Anti-Duelist Discrimination

February 26, 2015

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

Yesterday we released our 2014 annual Progress Report: Winning Landmark Victories, Confronting New Challenges. 2014 was huge, guys. This report should give you a good idea of the roller coaster ride it was, and how the support of our community helped us score some really important wins.

Jeff Guo at WaPo rounds up the various license-to-discriminate "religious freedom" bills in several states. Meanwhile, Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed talks to Mike Bowers, the man who successfully argued in favor of "sodomy bans" at the Supreme Court, who has done a 180 and now looks at these bills in horror:

I thought [Georgia's LGBT discrimination bill] was just terrible, absolutely terrible. I believe it’s not that complex. All this is for is to discriminate. If you’re not going to discriminate, you don’t need the darn thing. ... I’ve got nothing to lose! I’m 73. They can’t send me to Iraq or Afghanistan. And I’m never going to run for office again. What the hell. I’m trying to tell it like it is.

Whoa, what is going on there on the surface of dwarf planet Ceres? The Dawn spacecraft finds what could be ice, salt, volcanos...OR ALIENS. Probably not aliens. 

78% of Americans want child vaccinations to be mandatory

54% of Republicans say the president is a Muslim, 19% "don't know." You know who also "doesn't know"? 47% of independents, 26% of Democrats, and of course, Scott Walker. Sarah Posner tries to figure out what's going on.

Member of the UK Parliament David Tredinnick, a Conservative chair of the All-Party Group for Integrated Healthcare, champions astrology and homeopathy in health care:

Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart. And, yes, I have helped fellow MPs. I do foresee that one day astrology will have a role to play in healthcare.

CPAC accuses a WaPo photographer of faking a picture from the event in which CPAC mixes up two black speakers (who it should be noted look nothing alike). Long story short, no, the WaPo didn't fake it. 

Trump spreads the vaccines-cause-autism lie

Merve Büyüksaraç, an industrial designer and writer as well as "Miss Turkey 2006," could be imprisoned for two years for "insulting" the president by sharing a quote from a satirical poem. 

Tim Farley looks at Google's introduction of medical information to its Knowledge Graph, saying, "This has a great potential to combat the infamous 'Dr. Google' syndrome." 

Tennessee's constitution says atheists can't hold public office (which is of course unenforceable), but don't feel bad: "Section one of the same article says ministers aren't allowed to hold public office, while section three prohibits those involved in a duel from doing the same." 

Pour one out (provided it's heavily diluted) for the American Medical College of Homeopathy

Austria bans foreign money from funding Islamic organizations. Like, this is just for Islam. Can they do that? 

Mein Kampf will be published in Germany for the first time since the end of World War II. Magnus Brechtken of the Institute for Contemporary History says:

I think that this is ... a useful way of communicating historical education and enlightenment -- a publication with the appropriate comments, exactly to prevent these traumatic events from ever happening again. 

North Carolina civil rights attorney Burton Craige on the state's voucher program:

North Carolina’s voucher program is unique. No other voucher program in the country allows the receipts of vouchers by private schools that can be unaccredited; employ unlicensed uncertified teachers — including teachers who don’t even have a high school diploma; employ teachers and staff without performing a criminal background check; teach no science or history; teach only the recitation of religious texts; and discriminate against students with disabilities. In the absence of standards, North Carolina stands in a class of its own.

Henry Rollins says he's too lazy to be an atheist, but more because he "believes" in "the rock" (not Dwayne Johnson). Also this:

When someone tells me that America is a Christian nation and all the laws we need are contained in the Bible, to me that is not a religious discussion. It’s about the notion of authority this person is employing in an attempt to control others. God might be real to this person, but what is as real to me is Article VI of the Constitution. All of our disagreements will end in stalemate, so why even bother? I have no interest at all in trying to “win” an argument like this, because to me the premise is bent to begin with. 

Quote of the Day 

"DocBastard" at Daily Beast on the rejection of doctors and science-based medicine as a way to be nonconformist:

It’s cool to be different. But if you are really interested in being different, try wearing pants on your head. Find some funky sunglasses. Sing off key. Buy a green-and-purple striped car. But don’t use alternative medicine instead of real medicine just because it’s not mainstream.     

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