This is Part of the Weirding Way

August 23, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI made known its condemnation of violence against religious groups in Egypt:

No person should be targeted for violence because of his or her religious affiliation. As atheists and humanists, though we may disagree strongly with the beliefs of other groups, we wholeheartedly reject oppression and violence carried out against those who hold those beliefs. Freedom of conscience is a fundamental human right.

Hemant Mehta notes that our words are "backed by action," and tells the rest of the skepto-atheist community that "we ought to be among the leading voices condemning a real assault on religious freedom." 

I was the guest pundit on yesterday's episode of Tech News Today on the TWiT network, and it was pretty fun. Also, the host referred to me as the Kwisatz Haderach.

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The Sluggish Pundit’s Dream

August 22, 2013

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

A new poll shows that a whopping 70% of Americans are against vouchers for private and religious schools. Well, that's what we think too, and we said so:

Voucher programs are a violation of our founding secular principles, and it is heartening to know that the American people see through its proponents’ façade of reform. 

Holy crap, skin cells can be turned into egg and sperm cellsTweets our boss Ron Lindsay:

Now that we know skin cells have the potential to become babies, will Catholic Church prohibit scratching?  

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Reality Distortion Field of Dreams

August 21, 2013

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

CFI files an amicus brief in the Massachusetts case about the Pledge of Allegiance, and it's not the usual "violates the First Amendment" argument. 

Coptic Christians face a wave of violence in Egypt at the hands of Morsi-supporting Islamists.

The American Muslim Political Action Committee will hold a mass demonstration in Washington on September 11 to protest "religious profiling."

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One of the Most Wonderful Soldiers of Rationalism

August 20, 2013

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

I'm sorry to open the Heresy with some grisly news from India. Here's the IHEU:

It is with deep shock and sadness that we report the assassination this morning (Tuesday, 20 August) of one of India's most renowned rationalist and Humanist leaders, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar.

He was reportedly shot four times by two men on a motorbike this morning on Omkarweshwar bridge in Pune, Maharashtra state. He was reportedly taking his daily morning walk when he was assassinated, a route that may have been known to his attackers.

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Double Stuf Conspiracy

August 19, 2013

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

Brian Regal in NJ's Star-Ledger looks at the very non-supernatural roots of the Jersey Devil legend:

The Leeds family does occupy the center of the story, but they were not stereotyped, superstitious rural people. They were politically active religious pioneers, authors and publishers. We have forgotten that the Jersey Devil legend — originally the Leeds Devil — began as a cruel taunt against them, not because of a monstrous birth, but because they had the cultural misfortune of joining the wrong side. 

(I'm from this area, and as a kid, my grandfather delighted in successfully scaring the crap out of me with tales of the Jersey Devil.)

The Baltimore Sun covers pet psychics, and gets badly-needed perspective from our own Joe Nickell.

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Special Stomach Virus Edition

August 16, 2013

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

So yesterday there was no Heresy because I was looking after my sick baby daughter. Well, the Heresy is late today because she was kind enough to lend me her stomach virus. The adventure continues. 

Now how cool is this? CFI On Campus does its first On-Air Session with campus leaders from across the country. Session 1 is on gearing up for the new school year. 

And there's lots more from On Campus. Karyn Spory at the Columbia Tribune highlights CFI On Campus affiliate MU SASHA for its recent Free Expression award from CFI.   

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Get a Pope (Sha Na-Na Na, Sha Na-Na Na-Na)

August 14, 2013

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

NPR's Mile Johnson tells the story of civil rights activist William Lewis Moore, believed to be an atheist, who was killed 50 years ago on a long walk to deliver a letter to Mississippi's governor. 

At Friendly Atheist, I discover a rare example of sound advice for Christian-atheist child-raising.

Wait wait wait. The science textbooks in Texas are...okay?

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Proof of Rat Heaven

August 13, 2013

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

University of Michigan scientists poke around some rat brains for EEG signals, and found a huge burst of activity just at the point of death. Proof of Rat Heaven? The opposite.

USA Today comes out against businesses claiming exemptions from Obamacare's contraceptive mandate:

Ultimately, the issue is one of balance. The effect of health insurance on business owners is indirect. Employees may or may not use insurance to pay for birth control, just as they may or may not use their salary to pay for something that would violate the company owners' faith.

The circumstance might be discomforting. But the alternative — granting religious exemptions to private organizations — is more troubling. It would be open to abuse, putting the government in the position of determining which business owners were sufficiently religious. 

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That Near-Death Experience Sounds Awesome

August 12, 2013

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

Michael De Dora calls out the administration's amicus brief to SCOTUS in support of legislative prayers for its "spotty reasoning."

This actually happened: Tennessee judge orders a mother to change her baby's name ("Messiah") because "it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ." 

Charter schools. Held in churches. Discuss

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The Man Who Has Stolen the Straw

August 09, 2013

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

The Obama administration disappoints us beyond all measure, filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in favor of prayer at legislative sessions.

41 people in Turkey reportedly charged with "blasphemy on the religious values of a society fraction" for posts to a social network. 

There are a heck-ton of great videos from the latest Women in Secularism conference, with two new panels just posted

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