The Religious Freedom Panic Squad

December 16, 2013

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

This is looking kind of murky, but it looks like Russia's supreme court found problems with the sentences given to members of Pussy Riot, and they might get an earlier release. Meanwhile, member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, transferred to Siberia, will remain in a prison hospital until her term is up. 

Well look at that. Jupiter's moon Europa looks like it might have water-spurting geysers. No mention of pirate twin activity.*

Martin S. Pribble takes to Slate to explain why he's climbing out of the atheist-theist online trenches. Hemant sees another way Martin might go. Ann Althouse, ever the class act, calls Martin a "jerk."

Brandon Brown looks at the problems atheists face in electoral politics, including the fogginess around one congresswoman's identification:

[T]here is only one member of Congress who has gone on record as nonreligious: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was the only one to answer "none" when a 2013 Pew Research poll asked members of Congress about their religion. Sinema's office declined requests for an interview for this article. "When she first got elected, everybody in our movement was very enthusiastic," said Bishop McNeill, coordinator for a new secular political action committee. "But unfortunately ... she has gotten some advice to stray away from that label."

A federal Judge rules that the big-ass cross on Mt. Soledad has to come down. As a result, Jesus weeps, <insert local sports franchise here> loses the big game, and Christmas is cancelled. 

Tim Farley reports on the drama surrounding Deepak Chopra and some fishy quantum-editing of Wikipedia

Mike Bloomberg has had it with anti-vaxxers:

Somebody someplace, I forget who it was, might have been an elected official, I forget, said ‘Oh, it causes autism’…It is just literally not true. I can tell what you what does kill kids is no flu shot.

Pitchstone Publishing is one of CFI's partners in the Freethought Books Project for skepto-atheist prisoners, and here's how you can help them

India takes a giant leap backward, re-criminalizing homosexuality

Shocker: Raw milk makes you sick

David Gorski says we can keep cell phones in our bras, no matter what Dr. Oz says. And why is Dr. Oz checking bras for cell phones? 

Finally, someone is standing up to those bureaucrats in Bahrain, and telling them to do their jobs and fight witchcraft

Ben Radford looks at the legacy of the late "unsolved mystery" author Colin Wilson as an example of "mystery mongers" with little interest in actual fact or verification. 

The entire universe might be a hologram, but if so, it's an excellent opportunity to learn to play a Ressikan flute

Carrie Poppy gets ready to have her DNA uploaded to a space computer as she goes further undercover into the Raelian UFO cult. 

Sarah Posner lends sanity to the new absurd claim that religion is in danger of becoming "illegal":

It serves the interests of the religious freedom panic squad to portray a danger of squelching their religious beliefs, and pretend the government is against them solely because of what they believe, not because of what they do. It almost makes you forget other people are involved. 

Tim Binga explains the name of his new CFI blog, "Access Points." 

Aw shucks. The Creation Museum is gonna let kids in free! Warping young minds has never been more affordable.

Sports Illustrated sits in on a needle-poking session as NFL quarterback running back Ben Tate goes in for acupuncture. And it sounds like it hurts.

War on Yoga

For now, as you may have noticed, I'm not covering whether Santa or Jesus was white, or how angry people are at atheist billboards. You'll find all the stuff about that you want without my help. And I just don't have it in me, guys. 

Quote of the Day

Hemant finds an old interview with George Carlin about his path to apostasy and blasphemy, who had this great insight into prayer:

I would pray for something I wanted, and I would pray if I was scared, because it was a reflex. It was something I had learned, and it made me feel better. I think what that is when we do that is, we’re praying to ourselves — to our better selves. Some call it a higher self. I think the universe is all of us, and when we externalize this thing and call it God, it’s really a way of projecting ourselves onto another identity — onto our better, higher selves that pretty much know everything they need to know, and everything that’s good. So I think praying is all about finding that part of yourself. They call it God. It’s easier to organize people politically, and get them to believe a lot of other things, if you have them believing in an invisible man. 

* * *    

*I estimate perhaps two or three of you might have gotten that. 

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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