The Morning Heresy 8/2/12: Oh, I didn’t know I was better than you

August 2, 2012

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

Today’s morning heretic is Dren Asselmeier, CFI Campus Organizer and overly-enthusiastic high-fiver. Paul is still out making Tumblrs for how much he loves his Apple devices (just kidding—he is hanging out with his new baby) and will be returning on August 13th.

Chick-fil-A has been in the news recently for their president’s comments regarding his opposition to same-sex marriage legislation. The comments have spawned an internet storm of people saying that they won’t eat there, that they will eat there and feel guilty, or that they don’t care. More recently, some people who agree that same-sex marriage, you know, makes baby Jesus cry, have decided to promote an Appreciation Day. Today, I read All Alabama’s ( report:

Those who oppose Cathy’s remarks, have ask supporters to donate the cost of a meal, about $6.50, to gay and lesbian rights groups, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). ... GLAAD is supporting a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day,” encouraging same-sex couples to show up at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide Friday and hold a kiss-in. They are also asking those participating to post photos of the kisses.

Once all of the kissing and chicken appreciation is over, I hope we can just go back to agreeing that people who don’t eat fast food are better than those who do.

Beaking News! Evolutionary adaptations in bird beaks might be for temperature regulation and water conservation, not just what they eat. Finch, please. Bring the heat.

Bobby Jindal, possible Vice Presidential running mate for the Republican ticket, and governor of Louisiana, is “poised to spend millions of dollars of state money to support the teaching of creationism in private schools” according to Slate. This seems to be totally legal because of the Louisiana Science Education Act, a misnomer if we’ve ever heard one.

A Spokane Valley area newspaper interviewed a woman about her participation in the Freedom From Religion Foundation atheist billboard campaign. I particularly enjoyed the comment from the person who posted as “budlight.” Actually, there are quite a few gems in the comments.

Our BFF Hemant Mehta (aka the Friendly Atheist—the only friendly atheist—zing!) shared a piece from his colleague Daniel Florien, that discusses the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. You can read the whole piece here.

Joe Nickell has a doppelganger. Just look at the picture. No need to read the article.

An writer ostensibly calls his atheist critics illiterate. I’m sure the internet will forgive him for that one.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the analogies made by a writer at The Hill. “Environmental Atheism” makes some comparisons between Madalyn Murray O’Hair being an atheist and Republicans being climate change deniers. I have no idea how they lumped these things together.

On the other side of the debate are the global-warming deniers. They share the same passion as the famed atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and nothing gives them greater pleasure than poking holes in the arguments of the environmental movement.

What is this I don’t even? The comments on that are also pretty astute.

We would like to extend our sympathies to the family of Gore Vidal following his passing this week. The New York Times has a beautiful piece discussing the life and work of Vidal.

In awesome SPACE NEWS, a NASA satellite will be used to confirm the landing of the Curiosity Mars rover.

And today, in a segment I’d like to call “First World Problems—UK Edition,” a mother explains:

I have asked an old friend to be godmother to my daughter. I thought she’d be pleased but I received a terse email explaining that, as she doesn’t believe in God, she doesn’t think it would be appropriate. I don’t want to beg her, but I would like her to have some part in the christening regardless. Or should I just ask someone else?

The advice columnists gave reasonable answers, but I would have said, “Either tell your friend to get over because I bet she says ‘the sun rises’ but doesn’t actually believe in geocentrism, or accept that your friend is kind of a jerk.” Hey, I’m a professional atheist and I went to my nephew’s baptism. If I can do it, you can do it. End of advice.

Alright. I’ve sinned enough for one day.

Quote of the Day   

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” ~Gore Vidal

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 



#1 Randy on Thursday August 02, 2012 at 12:38pm

Regarding the insensitive remarks you would have directed toward a mother’s old friend, why should she involve herself in a religious ceremony she finds meaningless or objectionable, and where the key participant was unable to consent?

There are non-religious roles similar to godmother.  Some terms are apparently: special adults, supporting adults, sponsors, mentors, guides.  While “special adults” sounds like mental deficiency, “guide parents” seems to be the easiest fit with the religious term.

Despite Octavia’s claim, when you accept the role of godparent, you should be prepared to provide religious guidance (presumably in one of the parents’ religions).  The role does include that.  Over time, this could create conflict, if the assumption was the religious portion of the role was optional, and then the mother changes her mind.

And one need not have a geocentric world view in order to use a geocentric coordinate system.  The sun does indeed rise.

#2 Griff on Thursday August 02, 2012 at 11:33pm

Atheist illiteracy, eh?  Well, um….

Just sayin’.

#3 Dren Asselmeier on Friday August 03, 2012 at 6:43am

I love the people who comment on blogs.

#4 Ronald A. Lindsay on Friday August 03, 2012 at 9:56am

Glad to hear that Dren, as I have a brief comment.

Just read Randy’s comment and I think he has a point.
First, one must distinguish between attending a religious ceremony and taking an active part in a religious ceremony that requires one to make religious affirmations. Since becoming an atheist, I’ve been too numerous religious weddings, funerals, and so forth. Can’t avoid it unless all of one’s friends and relatives are nonbelievers—or one adopts a real hard-line approach.

However, what I do not do is pray aloud, take communion, etc. In other words, I do not undertake any action that would be a sham and would compromise my own integrity (as well as being insulting to those who are believers). For example, I delivered the eulogy at the memorial services for both my father and mother, but I took no part in the various prayers that were offered. Don’t think they would have objected; they were both religious, but neither could abide hypocrisy.

Depending on the religious tradition involved, being a godparent can require one to make certain solemn avowals. I know in the Catholic Church a godparent is required to make a series of statements about how he and the infant reject “Satan and all his works,” believe in the Resurrection and the life of the world to come, and so forth. 

Each atheist has to come to their own decision about how far s/he goes to accommodate the beliefs of others. As indicated, I don’t have an issue with attending religious ceremonies, but where I draw the line, and perhaps where the prospective godmother in the Heresy drew the line, is having to make solemn avowals that are essentially lies. Don’t think that makes me a “jerk.” You don’t respect the religious beliefs of one’s friends or relatives by treating them as meaningless.

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