The Morning Heresy 9/24/12: Rah-Rah for Jesus

September 24, 2012

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

Faith-healers in the UK duping people into thinking they've been "cured" of HIV. 

County judge says Texas high school cheerleaders can go ahead and rah-rah for Jesus

Carl Zimmer writes angrily on science journals' practice forbidding journalists to consult other experts on new articles, which leads to poorly vetted, yet splashy news pieces. Mano Singham says of the journalists that go along with it: "They should be ashamed of themselves."

Iranian women forbidden from studying 77 different subjects at universities thanks either to Ahmadinejad's "Islamization" of the academy or because of the lack of "economic opportunity" due to of sanctions, depending who you ask. Men now barred from studying history, linguistics, literature, sociology and philosophy. 

Missouri public radio talks to Westminster College's religious studies professor about what religion ought to be working on, the "environmental crisis" being at the top, as well as how to understand atheists. 

Opponents of Florida's wall-of-separation razing Amendment 8 are outraising its supporters 6-to-1. 

UN Human Rights Commissioner equates the Charlie Hebdo cartoons with "The Innocence of Muslims" video, calling them "deliberately provocative" and that such kinds of speech "have led to similar violent reactions and killings." 

The International Union of Muslim Scholars' vice-chair is joining others in a call to criminalize speech that "provokes" and "denigrates" religious feelings.  

Pakistani politician Arif Alvi wants the US to pass its own blasphemy laws, claiming that the US has a "responsibility to curb such actions [as the anti-Islam video] and legislate." 

Dick Gross at the Syndey Morning Heraldwarning atheists not to go out of their way to provoke violence, calls intentions to pass international laws against blasphemy...

. . . an appalling thought. It would criminalise me. Blasphemy has been used to oppress the innocent. In the Islamic world it is a tool of oppression of Christians. 

Last week, CFI released a statement condemning requests for such restrictions on international freedom of expression. 

French right-wing leader Marine Le Pen calls for a ban on religious headwear for Muslims and Jews.

Nine men were sentenced in Zambia for a series of witchcraft-motivated killings, but Sharon Hill notes that while it's good to be cracking down on this, all the men were convicted based entirely on eyewitness testimony. 

Louisiana voucher program now subsidizing the wasteful and failing religious schools, unless they're Islamic. 

Girls in India self-immolate, reportedly because of "paranormal" influence.

Hemant knows who he wants you to vote for

Toronto Star's Heather Mallick, opining on religious violence, meets with local humanists and is surprised to find them "relaxed":

It’s not a quality you see often. We discussed the world over cookies and juice. They were entirely at ease, which is unusual for any group of humans nowadays. People are poised to take — and give — offence. They are stiff with aggression. They drop things on other people’s heads for religious reasons. But humanists are a mighty force, albeit so polite, well-spoken and attuned to the hurt feelings of others that they are an unused one.  

Quote of the Day        

Hamid M. Khan at HuffPo is not upset at the blasphemy of "The Innocence of Muslims," but rather:

. . . my anger was prompted by this latest round of senseless and unconscionable violence in the name of "defending" the Prophet, a tactic that has emerged since the publication of "The Satanic Verses" in 1988. Even after a generation, when an event like this occurs, some Muslims reflexively leap to the streets committing violence and often taking lives in the process, suggesting to the world, and proving to the delight of Islam's detractors, this is the only appropriate reaction for a self-proclaimed religion of peace. 

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

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