A World Swarming with Evil Forces

December 30, 2013

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

The UN human rights office condemns Uganda's anti-gay legislation, and urges its president not to sign it into law. 

Jennifer Michael Hecht and Ron Reagan went on Hardball to talk about atheism as a supposed "poison pill" in politics.  

Tim Farley rounds up the skeptic luminaries we lost in 2013

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By the Light of the Fluorescent Pig

December 27, 2013

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

On his day off no less, CFI chief Ron Lindsay considers whether Catholic judges ought to recuse themselves from contraceptive mandate cases:

If simply filling out a form objecting to contraception makes one an accomplice to evil, what about rendering a judicial decision upholding the contraceptive mandate? This would appear to be a much more affirmative and consequential act than the completion of a form. But if that is the case, how can a judge who is a good Catholic by Church standards possibly render a decision upholding the mandate?

Have you heard this crazy story from Oklahoma about the church volunteers who got all weird about a woman's baby, insisting they take hold of the kid when they came for a toy drive, and then atheists totally saved their Christmas??? It's crazy. 

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The God of Being Gay, Abortion, Computers, Pornography, and Animals

December 26, 2013

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

Raif Badawi, a liberal Saudi blogger, faces new apostasy charges, which could end in a death sentence. Badawi's is one of the cases being tracked by our Campaign for Free Expression. At Friendly AtheistI despair:

Cases like this need more international attention, and those who position themselves as “allies” of Saudi Arabia, such as the United States, need to discover their consciences. How can the civilized world refer to itself as such when an ally practices such barbarism, it looks the other way? 

The ever-fluffy Pope Francis includes atheists in a call for "homemade peace" on Christmas Day, saying, off-script no less:

I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.

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Hyper-commercial, Blindingly Bright, Boomingly Loud

December 24, 2013

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

Six decades after his death, Alan Turing is pardoned by the Queen for the crime of "gross indecency" (being gay). I'm sure he's relieved. James Croft says we're looking at the wrong perp:

[W]e should not forget that the party who committed the true crime in this instance was the British government, for prosecuting and chemically castrating a man for an “offense” which was an offense against no one. That this “pardon” was enacted through the Royal Prerogative of Mercy strikes me wrong, as if clemency is being provided someone who has indeed done something wrong. Mercy is offered to the guilty, after all, not the innocent. 

Tom Flynn finds encouragement in a recent PRRI/RNS survey indicating that 5% of Americans are, like him, celebrating absolutely nothing this season.

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The Season of Sadness and Despair

December 23, 2013

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

This week, CFI caps off its Living without Religion ad campaign with a Times Square ad expressing our wishes for peace and enlightenment in the New Year. Meanwhile, the New York Times includes CFI's Living without Religion ad campaign in its story on atheists' take on the holidays:

One recent Monday night, Ms. Crespi was one of 10 young men and women from the Center for Inquiry who stood freezing on a Times Square sidewalk for 45 minutes, waiting for 15 seconds of inspiration. When the video billboard sponsored by the Center for Inquiry finally appeared on 42nd Street, pronouncing that millions of Americans are living happily without religion, the chilled audience whooped, clapped and hastily took a picture.

I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but I have a feeling CFI's marketing director Lauren Becker is going to swoon over it. Aeon posts a short film on Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan "and the love letter they sent to the stars." 

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Festering Theological Fruitcake

December 20, 2013

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

Kimberly Winston reports on how atheist do-gooders, trying to infect the helpless and downtrodden with their poisonous blasphemy, are being rebuffed by various charities.

CFI is about to cap off its 2013 Living without Religion campaign with a final electronic ad in Times Square for the new year -- and you get to see it before it goes live

The elf on the shelf is like a gateway drug to theism. Or the NSA. Either way, Ryan Cragun opines on the evils of Santa in the first Free Inquiry web exclusive. 

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Vigorously Not Cooperating

December 19, 2013

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

Persecuted Indian skeptic leader Sanal Edamaruku launches a new international magazineRationalist.

Speaking of launches, European Space Agency launches Gaia, a space telescope fitted with a billion-pixel camera, to construct a three-dimensional map of the galaxy. 

And speaking of incredible images, io9 rounds up the the most awe-inspiring science images of 2013. 

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Blind Faith in Miraculous Power

December 18, 2013

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

Americans' trust in clergy has hit a new low, according to Gallup, though they're still way more trusted than Congress.  

SPEAKING OF WHICH. St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt steps down from his public role as he faces child sex abuse allegations. But remember, Satan is behind gay marriage

An opposable thumbs-up as Texas science textbooks with actual science in them are cleared for adoption

CFI's Michael De Dora writes to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to urge them to include protection of the nonreligious in the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2013.  

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Forged in Chaos

December 17, 2013

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

Joe Schwarcz at Skeptical Inquirer takes Dr. Oz down many, many notches

Archdiocese of New York win an injunction against the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act for its nonprofit affiliates. 

Josh Zepps has a very funny and thoughtful conversation with libertarian humorist P.J. O'Rourke on the latest Point of Inquiry

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The Religious Freedom Panic Squad

December 16, 2013

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

This is looking kind of murky, but it looks like Russia's supreme court found problems with the sentences given to members of Pussy Riot, and they might get an earlier release. Meanwhile, member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, transferred to Siberia, will remain in a prison hospital until her term is up. 

Well look at that. Jupiter's moon Europa looks like it might have water-spurting geysers. No mention of pirate twin activity.*

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