The Paratroopers of God’s Army

April 15, 2013

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

Turkish pianist Fazil Say gets a suspended jail term for blasphemy, following a series of tweets last year the court considered to be "insulting religious values of a part of the population." 

Pope Francis appoints a commission of cardinals to advise on bureaucratic reform for the Vatican. Speaking of which, some Vatican representatives will be holding a "dialogue" with nonbelievers in Mexico.

Camp Inquiry's Karen Strachan is among the guests on the Skeptical Connections podcast. 

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Payot on a Plane

April 12, 2013

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

CFI sent out an action alert yesterday on behalf of the persecuted atheists in Bangladesh. We're formally asking the State Department to weigh in, and start to put pressure on the Bangladeshi government. You can add your voice here. Yesterday we learned that the atheist bloggers already arrested have been "grilled" for seven days, and a hearing for them has been postponed.

Two more young people in Bangladesh are arrested for blasphemy in the mean time, perpetrated on Facebook. 

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It’s Almost an Embarrassment

April 11, 2013

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

Okay, my nerd brain just exploded, reformed itself into a new nerd brain, and then exploded againHere's a panel discussion with Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Brian Greene, Ira Flatow, Neal Stephenson (!!!), Tracy Day, and Lawrence Krauss. 

The Bangladesh crisis spirals further out of control: Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of a Bangladeshi newspaper, is arrested for printing quotes from the persecuted atheist bloggers, or, "inciting people by publishing defamatory comments against religion." Stay tuned for more from CFI on this.

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The People You Think are Real

April 10, 2013

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

Daniel Loxton writes a thoughtful post on what he sees as the problems of conflating atheism and skepticism, and cautions his fellow atheists against smugness:

To promote the belief that atheists are different than other people does nothing but undermine our humanity. It denies the human complexity of religious nonbelievers. In doing so, it sells out atheists.

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef in trouble for dissing the Egyptian president, also now charged with "insulting Pakistan" and "spreading atheism." 

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Weird Nasty Parts

April 09, 2013

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

CFI submitted formal comments to the Department of Health and Human Services yesterday, urging the administration to stand firm against religious pressure to further weaken the contraceptive mandate. Here's the full letter (PDF).

Ron Lindsay slams the Catholic Church's resistance to contraceptive coverage as "a cruel joke":

HHS isn’t forcing the bishops or their followers to do a damn thing. But they simply can’t abide the thought that their purity might be ruined through some sort of remote contact with a woman who is taking a drug that, you know, affects her weird nasty parts. 

The latest Point of Inquiry has AC Grayling, who refutes religious arguments "with zest and humor."  

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The Snack That Smiles Back

April 08, 2013

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

David Kuo, formerly of the Bush White House's faith-based initiatives office, and later a critic of that effort, is dead at 44. From the NYT obit:

[I]n the prologue to his memoir Mr. Kuo wrote that his experience in government had given him clarity about the limits of politics. “I have seen what happens when well-meaning Christians are seduced into thinking deliverance can come from the Oval Office, a Supreme Court chamber or the floor of the United States Congress,” he wrote. “They are easily manipulated by politicians who use them for their votes, seduced by trinkets of power, and tempted to turn a mission field (politics) into a battlefield.” 

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Curious and Teachable

April 05, 2013

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

North Carolina's House Speaker says the bill that would allow for the establishment of a state religion is dead.

Breaking news, via NYT:

A federal judge has ruled that the government must make the most common morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger. 

Hemant Mehta weighs in on the New-Atheists-as-racists meme. . .

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A Complicated Intellectual Maneuver

April 04, 2013

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

Sarah Posner rebuts the notion that the culture wars are winding down, citing the insanity happening at the state level. 

For example: Tennessee legislators say, sure tax dollars can help fund religious schools. But Muslim schools? No no no no.   

Michael De Dora and the Office of Public Policy offer up their first Advocacy Update to keep you informed as to their crucial work in DC and elsewhere.

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Disagreement over Whether We Must Agree to Disagree about Whether We Must Disagree Agreeably

April 03, 2013

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

The leaders of several major skepto-atheist organizations sign on to a letter calling for civility in the recent disputes between skepto-atheists, and suggesting alternatives to online bomb-throwing.

Most of the big orgs have attached themselves to it, including CFI and the Council for Secular Humanism, though not surprisingly, not everyone is pleased. Secular Woman and American Secular Census have opted to refrain from signing on, not out of a disdain for civility, necessarily. Rebecca Watson calls it "stone tablet communication." On the other hand, Hemant Mehta calls it "a place of common agreement" and commends the signatories.

Many of the articles from Free Inquiry's groundbreaking issue on the US military's atheists are now online. 

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The Sky is What Mattered

April 02, 2013

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay joined a HuffPost Live panel, along with Frank Schaeffer, JT Eberhard and others, to talk about bringing up kids with or without religion. It gets heated, as these things usually do.

Hey neat: Here at the Heresy, we've been linking to an ever-growing number of articles about Frans de Waal's The Bonobo and the Atheist and his distaste for "new atheism." Well guess who's on Point of Inquiry this week?? Dennis Rodman!!! No, I'm kidding, it's Frans de Waal. 

Our Office of Public Policy wants you to tell the White House to get a spine on contraceptive coverage in the health care law.

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