I Really Don’t Give a Toss

January 21, 2014

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

It's the first day back after a long weekend, so it's a long Heresy, folks. Get comfy. 

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion calls for the repeal of blasphemy laws:

At the national level, blasphemy laws are counter-productive, since they may result in de facto censure of all inter-religious or belief and intra-religious or belief dialogue, debate and criticism, most of which could be constructive, healthy and needed. In addition, many blasphemy laws afford different levels of protection to different religions and have often proved to be applied in a discriminatory manner. 

We're already getting excited about Women in Secularism III, with some fantastic return speakers, and a bunch of excellent first-timers as well. Among the newcomers to WiS is Barbara Ehrenreich, who has a new piece in The Atlantic about how expensive it is to be poor

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Gott Mit Uns

January 17, 2014

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

Are people still trying to find the geographical Eden? As philosopher Belinda Carlisle once said, "Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth." 

Public schools in Florida (of course) allow the distribution of Bibles by Christian groups on Religious Freedom Day. Meanwhile, a Florida city council chamber has got a Bible on display, which FFRF has a problem with.

As with any conflict, during the Great War, everyone had the same contention for their side of the fight: “Gott mit uns.” 

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These Are All Lies

January 16, 2014

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

President Obama name-checks "atheists and agnostics" and those of "no faith" in yesterday's declaration for Religious Freedom Day. 

Wow, some folks are really not comfortable with the idea of people in prison being exposed to atheism. After the Christian Post's coverage a couple of days ago of the Freethought Books Project, we saw increasingly angsty articles from Glenn Beck's The Blaze and then The Washington Timeswhose headline declares that CFI "aims to turn inmates against God." JT Eberhard facepalms

Of course, when Christians distribute their books to inmates it’s an act of compassion, a heroic display of god’s good will. When atheists do it?  Well, then we’re “targeting inmates.” 

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“NSA” Stands for “Nazi Space Aliens”

January 15, 2014

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

U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern strikes down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, calling it "arbitrary" and "irrational," though his ruling is "on hold" for now, so don't plan your wedding there just yet. 

Daniel Burke at CNN gathers thoughts from various secular movement thinkers and leaders about the Ryan Bell atheist-for-a-year experiment, and accidentally includes me. I posit hopefully:

[Bell] might help us to understand what powers we sacrifice when we spend less of ourselves on entreaties to an unknowable being, and direct those energies toward dealing with the real world, as it is, right now. 

The Christian Post takes an interest in our Freethought Books Project for prisoners, and of course has to compare us to Nixon administration convict Chuck Colson and his prison ministry. [Update: And Glenn Beck's The Blaze is also concerned about what we're up to, "targeting inmates."]

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On Pins and Needles

January 14, 2014

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

A citizen of Afghanistan is granted asylum in the UK because his atheism would mean his persecution or death back home, making this perhaps the first time this kind of religiously-based asylum has been granted for an atheist. Said Sheona York of the University of Kent Law School, "The decision represents an important recognition that a lack of religious belief is in itself a thoughtful and seriously-held philosophical position." 

CFI's Sarah Kaiser gives a really encouraging update to the Freethought Books Project, where secular and skeptic books are donated to prisoners. Hemant encourages your participation.

The latest Free Inquiry issue is on newsstands now, and it features a collection of stories from readers as they made their journeys from faith to atheism. It's really great stuff, guys

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Sources Close to Hell

January 13, 2014

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

The NPR media criticism show On the Media (my favorite!) does an episode chock full of skeptical goodness. It's got fake science being reported as fact, journalists being duped by political ringers, creationism's stealth campaign, and even telemarketing cyborgs.

If I were a kid again, and not averse to nature, sunlight, and other people, I'd be begging my parents to send me to Camp InquirySave the date: August 3-9!

CFI gets a very cool new addition to its Board of Directors: global development expert Hector F. Sierra. From our announcement...

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A Transgression Against the Nation Itself

January 10, 2014

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

New Jersey's state senate votes in favor of secular wedding celebrants, 32-5. The bill now goes back to the assembly, which voted in favor of an earlier version two years ago. 

Meanwhile in the Garden State, Mark Silk says Chris Christie's "bridgegate" is an offense against New Jersey's "civil religion":

[T]he George Washington Bridge is not just an important commutation artery for the residents of Fort Lee. It symbolizes the establishment of the nation, its noble span representing the spiritual journey from bitter defeat to joyous victory. Denying access to it for partisan political purposes is no less than a transgression against the nation itself. 

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Literally, or Perhaps Figuratively

January 09, 2014

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

A solar flare is coming right at us! CFI's Barry Karr worries, "In my mind this is how the Zombie Apocalypse starts." One thing that actually might happen: The Northern Lights may become visible over a wider area as a result. (And here's a nice song about solar flares.)

Utah's governor says the same-sex marriages that have been thus far performed in his state no longer count

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates discovers he is an atheist after realizing there is no moral arc of the universe that bends toward justice, or anything else for that matter. 

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The Inexorable Infinity of Death

January 08, 2014

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

Zora Neale Hurston, featured in our African Americans for Humanism campaign, got a Google Doodle yesterday

Sarah Pulliam Bailey looks at NYC's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, "perhaps the nation’s most visible 'none'." 

Extremely murky "strengths and weaknesses of science" education bill introduced in Virginia.

Kick back and read a paper from the Annals of Internal Medicine. Or just dig the line-in-the-sand title: "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements"

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Sit on the Lap of Satan

January 07, 2014

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

Since we all know abstinence-only sex ed doesn't work, let's stop funding it. Join this CFI action alert to support new legislation. 

Chris Emdin and Josh Zepps talk about shaking up education and making science accessible for students on the latest Point of Inquiry.

Hundreds of Bibles are seized in Malaysia for using the word "Allah" to refer to God. Or Yaweh. Or LORD. Or whatever. 

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