Like a Diamond in the Sky

January 20, 2015

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

The decibel level of the demands for Saudi Arabia to cease its punishment of Raif Badawi is getting much louder (and to think we were struggling to get anyone to care just a few weeks ago). 18 Nobel laureates appeal to their peers in Saudi Arabia to speak out, and eight U.S. Senators wrote to King Abdullah. At the end of last week, Raif's punishment was postponed, and his case was put up "for review" by the Saudi Supreme Court. I told Iain Thomson at The Register:

It's hard to believe that they would have referred the case for any reason other than responding to the sudden international pressure over the case. ... The attention is there, that's great, but pressure needs to be more forceful. 

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Scholars the World Over, Abandon Your Studies!

January 16, 2015

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

It's Religious Freedom Day.

The second round of floggings for Raif Badawi were to take place today, but due to his medical condition, it is reported that the next lashings have been postponed so he can heal from the first lashings. Ali Rizvi goes on CNN to lend his personal perspective to the story. 

This footage of press speaking to a State Department representative about this is not encouraging, as she asserts, "We're not in the business of demanding things." But she does support your right to make a snowman, so there's that.

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And I’ll Form the Head

January 15, 2015

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

Like a skepto-humanist Voltron, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism have officially merged with CFI to form one, unified Center for Inquiry. No longer three corporations, Devastator-like we have assembled into a single gestalt beast, one single organization. And I'll form the head. (No I won't.)

Right-wing media "watchdog" group NewsBusters unloads its clumsy snark on us for our statement to the media asking that climate change deniers not be referred to as skeptics...

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Nobody Photoshops Angela

January 14, 2015

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

Several outlets are publishing Charlie Hebdo's latest cover image, including us ('cause that's how we roll) and the Washington Post. The New York Times didn't, but their public editor says they should have:

The new cover image of Charlie Hebdo is an important part of a story that has gripped the world’s attention over the past week. The cartoon itself, while it may disturb the sensibilities of a small percentage of Times readers, is neither shocking nor gratuitously offensive. And it has, undoubtedly, significant news value. 

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Cretinous Representative

January 13, 2015

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

It's Raif Badawi's birthday. I can't imagine this is how he'd like to spend it. To remind him, and the world, that he's not forgotten, we're sending this image around the inter-social-twit-book-net.

Charlie Hebdo shows off the cover of its next issue, which will have a print run of about 3 million, and yes, it's got the prophet.

On Point of Inquiry this week, Josh Zepps talks to Jytte Klausen, the woman who literally wrote the book on the infamous "Danish cartoons," but who wasn't allowed to actually show the cartoons in her book. (This is also the episode where Josh coins the term "OPEC of Freedom.")

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The Radical Unity of Narratives

January 12, 2015

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

As I talked about in the Heresy last week, Saudi Arabia carried out the first 50 of its 1000 lashes on Raif Badawi on Friday. Condemnations came from such voices as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the European Union, the Washington Post, and countless others. Our own Michael De Dora discovered this footage which seems to be of the event itself, from someone obviously trying to hide the fact that they were recording it.

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He Did Not Flinch

January 09, 2015

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

As I type, the alleged perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo attack have taken hostages in Paris.

CFI's Michael De Dora was on Ed Schultz's show on MSNBC last night discussing the free expression implications of the attack. Our boss Ron Lindsay gave a long interview on the same subject to Evan Dawson on WXXI's Connections radio show, as well as appearing on WBFO radio.

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Insult the Hell Out of Me

January 08, 2015

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

US News spoke to Ron Lindsay about the attack on Charlie Hebdo yesterday, as did the Kingkade and Breakenridge radio show, which you can find here, picking January 7 and 10am from the menu. The Los Angeles News Group's syndicated editorial mentions Free Inquiry's willingness to run the "Danish cartoons." Our response was also covered in Variety, of all places.

The magazine itself, Charlie Hebdowill publish next week. “We are all suffering, with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway because stupidity will not win.” 

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I Am Charlie

January 07, 2015

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

French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo is attacked by gun-wielding terrorists, allegedly offended by cartoons mocking ISIS, and 12 are reported dead. CFI stands is absolute solidarity with the people of Charlie HebdoHere is our official statement, which reads in part:

As publishers of Free Inquiry, the first (and for some time, the only) U.S. publication willing to publish the cartoons of Muhammad that sparked riots in 2005 after they appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, we stand in resolute solidarity with the people of Charlie Hebdo, and all those writers, thinkers, and satirists who know that no idea or individual ought to be immune from criticism, and have the courage to point out the flaws and fallacies of even the most deeply-held beliefs.

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A Syringe Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

January 06, 2015

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

You know, I thought a lot of 2015 would be dull until the presidential primary clown show got started, but I feel like today I've been given a little gift: Louie Gohmert is running for Speaker of the House. Sam Brodey at Mother Jones rounds up some of the crazy things he believes, including the equation of gays and Nazis, that Sandy Hook might have been a hoax, and the best: "terror babies." 

Pregnant in the U.S.? Side effects may include vomiting, loss of autonomy, and incarceration. (Hat tip to Nora for that one.) On Point of InquiryLindsay Beyerstein interviews activist Lynn Paltrow on the fight for reproductive justice.  

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