June 30, 2017
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
While the very fabric of space-time warped and undulated over the Trump-Morning Joe conflict (we'll get to that), Republicans in the House finance subcommittee worked up a scheme to neutralize the Johnson Amendment. The proposed rule would deny the IRS the funds it would need to investigate Johnson Amendment violations...for churches only. That's right, no mention of other nonprofits, no mention of other houses of worship. We joined a big coalition of groups opposing the measure, and I did the equivalent of marching up and down, toddler-Bart-Simpson style, making noise about it.
But you know, the fabric of space time. Undulating and whatnot. About that:
After Trump did his dumbass Trump thing that he does, Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to justify the president's behavior as some kind of proportional response to bullying (????), and when asked who she could point to as a role model, she defaulted to God. That's fine, but you'd think a couple human role models would be useful in a pinch. Maybe keep a couple of those in your back pocket. Just a thought.
More fun was the op-ed by Mika and Joe themselves, where they threw so much shade it looked like an eclipse. They said Trump wasn't mentally healthy enough to watch Morning Joe, and made the charge that Trump had blackmailed them with the threat of a negative National Inquirer article.
David Roberts at Vox tries to come to grips with what the hell is wrong with the man, and why it's so hard to figure it out:
Trump defies our theory of mind because he appears to lack a coherent, persistent self or worldview. He is a raging fire of need, protected and shaped by a lifetime of entitlement, with the emotional maturity and attention span of a 6-year-old, utterly unaware of the long-term implications of his actions. ... Politicos and journalists need a story in which Trump’s stumbling and grasping can be construed as a savvy media strategy, a “distraction” from some other wrongdoing he has going on, or a “pivot” from his current omnishambles. Those are all versions of political maneuvering with which they are familiar. They need for Trump to want things, to be after things, to have a plan. ... But there’s no there there.
CFI Los Angeles chief Jim Underdown recoils at the utter plausibility of The Handmaid's Tale, and laments that the star of the TV version, Elizabeth Moss, is herself a Scientologist:
What doesn’t fit is that the Church of Scientology could be a central character in The Handmaid’s Tale TV series. For decades we’ve been hearing real-life stories from ex-Scientologists that sound like they could be plots in the series.
Nikhil Sonnad at Quartz does a great service, cataloguing how Alex Jones' Infowars store and Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop store and the Moon Juice store all sell the same snake oil.
Speaking of Alex Jones (if we must), he had a guest, Robert David Steele, who said this:
This may strike your listeners as way out but we actually believe that there is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20 year ride. So that once they get to Mars they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony.
Now, Jones does seem to distance himself from this idea a tad ("Well I don’t know about Mars bases"), but don't give him too much credit! Or any! Because then he says this:
I know they’ve created massive, thousands of different types of chimeras that are alien lifeforms on this earth now.
Just in case you're wondering, NASA denies the allegation. Well, of course they would. Pfft.
In Bizarro America, aka Canada, a new survey shows that the electorate would prefer an atheist, gay, or transgender prime minister over an evangelical Christian.
CFI's new intern Andy Ngo thinks back to the Orlando massacre one year ago, and how the discourse about it has been too diffuse, asking, "While it is imperative to prevent and condemn discrimination against Muslims, why does that have to come at the cost of speaking openly about religious fundamentalism, particularly Islamism?"
South Africa will no longer have single-religion public schools. (A group lobbying for this change, the Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie, has the greatest acronym ever: OGOD.)
Australian homeopathics company Brauer is being investigated for promoting an ebook that advocates the use of homeopathy to treat babies and toddlers.
Theologian and sociologist Peter Berger has died at the age of 88. I don't know much about most of his work, but his book The Social Construction of Reality blew my mind when I read it in college a million years ago.
Quote of the Day:
This. This is wonderful. You're welcome.
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