Here Comes the Mufti! Here Comes the Mufti!

November 19, 2013

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

Dig it: Josh Zepps has got Bill Nye for the latest episode of the shiny-new Point of Inquiry!

NASA launches a new mission to Mars, the MAVEN probe, which will explore the planet's atmosphere.  

It's a Ban Ki-Moon kind of day. First, he's urging the European Union to take the lead in fighting climate change (not mentioned: probably because we in the U.S. are really, really not). Then, he goes and declares today World Toilet Day for reasons that are totally not funny but it's still okay to think that it's fun to say "World Toilet Day." 

NCSE gets a new executive director to replace the retiring Eugenie Scott, biologist and science communicator Ann Reid. Congrats! 

CFI-DC's Simon Davis watches Greek politics pretty closely, and here's a quirk you may not be aware of: The Greek government appoints muftis, Muslim legal scholars, with official judicial power for its Muslim minority, mainly ethnic Turks:

An alert reader might wonder at this point how the concept of muftis performing judicial functions differs from Sharia law. The answer is that it doesn’t.  

Musaab Shamsah, a Kuwaiti activist, gets 5 years for blasphemous tweets. 

Rev. Frank Schaefer is found guilty by a United Methodist jury of the crime of officiating his gay son's wedding

Kimberley Winston covers the "street epistemology" contained in Peter Boghossian's A Manual for Creating Atheists

Douglas Laycock, the plaintiffs' attorney in Greece v. Galloway, is not happy with the Hawaii gay marriage law for not being explicit in exemptions for religious institutions. 

Cristina Odone at the Telegraph thinks that poor, oppressed Christians, not willing to take it anymore from the atheist juggernaut, may erupt in a "Christian spring." 

Grand Valley Lanthorn reports on the big, sold-out Neil deGrasse Tyson event with CFI-Michigan (and here's that awesome asteroid-kid video from the event). 

Much like Wolverine or the Manchurian in Iron Man 3, these batteries can heal themselves.

Harriet Hall blogs against the various state laws that allow so much leeway for parents who refuse medical treatment for their children in lieu of "faith healing." 

Monmouth University in New Jersey (where I won a high school drama championship in comedy monologue in 1995) now offers a class on the history and folklore on zombies

Hemant notices that Slate has overlooked some atheists in its roundup of billionaires. 

More Chopra vs. Coyne fun at TNR. 

Patrick Keddie at Al Jazeera reports on the rise of atheists in Egypt, who, while under threat and suspicion, also find themselves emboldened to speak out. 

So vouchers are supposed to help kids in failing public schools go to private schools. Well, in Wisconsin, 80% of recipients never went to a public school to begin with.  

Frederica Aalto, opining on prayers at government functions:

Separation of church and state is not an attack on religion, but rather the best defense of freedom of religion. It is because our government cannot endorse religion that we have avoided the official persecution of religious minorities common elsewhere.  

Quote of the Day

The Economist's Erasmus on sectarianism and its exacerbation of existing conflicts:

People of broadly the same religion who disagree over theology are not doomed to fight. But if they do fight, theological difference gives their disputes an extra-sharp edge. At least in a metaphorical sense and sometimes in a physical one, rival interpretations of the same religion are competing for the same space. 

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