If I Worked That Mysteriously, I’d Get Fired

May 2, 2013

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

It's the National Day of Reason, and today, secularists and our allies around the globe will tell Bangladesh and the world that the persecution of atheists and dissenters will not be tolerated, with protests planned in DC, Ottawa, Calgary, Toronto, Dhaka, and London. At Friendly AtheistI make the case for taking this seriously, and forcing the world to care about this by the sheer strength of our message. If you're taking part or helping to promote the cause, tweet using the hashtag #DefendDissent. 

We have a guest post at the CFI blog from freethought activist Dr. Avijit Roy of Bangladesh, who documents and opines on the swirl of activity and danger around this issue.  

In a move that is boggling minds everywhere, the Obama administration directs the Justice Department to defend age restrictions on the "morning after" pill, restrictions recently struck down by a judge. 

Meanwhile, Indiana governor Mike Pence signs into law a bill further restricting access to RU-486. 

Muslim American cab driver and Iraq vet is allegedly attacked in his vehicle by a passenger who accused him of being a jihadist. 

16-year-old science student Kiera Wilmot uses household chemicals to make a bottle lid pop, and is expelled and charged with a felony. Yes, it's in Florida. 

Hemant Mehta writes of atheist exclusion at the Washington Post:

In all of these instances, kind, well-intentioned atheists were excluded on the basis of their beliefs, by people who often claim their faith makes them more moral, more noble, and more generous than those who don’t possess it. Indeed, we are finding that faith is not a virtue. 

Michael McGough at LA Times comes around to this way of thinking:

Atheists of my acquaintance tend to be individualists, so I’m not sure that there is a “non-theist community” comparable in size to the faithful of any religious tradition. But to the extent nonbelievers do come together to seek solace, they probably ought to be represented at a quasi-official memorial service like the one in Boston -- even if it takes place in a Catholic cathedral. 

Yesterday I told you about Moroccan atheist Imad Eddin Habib, now in hiding from authorities for blasphemy. Today Article 19 tells us Ahmed Assid, a Moroccan academic, is in trouble for apostasy.

Iraq's government shuts down TV channels including Al Jazeera, allegedly for espousing a Sunni, as opposed to Shia, point of view. 

Lego nixes a Star Wars Jabba the Hut set for being accused of looking too much like a mosque. 

"Unwanted treatment is American medicine’s dark continent," says Jonathan Rauch at The Atlantic, in a piece about ethical and empathetic means to end-of-life care

CFI-UK will host a discussion between Peter Atkins, David Papineau, and Peter S. Williams on science's ability to answer the Big Questions, June 8.

CFI On Campus releases its latest newsletter, with stuff on the upcoming leadership conference, new interns, and video. 

The GW Secular Society holds a counter-protest in response to "Sin Awareness Day." Oh, I'm aware. 

T.M. Luhrmann at NYT on prayer "as a skill that changes how we use our minds." 

William Saletan at Slate says that being nicer to Muslims would be a good way to decrease terrorism:

If you’re not a Muslim, your job is to make it easier for people in that community to do their part. Don’t go around spouting that Muslims are terrorists, or that blacks are criminals, or that gays are promiscuous. Stop thinking of these communities as the problem, and start thinking of them as the solution. 

American Humanist Association asks a federal judge to bar the Rankin County School District in Mississippi from having religious assemblies

Airliner over Glasgow almost smashes into a UFO. What? 

Shelley Bridgeman at the New Zealand Herald would like homeopaths to not "ply their dubious trade" in legitimate medical contexts. 

I find this dubious: Homeless man is pictured on Reddit "testing" the generosity of different religions, and atheists are apparently being nicest.  

Center for American Progress seeks to diminish the role of religion in violent extremism. 

Quote of the Day  

Robert Mankoff of The New Yorker on those godless cartoonists, with this zinger from one of his own:

Oh, I know He works in mysterious ways, but if I worked that mysteriously I'd get fired. 

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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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