The Morning Heresy 6/1/12: Jen McCreight, Call Your Lawyer

June 1, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

The Religious Congregations & Membership Study looks at which states are the "most Christian," and the award goes to Utah (if you count Mormons and UUs who self-identify as Christian). Least Christian? Why, that'd be my adopted home, Maine!

And a new report (PDF) based on the results of the 2008 ARIS survey shows that Gen-X-ers are falling away from Christianity and Republicanism, with "nones" moving from 11% in 1990 to 16% in 2008 What's one of the sticking points for Russia's support of Assad in Syria? The Russian Orthodox Church, who fear the fate of Christians in an Assad-less Syria 

Just so you can relax about this whole mess, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee wants you to know that they are no longer bribing child-raping priests. Feel better? 

Hey, the CFI on Campus Student Leadership Conference has a snazzy new website!  

Dren Asselmeier has more testimonials on the great experiences had at past Student Leadership Conferences 

US International Religious Freedom commissioner on blasphemy laws in the Arab Spring:

It is not sufficient to advise these countries to restrict their anti-blasphemy laws to cases of incitement to imminent violence or national security. In the era of the Arab spring, these criteria are often satisfied. 

Here's an important item I missed a little while ago: Iowa governor taps Catholic priest for a spot on Iowa Board of Medicine for no reason that seems to have anything to do with medicine 

At the 6th World Skeptics Congress, a resolution is adopted by groups including CSI calling for higher standards in science education and practice 

Having trouble picking a religion? This might help

Virginia high school surprises ACLU by swapping out Ten Commandments display for page from a history book that pimps the idea of "Judeo-Christian" roots of America's founding 

Also, the ACLU wants a cross taken down from Massachusetts public land. (Video) Reporter says "We were hard pressed to find anyone who wants to see it come down." Because that's the point. (And what's with the crazy camera work? I was all Blair Witched as soon as I hit "play.")

Kate Donovan at FA is skeptical of Rick Warren's claims he's not the pig-headed, sexist boor his recent tweet made him out to be 

Meanwhile, Hemant sighs that the US officially deserves mockery. Why? 46% of us are creationists. Forty-six, y'all.

Jay Michaelson at the Jewish Daily Forward on the super-secret codes people think are embedded in the Bible:

One reason that Bible Codes have gone out of fashion is that mathematicians and statisticians have thoroughly, completely and convincingly disproved them. 

Vjack clarifies the difference between being an atheist and being part of the atheist movement 

HOW TO BE A PSYCHIC: Troll Facebook for details about your next sucker 

WaPo photojournalist wrestles with his conscience after witnessing the death-by-rattlesnake of Mack Wolford:

As a photojournalist, what role did I have in this tragedy, and what is it now, in the aftermath? Was it right for me to remain in the background taking pictures, as I did, and not seek medical attention for the dying pastor, whose beliefs forbade it? Or should I have intervened and called paramedics earlier, which would have undermined Mack’s wishes? Finally, what was I supposed to do with the images I shot? 

Letter to the editor in the DMR laments the loss of sane Republicans:

A reasonable, rational and moderate Republican no longer exists in any real political way. To vote for any Republican is a vote for the Republican Party: anti-gay, anti-abortion, evangelical Christian, anti-separation of church and state, anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare, anti-Medicaid, anti-regulation of medicine and food supply, anti-regulation of energy production, anti-tax of any kind, anti-union and anti-legalization of marijuana. In Iowa, it is also pro-lead shot, anti-same-sex marriage and anti-contraception. 

The State covers Max Nielson's fight against graduation prayers, and a new challenge against graduation prayers in Poteet, TX  

Letter to the editor in Massachusetts paper, badly in need of copy editing, faults atheists for "perverting" the First Amendment, wonders if the "Powers-to-Be" will challenge us. What the hell are "Powers-to-Be"??? Is that like "Powers-that-Be-of-the-Future"? I can't even deal with this. 

Herb Silverman gets a chunk of his book excerpted in WaPo 

No doubt, you want to see a picture of Leah Libresco in front of a dead camel thing 

WaPo: In DOMA's possible demise, federal workers lead the way (Note to Jen McCreight: There is an group in Congress involved called "BLAG" -- call your lawyers) 

Greg Laden to skeptic movement: Please move into the late 20th century

Mike Smith, the atheist running for the state legislature in Georgia, does a Reddit ask-me-anything 

Video of Bigfoot in Idaho is, wait for it, "shaky and out of focus" (about which this Gather.com writer says, "Is it a hoax? Doubtful." Sigh)

Austin Cline is looking for atheists in foxholes (hint: Hey, Austin, why not check a foxhole?? I kid! I kid.) 

Quote of the Day     

Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, charged with blasphemy for debunking the "bleeding cross":

I always think there are two Indias. The 21st century, which is progressive, modern, scientific [and] 17th-century India, which is pulling us back to the dark ages of intolerance, bigotry, superstition.  
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 

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