Negative Ninjas

February 26, 2014

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

Mitt Romney and John McCain are among the Republicans calling on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the anti-gay "religious freedom" bill passed by the legislature, and she is expected to do so

Eric Sasson at TNR calls these new "religious freedom" bills "the new stand-your-ground laws":

Purporting to be against discrimination, these lawmakers are trying to use the victim card against the very people they want to discriminate against.  

Indiana's House, for now at least, ditches its own "religious freedom" bill

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The State of Our Meatball

February 25, 2014

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

The state of our Meatball is strong (the "meatball" is the loving nickname we have for the logo): CFI releases its annual report for 2013, "Progress Report: Advances in Advocacy, Community, and Inquiry." It's mighty pretty, is full of really inspiring developments for our organization, and has a free toy inside. Okay, there's no toy, but you can read it anyway. 

Gabriel Sherman is the guest on Point of Inquiry, talking to Josh Zepps about his big exposé on Fox News Supreme Leader Roger Ailes.

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If Scientific Accuracy is Your Jam

February 24, 2014

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

Today's Morning Heresy starts the week on a terribly sad note, as over the weekend freethought activist and friend of the blog Eric Broze died suddenly of unknown causes. Even if you don't know Eric, you're probably aware of some of his work for the movement, which includes the Coming Out Godless project, done with his wife Rose Schwartz, and spearheading the United Church of Bacon based in Las Vegas. 

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Careening Clown Car

February 21, 2014

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

Yesterday was an ugly day in state legislation.

Arizona passes an anti-gay free pass for discrimination (or, "religious freedom").

Alabama's House Education Committee approves a bill to allow teachers to lead students in prayer, even though most members of the committee voted against it, with the chairman claiming to have "heard" more yeas than nays in a voice vote. . . .

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Congratulations, You’ve Read The Morning Heresy and Now You’re an Insufferable Smartypants

February 20, 2014

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

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, whose adherence to faith-healing resulted in the death of their 2-year-old-son in 2009, are sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for the faith-healing death of their second child, only 8 months old, from pneumonia. On Twitter, CFI chief Ron Lindsay says the judge in the case was wrong to place blame solely on the parents, but should have also pointed to their church. Ron also tweets:

Minister in faith-healing death case insists teachings are correct. Child died b/c of "spiritual lack" in parents. That minister is a killer 

Brian Palmer at Slate is agog at the popularity of the very-much-full-of-crap "Natural News" page on Facebook, and has a request:

When one of your Facebook friends posts a link to a story about spirulina boosting brain function or how to cure pneumonia with vitamin C, I beg you to respond. A simple “bogus” will help halt their descent into insanity induced by Natural News. 

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Politics in the Sky

February 19, 2014

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

Denmark bans the religious slaughter of animals (such as for kosher meat), with the agriculture minister declaring, "Animal rights come before religion."

Alaska's legislature looks to nix an important bit of text from the state's constitution:

No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.

It never stops, does it?

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The Earth is in Peril, and People Love That

February 18, 2014

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

Our own Debbie Goddard is featured in a HuffPo piece on the variety of beliefs of African Americans. Among her insights:

There are times when I've felt straight-up rejected by the black community because I'm an atheist. When I tried to start a secular club in college, my closest black friends told me that humanism and atheism are harmful Eurocentric ideologies and implied that if I'm an atheist, I'm turning my back on my race.  

Richard N. Landers comes down hard on the recent and heavily-touted survey showing that young people seem to buy into astrology, saying that respondents likely got the terms "astrology" and "astronomy" mixed up. According to his parsing of the data...

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Selfies of Mass Destruction

February 17, 2014

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

A working group made up of members of the European Parliament releases a major report (PDF) on global freedom of religion and belief, with a major emphasis on blasphemy laws and apostasy:

In many Muslim-majority states, conversion from Islam to another religion or to atheism leads to a severe State response. While incidents of official executions are rare, individuals who leave Islam for another religion face imprisonment, intimidation, loss of property, physical abuse, denial of access to education, jobs and civil rights. 

Now, I can't bear to watch this, but you can tell me how it went. Bill Nye goes in Meet the Press to "debate" climate change with GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Nope, I can't do it. 

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Amiable and Low-Voltage

February 14, 2014

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

US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen strikes down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. Happy Valentine's Day. Wrote Wright Allen:

Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. 

David Morrison, director of the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute, shares his thoughts about Sagan in a new biographical memoir of the man

Google keeps showing its progressive cred (which it does not always do), this time with a very auditory Doodle for the big V-day, featuring the stories of couples of various kinds.

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One Giant Foxhole

February 13, 2014

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

CFI's Lauren Becker dusts off a very moving essay of hers for Darwin Day, on the enormous impact Darwin's grand idea has had on humanity's view of itself:

We are not special creations, but part of a vast continuum of life. No longer children of god, we are children of nature. This is our condition. But if this new understanding is a disorder, if it has caused an identity crisis, then science, too, as in so many other cases, offers relief. 

Rep. Rush Holt praises Darwin on the floor of the House. CFI gets its meme on.

At Skeptical Inquirer, Cameron M. Smith has an idea as to why so many of us still have a problem accepting evolution...

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