Who Are You Calling Porous-Bordered?

August 8, 2013

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

The State Department formally launches its  Office of Faith Based Community Initiatives. John Kerry says something that is true for me as well:

[I]f I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today. 

Former CFIer Austin Dacey has reservations:

Constitutional or not, official interfacing with “faith-based organizations” will constitute a troubling form of government endorsement: the defining of some communities, among various porous-bordered normative and discursive communities, as “religions” and the anointing of some individuals as recognized spokespersons for those communities. 

Domestically, the creaky gears of government are moving in making changes to the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

CFI web guy Matt Licata is 27 today! Happy anniversary of the end of his gestation. You can learn more about Matt from my podcast interview of him from last week. 

This birthday present, however, is for CFI intern Harrison Hopkins: Happy birthday to Horse_ebooks

Two new videos are up from Women in Secularism 2: Panels on advancing women's concerns and another on gender equality in the movement. 

Here we go. Ross Douthat accuses Steven Pinker of "scientism." Man, I hate that word. (Sam Harris calls Douthat's piece "very self-assured confusion.")

Remember how Carrie Poppy got medical marijuana from a porn-star/plastic surgeon? Now see what happens when she actually medicates

From Vince Gray's Flickr feed, here's CFI's Michael De Dora in the foreground of this photo taken at the signing of the Japarker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act and the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act on Tuesday.  

The immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks will be officially acknowledged and returned to her descendants. 

There will be a rally in support of Raif Badawi, the imprisoned Saudi blogger, in Berlin on August 23. 

55% of younger folks think climate change is "a severe threat." That number is too low. 

Ben Richmond says that while climate change progress is bad, we did pretty much nail the ozone thing with the Montreal Protocol

Iowa's Steve King has it backward, saying belief in climate science is a religion

EJ Dionne sums up studies on religion between political ideologies, and notes the hodgepodge that is the left:

Two things are thus true simultaneously: Nonreligious Americans are a very important part of the liberal constituency, yet the majority of liberals have ties to religion. 

Rob Boston on coerced oaths and beliefs:

[F]undamentalists remain flummoxed by the simple question posed by [Roger] Williams so long ago: Why would we want to compel someone to swear an oath when that person does not believe what the oath says? What do we possibly stand to gain? 

A reality show about snake handling Christians. Of course. 

American Atheists nabs NFL player Chris Kluwe for its convention. NBC Sports reports:

In his new book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, he refers to himself as “cheerfully agnostic” and writes, “Atheists confuse me,” because they seem too certain about their belief. Kluwe thinks both atheists and religious believers should leave room for doubt about their world views.    

Sam Nunberg in the Washington Times rails against Turkey's Prime Minister Ergodan for using "hate-speech prosecutions" to further an Islamist agenda. 

Ken Ham thinks WorldNetDaily isn't creationist enough

Scientology escapee Leah Remini was going to file a missing persons report about the church's leader's wife, not seen in public for years. 

Security cameras catch what some think is a UFO in Naples, Florida. Looks like someone playing with a flashlight to me.

Our own Joe Nickell will be among the speakers at the Pennsylvania State Atheist/Humanist Conference. 

Three men in Nepal are arrested for assaulting, in a particularly disgusting way, a woman they accused of being a witch. 

Quote of the Day

Dwayne Leslie of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists takes to WaPo to opine against blasphemy laws:

No matter what god the majority population in a country chooses to worship, making dissent by minority faiths a criminal offense is a terrible idea, for all kinds of reasons.  To suggest that your god is happy to rule by coercion, happy to attempt to force people to follow through any means necessary — even torture or death — is beyond folly.   

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