Melrose Pope (Or, Pope Opera)

February 28, 2013

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

A lot of local activism in the news today:

We have the public outing of South Jersey atheist activist Michael Cluff who was going to avow his nonbelief before a prayerful town council meeting, but was thwarted. 

Relatedly, a court in Kentucky defies the protests of a local atheist and reinstates prayers

And Lindsey Brackin is the lone person at a public meeting over the infamous Kountze High School religious banners to speak up for church-state separation. 

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The Neurons in the Corpus Credulous

February 26, 2013

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

Robert Evans at Reuters reports that the Human Rights Council at the UN gets a report from IHEU (collaborating with CFI) on the persecution of atheists around the world, and the criminalization of blasphemy.

University of Michigan student Monica Harmsen writes at the On Campus blog about how important the Women in Secularism conferences are to her:

I returned to my student group with a renewed passion for the Movement. I was keenly aware that there was so much left to do in order to make this country and this world a better place for nonbelievers, especially nonbelieving women and minorities. I wanted to become the kind of student leader who would make proud the secular women who came before me. I wanted to become the kind of activist who would help create a better world for the secular women to come. 

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That’s Unfair to Snake Oil Salesmen

February 25, 2013

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

Yowza. Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland resigned today in the midst of allegations of sexual advances on priests.

Good stuff: Harriet Hall and Amy Davis Roth begin the healing

Bad stuff: Egyptian author of The Arabic Theology, Youssef Zeidan, may be charged with blasphemy for his book.

Christian pastor in Pakistan, Asghar Nizam Ranjha, is accused of blasphemy for allegedly defiling a Bible...

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Bleeding Grapefruits

February 22, 2013

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

International human rights experts present "a plan of action to prevent incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence" in regard to "national, racial and religious hatred." Yes, CFI will be looking very closely at this.

We know you love smart, science-and-secularism podcasts. You should tell the world by donning the new Point of Inquiry T-shirt. It might help if you make this face, as modeled by CFI's own Sarah Kaiser.

CFI yesterday trumpeted our inclusion in the Respect for Marriage coalition, dedicated to the repeal of DOMA and in support of marriage equality. 

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Armchair Apocalyptists and Newspaper Exegetes

February 21, 2013

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

Just posted yesterday (we're really excited about this): Point of Inquiry's big live show (on video no less!) for the AAAS conference with guest Steven Pinker. 

I missed this one a couple weeks ago, but it's good. Daniel Burke explores how notions of the "Antichrist" reflect a current era's anxieties, meaning that current fears among "armchair apocalyptists" and "newspaper exegetes" is of a Muslim Antichrist. (And not for nothin', I'm going to go ahead and recommend not doing a Google image search for "Antichrist.")

Sunday is the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers, and CFI branches are holding events, including NYC and DC.  

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Less and Less for God to Do

February 20, 2013

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

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper launches a "religious freedom" office, and CFI-Canada notices that secularist groups have not been invited. 

Self-described curmudgeon Jacques Berlinerblau, whose Secularism on the Edge conference gets underway today, expresses a rare hint of optimism for the movement:

I want to note, buzzkillingly, that 2012 was more a victory for secularism than a victory by secularism. But a victory nonetheless! Moreover, secularists can’t help but wonder if the pope’s recent resignation signals, at the very least, a set back for the global anti-secular platform. 

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Rewards for Failure

February 19, 2013

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

Spencer Ackerman at Wired: When asteroids come falling, we're essentially screwed

I want to know what, exactly, the Universe is, but I only have a minute. Oh look! A handy video

Well isn't that convenient: Reuters reports that by remaining in the Vatican after he retires, Ratzinger maintains immunity from any prosecution for his role in the abetting of generations of sexual abuse by clergy. 

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The Sham Institution That Employs You

February 18, 2013

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

President Obama begins a decade-long moon shot to bring on the Singularity. Not really, but he does intend to "build a comprehensive map" of the human brain, hoping to make big leaps in treatments for things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and advances in artificial intelligence. 

Something for seculars to think about regarding our numbers, our percentage among the population. Following new Gallup data that estimates gay, lesbians and transgender Americans at about 3.5 percent, Andrew Sullivan writes:

And why on earth does it matter if we make up 10 percent or 1 percent? A minority’s civil rights are not dependent on how many of them there are or how large a segment of society they form. Do we say: sorry, guys, you only form 2 percent, you don’t meet the minimal bar for becoming a minority? It’s not like running for the Knesset.  

CFI is now a proud member of the pro-marriage equality coalition Respect for Marriage.

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Seriously, Duck and Cover

February 15, 2013

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

So, um, holy crap!

A meteor crashing in Russia's Ural mountains has injured at least 500 people, as the shockwave blew out windows and rocked buildings. . . . A fireball was seen streaking through the clear morning sky above the city of Yekaterinburg, followed by loud bangs. 

And this isn't some thing where it all burned up in the sky. There's a freaking impact crater. I mean, look!

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Valentinosaurus

February 14, 2013

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

Along with our related conundrum over Christmas and Santa Claus (there is no such conundrum for Tom Flynn, of course), we skepto-atheists are now faced with a holiday named for a Catholic saint, and many of us are expected to take part in the surrounding mainly-secular rituals, which usually involve buying a lot of things that are red and pink. Like Christmas, the holiday now has little to do with its namesake or faith of origin. 

But I suppose there's nothing wrong with using the opportunity to remind the people you love how much you love them, and to do something nice for them. Of course, you can do that any time you want, and you should, but doing it today is just fine also. But do it because you want to, because you mean it, not because the Rite Aid is bedecked with cards and heart-shaped balloons. Thus ends my catechism. 

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