He Kept His Head

January 23, 2015

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

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is dead. Mainstream obituaries and condolences from world leaders are fairly warm and fuzzy about the absolute dictator of a medieval theocracy that subjugates women, and tortures and executes dissidents. But he was a "reformer," you see.

As President Obama said in a statement:

I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship. As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions.

Well, that he did. 

His brother, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, is the new king, and, well, who knows for how long. Via NYT: "He is 79, has had at least one stroke and lost some movement in one of his arms."

There's conflicting news on Raif Badawi - one report says that he may get more floggings despite doctors' recommendations, another says the floggings may end and his sentence shortened.  

Hey look! I'm on the pilot episode of the Atheist Foundation of Australia's new show, the AtheistAus Podcast, hosted by Kylie Sturgess. I'm the "international correspondent." Stop laughing. 

CFI-Northeast Ohio's Monette Richards is interviewed in this short piece for Ohio public radio on the group's Secular Summit. 

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, doesn't want young people in the West to have Islam "introduced to you by prejudices." He requests, "Study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam. ... Try and find answers yourself."

Here's James Inhofe explaining why he voted that climate change was not a hoax.

There's archeological evidence of that. There's biblical evidence of that. There's historic evidence of that. The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful, they can change climate. Man can't change climate. 

András G. Pintér takes the long view on 20 years of skeptical activism in Hungary

Rep. Walter Jones introduces a bill to allow clergy to endorse candidates from the pulpit, but despite support for the idea from the GOP, the bill is going nowhere. Why? Daniel Silliman has a fascinating piece explaining that, for one, Jones is persona-non-grata among the GOP leadership for being kind of a wild card, plus, passing the law would undermine the "help help I'm being oppressed" narrative that religious conservatives hang their hats on.

Meanwhile, the House GOP suddenly drops its 20-week abortion ban bill

David Koepsell explains how he's going to run the upcoming "Future of Humanism" course for the CFI Institute:

This year, we will experiment with holding our courses not as pedantic or didactic opportunities, but rather as forums for collective discussion, debate, open dialogue, and progress. 

At the blog for the Reason for Change conference (register now, y'all!), we highlight some of CFI's international leaders who will be there

Here's a fun sentence to write: The prime minister of Iceland will put the country's blasphemy law up for review following a request from the Pirate Party.  

Mike Huckabee seems to agree that we are living in a "secular theocracy." I think your campaign is really going to take off, Huck. 

Bobby Jindal, meanwhile, means to out-Jesus all the GOP candidates.  

Richard Dawkins (a featured speaker at Reason for Change!) announces the next part of his autobiography, A Brief Candle in the Dark.  

This upwardly-thrusting red line is thanks to anti-vaxxers. 

Rev. Diana Mier apparently "wins" a "psychic challenge," but it's not clear what she did to prove her abilities. But she does have serious cred:

She holds certification in Esoteric Healing, Liquid Light, Rising Star and Sylva Mind Control.  

Quote of the Day

"bitteranagram" on Twitter:

RIP King Abdullah. He kept his head when all about him were losing theirs.
 
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