ACLU v. Legion of Doom

December 3, 2013

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

This strikes me as a big deal: The ACLU is suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (or, as I call it here at the Heresy, "The Legion of Doom") over its directives to Catholic hospitals to deny all abortion services, calling it medical negligence. Pass the popcorn.

Reason Rally musical headliners, veteran band Bad Religion, has a new, totally Jesus-y, honest to goodness Christmas album. Sold. 

Josh Zepps talks to Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, the first Hindu Chaplain for Columbia University and New York University, on the latest Point of Inquiry

Now online is the cover story from July's Skeptical Inquirer on that giant hunk of space rock that slammed into Chelyabinsk this year. 

RNS profiles Francis Spufford, whose new book Unapologetic claims that Christianity makes "surprising emotional sense," as though that had anything to do with the price of eggs, or tea in China, or whatever commodity you're concerned about. (Whoa, I just took that idiom too far.)

Drew Miller praises atheist holiday messaging, and likes CFI's approach:

By embracing the seasonal spirit, the CFI is using the holiday season conceptualize holidays in a new light. Instead of ignoring Christmas or slandering it because of its superstitious origins, they're using it as an opportunity to connect atheists with other nonbelievers. 

Hoosiers: Our Office of Public Policy wants you to help stop an amendment to the Indiana constitution against marriage equality. 

Anti-slavery activist Biram Abeid of Mauritania wins the 2013 UN Human Rights award

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is sad about the trivialization of the cross:

Are we now living with a symbol emptied of power by time and fashion? Christianity with a powerless cross is Christianity without a throne for Christ or an aspiration for Christians. 

(The cross is supposed to be Jesus's throne?? Ouch.)  

Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee: Fine, it's a damn Christmas tree

Andrew Sullivan ponders Pope Francis's example as a contrast to the conservative idolatry of capitalism:

An American right that worships at the altar of both free markets and material wealth, and that takes these two idols as their primary goods, is not just non-Catholic. It is anathema to Catholicism and to the Gospels. 

Two Germans walk into a Great Pyramid. STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE. Anyway, the two of them scrape away some writing on the wall of the pyramid in order to prove the conspiracy theory that the pyramids are over 20,000 years old and from an entirely different civilization. That's the whole joke. Ba-dum-bump. 

Hemant rounds up the best atheist tomes of 2013.  

On one of his "religabouts," Joe Nickell visits a "Village Church" in Buffalo. 

Can you inherit trauma genetically? That's crazy. Right? 

Quote of the Day

ACLU's Louise Melling on their suit against the Legion of Doom:

The bishops aren't doctors, and yet they issue rules that tie doctors' hands, preventing them from giving their patients full information about their health care options and, in some cases, preventing them from providing medically appropriate care. That's not right, and it's time to end it. 

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