We Entertain All Complaints

July 29, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

The State Department releases its 2013 International Religious Freedom Report, highlighting the actions of nations of concern:

These governmental actions not only infringed on freedom of religion themselves; they often created a permissive environment for broader human rights abuses. Restrictive policies included laws criminalizing religious activities and expression, prohibitions on conversion or proselytizing, blasphemy laws, and stringent registration requirements for religious organizations. 

Meanwhile, President Obama appoints Rabbi David Saperstein as the U.S.'s ambassador for international religious freedom, making Saperstein the first non-Christian to hold the position. 

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It Should Go Without Saying

July 28, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

As seems to always be the case, the great scramble to get everything up and running for the CFI Leadership Conference turned into a great experience of inspiration and determination for all in attendance. I had to miss the last day's events so I could be home for my daughter's second birthday, but judging from the tweet stream, there was a pretty moving lineup of presentations. Many thanks to all who attended, all who presented, and most of all to those outreachers who actually made it all happen.

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Reactionary Weirdos

July 25, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

The 2014 CFI Leadership Conference is underway, and I'm knocking out a quick Heresy here before I get back into things here at the Mothership. 

USA Today has a new piece on he-of-the-baseless-cancer-treatments, Stanislaw Burzynski, as the Texas Medical Board tries to pick up where the FDA fell down. CFI chief Ron Lindsay is quoted as the prime critic of Burzynski cheering on the Texas Board, saying, "Burzynski should not be practicing medicine. Period." 

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A Cirque du Soleil of the Mind

July 24, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

I'm here at the airport getting ready to fly to Amherst and CFI's Mothership for the CFI Leadership Conference. Where we confer. About leadership. Anyway, I understand people really like it. Especially the YOUTH. So, there may or may not be a Heresy tomorrow, we'll have to see how things go.

So here's the thing: There was some really excellent news that happened a few weeks ago, but with all the other things going on, only yesterday did we have a chance to actually make a thing of it. But thing-make we finally did, announcing that our own besuited public policy chief Michael De Dora was elected president of the UN's NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Well-deserved, and a huge deal for our movement on the international stage. Hemant applauds, "It’s a tremendous honor and I have no doubt De Dora will be a great representative and model of Humanist values."

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Desecrate This!

July 23, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Gulf Center for Human Rights reports that Waleed Abu Al-Khair, the Saudi human rights activist and attorney convicted of criticizing the state, is being subjected to "poor conditions" and "ill treatment" without access to medical care in prison, and his wife has been forbidden from seeing him. Al-Khair's is one of the cases, along with Raif Badawi's, raised by CFI at the UN Human Rights Council, which sent Saudi Arabia into a shouting fury. Global Voices highlights more of Saudi Arabia's abuses.

We welcomed our new outreach staffer Stef McGraw in a previous edition of Cause & Effect, but we wanted to do it a little more formally, so here's a more complete introduction to our awesome new organizer.  

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Jesus Did Not Become the God-Klingon

July 22, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Yesterday the president signed an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT folks, and happily did not add a religious exemption, and we expressed our appreciation:

Too often religious beliefs are used as an excuse to avoid obeying laws that apply to everyone else, as the regrettable Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case illustrates. ... [This] is a welcome step in the right direction, toward a secular government in which religion can’t be used as a shield for prejudice and unequal treatment.

Our reaction's been noted by the Washington Times and the Christian Post.

RNS's David Gibson calls Obama's decision to allow religious contractors to use religious beliefs as a hiring criteria (which we're not happy about) a "split-the-baby" solution. And usually, atheists love those kinds of solutions.

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These People Always Find God in the Sunsets

July 21, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Today the president is expected to sign an executive order that forbids discrimination against LGBT folks without the religious exemption we dreaded. This is good news indeed, and Michael De Dora fills us in

Christian Post reports on CFI's efforts to get a Secular Celebrant bill passed in Ohio

CFI's Tom Flynn and Julia Lavarnway have put together a new book on Robert IngersollReligions Are For a DayTim Binga gives a preview, and you can order it here

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COBRA’s Religious Exemption

July 18, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.    

CFI sent out an email yesterday on how our Indiana win for Secular Celebrants is a great example of the progress we're making, and now much more there is to do.  

Hemant opines on the Secular Celebrant bill CFI-Northeast Ohio is championing:

This is a no-brainer. There’s just no good reason to oppose the bill. Which means someone will inevitably do so, claiming that allowing atheists to officiate a wedding would somehow ruin the experience for other people or deprive ministers of some holy power. 

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Awful! Not Even Close!

July 17, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

CFI chief Ron Lindsay reflects on the lessons of CFI's major victory this week in the 7th Court of Appeals for Secular Celebrants in Indiana:

We need to be open and candid about our beliefs. The more of us who openly and unashamedly declare ourselves nonreligious, the more quickly social acceptance will come. Indiana has learned it can’t shame or intimidate atheists into hypocrisy. The rest of the U.S. can learn the same lesson. 

And CFI's push for equal treatment for nonbelievers continues, as today we announced a new Ohio bill, the result of a partnership between CFI-Northeast Ohio and State Rep. Mike Foley, to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages in the state. 

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We Are Ends in Ourselves

July 16, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Last night, Dan Courtney gave his historic atheist invocation before a meeting of the Town Board of Greece, NY. He did a great job, and CFI staff and supporters were there at the rally afterward showing support for a secular government. We put up video of Dan's invocation, here's audio of Ron and Dan at the rally, and we'll have video of the rally as well later today. Here's the Associated Press's report filed right after the invocation, and Hemant has a great overview of the whole shebang. The Democrat and Chronicle has a good report, too...

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