A Demonic Brew

July 26, 2017

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

Jack Jenkins at ThinkProgress does a thorough job of reporting on the GOP's sneaky moves to defang the Johnson Amendment through the budget process, and open the floodgates for churches to turn into secret PACs. And naturally, he talks to CFI's legal director Nick Little, who tells him, "You could have unlimited dark money flowing to a campaign if this gets passed, and there is nothing the IRS could do about it. They would be getting a double benefit."

The KPFA cancellation of Richard Dawkins' event continues to generate coverage and launch a thousand hot takes, with ever more solidarity from Christian outlets, though some conservative outlets are bristling at the idea that "going after Christianity is fine." Well, it is! It is, in fact, fine. I spoke with the Daily Californian to once again make the ideas vs. people distinction. Most importantly, our board chair, Eddie Tabash, put out a call to stand with Dawkins in a message to supporters.

President Trump, I assume looking for more ways to be cruel, declares flatly that transgender Americans may not serve "in any capacity" in the U.S. military. Just because. It's amazing, his capacity for inhumanity. 

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Vatican official to ever be charged in the church's sexual assault scandals, shows up to court to plead not guilty

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission files a religious discrimination suit in Michigan against a Tim Horton's for not allowing a female Pentecostal employee to wear a skirt, and in Maryland against a security firm for the harassment experienced by a Muslim employee.

Julia Belluz reviews the Netflix documentary What the Health?, which she says "cherry-picks studies about nutrition and often exaggerates their findings or reports them out of context, to drive home his case for veganism."

James Reinl at Al Jazeera looks at the abuse endured by Muslim Senate candidate Deedra Abboud and the challenges faced by all Muslim politicians in the U.S.:

"I track about 30 or 40 Muslim candidates in the US and every one of them is subject to such attacks," Abdulkader Sinno, an Indiana University scholar and editor of the book Muslims in Western Politics, told Al Jazeera. ... According to Sinno, about 70 percent of Americans are less likely to vote for Muslim candidates. Such politicians as [Keith] Ellison and [Ilhan] Omar can only beat those odds by targeting sympathetic districts and pushing religion to one side. 

Susan Gerbic interviews former naturopath Britt Hermes as a preview for CSICon 2017. Hermes says:

I used to be afraid of skeptics. The support of this community helped me make a public change from quackery to science. I am grateful for this community. I could not have done it without them. Whereas before I was drinking the Kool-Aid, now I am deeply concerned with patients getting harmed. 

RT reports (so, grains of salt may be needed) on polling that shows that the number of atheists in Russia has dropped by half over the past three years. 62 percent of Russians have "good and respectful" attitudes toward atheists.

Well it was bound to happen. Ben & Jerry's is discovered to have glyphosate, which is used in the herbicide Roundup, in many of its ice creams. Prepare for the reckoning, Ben and/or Jerry.  

Quote of the Day:

At MLive, a few religious leaders weigh in on whether religion is weakened when entangled with the state, as with the Trinity Lutheran Supreme Court case. Unitarian pastor Fred Wooden says:

Small faiths, like my Unitarian Universalism, have never sought state support. To me it has always seemed odd that larger religions want the state to help them out while little ones never do. We do not need the state to help us; why do they? To me, mixing church and state creates a demonic brew where power inevitably overtakes principle. In the end, religion always loses its soul. 

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