The Morning Heresy 6/28/12: Platitudinous Syrup

June 27, 2012

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

The personal papers of Carl Sagan will have a new home: The Library of Congress

Ron Bailey writes in Reason magazine about the continuing deep distrust for atheists in the U.S. 

Andy Morgan at PolicyMic says that being an atheist today means subscribing to a new, entrenched institution and only serves to bolster the idea of theism.

Richard Smyth at The New Humanist says that secularism (as in keeping religion out of politics) is wrong-headed:

Every citizen has every right to impose his or her views on others – and every other citizen has an equal right to tell him or her to take a running jump. . . . The basic premise of secularism is that religion should be kept out of politics (there’s more to it than that, I know, but that will do us for now). My premise is that people who get things wrong should be kept out of politics.

New survey: Only 42 percent of Americans accept global warming, as opposed to 58 percent of Canadians. 

AP: "Cupping" is now all the rage in Gaza, sucking blood with heated glass jars. "Muslim tradition recommends it three times a month." 

WBUR: Anti-vaxxers killed the Lyme vaccine, but your dog can still get it. 

Iranian Idol: NYT on a competition in which folks compete to best recite the Koran. Fun!

Meanwhile, Iran's vice-president blames Jews for the international drug trade at a conference of nations. Awkward!

CSI's Joe Nickell hits Dr. Drew for doling out "platitudinous syrup" regarding a "psychic medium" who talks to dead people. 

German court rules circumcisions "grievous bodily harm," Jews look to protect the practice in religious contexts.  

Elizabeth Knapp reacts:

Religion cannot justify its actions based on itself anymore–now it must have a good reason for what it does. And the German courts have decided that the “2,000 year old tradition” reason, or any other reason, is just not good enough.  

Wow: Florida woman is raped, given emergency contraception, is arrested for unrelated unpaid restitution, has contraception taken by staff because they objected to it on religious grounds. 

LiveScience clarifies my question from yesterday: Yes, one-third of Americans think aliens have visited Earth. 

UFOs, Planet X, and aliens on the moon are all weird 2012 portents for Doomsday, apparently. 

Sen. Rand Paul, who, you know, really is all about economic liberty, attaches fetal personhood amendment to flood insurance bill. 

As for Sen. Jim DeMint, he's pretty sure that Washington is "secularizing" the country, and that God put Christians "in charge" of the country.

David Gibson: Survivors of priestly abuse ask Philadelphia archbishop to, you know, maybe revoke Msgr. Lynn's credentials now that he's been, you know, convicted of enabling child rapists.

USA Today op-ed: When the voters reject "vouchers," folks who want to fund religious schools with taxpayer money go for "scholarships" instead. 

Religious conservatives find an unlikely new target: Sperm donors.

Article at PoliticusUSA laments "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," in which clergy flout the law and decide to wax political to their flocks, and extrapolates maybe a wee bit too far:

It is time to end this sick, twisted obeisance to religion in America and get on with the business of a nation of laws that are equally enforced, because at the rate the country is proceeding toward rule by religious edict, it will not be long before the Constitution is replaced with a Christian bible or a book of Mormon, and the law of the land will be meted out by a religious fanatic. The 21st century Crusade is under way and no thinking human being would have thought it would begin in what is rapidly becoming a Theocratic Republic of America by men who are above the law, the Constitution, and the government as if they are god. 

In a NYT letter to the editor, a theology professor reminds us that while Monsignor Lynn was convicted for shielding child rapists, the church has done nothing to punish him.

Msgr. William J. Lynn was found guilty of child endangerment by the state but not by the church. Indeed, the church assisted in his defense. He retains the honorific title of monsignor, and he is not suspended from the practice of priestly ministry. 

Center for American Progress's faith director provides handy listicle on the reality of religious liberty. 

American Baptist Press piece trying to understand millennials' eschewing faith is remarkably self-aware of Christianity's failings 

The Ahlquist name is in the news again: Steve, uncle of Jessica, is asking mayor of Providence to remove a cross on what is technically public land. 

Todd Steifel takes to Friendly Atheist to write an open letter to the entire community on the harassment controversy.  

PZ, DC. DC, PZ. 

Quote of the Day     

Alexandra Petri at WaPo on the Loch-Ness-Monster-proves-creationism thing:

All textbooks are a form of propaganda. As they say, “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children. If your plan is for 1000 years, misinform children! If your plan is for 10,000 years, educate trees.”

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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