Film review: Oz the Great and Powerful

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
March 08, 2013

At a reported cost of $200 million to make, Oz the Great and Powerful is a much better exercise in direction and production design than screenwriting. 

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Deliberately Breaking All Codes of Politeness or Manners

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 08, 2013

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

Wow there's a lot of news for a Friday. Let's start with something nice. Go ahead and enjoy theseSmithsonian Magazine's finalists for their 2012 photo contest.  

CFI's Michael De Dora is about to whip some would-be secular activists into shape with a training workshop with CFI-NYC on March 17.  

Human rights org Article 19 releases a report on the efforts around the world to ban so-called "homosexual propaganda":

These bans must be seen in the worrying context of attempts to manipulate international human rights law to take account of ‘traditional values.’ 

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The Very Fabric of Our Country

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 07, 2013

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

Rob Boston of Americans United on the new CFI report on fundamentalism in the military:

[Jim] Parco’s report is important. It deserves to be read – and acted upon – in the highest echelons of the U.S. military. 

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation will lead a rally tomorrow in Colorado Springs protesting the USAFA for promoting a homophobic and misogynistic religious website.

CFI-Canada leads the calls for Simon Fraser University in Vancouver to not allow an anti-vaccination conference to take place on its campus. Here is the full letter sent to the university.

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HuffPost Live Discusses CFI’s New Report on Fundamentalism in the Military

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 06, 2013

CFI just released an important new position paper on the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in the U.S. military, written by Jim Parco, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and former member of the NSC under President Clinton. It's fascinating and disturbing, and already has a lot of people talking.

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The Right to Stay Away

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 06, 2013

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

Must-see: The HuffPost Live panel on fundamentalism in the military with Jim Parco, author of the CFI report on this issue, as well as Blake Page and Mikey Weinstein. 

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, does not see things the way we do:

We don't see agnosticism or atheism as being in need of defense in the same way persecuted religious minorities are. We speak of the right to worship and practice in peace, not the right to stay away from places of worship. 

The NYT comes down against FEMA grants to houses of worship on church-state separation grounds...

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Noah Nez, The Native Skeptic

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
March 05, 2013

I first heard about the Native Skeptic from Desiree Schell, the host of the Skeptically Speaking podcast. She mentioned a writer named Noah Nez who blogged about skepticism within the Native American community. He's been a columnist for the Skeptical Briefs ever since. 

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Something Just Clicked

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 05, 2013

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

CFI drops an important new position paper on the rise of rampant Christianism in the U.S. Military.

The report itself is authored by Jim Parco of Colorado College, formerly of the National Security Council under Clinton and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. You can read his forward to the report here. And if reading is a bummer to you, here are some bullets of key findings

A one-two punch of awesomeness from Kimberly Winston at RNS: First, she profiles "Samya," a young Middle Eastern woman who is fleeing Islam and the violent consequences of her apostasy.

Then, Winston looks at CFI-NYC's own efforts to support former or questioning Muslims with the program "Muslim-ish."

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Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act Bars Federally Funded Religious Discrimination

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
March 04, 2013

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which Congress approved last week, includes important language which prevents groups that receive federal funds from discriminating based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or gender identity. 

 

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“Dark Skies”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
March 04, 2013

Help! Alien beings are abducting us! At least that is the message of the movie Dark Skies (released in February 2013).

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Barack + Nessie 4eva

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 04, 2013

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

Margaret Talbot at the New Yorker on the internal views of the sex abuse crisis within in the Catholic Church:

What is distinctive is that Catholic officials can find a higher purpose—protecting the sanctity of the priesthood—in shielding abusers, and a spiritually rewarding humility in enduring criticism of their conduct. [Los Angeles cardinal] Mahony has been blogging about the public disparagement he has received, and he compares it to what Christ withstood, urging the faithful to join him in exploring what it is to “take up our cross daily and to follow Jesus—in rejection, in humiliation, and in personal attack.” But, unlike the criminal prosecution of perpetrators—or real Church reform—that doesn’t do much to help victims or to prevent abuse.

Disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland cops to "having engaged in unspecified sexual misbehavior" with priests. 

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