Inflicting Vivacious Whimsy

September 16, 2013

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

CFI-Canada (acting independently from us, the U.S. CFI) comes out against the Charter of Quebec Values which bans the wearing of religious symbols for public employees:

A secularism charter should take the crucifix off the wall at the National Assembly, remove Christian prayer at public city council meetings, and revoke special property tax exemptions for religious buildings. The Charter has precisely the wrong aim, to take religion away from people, while ignoring institutional favouritism which biases the public square away from state neutrality and is therefore the more serious threat to equality of treatment between believer and nonbeliever.

One letter-to-the-editor writer agrees. Atheist Idan Shoham writes to the Montreal Gazette:

To me, religion is something to be tolerated. It’s fine to ridicule (religious) ideas, but it’s not fine to discriminate against (religious) people. What business has the government to regulate the hats religious people wear? 

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Look Out for That Oort Cloud, It’s a Doozy

September 13, 2013

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

Happy Friday the 13th! To celebrate, watch this enormous rock as it barely misses the planet. Universe Today reports:

About 230 kilometers in size, 324 Bamberga reaches 0.81 astronomical units from the Earth this week. No other asteroid so large gets so close.

Meanwhile, Voyager 1, for real this time, or so they tell us, has actually, like, for sure, left the Solar System. Definitely. OR NOT. I dunno anymore.  

Suit challenging the "In God We Trust" motto on U.S. money is dismissed by a federal court. 

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Pastor Jones, the Police Mustache You a Question

September 12, 2013

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

Tim Farley busts out a big box of tools for monitoring legislation relevant to skeptics, including CFI's new bill tracker

Kentucky governor Steven Beshear saves the state's adoption of new science standards, despite a rejection by the state legislature. 

Chris Chambers is very skeptical of the proposed Mars One manned mission to the Red Planet, as there has been insufficient consideration of how crazy everyone on board will inevitably go. 

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An Ounce of Adulteration

September 11, 2013

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

Quebec seeks to enact rules for public servants, prohibiting them from wearing all manner of religious symbols and accessories, in a purported effort to "help create a distinct identity" for the province. 

After Ball State University insists it will not hawk "intelligent design" in science courses, the Discovery Institute (referred to as a "think tank" in what I assume is a very loose definition of the term) lashes out at the school for "promoting atheism and bashing intelligent design." 

The Dawkins foundation and MAAF are working together on care packages for U.S. military personnel

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Children of the (Anti-Clerical) Revolution

September 10, 2013

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

Happy twentiethBill Nye the Science Guy! In honor of the show turning 20 today, we're posting a classic Point of Inquiry with Bill Nye, a headliner of the CFI Summit.

Speaking of the Summit, I interviewed secular wunderkind, Summit speaker Zack Kopplin about what motivates his tireless activism, which includes a totally unexpected James Carville shout-out. 

Hindu authority in India sends notice that atheists are forbidden from marrying in temples

AFP: France moves to enforce its Charter for Secularity in School, feared by many Muslims, which is explained by the government as in keeping with the French Revolution... 

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Tired of Trying to Be Moved

September 09, 2013

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

Former W. press secretary Dana Perino, now at Fox (of course), discussing the Massachusetts Pledge case, is sick, sick, sick of atheist pests:

I’m tired of [atheists]. I remember working at the Justice Department years ago when I first started right after 9/11 and a lawsuit like this came through, and before the day had finished, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge. If these people really don’t like it, they don’t have to live here.

Action alert, y'all: Tell Congress to tell the Family Research Council to back off our laws. 

This is a boatload of awesome: Slate posts a big map of "here be dragons"-type creatures from Renaissance cartography. 

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Do Magic Coconuts Have Hanging Chads?

September 06, 2013

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

Three new faces are added to the lineup of speakers at the CFI Summit: Josh Zepps, Debbie Goddard, and Mark Hatcher. 

This Monday, the outreach crew is running another CFI On Campus On-Air Session, this time on blasphemy rights and the Campaign for Free Expression, with a really great panel of folks.

A magic coconut has disrupted Maldivian elections and now there is an investigation into the magic coconut and OH GOD I WISH I WAS KIDDING:

A vote-rigging row has erupted in the Maldives ahead of Saturday's presidential election amid suspicions that one party is using cursed coconuts imbued with black magic spells to sway voters’ political allegiances. 

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Only God Can Judge Carlos Danger

September 05, 2013

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

So you all know about how Bill Nye will be at the CFI Summit next month. Oh, I guess he's doing this TV show too where he dances or something. 

Massachusetts' supreme court heard arguments yesterday in a case concerning the Pledge of Allegiance's bit about being beneath Yahweh. SCA president David Niose argued for the plaintiffs, and CFI contributed an amicus brief

To help you get more involved with our work at the Office of Public Policy, CFI has just launched a bill tracking page, keeping an eye on legislation in the House and Senate relating to issues such as science, religion, and freedom of expression.

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Pop Star Seeks Person to Stare at Sky for Aliens

September 04, 2013

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

Today, the Massachusetts Supreme Court hears arguments in its big Pledge of Allegiance case, which will be streamed live. CFI has submitted an amicus brief, and you can read Ron Lindsay's explanation of our position here

IHEU gathers thoughts from various prominent seculars on the unbearable question what to do, if anything, about Syria, which includes a contribution from our own Michael De Dora. 

Southern Baptists are advising chaplains not to perform services with anyone who "practices or affirms a homosexual lifestyle."

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Psychic Fraud to the Nines

September 03, 2013

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

Whew! This weekend, Hemant Mehta done got himself "Hitched." (Cute photo!) The Morning Heretic of course offers its sincere congratulations. But while he was being nuptial'd, Hemant tasked me with the stewardship ofFriendly Atheist. Despite this being an obvious mistake, I did my best not to crash his Ferrari of a blog.

What did I blog about? GLAD YOU ASKED. Well, an Indian novelist was charged with blasphemy, the South Jersey prayer-at-council-meetings fiasco got weirder, I found a great example of apologetics leading to nonbelief, E.W. Jackson nailed himself to a proverbial cross, EWTN explained how Hell actually works (and how Karl Marx is probably there), looked at the universality of messiah-wishes, and a teacher in India is fighting for his right to NOT pray in school. Like I said, whew!

It's always all about them: Build-up to a US attack on Syria seen by some Christians as a harbinger of the End Times. But what isn't, really? 

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