Saving Throw vs. Clerical Robe

January 30, 2014

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

RNS's Brian Pellot interviews our own Michael De Dora about our international work defending free expression, and it's stellar. Michael says:

The fact that these [oppressive] governments know we exist and care about someone jailed in their countries and that people are up in arms over in the U.S. is a success, and it’s spreading. ... In the long run, this kind of activism will lead people in positions of power to listen and to address our concerns. Freedom of expression is a right everyone should enjoy, not just atheists and Christians.

And on the murky situation for human rights at the UN:

It’s unfortunate that countries that restrict human rights are given privileges at the U.N., but it’s a political body. Instead of thinking the whole system is broken, we need to get in there, get our hands dirty and make the U.N. better from within."

Holy crap, he's really doing it: Here's Nicolas Cage in a scene from the upcoming Left Behind movie. He actually utters the line, "But hey, if she's gonna run off with another man, why not Jesus?" 

Brian Regal at Skeptical Inquirer looks at the genesis of the Jersey Devil, including Ben Franklin's role in building the lore. 

Yesterday, CFI filed a brief with the Supreme Court on the Hobby Lobby-contraceptive mandate case. Now we also have Democratic senators on our side, like Patty Murray:

Allowing a woman’s boss to call the shots about her access to birth control should be inconceivable to all Americans in this day and age, and takes us back to a place in history when women had no voice or choice.

Carl Zimmer at NYT looks at the relationship -- and interbreeding -- between humans and Neanderthals.

Coming in September, Sam Harris's new book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.

Put down the coffee and get a real drink: Here's the world warming up over the past 60 years in 15 seconds. 

This guy will exorcise the demons feasting on your soul over Skype, and yes, he takes PayPal.

American Family Association says the military's new rules allowing religious servicemembers to wear religious garb is really just a way to placate Muslims and persecute Christians.  

Rep. Rush Holt will once again try to pass a Darwin Day resolution in Congress. 

Hey, are military chaplains being discriminated against??? No

A religious studies class is tasked with inventing a religion, and it's pretty free of, well, religion. 

Christian songwriter illegally campaigns to get his movie's song nominated for an Oscar, gets called on it, and gets the nomination retracted. 

Discovery has a "science or pseudoscience" quiz, which is more trivia than distinguishing between the two. I did badly.

Psychic manatees predict the Superb-----ugh, I just can't. 

The worst ghost photo of 2014, already? 

If Ren Höek really wants "huuuuge....PECtoral muscles," Joe Nickell might have some snake oil for him.

Quote of the Day

(This one is more for hilarity than profundity.) People of the world, here's a man to be taken seriously:

Whoever wants to do anything to me, my clerical robe has three-phase power!

That's the Metropolitan Bishop of Gortyna and Megalopoli Ieremias, in Greece, who declares that "the ruler of [the] country" must not be a nonbeliever. Simon Davis tells me this is a reference to opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, an atheist. 

* * *    

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)! 

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