Don’t Tell Chopra

June 08, 2015

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

This is, sadly, not a surprise: Raif Badawi's sentencing is upheld after a "review" by a Saudi court.

The New York Times calls for the military to let transgender troops to serve openly

In Skeptical Inquirer, Charles S. Reichardt and Ian A. Saari look at why evolution is rejected by highly-educated believers.

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Don’t Let the Pigeon Breed in the Caliphate

June 05, 2015

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

Melissa Binder at The Oregonian covers the CFI-backed Secular Celebrant bill in the state that recently passed the Oregon House. 

Okay, granted, the fact of ISIS is scary and dangerous, and it's a very, very serious subject. But ZOMG:

Senior clerics fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have issued an instruction banning pigeon-breeding claiming that “the sight of the birds' genitals as they fly overhead is offensive to Islam.”

I...I just can't even.  

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A Metric Thrill-Stravaganza

June 04, 2015

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

We were delighted that Reps. Joe Pitts and Sheila Jackson Lee had introduced a House resolution advocating for the repeal of blasphemy laws around the world. Blasphemy laws and the persecution of nonbelievers and religious minorities will of course be the subject of congressional briefings we're hosting and taking part in next week.

And lo, the heavens did crack open and behold there was lightning and thunder and the maidens did swoon and the menfolk did weep and the children sang songs of a world transformed, for on that day did Lincoln Chafee announce his candidacy for president. Okay I poke fun at the thrill-stravaganza that is Lincoln Chafee (he's for the metric system, guys!), but he is good on our issues.

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No Plausible Biological Mechanism

June 03, 2015

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

Free Inquiry has a special new piece by Ryan Shaffer on the perilous situation in Bangladesh for secularists:

The Bangladeshi government caters to the majority in a republic that has extremist groups and Islamist parties as it also must protect the rights of a minority that do not believe in the nation’s official faith. At the same time, the country suffers from poverty, a lack of infrastructure, and a literacy rate that lags behind more developed countries. This makes the task of Bengali rationalists and humanists more difficult as they challenge superstition where many people do not have access to education and religion is legally protected. 

Our efforts for Taslima Nasrin and other secular activists is covered in the Washington Post and by the BBC. You can donate to our emergency fund here.

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Avoid Communal Exercises

June 02, 2015

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

CFI has helped bring Taslima Nasrin to safety in the U.S., and there is a lot of interest in this from Indian outlets such as The Times of India, as well as places like Huffington Post, and the International Business Times. Obviously, her colleagues at Freethought Blogs are writing about it and encouraging folks to donate to the Freethought Emergency Fund. Here's Hemant Mehta's take:

As much as I love CFI for doing this, it shouldn’t be their responsibility to offer protection for these writers. The local governments overseas, and even our own, should be doing more to protect people whose are targets of religious extremists. It’s their inaction forcing CFI to throw so many resources at this problem. I’m thrilled CFI is doing it; I just wish they didn’t have to. 

Tom Flynn takes issue with the NYT "theology of atheism" piece, noting that it misrepresents the real distinctions in secular thought...

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Snicker-Proof

June 01, 2015

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

CFI is establishing an emergency fund to assist freethought writers and activists under threat in countries such as Bangladesh. Facing death threats from the same monsters who killed other allies, Taslima Nasrin arrived in the U.S. last week under CFI's assistance, and we are taking donations now to help her get safely settled. 

Mondays are weird. Don't even attempt Monday until you're up to speed on the previous fortnight with Cause & Effect

Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier takes a broad look at four decades of skeptic activism, and likes where things are going. 

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Like the Reds Do

May 29, 2015

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

CFI will be holding Capitol Hill briefings on International Religious Freedom in June, along with allies in the movement, and you can urge your senators and representatives to attend.  

Bikers. Guns. Drawing Muhammad. Outside a mosque. In Arizona. I'm going to stay home, thanks. 

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We All Just Fall to the Ground Naturally

May 28, 2015

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

The Canadian government is keeping a lid on an assessment it did as to whether its arms deal with Saudi Arabia is discordant with its human rights aims. (Let's get these people playing Saudi Girls Revolution.)

Consensus seems to be that Scott Walker has a genuine shot at this whole president thing. Jud Lounsbury reminds us:

If Walker prevails in the Republican primaries, he will be the first presidential candidate to come from a church whose members believe the Apocalypse is "imminent," do not allow women to serve on congregational boards of elders, practice "speaking in tongues," and do not believe someone is a real Christian unless he has been "born again." 

Uh oh. 

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The Second-Least of These

May 27, 2015

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

Point of Inquiry has The New Yorker's Michael Specter, talking about the whole gluten-free thing and why it's silly. Specter is going to be at the Reason for Change conference next month!

Our boss Ron Lindsay insists that his analysis of the death penalty doesn't make him deficient in empathy, and he cuddles a kitten to prove it.

Syed Tashfin Chowdhury at VICE covers the plight of freethinkers in Bangladesh, coping with threats from radicals and the murders of friends and colleagues. 

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Backwards Religions and Flyover States

May 26, 2015

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

Ireland votes in favor of marriage equality with 62.1%, becoming the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. 

Daniel Loxton looks to the example of Carl Sagan, who helped found what is now CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and emphasized kindness in our quest for truth.

Ben Radford is the guest on the Big Picture Science radio show, talking about (not) visiting the afterlife

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