The Morning Heresy 9/26/12: Homegrown Blasphemy Laws

September 26, 2012

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

Did you catch the president's address to the UN yesterday? You should. In it, he came down hard on the side of free expression and against using hurt religious feelings as an excuse for violence. Here's the complete text. Lauren Markoe at RNS rounds up some of the bigger points.

A survey from a state-run pollster says that 80% of Russians want a new law that inflicts harsher penalties for blasphemy. Take this with a heavy grain of salt.

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The Morning Heresy 9/25/12: A Useful Gift to Dictators

September 25, 2012

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

International Blasphemy Rights Day is very close (this Sunday) and it could not come at a more relevant time. The B-word is perhaps the prime topic of global debate this very moment. 

President Obama is speaking to the UN as I type, and according to prepared text, he will address the violent protests in the Muslim world:

The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded. ... Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations. ... There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan. 

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The Morning Heresy 9/24/12: Rah-Rah for Jesus

September 24, 2012

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

Faith-healers in the UK duping people into thinking they've been "cured" of HIV. 

County judge says Texas high school cheerleaders can go ahead and rah-rah for Jesus.

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The Morning Heresy 9/21/12: Criminalize This

September 21, 2012

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

Another day of troubling developments concerning the perilous position in which free expression finds itself around the world.

The EU, OIC, Arab League, and African Union release a joint statement [PDF] condemning the "Innocence of Muslims" video and "religious hatred that constitutes incitement to hostility and violence," without calling for specific measures. The OIC on its own, however, is re-upping its calls for criminalization of blasphemy.

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The Morning Heresy 9/20/12: Placate the Barbarians

September 20, 2012

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

Lots of commentary and news today regarding blasphemy, freedom of speech, and the protests around the Muslim world. 

Sam Harris on the response of the U.S. government, and secular liberals generally, to the violence and rage over The Innocence of Muslims:

Either our government is unwilling to address the problem at hand, or the problem is so vast and terrifying that we have decided to placate the barbarians at the gate. . . . The freedom to think out loud on certain topics, without fear of being hounded into hiding or killed, has already been lost. And the only forces on earth that can recover it are strong, secular governments that will face down charges of blasphemy with scorn. No apologies necessary. 

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The Morning Heresy 9/19/12: Fret and Vex at Folly

September 19, 2012

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

To all you one-eyed, peg-legged, hook-handed, parrot-shouldered Pastafarians out there, happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

In response to several calls from international leaders for binding international anti-blasphemy laws, CFI released a statement warning against the folly of such a course.

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The Morning Heresy 9/18/12: Cupcake Rage

September 18, 2012

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

Rebecca Watson begins a petition on behalf of Alber Saber, the Egyptian atheist blogger arrested for running an atheist Facebook page, and recalls the drive for Alexander Aan:

A few months back, freethinkers campaigned to free Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan, resulting in a failed petition and a lot of soul-searching from secular organizations trying to figure out how to do better next time. If you read the comments on that last link, you’ll see a whole bunch of atheists who were very angry that someone was pointing out that the atheist community completely failed to help someone in great need. I’m hoping those folks have as much energy to devote to getting angry over the arrest of yet another young atheist 

Now go sign and share the damn thing

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The Morning Heresy 9/17/12: The Vast Chasm

September 17, 2012

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

 

Most of the news today, folks, is about the protests and mob violence ostensibly in reaction to hurt religious feelings. A lot of the commentary is rather surprising, and much of it disappointing. 

Reacting to the spreading violence and unrest across the Muslim world, UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay says the right thing, and then the wrong thing, decrying violence as a response to religious offense, and then reminding us that those giving offense could be in legal trouble.

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The Morning Heresy 9/14/12: Fatuous and Smug

September 14, 2012

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

Businessweek looks at the prospects for atheist merchandising, and how business around the movement is evolving beyond tchotchkes.  

I interview friend-of-the-Heresy Sharon Hill on the topic of her CSICon presentation, and she offers me (and all of us) some very useful advice about conversing with the less-than-skeptical...

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The Morning Heresy 9/13/12: More Pills Than There are Atoms in the Universe

September 13, 2012

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

Things remain ugly amid the violence, protests, confusion, and absurd statements surrounding the events in Egypt, Libya, and now Yemen (oh, and Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia).

Foreign Policy has the background on the infamous tweet that made everyone think (including me) that the US government was beginning its response to the attacks with a condemnation of free speech. (It wasn't - the tweet from the US embassy in Egypt was written before the attacks and was meant as a diplomatic "cool your jets" message of sensitivity.) 

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