Death for Free Speech is a Deal Breaker

December 11, 2012

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

Former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey, in an op-ed by Frank Bruni at NYT, declares himself an agnostic. Says Kerrey, “If you talk openly about your doubts,” he said, “you can get in trouble.”

Writes Bruni on the problem of religious entanglement in politics:

God’s initial absence from the Democratic Party platform last summer stirred more outrage among Americans than the slaughter in Syria will ever provoke. 

Wait. 31% identify as "nonreligious"? What?? 

Uh oh, back up all your data, because tomorrow is Y2K12.9479!!!! (I just made that up, but I used math.) 

"Gamers for Godlessness" charity event raises almost $1000 for Camp Quest and our own Women in Secularism conference! 

Valerie Tarico interviews Blake Page, atheist former West Point cadet. 

District court in North Carolina says having only pro-life license plates, and no pro-choice options, is unconstitutional.  

Exhibit by British artists in St. Petersburg under investigation for "blasphemy" and "hurting religious feelings." 

William Lane Craig: The AHA is wrong to promote naturalism to children because of the recent "renaissance of Christian philosophy." Huh? 

Celebrity underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard thinks he's got proof of Noah's flood.

Jon Stewart, in a Q&A with his pal Stephen Colbert, explains that he was unaware that Yusuf Islam, né Cat Stevens, was still in favor of killing Salman Rusdie over The Satanic Verses when he joined the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear:

We get into a whole conversation, and it becomes very clear to me that he is straddling two worlds in a very difficult way. And that he actually still – and it broke my heart a little bit. I wish I had known that. I wouldn’t have done [the bit], I don’t think. If I had known that, I wouldn’t have done it. Because that to me is a deal breaker. Death for free speech is a deal breaker.

Okay, so we now know what Jon Stewart's deal breaker is. 

Jakarta Globe focuses on Indonesia's persecution of atheists, and Alexander Aan in particular, in covering the IHEU report about this global phenomenon.

Hemant talks about young atheists at Skepticon 5 in this video. 

Dawkins' push to have Gov. Nikki Haley pick Herb Silverman to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate is actually getting press coverage. The real questions to my mind are: 1) If selected, would he serve, and 2) If he serves, will he wear a suit? Ever? (That's not fair. I did see Herb wear a suit once, when the SCA gathered all us atheists for a meeting with White House officials back in 2010.) 

Apparently, belief in "cryptids" is fairly common within the Navajo nation.

Rajiv Narayan at PolicyMic presents "A Brief History of Vaccine Skeptics from 1800 to Today." 

Bigfoot hunter Jerry Hein: "I stood 20 feet from an 8-footer."  

As I predicted yesterday, Medvedev's joke about having inside info about UFOs turns into a swirl of conspiracy theories

PRI's The World on the struggle of atheists in India

Holy crap a giant squid!!! 

(Flashback to 2005 and one of my favorite Slate articles ever: "Giant Squid: Don't Mess with Them.") 

Quote of the Day

Charles Richter on the dismissal of CFI's lawsuit for marriage solemnization in Indiana:

By limiting authority to state actors and clergy, the state forces an irreligious couple to make a choice: conform to the hegemonic idea of marriage as a sacred institution; or implicitly acknowledge that their union is a matter of bureaucratic paperwork.  Either way, the experience of the irreligious is trivialized. 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta

Comments:

#1 hardindr on Tuesday December 11, 2012 at 8:00am

People can review the Yusuf Islam/Salman Rushdie controversy here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens’_comments_about_Salman_Rushdie

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