The Morning Heresy 10/12/12: Release the Biden!

October 12, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

I enjoyed the hell out of last night's debate, my friend. And yes, there was even fodder for the Heresy, as Joe articulated the whole point of secularism in a religiously pluralistic society:

My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. . . With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. 

See? You have a religious belief that you may hold very dear, but you understand that you can't make the whole country accept it, nor force them to abide by it. Joe may be a good Catholic, but here at least he also sounds like a good secularist. 

Hemant had some thoughts on Paul Ryan's response to the same question:

Paul Ryan‘s answer was horrifying. Just because you give your daughter a cute nickname ["Bean"] doesn’t mean you have justification to control other women’s bodies.

Sarah Posner is frustrated that all theological discussion is about women's personal inner-workings:

Catholic doctrine has a lot to say about issues unrelated to reproductive matters. Biden took a probably little noticed dig at Ryan when he pointed out that the Republican's economic policy proposals are at odds with Catholic social justice teaching. Raddatz could have asked about how quite a number of Catholic theologians have something to say about that. Of course it seems preposterous that we would mix up religious doctrine with economic policy, doesn't it? But somehow men must opine about their personal religious beliefs about women's bodies. 

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quotes CFI chief Ron Lindsay on the rise-of-the-Nones phenomenon. 

Surprisingly, a draft of the new Egypt constitution has no blasphemy provision and emphasizes the freedom of expression. 

And look! In Tunisia, a blasphemy provision has been dropped

Nicole at Skepchick goes on a "ghost hunt" to better understand "the world of the believer," is a little disappointed with the lack of contact with ectoplasm: "I’m a little bit Scully and a little bit Mulder like that."   

A BBC film crew is arrested at gunpoint as they tried to sneak onto the infamous Area 51 military base. Sharon Hill: "Duh." 

Sally Quinn clarifies her comments on the unfortunate necessity of invoking God in politics, notes that her atheist critics have been as mean as any Christian.

No wonder they found Pussy Riot so offensive: Russian ultra-Orthodox sect is removing appearances of the Apple logo because it's blasphemous. Yep.

Echinacea: It's wishy-washy.

Practitioners of "witchcraft" will not get government protection in Zimbabwe. And what counts as evidence of witchcraft? Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa:

. . . if you can prove it that someone was found with a human hand that is enough proof," [] said. "If you can open a grave and eat its contents, that's enough proof.

Timothy Hood tells UFO conference that UFO researchers keep dying mysteriously, alleging foul play. 

Darren Perks at HuffPo thinks David Cameron will be compelled by the UK citizenry to come clean on UFOs. Come on, everyone knows that once you become the leader of a nation, the Intergalactic Alien Conspiracy sits you down and tells you not to spill the beans.

Quote of the Day        

Paul Waldman at American Prospect bluntly states why "nones" lean Democratic:

If you don't believe in an all-powerful deity, you know that you're unlike most Democrats, just as you're unlike most Americans. But you also know that in the Democratic Party you'll find a lot of people who are like you and will welcome you. From the Republican Party, on the other hand, you get a message of unremitting hostility.   

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. 

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