You Get 28%

February 4, 2013

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

On Friday, the HHS announced a new policy allowing religious organizations to opt out of the contraceptive coverage rule of the Affordable Care Act. Our own Michael DeDora responded with deep skepticism, and also lamented a seeming lack of backbone on the part of the administration:

It is also troubling that HHS has given so much influence to the religious lobby on a major health and public policy decision. This drawn out debate over something as basic as birth control is a perfect example of the harmful influence of religious belief on public policy.

Sarah Posner cites Michael's analysis in her own breakdown of what's important about this new rule:

It's one thing for the Court to decide when a law violates the religious freedom of a citizen, and another for political pressure to be applied by a particular religious group (or a collection of religious groups sharing a particular religious view) to gain an exemption from a generally applicable law. 

Catholics for Choice are among those not happy

Donn Esmonde at the Buffalo News gives a gold star to the student who stood up for church-state separation when Joelle Silver pushed her religion on her science class, and talks to our own Tom Flynn for insight. 

Our boss Ron Lindsay digs cats. But he also knows that it's nearly impossible to know what it's like to be one. Here, he examines the limits of our moral reasoning when we're talking about the competing interests of species other than our own. Like cats. 

Joe Nickell found Bigfoot, and he got a picture

True, our Sasquatch may look a bit wooden, but then so do Al Gore and Mitt Romney at times. 

Remember how anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy was going to be headlining a an Ottawa health event? Not anymore. Tyranny!

These skeptics done good: At CSICOP.org, Kylie Strurgess interviews Bob Blaskiewicz and David Gorski on their efforts to raise money for St. Jude's Hospital as a "birthday present" for cancer quack Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. 

Mitch Ross, the guy who sells antler spray to athletes, according to the Sun-Times, "believes God wants him to cure amyotrophic lateral sclerosis." 

The Torah -- explained! Apologetics -- exploded! The Life of Brian -- referenced! All on the latest episode of The Human Bible! <thundercrash!> 

The French National Assembly approves legalizing gay marriage 249-97. 

Doug Thomas at HuffPo Canada writes of the "long and tedious struggle" nonbelievers in his country have, given the lack of explicit church-state separation. 

Despite angry emails, Ben Radford remains pretty sure that Joseph Smith was a "doomsday prophet."

At WaPo, AHA's Roy Speckhardt asks:

. . . in pursuit of respect, in seeking freedom from religion, and in challenging religious injustice, do atheists ever cross the line into activity that may be counterproductive and alienate religious allies?

You think?? (But seriously, it's a good article.) 

Walker Bristol comes down hard on the skepto-atheist movement's lack of activism on behalf of the less fortunate:

The atheist movement, in composition and purpose, has in the last decade failed to demonstrate a meaningful dedication to fighting economic inequality and building a safe space for nontheists regardless of their socioeconomic class. Despite all their talk of building a better world and upholding diversity, contemporary atheism and humanism's most prominent authors and leaders have been suspiciously silent on the topic of poverty. 

LiveScience wonders if we've seen the last of the "great leap forwards" in science from individuals. 

I don't know anything about this show, but apparently The Good Wife has outed two atheist characters, and I take it that they're not crazy or jerks. 

Fake Iranian space-monkey

200 researchers from 80 countries combine their efforts to build a "CERN for the brain" - a supercomputer meant to simulate a human mind. 

HuffPost Live does a segment on mixed marriages -- you know, one atheist, one believer. 

Friendly Atheist guest author Cathleen O’Grady reports on the challenges faced by organized atheism in Uganda

Michael Serazio at The Atlantic: Yeah, sports are a whole lot like religion:

What totems . . . still survive in this culture of ours? The Red Sox. The Packers. The Lakers. And so on. The notion that sports remain our civic religion is truer than we often let on: In fandom, as in religious worship, our social connections are brought to life, in the stands as in the pews. It serves as a reminder of our interconnectedness and dependency; it materially indexes belonging. Like others, I indulge the royal "we" when speaking of my team, though there is little evidence they need me much beyond ticket sales, merchandise, and advertising impressions. 

Speaking of which, Tide runs a Super Bowl ad poking light fun at Jesus-in-my-toast appearances. 

A movement begins in Russia to remove Americanisms by force of law from Russian language. 

Meanwhile, head of the Russian Orthodox Church supports new laws to punish blasphemy.

Change.org petition launches to free Kuwaiti atheist activist Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz, arrested for murder. Kidding! It's blasphemy again.

U.S. Court of Appeals backs school decision to remove Bible stuff from a student's graduation speech. 

Cells with ESP

Baby burqas. No kidding. 

Quote of the Day

Spoofing the famous restaurant receipt from Applebees-Gate:

I give God 0% so you get 28%.

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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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