There is Nothing to Understand

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 17, 2012

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

My blogger's instinct this morning was to complain about the inconveniences of my weekend. Our move to a new house, the snow, the raging toddler, etc. But it was as we were boxing up the last bits of our old apartment that we read the news of the massacre at Newtown. Now, every time I have something I want to grouse about (and I feel very, very grousey), my mind flashes to the lost children and the devastated families, and how no matter how many things my 3-year-old breaks or how often he melts down, I'm so incredibly grateful that he and his baby sister are healthy and happy and here.

Anyway, welcome to the new work-week, everybody. I'm glad you're here, and I'm glad you're, you know, here

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Can Religion Provide Answers in Time of Tragedy?

Freethought from the Heartland with Reba Boyd Wooden
December 15, 2012

As the mother of two and grandmother of seven, I can identify with the parents and grandparents of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. My grandchildren are kindergarten, second grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, ninth grade, and twelfth grade. They are in five different schools. The two youngest are near the age of the children who were killed.

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Disgraceful Reactions to a Tragedy

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
December 14, 2012

Religious figures  Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee react to the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut by blaming separation of church and state.

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The Interfaith Movement and Where Secular Folks Fit In

by Sarah Kaiser
December 13, 2012

Reading an article put out a few weeks ago by the Center for American Progress, I was surprised to learn statistics showing that Catholic universities have a higher percentage of Muslim students enrolled than does the average four-year institution in the United States.

To secularists, this data should be surprising. Why are religious minority students finding private Catholic institutions more welcoming than public secular ones? 

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There is Nothing Anyone Can Do to Stop This

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 13, 2012

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

Egyptian atheist blogger and activist Alber Saber was convicted yesterday in a Cairo court of blasphemy, and sentenced to three years in prison. 

Human Rights Watch's Heba Morayef tells NYT:

The spike in prosecutions over the past year and a half was due to complaints being filed by Islamist lawyers on a decentralized basis, but the constitution does more than that, it makes it state policy. And the tragic thing is that I think there is nothing anyone can do to stop this from growing in the future. 

CFI touts the new IHEU report on the persecution of atheists around the world, to which we contributed significant research. Guess who's on the cover of that report.

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What’s Wrong with HumanLight / the Winter Solstice?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
December 13, 2012

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, has posted a blog endorsing HumanLight, a Winter Solstice observance invented a bit more than a decade ago by a local humanist group in New Jersey then led by the late Joe Fox. Perhaps that's an appropriate action for Roy, whose organization has a history of being friendlier toward religious humanists than the Council for Secular Humanism. But I couldn't resist leaving a secular humanist rejoinder as a comment to Roy's post. Here it is, below:

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Happy Y2K12.95

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 12, 2012

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

As insidious as many folks find a confluence of numbers within a date, I think folks will feel much better about 12/12/12 knowing that it's National Sound Check Day ("one-two, one-two, one-two"). Could also be National 2/4 Time Signature Day. Anyway, CNN rounds up some of the superstitions surrounding today's date.

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What Does Humanism Stand On?

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
December 11, 2012

If humanism is more than a lifestyle choice or a subjective preference, where could it base its principles?

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Death for Free Speech is a Deal Breaker

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 11, 2012

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

Former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey, in an op-ed by Frank Bruni at NYT, declares himself an agnostic. Says Kerrey, “If you talk openly about your doubts,” he said, “you can get in trouble.”

Writes Bruni on the problem of religious entanglement in politics:

God’s initial absence from the Democratic Party platform last summer stirred more outrage among Americans than the slaughter in Syria will ever provoke. 

Wait. 31% identify as "nonreligious"? What?? 

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New Report Details Global Restrictions on Freedom of Belief and Expression

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
December 10, 2012

In recognition of Human Rights Day, the International Humanist and Ethical Union has released a report -- produced in collaboration with the Center for Inquiry, American Humanist Association, Secular Coalition for America, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason -- that details laws around the world which restrict the rights to freedom of belief and expression, and instances of nonreligious persons facing discrimination and persecution.

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