Glenn Beck and the Steampunk Bunker

January 23, 2014

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

Kimberly Winston at RNS covers CFI's Freethought Books Project. Here's my favorite bit:

“Christianity has a mandate to convert people, but freethought does not have any such mandate,” said Sarah Kaiser, one of the project’s two new coordinators. “We just want everyone to have the freedom to express doubts and ask questions, and that is what these books represent.”

CFI-Indiana's Reba Wooden catches some trickery in the statehouse over the bill banning same-sex marriage:

The dirty tricks that [Speaker] Bosma and his supporters will use are very disturbing. First, at the beginning of the session they sought to confuse the issue by renaming the amendment from HJR-6 to HJR-3. Then, realizing that the opposition testimony and efforts had swayed enough of the Judiciary committee to oppose it, he made a switch to a committee where he was sure to have to support for its passage. 

Meanwhile, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring will fight his own state's same-sex marriage ban

Former SSA communications director and my good friend Jesse Galef is now the National Community Coordinator for the Humanist Community at Harvard. Good hire, I'd say.  

There's a new anti-science bill in Missouri, and via the NCSE we learn:

[T]he bill would require "[a]ny school district or charter school which provides instruction relating to the theory of evolution by natural selection" to have "a policy on parental notification and a mechanism where a parent can choose to remove the student from any part of the district's or school's instruction on evolution."  

Glenn Beck, who may be losing it, compares Bill Nye to the persecutors of Galileo because something-something Common Core. I'm more interested in Beck's weird underground steampunk bunker. 

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces now have more leeway to don religious garb

Ceres, the dwarf planet of the asteroid belt, is spitting plumes of water

Scott Lane, the plaintiff in an ACLU-backed case, writes about the harassment his stepson faced in an overtly Christianized public school:

On a science test, their teacher had included a fill-in-the-blank question: "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" When my stepson didn't know the answer ("Lord"), she belittled him in front of the entire class. When he wrote in "Lord Buddha" on another exam, she marked it wrong. As she was returning that exam to students, one student proclaimed aloud that "people are stupid if they think God is not real." In response, my stepson's teacher agreed, telling the class, "Yes! That is right! I had a student miss that on his test." The entire class broke out in laughter at my stepson. 

Everett A. Themer at Skeptical Inquirer looks at the weirdness behind "electronic voice phenomena."

Damon Linker declares the Religious Right defeated, and posits among its options:

Instead of giving up and going home, they could turn outward (even more than they already have) — focusing on Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East — places where they may find a more receptive audience for their critique of cultural decadence. Call it the globalization of the culture war. 

GOP House candidate in Illinois Susanne Atanus reportedly declares a belief that "God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as punishment for gay rights and legalized abortions."

Andrew Sullivan is hosting what turns out to be a long thread of posts on being a black atheist. 

Turns out you can sort of buy your way to sainthood. Hemant says, "Two miracles, my ass." 

It may just have been that alchemists were not entirely wasting their time

Greg Epstein pays tribute to the late Tom Ferrick, the first avowed atheist chaplain. 

What's "a rehashing [of] Christianity ... with Kanye West taking the place of Jesus"? Do you really want to know? 

In 1979, Supertramp tried to warn us about 9/11, guys. We didn't listen. 

Quote of the Day

Michael Hiltzik at LA Times looks at a map showing the toll of the anti-vax movement in horror:

The lesson of all this is that vaccination is not an individual choice to be made by a parent for his or her own offspring. It's a public health issue, because the diseases contracted by unvaccinated children are a threat to the community. That's what public health is all about, and an overly tolerant approach to non-medical exemptions -- and publicity given to anti-vaccination charlatans like Wakefield and McCarthy by heedless promoters like, sadly, Katie Couric, affect us all.

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Thursday January 23, 2014 at 8:00pm

“Christianity has a mandate to convert people, but freethought does not have any such mandate”

This sounds weaselly to me.  Nobody selects a list of books by content to hand out to a captive audience unless they are seeking to shape thoughts.

The freethought message is a bit “meta” as compared to Christianity (or Islam which should also be mentioned), but it is no less a message.

I don’t think it’s rational for a freethinker to claim that (a) it doesn’t matter who else is a freethinker or (b) nobody should try to turn followers of dogma into freethinkers.

#2 cgosling (Guest) on Friday January 24, 2014 at 1:13pm

On the subject of Glenn Beck’s Galileo comment: Three old time radio show enthusiasts have a great show on Galileo. This and other shows can be found on YouTube, secularradiotheater. Shut your eyes, relax and enjoy secular reenactments concerning “Darwin’s Conversion and Recantation,” the “Bruno Debacle,” “Einstein’s View of God,” George Jackson Mivart’s Escape from Hell, etc.

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