Dancing Pepper Mill

July 15, 2014

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

Holy moly guys, things are crazy. Dig it: Yesterday morning, I finish that day's Morning Heresy, and I head to the gym. Now, how often do I go to the gym? Not very often I don't mind telling you thank you very much. But there I was, milling on the tread, when I get a call from an Indiana area code. It's Reba Boyd Wooden, the head of CFI-Indiana. You know what she tells me? That CFI has won its case to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages in Indiana! Reba and I are both kind of "wow" on the phone, and I stop my run, get in the car, and head home (where I work) to jump all over this.

Meanwhile, Ron Lindsay (that's our boss) is in a car driving from Virginia to Buffalo to be at CFI headquarters, why, because today CFI is going to be in Greece, NY for the big, heavy-with-symbolism atheist invocation at the Town Board meeting! That's tonight at 6pm!

Whew, ok, so there's been some news coverage. I'll give you a sampling.

Indiana Case:   

And for the Greece invocation, there's a big AP piece appearing all around the web with an interview with Dan Courtney. I expect a lot of local TV coverage of the event as well.

Michael De Dora is the guest on Amanda Marcotte's Reality Cast podcast, talking about our Keep Health Care Safe and Secular campaign and what we're doing for women's reproductive rights.

Also noting our campaign is Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress, who reports on the resistance to the onslaught against women's rights. 

Jack Schwartz at The Daily Beast says politics can't explain the Tea Party's behavior, but religion can:

Religion here doesn’t mean theology but a distinct belief system which, in totality, provides basic answers regarding how to live one’s life, how society should function, how to deal with social and political issues, what is right and wrong, who should lead us, and who should not. It does so in ways that fulfill deep-seated emotional needs that, at their profoundest level, are devotional.  

Slendermania can't be stopped! Sarah Albers at The American Conservative on what makes Slender Man different:

In the mythos, Slenderman’s victims are always alone, and radically estranged from help or support. There is no intelligible pattern or motive to the victimization. In contrast to the bogeymen of “organic” folklore, he has no distinct vendetta against transgressors of social or moral norms. 

The Church of England overwhelmingly votes to allow for women bishops. Meanwhile, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, expresses support for an assisted-suicide bill.

Popular Science debunks myths about GMOs

Over 50 legal scholars urge the president not to allow a religious exemption to his anti-discrimination executive order. 

George Fox University wins a religious exemption from the Department of Education to discriminate against a transgender student in housing. 

Now who really wants to go looking for a skunk ape? Joe Nickell, that's who. 

Guns + churches. What could go wrong? 

Dan Courtney is not the only Rochester skeptic kicking up dust. This student, Benjamin Mazer, is going after Dr. Oz

While we cheer on the Millennials who are leaving religion, we must be wary that they may also be fueling the alt-med business

An Italian journalists says the pope told him that one in 50 Catholic clergy are pedophiles. The Vatican denies it sort of. 

The Point of Inquiry crew has the week off, so we're rerunning a classic from 2009, hosted by DJ Grothe, with guest Austin Dacey, talking about blasphemy laws and free expression. Still entirely relevant.

Case in point: Doug Bandow at Forbes says, "Religious persecution is a global scourge," and goes hard after Pakistan

India's Sanchita Bhattacharya says of Pakistan's blasphemy law:

While purporting to protect Islam and religious sensitivities of the Muslim majority, [the blasphemy law] is vaguely formulated and arbitrarily enforced by the police and judiciary in a way which amounts to harassment and persecution of religious minorities.  

John Horgan at SciAm interviews Rupert Sheldrake about his "morphic fields" and "dogmatic materialism" and whatnot. 

Remember back in Olden Times when white people were really jealous of the freedom enjoyed by their slaves? Me neither. But you'll get a different story from Arizona charter school Heritage Academy.

Chris Stedman interviews Melanie Brewster about her new book and anti-atheist stigmas

That monster Steven Spielberg hunted and killed this poor triceratops. I say we attack him on Twitter!

Quote of the Day

Playwright Paul Rudnick explains the connection between Jesus and Hobby Lobby:

A Crafters’ Gospel has just been discovered, rolled up inside a Clorox bottle that had been repurposed as a piggy bank and hidden in a cavern outside Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This Gospel includes a revelatory sermon in which Jesus, in no uncertain terms, condemns any undecorated surface, including simple pine coffins, which can be made so much more appealing, and therefore more righteous, by adding bottle caps dusted with clear glitter and arranged in snowflake patterns. Jesus also tells us, and here I’m quoting Him directly, that “any truly Christian apron must include both colorful rickrack and a hand-embroidered image of a dancing pepper mill.” 

* * *  

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net! 

The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta