In the Year of Our Trump

December 31, 2015

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

If ever there was a year that needed to be kicked out into the cold, dark night, it's 2015. Or, as future historians will one day refer to it, 1 BT (Before Trump). 

RNS's Lauren Markoe rounds up some of the notable figures in religion who died in 2015, and perhaps due to a friendly tip from a certain heretical link-blogger, the list includes Avijit Roy, "a champion of secularism." 

Bangladesh's president, Abdul Hamid, tells BBC that secularism is "one of the main pillars of Bangladesh." That's good he's saying that, but, you know, something about actions emitting a greater decibel level than words. Bangladesh has just sentenced to death two people who attacked and killed blogger Rajib Haider in 2013, though the groups that have claimed responsibility for the recent spate of secularist killings did not claim this murder as their own.

Adapted from her book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It…Every Time, Maria Konnikova at The New Yorker explores various ways in which personal stories are such powerful tools of deception

Back to Trump, it looks like his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants is screwing up jury selection in a New York terrorism case. And in North Dakota, Somali refugees blame the rhetoric of Trump for an attack on their restaurant. He's not backing down, of course, calling Muslim refugees "a Trojan horse," and dissing Angela Merkel. 

Psychic medium Jeffrey Wands tells Alan Colmes (you remember him, right? the guy Hannity yelled at?) that he feels premonitions about a Trump presidency

Justin Scott writes at Friendly Atheist about his efforts to make the nonreligious an important voice in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses

Wonkette cheers on the ACLU's efforts to stop Catholic hospitals from denying procedures such as tubal ligations to women, encouraging us to "say a little prayer to Satan or Cecile Richards." 

At The Verge, Adi Robertson and Russell Brandom discuss how the definition of "censorship" has become very cloudy and treacherous in the context of social media. 

Ed Stetzer makes a Christian case for protecting the religious freedom of minority and unpopular faiths:

The majority of Americans and Protestant pastors believe religious liberty is on the decline in our nation. We should recognize that we can prevent those erosions by standing for the religious freedom of others. As a Christian confident in my faith, I want freedom of religion because I believe the gospel will advance in a free and open market of religious ideas. I want all to hear the gospel, even those who think I should not share it. But as an evangelical, I believe all are made in the image of God and, as such, all must have the freedom to choose their faith, or to change their faith. 

BuzzFeed has a kind of odd short video of people saying "I'm an atheist, but..." and "I'm an atheist, and..." I guess it's nice? 

As the guilt you feel over how much you ate over the holidays begins to gnaw at your heart, Scott Gavura has a gentle reminder that "detoxes" and "cleanses" are mostly worthless:

Any product or service advertised with the words “detox” or “cleanse” in the name is only truly effective at cleansing your wallet – of cash. Alternative medicine’s ideas of detoxification and cleansing have no basis in reality. There’s no published evidence to suggest that detox treatments, kits or rituals have any effect on our body’s ability to eliminate waste products effectively. 

Keep calm and troll ISIS

Oh no, the aliens from the Avengers movie are going to attack CERN.

Get your Pluto stamps! (This just in, these stamps have been demoted from First Class postage to postcard stamps. Get it???)

Quote of the Day:

Hanna Hindstrom at Al Jazeera looks at the difficulties faced by atheists in Myanmar. Even though they must meet in secret, they have so much in common with us. For example, "Theo" says of his small group:
 
We argue a lot. 
 
It's like we already all know each other.
 
Stay safe tonight, everybody. 
 
* * *

Original image by Shutterstock

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net! 

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.  

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

Comments:

#1 Richard (Guest) on Thursday December 31, 2015 at 4:04pm

Trump accuses Bill and Hillary Clinton of sexism and bullying. But it’s not that Trump has bullied; Trump bullies, Trump is a bully. I really think Trump should be evaluated by a psychiatrist. I think he’s got some kind of personality disorder. But I’d better quit before I start using crude language.

#2 Cornell (Guest) on Thursday December 31, 2015 at 8:12pm

Nothing on Bill Cosby?

Is that against secular rules or something?

#3 Randy on Friday January 01, 2016 at 9:57am

“the definition of ‘censorship’ has become very cloudy”

No it hasn’t.  We’ve just discovered that, given the power, everyone has something they want to censor.

We knew that already.  It’s still wrong, and should be stopped.  One way to start that is to begin treating social media like the utilities they are, and guarantee equal access to everyone.

#4 Randy on Friday January 01, 2016 at 10:00am

“religious liberty is on the decline in our nation. ... I believe the gospel will advance in a free and open market of religious ideas”

Ah, the old bait-and-switch.  Christians aren’t asking for freedom of speech.  They are doubly protected, under the First Amendment for that. 

Rather, Christians seek exemptions from generally applicable laws, and federal and state RFRAs grant them such exemption.  We need to push back against these carve-outs and exceptions.  If there’s a law, we should all be subject to it.

#5 Randy on Friday January 01, 2016 at 10:12am

“Somali refugees blame the rhetoric of Trump for an attack on their restaurant.”

It’s worth pointing out that an arson against a mosque on Christmas Day in Houston, reported as Islamophobic, was actually done by a devout Muslim, for unknown reasons.

Trump is absolutely responsible for nourishing a reckless and dangerous hostility among his followers.  But that isn’t the only thing that’s going on.

#6 cornell (Guest) on Sunday January 03, 2016 at 7:20am

Randy every Democrat who tries to get illegals in the nation illegally is looking for exceptions to the laws, so if they can do it then Christians can do it too.

Oh and don’t even get me started on gun control.

The Constitution is just there a tool to be cherry picked and every political party does it.

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.