The Morning Heresy 4/9/12: Assimilate This

April 9, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Here's hoping you survived the spookiest holiday of them all this weekend. Speaking of which, Easter brought about some interesting opining in the media on attitudes toward religion, and the Sunday shows did their usual parading of a bunch of religious pundits to talk about faith and whatnot. Let's have a look.

The president lays the religion on thick in his weekly address, speaking as though resurrection of Jesus is an historical fact, claims even nonbelievers can appreciate how Jesus' story emphasizes "triumph of faith over doubt."  

The well-meaning Nick Kristoff dusts off the eye-roll-inducing "secular fundamentalism" canard 

Ross Douthat laments the passing of a less-diverse, yet somehow "centrist" American Christianity:

"It was the hierarchy, discipline and institutional continuity of mainline Protestantism and later Catholicism that built hospitals and schools, orphanages and universities, and assimilated generations of immigrants."

Keep in mind, though, that as I have previously noted (plug plug) when Douthat talks about "assimilation of immigrants," he has also written that xenophobia in America's history has also been good for immigrant assimilation. 

Hemant comments on Sunday's Meet the Press: Billy Graham's daughter insists atheists not fit for high office (but at least the Canadians trust us)

On Face the Nation, Cardinal Dolan complains of an effort to put "duct tape" over the mouths of religious folks, and that the president is "intruding" on religion. Yeah, can't religion just be left a lone, which is all it really wants???

Later, FTN has roundtable discussion on the question of what church-state-separation means (spoiler: almost every answer is self-serving) 

Moving on... 

The Council's Tom Flynn responds to criticism of his Free Inquiry op-ed on humanist ritual 

CFI's John Shook: There's not even a glimmer of benefit to prayer before an exam 

Hey, it's not intentional fraud by fake psychics! It's my protected religious belief

Big Think helps you figure out how atheistic you actually are (I'm about as close to a 7 as you can get and still be intellectually honest) 

PZ: Talking about being "good without God" undermines our whole purpose: to be "subversive" (and he takes his message to Salt Lake)

Rest assured: Praying for God to harm someone is not illegal. Attempting an Avada Kedavra curse also protected 

Neil deGrasse Tyson: "I'm not an -ism" 

Katie M. Baker in Jezebel on how to do Passover for a Jewish atheist 

Skeptoid on the "flippant" coverage of neuroscientific findings in the media 

Asheville Citizen-Times puff piece on growth of "naturopathic" practices 

HuffPo: Acupuncture combined with psychotherapy for "energy psychology"

Ovular UFO filmed from airplane window, scares baby 

CFI-LA's Jim Underdown smacks down alleged teen exorcists

FDL: Rick Warren "un-dorses" Romney? 

Taslima Nasreen begins a stint at Freethought Blogs 

NYT: Matthew Hutson on the psychological benefits of superstition 

Quote of the Day  

Alexandra Petri in WaPo, having attended the Reason Rally, on the plight of the "somewhat religious:"

Why go to church anyway? All I had to do was show up at a campaign rally in order to be prayed over and occasionally exorcised. I got more than enough religion as it was from my state legislatures.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI 

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#1 SimonSays on Monday April 09, 2012 at 7:39am

Er, who’s this “John” Underdown fellow? Any relation to Jim Underdown?

#2 Paul the Morning Heretic on Monday April 09, 2012 at 8:26am


#3 stan chaz (Guest) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 at 2:36am

Mr. Dolan claims that “Nor can we argue purely from revelation: why should other citizens respect our opinions if we do not present them as applicable to all people regardless of religion?” That’s precisely the problem: hiding under your tax-exempt mantle of “revealed” holiness, you want to tell the rest of us what to do, and how to live. The bottom line is that absolutely NO ONE is coming into our Churches or places of worship and telling believers what to believe…..or forcing them to use contraception. BUT If the Bishops (and other denominations) want to continue running businesses outside of their places of worship…businesses that employ millions of people of varying faiths -or no “faith” at all- THEN they must play by the same rules and rights that other workers live by and enjoy (especially if their businesses use our tax dollars, and skip paying taxes, in the process). If the Jehovah’s Witnesses church hires me, can they alter my health insurance to exclude blood transfusions? Even worse- what if they operated a hospital by their “rules”? This is not a “war on religion”. Never was. However, it IS a war BY some religions… on women and men who simply want to plan their families, to control their futures, to keep their jobs, and to have health insurance that allows them to do that. Likewise It is a war -not on religion- but on gays and others who the church deems to be second class citizens, and targets of its venom. The churches (or the IRS) need to decide whether these churches are  going to be political organizations proclaiming and practicing partisan politics from the pulpit…or….tax-exempt places of WORSHIP. Not both. Not in America.

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