Desecrate This!

July 23, 2014

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

Gulf Center for Human Rights reports that Waleed Abu Al-Khair, the Saudi human rights activist and attorney convicted of criticizing the state, is being subjected to "poor conditions" and "ill treatment" without access to medical care in prison, and his wife has been forbidden from seeing him. Al-Khair's is one of the cases, along with Raif Badawi's, raised by CFI at the UN Human Rights Council, which sent Saudi Arabia into a shouting fury. Global Voices highlights more of Saudi Arabia's abuses.

We welcomed our new outreach staffer Stef McGraw in a previous edition of Cause & Effect, but we wanted to do it a little more formally, so here's a more complete introduction to our awesome new organizer.  

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Jesus Did Not Become the God-Klingon

July 22, 2014

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

Yesterday the president signed an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT folks, and happily did not add a religious exemption, and we expressed our appreciation:

Too often religious beliefs are used as an excuse to avoid obeying laws that apply to everyone else, as the regrettable Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case illustrates. ... [This] is a welcome step in the right direction, toward a secular government in which religion can’t be used as a shield for prejudice and unequal treatment.

Our reaction's been noted by the Washington Times and the Christian Post.

RNS's David Gibson calls Obama's decision to allow religious contractors to use religious beliefs as a hiring criteria (which we're not happy about) a "split-the-baby" solution. And usually, atheists love those kinds of solutions.

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These People Always Find God in the Sunsets

July 21, 2014

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

Today the president is expected to sign an executive order that forbids discrimination against LGBT folks without the religious exemption we dreaded. This is good news indeed, and Michael De Dora fills us in

Christian Post reports on CFI's efforts to get a Secular Celebrant bill passed in Ohio

CFI's Tom Flynn and Julia Lavarnway have put together a new book on Robert IngersollReligions Are For a DayTim Binga gives a preview, and you can order it here

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COBRA’s Religious Exemption

July 18, 2014

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

CFI sent out an email yesterday on how our Indiana win for Secular Celebrants is a great example of the progress we're making, and now much more there is to do.  

Hemant opines on the Secular Celebrant bill CFI-Northeast Ohio is championing:

This is a no-brainer. There’s just no good reason to oppose the bill. Which means someone will inevitably do so, claiming that allowing atheists to officiate a wedding would somehow ruin the experience for other people or deprive ministers of some holy power. 

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Awful! Not Even Close!

July 17, 2014

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay reflects on the lessons of CFI's major victory this week in the 7th Court of Appeals for Secular Celebrants in Indiana:

We need to be open and candid about our beliefs. The more of us who openly and unashamedly declare ourselves nonreligious, the more quickly social acceptance will come. Indiana has learned it can’t shame or intimidate atheists into hypocrisy. The rest of the U.S. can learn the same lesson. 

And CFI's push for equal treatment for nonbelievers continues, as today we announced a new Ohio bill, the result of a partnership between CFI-Northeast Ohio and State Rep. Mike Foley, to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages in the state. 

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We Are Ends in Ourselves

July 16, 2014

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

Last night, Dan Courtney gave his historic atheist invocation before a meeting of the Town Board of Greece, NY. He did a great job, and CFI staff and supporters were there at the rally afterward showing support for a secular government. We put up video of Dan's invocation, here's audio of Ron and Dan at the rally, and we'll have video of the rally as well later today. Here's the Associated Press's report filed right after the invocation, and Hemant has a great overview of the whole shebang. The Democrat and Chronicle has a good report, too...

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Dancing Pepper Mill

July 15, 2014

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

Holy moly guys, things are crazy. Dig it: Yesterday morning, I finish that day's Morning Heresy, and I head to the gym. Now, how often do I go to the gym? Not very often I don't mind telling you thank you very much. But there I was, milling on the tread, when I get a call from an Indiana area code. It's Reba Boyd Wooden, the head of CFI-Indiana. You know what she tells me? That CFI has won its case to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages in Indiana! ...

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Found to Contain Toxins

July 14, 2014

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

Tomorrow, atheist Dan Courtney delivers his invocation before a meeting of the Town Board of Greece, NY, and CFI will be there to represent our movement. AL.com previews the event

Michael De Dora explains why CFI is suspending its support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):

We cannot and must not accept broad religious exemptions from prohibitions of discrimination in federal law simply to receive a sliver of equality. Indeed, such broad religious exemptions are a direct threat to true equality and a secular, constitutional government....As the debate on ENDA continues, the Center for Inquiry will settle for nothing less than a strong federal law that protects from employment discrimination all LGBT individuals. 

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Inherit the What?

July 11, 2014

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

Don't forget: This Tuesday, CFI is in Greece, NY for the atheist invocation at the center of the Greece v. Galloway Supreme Court case. There's a press conference right after the invocation by Dan Courtney, and our own Ron Lindsay is speaking there. 

Ron finally angers the folks at right-wing outlet Breitbartwho call out his recent Huffington Post piece on the power of the Catholic justices in the Hobby Lobby decision "chilling." (And they apparently think Ron works at HuffPo, but what can you do, they're not known for their research prowess.)

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An Exorcism for Joe Biden

July 10, 2014

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

It's a full morning, so let's get started with an action alert: Tell your U.S. senators to fix part of what Hobby Lobby broke to guarantee access to birth control. (Then come right back here, okay?)

I was finally able to get ahold of Josephine Macintosh, the CFI representative who confronted Saudi Arabia at the UN Human Rights Council last month and drove them into a tizzy, and I have an interview with her up at Friendly Atheist. Josephine says:

I am deeply convinced that societies should allow for a plurality of voices and opinions to be voiced, whether people or a government agrees or disagrees with these. Badawi and al-Khair represent the minority that undertake the courageous step of speaking up and defending their fundamental rights despite dangerous consequences. We cannot have any kind of development without people like them doing what oppressive systems fear most: on-the-ground dissent. In a sense it is an expression of their dignity. It is important to keep their voices and actions heard within the hallowed halls of the UN. 

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