Ceiling Cat and Ted Cruz

September 13, 2017

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

Both houses of Congress unanimously approve a resolution condemning white nationalists (which must have been awkward for any white nationalists currently in Congress) and honoring Heather Heyer. The resolution awaits a signature from President Trump, whom the bill urges to speak clearly against hate groups and racism.

Call for submissions! CSICon speakers James Alcock and Loren Pankratz are looking for "compelling stories of personal turnabout with regard to well-entrenched beliefs." See details here.

A Russian film based on the relationship between ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya and Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, has been declared blasphemous because of the canonization of Nicholas by the Orthodox Church. A young member of the Russian parliament pushing for a ban on the film, Natalia Poklonskaya, says, "This is not censorship, this is about the violation of people's rights." What rights, exactly? Because, she says, the film "offends the feelings of believers." Ah.

The District of Columbia has a law prohibiting discrimination based on reproductive choices, banning employers from taking action against employees if they use birth control or have an abortion. So naturally the GOP wants to kill that law, led by a Representative from Alabama (of course), Gary Palmer.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board compares Trump's "election integrity" inquisition commission to cryptid hunters:

It’s as if Trump thinks Bigfoot is real and appointed Vice President Mike Pence and Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, as co-chairs of the new commission and told them to go find evidence.  

A man in the United Arab Emirates is convicted of blasphemy for allegedly "insulting the Prophet" on Facebook, and must finish a one-year prison sentence, be deported once he's out, and pay a fine of Dh500,000 (about $136,000). The man, an ethnic Indian, claims his account was hacked. 

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, four people are indicted for the same: blasphemous material on social media. 

A Westchester alt-med physician, Dr. Timothy Morley, has his offices closed and his license revoked when it's shown that at least four of his patients contracted the exact same strain of Hepatitis C, presumably from his practice.  

At Slate, Lawrence Krauss looks at how science fiction more or less failed to predict the Internet:

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the internet is that necessity was the mother of its invention. As particle physics experiments became bigger, with larger collaborations spread around the world, the need for disparate groups to collaborate and share data arose. Thus began the World Wide Web, initiated at CERN, the home of what is now the world’s largest particle accelerator: the Large Hadron Collider. So the technology that would change everything else about the world in which we live was itself an offshoot of an esoteric scientific endeavor. That is beyond remarkable, and it’s worth celebrating. 

Losing Our Religion is documentary on members of The Clergy Project -- a support organization for clergy who have lost their faith but can't admit it openly -- with familiar faces like Catherine Dunphy, Daniel Dennett, Linda LaScola, and Jerry DeWitt, among others. It's opening screenings start this month.

As they did with Hurricane Harvey, here comes Foundation Beyond Belief to assist with recovery from Hurricane Irma.  

In many ways, God really is just like Ceiling Cat:

I saw what you did, @tedcruz. 

Quote of the Day:

When I first saw this headline that said "Resist Psychic Death," I thought it was about avoiding being killed by, like, the Long Island Medium or something. But no, it's Gabe Meline at KQED on something much more meaningful:

Don’t allow the insanity to consume you to the point that you second-guess your every thought. Resist psychic death. ... I am not alone these days in having a crisis of faith about my work. Suddenly, covering the arts doesn’t seem so important anymore. My friends who work as legal analysts, or waitresses, or genetic research scientists, or record store clerks, the whole spectrum — they all feel it too.

The past eight months have sneered at basic human decency, and robbed us of common sense. But we don’t always acknowledge the subtle, cruel way it’s sapped us of that most important thing of all: our purpose. ... Art is where we can lose ourselves and find ourselves.

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