Brazil (where he picked up a bunch of soccer jerseys). Blowing many people's minds, when asked about gay priests, he said:

If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? 

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Anti-Humanist Chaplain Vote in the House Has a Lesson For Us

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 26, 2013

By a 253 to 173 vote, the U. S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to H. R. 2397, the defense authorization bill, that will block the appointment of humanist chaplains in the military. Most in the movement have been outraged. I follow a different drummer. By forbidding humanist chaplains, the House majority has reminded us of something important about chaplaincy -- and about religion itself -- something that I fear too many humanists have been willing to overlook in their recent "Ooooh, we want to be chaplains too!" enthusiasm.

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Homeopathic PowerPoint

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 26, 2013

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

The Student Leadership Conference is in full swing, and the metaphorical vibe is very good. Susan Gerbic is giving her talk right now as I type (sorry, Susan!), and she had a technical glitch in which her presenation screen went blank except for an arrow cursor. Brilliantly, she gestured to the screen and said, "Homeopathy, ladies and gentlemen!" 

Let's take a look at a couple of fun diseases that are making an exciting comeback!

Let's hear it for measles! Writes Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail:

Some anti-vaxxers belong to fringe religious groups. But some are highly educated, hyper-vigilant, holistically minded parents who believe the environment is full of toxic substances that are potential threats to their children. Some think the medical establishment has no right to tell them what to do.

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Dawkins’ Tea Cup

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
July 24, 2013

On display at the Secular Hub in Colorado. 

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Mark Career as Spam

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 24, 2013

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

Fair warning: Tomorrow I travel in the morning to hit the CFI Student Leadership Conference at the Meatball Mothership, so there may not be a Morning Heresy. If there is one, it will likely be short, rushed, and rife with errors. So other than being short, it will closely resemble the usual Heresy.

Later this morning, Forecast the Facts is organizing a protest at Google HQ to tell them to stop funding science deniers, and CFI is a partner in the effort. You can also partake in the CFI action alert.

Alan Turing, the guy who pretty much gave us computing, and who helped us beat the Nazis by decrypting the Enigma code, will be posthumously pardoned by the UK. What'd he do in the first place? Well, he was gay.  

Speaking of Turing, who better to play him in a movie than CUMBERBAAAATCH

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“The Conjuring”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 23, 2013

Being given rave ratings by gee-whiz reviewers, while being panned as just another cliché-ridden scary movie by intelligent film critics, The Conjuring is a piece of work. It depicts Roger and Carolyn Perron (played by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), together with their five daughters, moving into an old Rhode Island farmhouse in 1971 where, well, hysteria soon reigns. The flames are fanned by Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) the famous—or infamous—paranormal “investigators.”

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