A Glossy Multi-Million Dollar Piece of Agitprop

March 13, 2014

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

I finally got to watch the first episode of the new Cosmos last night! Of course, my 4-year-old son wouldn't go to bed when he was supposed to, so he watched with us. Which, I now realize, is now it should be.

Andrew Leonard goes off on the religious groups who are upset about Cosmos:

The best part: Cosmos is labeled “a glossy multi-million-dollar piece of agitprop for scientific materialism” as if that’s a bad thing.  

Point of Inquiry's Lindsay Beyerstein is interviewed by fellow Women in Secularism speaker Heina Dadabhoy. 

I lament the big passage of HR 1814 (the so-called Equitable Access to Care and Health Act) at Friendly Atheist, and worry about what it means in the grand scheme. (It's what I do, worry.) 

Jann Bellamy digs into the conflict between religious accommodation and the well-being of children, warning, "Children are being held hostage by a small minority of politically active zealots."

Unrelatedly, I also relay some interesting anecdotes about whether Pope Fluffy is having real fluffifying effects on the Church. 

The ever-pleasant Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says, "erotic liberty is in the ascent and religious liberty is in peril." As if that's a bad thing! (I kid, I kid.) He goes on (and does he go on):

We simply cannot exaggerate the consequence to human flourishing if marriage is subverted and transformed so that it is no longer directed, as a human institution, toward procreation and the nurture of children. Human flourishing will be inevitably harmed and permanently debilitated by its redefinition.

Stop laughing, he means it. 

Would-be GOP presidential nominees are invoking Satan and other fire-and-brimstone boogeymen to win the hearts of social conservatives.  

Sarah Jones at AU rips apart a Catholic League report (metaphorically) on imagined anti-Catholicism, calling some of Bill Donohue's statements on the sexual abuse crisis "odious":

Not only does Donohue diminish the trauma inflicted by priests who committed sexual violence by treating it as if it's just a little touching, he writes it off as the act of “homosexuals,” as if criminal behavior is simply to be expected of gay men. 

Pat Robertson says watching porn or horror movies will allow a demon to enter you. As if that's a bad thing

Prosecutors are looking to put away weight-loss huckster Keven Trudeau for 10 years.

Hemant facepalms over an Iowa fire department's use of Jesus imagery on its fire trucks:

What’s next? A Buddhist ambulance or Hindu cop car? You can bet atheists will want an image on that truck given the opportunity. And, what the hell, let’s get the Satanic Temple in on this, too… I mean, it’s a fire truck. It only makes sense, right? 

And while we're at it, Herb Silverman says stop blaming Satan for bad things and own up. He's also newly sympathetic to those who call themselves Satanists:

[I]nitially I hoped they would quietly go away because of their potential to give atheists a bad name. I learned that I had been prematurely judgmental when Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, gave a talk last month to my local Secular Humanist group in Charleston, South Carolina. Many people dislike atheists even though they have never knowingly met one. I should not have made the same mistake about the Satanists. They have merely hit on a clever name to get publicity for promoting rational thought and separation of religion and government, which humanist and atheist groups also support.  

Ben Radford puts to rest the idea that the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has been mysteriously sucked into the magic of the Bermuda Triangle. 

A man who otherwise would have been on that missing flight is obviously something special, since God kept him off the plane. Forget those other less-godly suckers, right?

The Blaze reports that cadets at the Air Force Academy are so upset about the removal of a Bible verse from a whiteboard, that there is a "revolt." 

Georgia's state senate approves a Ten Commandments display at the state capitol. 

Over 200 Catholic organizations and businesses file a class action lawsuit challenging, you guessed it, the contraceptive mandate. It's just what folks do these days. 

The Templeton Prize (from the folks who at least used to really like intelligent design) goes to Catholic priest Tomas Halik

Slate looks at the UFO history of California's Giant Rock. 

Under the ACA, insurers can't discriminate against any provider with a state-recognized license, so alt-med practitioners are looking for a piece of that pie

You're under arrest for a false alarm over a robot alien invasion. You have the right to remain corporeal. Anything you say will be uploaded to the Hive Mind. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dogepak Chopra.

Quote of the Day

It's gotta be Neil deGrasse Tyson in Cosmos (which remember I just saw last night):

This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules. Test ideas by experiment and observation, build on those ideas that pass the test, reject the ones that fail. Follow the evidence wherever it leads and question everything. Accept these terms, and the cosmos is yours.

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