The Magnitude of Suffering that Exists in the World

December 2, 2016

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

At the Arizona Daily Star, Gil Shapiro pens an op-ed on the threats to secularism posed by a Trump administration, and brings us in:

Eddie Tabash, a constitutional lawyer and Chair of the Center for Inquiry, our nation’s leading secular think tank stated, “We are concerned that Christianity will be used as an excuse if not a weapon to limit and deny many Americans their Constitutional rights.” 

See that? "Our nations leading secular think tank." That's right.  

Christopher Cameron at Aeon contrasts secular black Americans of the mid-20th century with those of more recent years, noting that CFI's African Americans for Humanism was the first "explicitly secular organisation for blacks": 

This early secular community differs from the new black atheists of today in their acceptance of Christianity and their lack of evangelical zeal to promote atheism. Black freethinkers such as Hurston and Hughes did not wish to disabuse black Christians of their religious ideals. They simply felt that religion was not for them.  

Susan Gerbic does her full writeup of her experience at CSICon Las Vegas, and despite the brainy topics discussed, really felt the human connection:

I love the speakers: at conferences like CSICon, you can spend time with them, take a selfie with them, share meals, ask questions, and get advice. Sitting in for the lectures is always great, a large room full of people all nodding their heads together, laughing at the same joke, and getting that awesome feeling in your gut that you are here, listening. Lawrence Krauss had to cut his talk short because he had a plane to catch, but knowing that just made him being there even more special. He was like that famous relative who drops in on the family dinner because he really wants to be there; he does not have time to be there, but he wanted to drop off presents, talk to the kids and see how they are doing in school, grab a piece of pumpkin pie, and though he would rather stay with us, he had obligations to be somewhere else. It was like that. I remember feeling pride knowing that he is one of us, he gets us, and we get him. 

The Trump administration will mean a lot of bad things for American women, but it will probably also mean very bad things for women around the world as well, and we are likely to see the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, "a Reagan-era policy prohibiting groups receiving U.S. aid from providing abortions, or even counseling patients about the procedure." 

American Federation of Teachers head Randi Weingarten rips Trump's pick for the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos.

At NYT, Emory professor George Yancy writes that on top of the burden of having a "racialized scarlet letter" as a black man in America, he is now also on a right-wing "Professor's Watchlist":

But now I feel the multiple markings; I am now “un-American” because of my ideas, my desires and passion to undo injustice where I see it, my engagement in a form of pedagogy that can cause my students to become angry or resistant in their newfound awareness of the magnitude of suffering that exists in the world. Yet I reject this marking. I refuse to be philosophically and pedagogically adjusted. 

To push back against a solidly-Trumpian federal government, we're going to need civil society (do-gooder nonprofits like us) to be stronger than ever. People seem to get that, and donations over the holiday to these orgs were getting "a flood of donations." Ahem. Hint hint. Nudge nudge. AHEM

The next Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, belongs to a wackadoodle "medical" organization that promotes anti-vax (and other) conspiracy theories. Great. 

My friend Kavin Senapathy reports that Dr. Oz is attacking olive oil. No, not Olive Oil (apparently Dr. Phil is doing that). He's claiming that the extra-virgin olive oil consumers are buying is often fake, with no evidence of course.

Patheos, where I don't blog much anymore, but which hosts loads of atheist bloggers along with a huge array of blogs representing other faiths, has been sending marketing emails advertising a magical "Garden of Eden" cancer cure. The text in the email is identical to this

CFI President Ronald A. Lindsay tweets:

The Bible is the ultimate 'fake news' story. Legends and myths that have induced false hopes and caused abundant harm for millennia. 

In a new book, James A. Lindsay (relation???) says, "If you want to be happy, you must accept that you will die." UGH STOP I CAN'T. 

Here's one way to celebrate the airing of grievances

Love is an inside job

Quote of the Day:

Simply defending an honorable Deep Space Nine. 

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