The Morning Heresy 9/26/12: Homegrown Blasphemy Laws

September 26, 2012

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

Did you catch the president's address to the UN yesterday? You should. In it, he came down hard on the side of free expression and against using hurt religious feelings as an excuse for violence. Here's the complete text. Lauren Markoe at RNS rounds up some of the bigger points.

A survey from a state-run pollster says that 80% of Russians want a new law that inflicts harsher penalties for blasphemy. Take this with a heavy grain of salt.

Oklahoma has its own blasphemy law, and State Representative Randy Grau wants it repealed.

The LA Times' Michael McGough reminds us of other American blasphemy laws

Kimberly Winston profiles "Surly" Amy Roth and the broader attempts at making atheist logos and symbols.

SCA picks apart and demolishes a proposed resolution the the US House that would “reaffirm the importance of religion in the lives of United States citizens” thanks to the country’s “Judeo-Christian heritage.”   

At old-school Butterflies & Wheels, Will Bordell does a long interview with AC Grayling

A quick poke around Facebook, and scammers can convince you they can do a psychic hot reading

Pamela Gellar's hate group gets anti-Muslim ads placed around NYC's subway system, and rallies against them from leaders of various faiths ensue. 

Sharon Hill picks up on secret tests done by the military, testing chemicals on civilians. Says Sharon, "Yes, some conspiracies by the government were real." Take that, us!

The city of Tucson will NOT have to pay $1 million in taxpayer money to restore a Catholic Church-owned building. 

A county in Tennessee props of the Ten Commandments at the courthouse. From Nashville Scene's Jeff Woods:

"The separation of church and state is to keep the government from interfering and coercing people into one specific belief. Simply posting something does not coerce someone into one specific belief,” says the sheriff, who obviously is a constitutional scholar in his spare time when he’s not chasing after moonshiners. 

Smithsonian Magazine looks at the panic over vampires in New England in, yes, the 1800s. 

A warning to alt-med hucksters. If you hear the word "Folkeopplysningen," run! 

Atheist Revolution presents us with a political nut-cruncher: "If I had to vote for one of two hypothetical candidates, would I be more likely to vote for a liberal Christian or a conservative atheist?"

Letter to the editor in a Florida paper on Amendment 8:

True religious freedom comes from separating the institutions of government from the institutions promoting religious beliefs as was promulgated by the Founding Fathers of this country. True educational improvement, for all students, comes from using all available funds and parent involvement to improve the public schools rather than diverting resources from an increasingly inadequate educational budget for Florida's students. 

Why fight air pollution when you can get your oxygen from a can? 

Quote of the Day        

1895, Oscar Wilde is being questioned in court about whether a terribly-written story about a priest in love with a boy was "blasphemous." His answer?

I think it is horrible. "Blasphemous" is not a word of mine. 

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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