The Morning Heresy 10/23/12: One of “Those” Atheists

October 23, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.  

Reports and remembrances of Paul Kurtz, CFI's founder who died this weekend at the age of 86, continue to stream in throughout the web.

Carolyn Thompson at AP tells the story of Kurtz's life and work.

Robert Evans at Reuters writes that Kurtz "devoted his life to fighting prejudice against people who reject belief in a god and promoting a non-religious stance in life," and notes that CFI has "spawned a movement" that has spread globally. 

Ed Brayton: "You would be hard pressed to find anyone who did more to advance secular humanism, atheism and skepticism over the last century."

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The Morning Heresy 10/22/12: The Tree of Life

October 22, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.  

CFI is mourning the passing of our founder, Paul Kurtz, who died Saturday at the age of 86. We have a comprehensive obituary here, which gives a lot of detail on his work and incalculable impact on secularism, humanism, and skepticism. I actually have never met the man, being a relatively recent hire for CFI, and working remotely from home, but I still feel the loss, and I am enormously grateful for the movements he helped ignite and philosophical foundations he helped lay down -- from which I and many others benefit today.

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The Morning Heresy 10/19/12: Now Pork-Free!

October 19, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

CFI's Michael De Dora heralds the news that a bloc of Islamic nations is dropping is efforts to lobby the UN to adopt binding blasphemy laws, but cautions:

. . . concerned secularists should not sit back and relax. As evidenced in the Center for Inquiry's new report "Dissent Denied," many countries around the world simply international agreements and have in place blasphemy laws that punish innocent people for victimless crimes. But also, the OIC has signaled that, instead of pushing for a blasphemy ban, it will appeal to member states to apply hate speech laws to criticism of religion. 

Speaking of free expression, Michael joined the panel on HuffPost Live to talk about Twitter's recent censoring of a neo-Nazi group in Germany.

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The Morning Heresy 10/18/12: I Could Fly Like a Blue Heron

October 18, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

This is a big deal: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has declared that it will drop its efforts to pursue a binding blasphemy law at the UN. Kuwait is not satisfied, nor are other members of the coalition.

Also today in blasphemy:

Egyptian atheist Alber Saber is "defiant" as his blasphemy trial resumes. You can sign a Change.org petition on his behalf here

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The Morning Heresy 10/17/12: D’Souza? D’oh!

October 17, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Takeaways from last night's debate? Not a whole lot for our skepto-atheosphere. Most notable, really, is what wasn't said. Not once was there discussion of things near and dear to our hearts like, oh, the global rise in temperatures that may result in the destruction of human habitats and spur a series of environmental catastrophes. But hey, they both like coal!   

Baptist Press trumpets an effort by lawmakers in nine states to form "religious freedom caucuses," which of course means essentially the opposite of what it says. The piece quotes CFI chief Ron Lindsay:

Unfortunately, 'freedom of conscience' and 'religious liberty' are sometimes improperly invoked by those who seek to impose their religious views on others, directly or indirectly. Whether the American Religious Freedom Program will help strengthen the right to freedom of conscience or subvert this right largely depends on the understanding of religious liberty that will guide its activity.  

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The Morning Heresy 10/16/12: He Breaks Things

October 16, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Rebecca Watson one-ups Newsweek:

But last night, after seven hours of rest during which the human part of my brain (i.e., all of it) showed significantly slowed brainwave patterns, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in Narnia. 

CFI's Michael De Dora talks with Jamila Bey on Voice of Russia Radio about blasphemy and incitement laws around the world. 

NBC Nightly News does the first in a series of pieces on alternative medicine -- it's highly uncritical, and even says that insurance companies need to do some "catching up" to cover CAM treatments. 

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The Morning Heresy 10/15/12: Some of Us Were Blushing

October 15, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

As Election Day approaches, it's not the presidential race that has the exclusive attention of the Florida political class. It's "Amendment 8," a proposed change to the state constitution to allow taxpayer funds to flow to religious institutions -- and a reaction to a lawsuit brought by the Council for Secular Humanism concerning a proselytizing prison ministry.   

A piece by Robyn Blumner in the Tampa Bay Times quotes CFI legal guru Steven Fox on the implications of the amendment, and Blumner concludes that its passage would mean:

. . . proselytizing by the likes of the Lamb of God Ministries, the local mosque or Scientology center, and, heck, even the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster could become just another government-funded program, with all of us compelled to foot the bill. 

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The Morning Heresy 10/12/12: Release the Biden!

October 12, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

I enjoyed the hell out of last night's debate, my friend. And yes, there was even fodder for the Heresy, as Joe articulated the whole point of secularism in a religiously pluralistic society:

My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. . . With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. 

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The Morning Heresy 10/11/12: Ladybugs’ Picnic Day

October 11, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

I declare today Ladybugs' Picnic Day. Why? Sing it with me!

One-two-three, four-five-six, seven-eight-nine...(and today's date!) 10-11-12!!! Get it???

Sunshine State News chronicles the tit for tat over Florida's Amendment 8, which would allow state money to fund religious institutions, and is a reaction to the Council for Secular Humanism's lawsuit against the funding of proselytizing prison programs in the state. So obviously, we're against it

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The Morning Heresy 10/10/12: Unaffiliate This!

October 10, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Holy moly, did the media get excited about the rise of the so-called "nones" yesterday! Honestly, the new numbers from Pew showing that a fifth of Americans eschew religious affiliation surprised almost everyone. In a press release yesterday, our boss Ron Lindsay talked about how this bodes well for policy and culture in the long run as religion loses ever more of its influence.

CNN's The Situation Room checked in with Ron to talk about the political implications of this new data. 

ABC News picks up our release, and includes some political implications, including the possible election to the US Congress of Arizona nontheist Krysten Sinema.

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