Center for Inquiry Mixed on Finalized Birth Control Rule

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 01, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday issued a finalized birth control rule, which requires all employers — apart from houses of worship and religiously affiliated organizations — to provide employees contraceptive coverage without charging a co-payment. The announcement marks the end of a nearly two-year regulatory battle between HHS officials and advocacy groups, including the Center for Inquiry (CFI).

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A Whole Lot of Open Rebellion

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

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

In what might be the largest political demonstration in human history, millions and millions of Egyptians take to the streets to protest President Mohamed Morsi and the power wielded by the Muslim Brotherhood. 

CFI-NYC was out in force for the NYC Pride Parade! This post's image is of the branch's fearless leader, Syd LeRoy, brandishing the Big Blue Meatball in joyful support of the event.

IHEU has an update on persecuted Bangladeshi atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin (part of our Campaign for Free Expression):

The court decided yesterday that Asif could be released on health grounds, his lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua confirmed, after suffering deteriorating health during nearly three months of incarceration. Formal charges and a possible trial are still pending for later in the year. 

Also from our Campaign, Asia Bibi, a young Pakistani girl accused of blasphemy, is reportedly safe in Canada

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I’m Suffering from a Depleted Heliosheath

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 28, 2013

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

What would happen if "The Secret" really worked? Kyle Hill lays it out in the latest "Reductio Ad Absurdum" column at CSICOP.org: 

Birthdays would be decidedly more boring. When anyone can simply think themselves a present, you would really have to 'keep Christ in Christmas,' because there wouldn’t be much else.

Marc Crislip concludes from some recent blah-blah about homeopathy and quantum something-something that homeopathy must be the biggest scam in all of scamhood. 

Speaking of which, homeopaths fight their loss of public funding in the UK. Sharon Hill seeks further insight

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Not a Political Act, a Human One

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

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

DOMA is dead, Prop 8 effectively so. We at CFI celebrate a grand step toward being a more perfect union. From our press release, here's Michael De Dora:

DOMA and Prop 8 were betrayals of the secular ideals set forth in our founding documents, relegating LGBT Americans to second-class status. The Court’s rejection of these measures strongly reinforces the idea that religiously based attitudes on sex and marriage will not stand in the way of granting fundamental rights to anyone. 

President Obama and Defense Secretary Hagel promise immediate action concerning federal benefits for same-sex spouses. 

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How I Covered the Bangladesh Toilet Ghost Hysteria Story

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
June 26, 2013

I'm sometimes asked how my articles and columns come about; here's one recent example, about a ghost-haunted toilet in a South Asian factory.

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“Now You See Me”—A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
June 26, 2013

Now You See Me is the story of a four-magician team that somehow pulls off stunning heists while performing, and then, in Robin Hood style, showers their live audiences with the loot—all the while dogged by the FBI and Interpol. Could we ask for more?

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An Example of Something Absurd

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

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

Anything interesting happen yesterday? I wasn't paying attention. Slow news day I guess?

I'm kidding. In the wider world, President Obama outlined a new climate change initiative, and CFI responded with input from CSI Fellows Marc Boslough and Stuart Jordan. (Al Gore liked it way more. The White House has a zippy infographic.)

We were introduced to what Joan Walsh called a feminist superhero in Texas, state senator Wendy Davis, mounts a "badass" filibuster of crazy anti-abortion legislation. (Which did not pass.) ...

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It Sounds Very Hocus-Pocusy

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

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

In the Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein explores the (real) phenomenon of atheist prayer, in particular one atheist who has a "rigorous prayer routine" despite his nonbelief. Oh, and I'm quoted as well, perhaps being the first person in history to introduce the term "hocus-pocusy" into a major national newspaper. 

The Secular Coalition for America announces its meeting with Melissa Rogers of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which included CFI's Michael De Dora. Washington Times also reports on the meeting. 

Tom Flynn and I both come at the Joe Klein potshot at secular humanists from different angles. Tom says Klein is actually correct that secular humanists do not require an affiliation to rally around or plug when doing good works. I try to make clear that, apart from Klein's factual error, he's also engaged in a hurtful smear. 

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Joe Klein’s Cheap Shot: Why it Was Wrong

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

Why, in the middle of this piece which highlights the good works done by those who have dedicated their lives to service, go out of your way to land a potshot at an already maligned minority?

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Actually, Joe Klein Was Right

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
June 24, 2013

In a TIME cover story on community service, columnist Joe Klein observed that one never sees secular humanist groups handing out hot meals at disaster sites. Many in the atheosphere, including Hemant Mehta, Amanda Knief, and our own Paul Fidalgo, took umbrage at this "nasty crack," But you know what? So long as we're talking strictly about secular humanists, not about atheists/freethinkers generally, Klein was right. And there's a good reason why.

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