A Lesson in “Spin”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
October 02, 2013

As we know, political groups put their own “spin” on news stories. Let’s suppose that, while strolling near the White House, President Obama discovered a wallet on the sidewalk and returned it to its owner. Here is how some different sources might report the story.

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We Shoulda Seen This Coming—Oh, Wait, I Did!

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
October 02, 2013

Way back in the October/November 2011 FREE INQUIRY, I sounded the alarm about the danger of unintended consequences from the drive for humanist chaplains in the military. Since then, the issue has only mushroomed. Now (partly but not solely by way of Harvard's humanist chaplaincy) tearing down the fences between humanism and religion has become a game almost anyone can play. Today even Peter J. Reilly, an online tax columnist (!) for Forbes, has weighed in with an essay asking "Should Humanist Groups Seek Church Status?"

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Proselytism is Solemn Nonsense

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
October 02, 2013

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

Elise Hilton at the religious-conservative organization Acton Institute respectfully questions the new CFI Living without Religion campaign, and still concludes, "Believers and non-believers have much in common, and much to discuss."   

Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be magically turned into saints on on April 27, 2014. 

The current pope is still generating good copy, for example:

Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. 

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Atheists Don’t Steal Danish Bicycles

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

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

The government may be shut down, but luckily, heresy does not depend on public funds.  

Yesterday was International Blasphemy Rights Day, and I was proud to watch as CFI's Michael De Dora did a live Google Hangout interview with persecuted atheist Kacem El Ghazzali of Morocco. (Alber Saber was supposed to be there, too, but his connection failed. We plan to have him back.) Skim past the technical troubles in the first few minutes, and then it's a great interview with a fascinating guy.  

Also yesterday we launched the Living without Religion campaign, and people seem really excited about it. I know we are! Tweets are coming in that eloquently tell how you guys live happy, fulfilling lives #withoutreligion, and I encourage you to keep it up. If you live in or near DC, NYC, Grand Rapids/Detroit, or Indianapolis, keep your eyes out for the ads, like this one in Michigan!  

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International Blasphemy Rights Day: An Interview With Persecuted Atheists

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
September 30, 2013

The Center for Inquiry will mark International Blasphemy Rights Day on Monday, September 30, part by hosting an online discussion with Alber Saber and Kacem El-Ghazzali, both of whom have been forced to leave their home countries over blasphemy charges.

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You Bunch of Perverts

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

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

This is a huge day at CFI!

Today we're launching a national outreach campaign declaring that, yes indeed, millions of Americans live happy, meaningful lives without religion. We have ads going up in NYC, DC, Michigan, and Indiana. We have an amazing new website with a fantastic video, testimonials from real people about the benefits of secular humanism, stats, resources, and other great content. In fact, we want you to join in and tell us how you live happily #withoutreligion on Twitter. Here's our official announcement and our press release

But wait! There's more! 

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Help Us Spread the Message: We Are Living Happily #WithoutReligion

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

Today, CFI is launching a national outreach campaign declaring that millions of Americans do, in fact, live happily without religion – and we want you to help us spread that message. We seculars are the fastest-growing "belief" group in the country, and we want everyone to know that we don’t need God, dogma, or a sacred text to find fulfillment, meaning, and joy. We want to reach out to those who have doubts about religion, but may not be ready to leave it behind, to let them know that life is full of wonder and purpose that we create ourselves, and that leaving religion does not mean going without community and support.

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Out the Window

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 27, 2013

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

Bob Smietana at USA Today covers the big ARIS-CFI survey on the worldviews of American college students, gets commentary from former CFI intern Stef McGraw, and talks to Mark Forrester, a chaplain at Vanderbilt University:

"[When I started in 1991, students] were either Protestant or Catholic," he said. "The biggest question was, what kind of Protestant are you? "

Now Jewish, Muslim, and other non Christian students are common as are those with no faith.

"All of our assumptions are out the window," he said. 

Don't forget: Michael De Dora is doing an online video chat with persecuted atheists Alber Saber and Kacem El-Ghazzali on Monday! 

Fake psychic Rose Marks is found guilty on 14 counts of fraud, may get 20 years. 

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#FirstCause

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

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

In conjunction with CFI, Trinity College's American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) releases a new report on the religious identification of college-age Americans, and the results are rather surprising. Not only do these folks divide pretty much evenly between three groups (Religious, Spiritual, and Secular), but the those claiming "no religion" are not just fuzzy "searchers," but mostly straight-up nontheists. Here's the press release with highlights and the full report (PDF)

On Monday, CFI's Michael De Dora will do a video chat with persecuted atheists Alber Saber and Kacem El-Ghazzali for International Blasphemy Rights Day. This is an amazing opportunity, and it's not to be missed. 

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi says, I assume with a straight face, that Jesus invented Twitter. Sort of:

[Jesus] used tweets before everyone else, with elementary phrases made up of fewer than 45 characters like "Love one another." 

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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Smaller

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 25, 2013

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

The Morning Heretic is traveling this morning to be amongst the journalists at the Religion Newswriters Conference in Austin, so this is going to be a very short roundup.

CFI has filed an amicus brief (PDF) with the Supreme Court it Town of Greece v. Galloway, the case about prayer at government and legislative functions. We summarize our reasoning here

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova says she is going on hunger strike to protest the "slavery-like" conditions at her penal colony. 

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