Beyond the Obvious Physical Realm

November 7, 2014

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

Looks like we're going to have that big Supreme Court fight over same-sex marriage after all, as the 6th Circuit upholds same-sex marriage bans in four states. 

CFI boss Ron Lindsay considers the implications of the midterm elections, less the new GOP Senate majority, but more the Republicans' expanded majority in the House, which will likely carry over into the next administration. 

An overlooked positive from Election Day: 77% of the voters of Dallas elected to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” to the city's nondiscrimination laws. 

Unfortunately, NYC voters passed an initiative that will give $125 million to private and, yes, religious schools

So what do these municipalities that want "In God We Trust" emblazoned on public buildings have in common? Hank Sims looks at the data and concludes:

An answer is available to us. The kind of county that adopts this resolution is poor, uneducated and overwhelmingly white. 

The Institute of Art and Ideas posts video of a debate on whether religion is dangerous with Julian Baggini, Richard Harries, Nicholas Humphrey, and Rupert Sheldrake.

Tobin Grant sums up some of Pew's data on the political positions of different religious groups. What about us?

[Nones] want government out of the bedroom, but they’re split on the role of government on economic issues. On balance they tend to be more in the “The Left” than in the libertarian camp.

The entire incoming GOP in Congress, House and Senate, is Christian, except for one member: New York's Representative-elect Lee Zeldin, who is Jewish.

Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who likes blasphemy lawsasks Pakistan to ease up on its blasphemy law death sentence of Asia Bibi. 

Whenever I see the dateline "Lahore" in an article, I know I need to steel myself. And here we go: A police officer hacks a man to death with an axe for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. 

A court in Malaysia strikes down a ban on cross-dressing

A California court rejects "free exercise" arguments against the state's gay-conversion therapy ban. 

Kimberly Winston reports on a fascinating art exhibit that plays with the gender characteristics of Catholic saints. I'm sure the Catholic Church won't mind. 

Joe Nickell studies a film of the alleged Honey Island Swamp Monster, and concludes, "The creature appears not to be Bigfoot but rather Bigsuit." 

An Oklahoma man dies from chiropractic neck manipulation. Angry yet? 

Apparently South Africa has members of its police forces trained in spiritual combat. News24 reports:

These included activities, spiritual practises, or rituals "which draw on forces hidden from normal human senses, beyond the obvious physical realm" and which led to criminal activities that broke the country's laws. 

The perception of "ghosts" seems to be caused by the mind losing track of the body's location because of illness or stress, says new research. Which was probably conducted by GHOSTS. 

Titan: One hell of a moon

Quote of the Day

Michael Cluff of the South Jersey Humanists guest-posts at the CFI blog on his experience as an inmate's pen pal with the Freethought Books Project:

Despite what might seem to be a wide gulf between me and my pen pal, our common humanity—and our shared lack of faith—was plenty enough for us to relate to one another. To me, one of the most important paths for Humanists is to reach beyond our own experience and to develop a richer sense of compassion. 

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Comments:

#1 jeremyatc on Friday November 07, 2014 at 10:52am

A line from the “police officer hacks a man to death”:

“Blasphemy is a serious offence in conservative Muslim Pakistan”

Understate much? Drunk driving is a serious offense. Armed robbery is a serious offense. Murdering a man by hacking him to death is a serious offense. Blasphemy is a minor inconvenience to the person who has to hear unpleasant things said about their god. I get the point of the author, but when can we expect news organizations to stop with the bullshit and start calling fucking crazy laws for what they are: fucking crazy.

#2 Tim P. Farley on Friday November 07, 2014 at 1:09pm

Just as a clarification, that death in Oklahoma due to chiropractic manipulation actually occurred in June 2011 - the story is a follow-up investigation and does not make that clear.

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