If You Go to Google on the Internet It Will Back Up What I Say

November 6, 2013

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

Jeez, there's a lot going on today.

There were elections yesterday, and you don't need me to go on about that, though it's fair to say that secularism may have dodged a bullet or two in the Old Dominion. (I should disclose that I sort of worked under Governor-Elect McAuliffe when he was chair of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. He would have no idea who I am now, but he did sign a copy of his book for me on my first day there, in which he declared me the greatest campaign researcher in the world. I don't know how he knew that so quickly.)

And wouldn't you know it, Illinois' legislature passed marriage equality which the governor promises to sign. 

Today, the Nine Scary Robed Ones (no, not the Nazgul - keep guessing) will decide the fate of prayer at government functions in Greece v. Galloway. Here again is CFI's amicus brief on the case. Many folks plan to rally. Sarah Posner covers the debate, including the story of Michael Cluff of South Jersey, who I wrote about at Friendly Atheist: Michael had planned to out himself as a nonbeliever at debate over prayer at council meetings, but was run roughshod over when the vote was held before any input could be offered.

But the biggest of all big, big news, of course, is the return of Point of Inquiry, relaunched with a new team. The first episode up is in both audio and video, co-host Josh Zepps interviewing Leonard Mlodinow at the CFI Summit. When you hear Debbie Goddard's voice opening the show, you'll feel that all is right with the world again.

Cathy Lynn Grossman notes that religion no longer dominates as the basis of opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, at least out loud. 

GOP Reps from Texas, Sam Johnson and Pete Olson, introduce a bill designed to prevent the Air Force Academy from making a pledge to God optional

The nation of Georgia considers its own blasphemy law. Via EurasiaNet:

The measure, an amendment to Georgia's civil code, addresses anything from desecrating religious institutions and symbols to publicly offending the feelings of the faithful.  

Two men in Pakistan are sought for blasphemy charges for allegedly using pages of the Quran as "fireworks material." 

Jeffrey Stanley thinks skeptics of the paranormal are being buzzkills (for example, for "presupposing" that talking to the dead is impossible -- the nerve!), but does make this neat observation:

Because of the world’s overwhelming belief in an afterlife I am always amazed at the number of people who are absolutely petrified of Ouija boards. Shouldn’t we be elated when the pointer, properly called a planchette, moves and spells out things?  Shouldn’t we jump for joy when a spirit box calls out to us?  Instead we flee in terror at the most innocuous of communications.  

The couple convicted of torturing and beating their adopted daughter to death, inspired by the Christian disciplinary book To Train Up a Child, are given the maximum sentence by a judge who "showed no mercy." 

This Friday, CFI's Michael De Dora will speak to CFI-Portland, as promoted in this Facebook post in which Michael looks like he's in 7th grade.  

India gets its first magazine devoted to homeopathy. It will be made up of entirely blank paper, save for the possibility of one dot of ink hidden among the pages. Or perhaps just the essence of the ink, with a memory of journalism.

Okay, my apologies for being so self-referential today. But a while back, also at Friendly Atheist, I wrote about the rise in popularity of a Bible app called YouVersion ("the Instagram of Bibles!"). Kimberly Winston has a piece up about how atheists are using it as a tool, too. 

The Warner Bros. Tasmanian Devil is causing trouble in Connecticut. Not really, but it is a crazy "whip of wind." 

David Niose on the move to put "In God We Trust" signage in a public school:

It's bad enough that the affirmation appears on currency among many other phrases and terms, but to place it constantly in the faces of schoolchildren would take it to another level. 

That's no UFO, that's a thermal insulation tile floating in space. 

That NJ school that wouldn't allow religiously-tinged songs at a holiday concert changes its mind, as "pieces with traditional and historical religious origins will be permitted."

Anti-quote of the Day: Letter to the editor in Alabama has an ironclad, irrefutable checkmate for atheists:

Atheism is a religion. Most people know this. If you go to google on the internet, it will back up what I say. 

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Duncan Henderson forms the only freethought group in an Alabama high school.  

Quote of the Day

Rev. Henry Green, in the above linked Posner piece on Greece v. Galloway, gets it:

Government, the more local you go, the more closely you have to live together. Let’s not do something that’s going to divide the community.

* * *  

Here's where I found today's image.  

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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