Melrose Pope (Or, Pope Opera)

February 28, 2013

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

A lot of local activism in the news today:

We have the public outing of South Jersey atheist activist Michael Cluff who was going to avow his nonbelief before a prayerful town council meeting, but was thwarted. 

Relatedly, a court in Kentucky defies the protests of a local atheist and reinstates prayers

And Lindsey Brackin is the lone person at a public meeting over the infamous Kountze High School religious banners to speak up for church-state separation. 

Surly Amy announces the winners of Skepchick's grants to send men to Women in Secularism 2

Matthew Hutson joins host Indre Vistkontas on Point of Inquiry to talk magical thinking. 

A recently-discovered satellite of Pluto gets a name to warm the hearts of nerds like me everywhere: Vulcan

Kylie Sturgess interviews Ben Goldacre on the bad behavior of the pharmaceutical industry for CSI. 

This artist has some feelings about the outgoing pope.  

But speaking of the pope and feelings, Andrew Sullivan is full of them. Feelings, not popes. Sullivan worries of the "Pope Emeritus" becoming "a Deng Xiao Peng-type figure pulling strings behind the scenes," and suspicious of the ex-pope continuing to receive the services of the overly-handsome papal secretary, who will now be doing double duty. It's confusing and a little conspiratorial. Sullivan says:

This man – clearly in some kind of love with Ratzinger (and vice-versa) will now be working for the new Pope as secretary in the day and spending the nights with the Pope Emeritus. This is not the Vatican. It’s Melrose Place. 

But Ratzinger himself says he pledges his "obedience" to the next pope. 

Nobel Prize winner for literature, atheist author Mario Vargas Llosa, has a charitable view of Ratzinger in regards to the child sex-abuse crisis:

“Benedict XVI,” Vargas Llosa added, “was the first Pope to ask forgiveness for the sexual abuse that has taken place in Catholic schools and seminaries, to meet with victims’ associations.”  

CFI is a signatory to an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on marriage equality by the American Humanist Association. 

Elois Zeanah of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women says adopting educational standards is akin to Nazi indoctrination of things like “anti-Christian, anti-capitalism, anti-America…pro-homosexuality, illegal immigration, unions, environmentalism, gun control, feminism and social justice.” She's also worried about the US turning into that novel "1994," which I guess is a sequel or something. 

Rob Boston at AU rolls his eyes at church officials crying anti-Catholic bigotry with every disagreement. 

Lynn Stuart Parramore on the Vatican Bank:

The bank’s official role is to safeguard and administer property intended for works of religion or charity. The actual activities of the bank are somewhat different. They include money laundering for narcotics traffickers, bribery, skimming charitable funds to enrich priests, and tax evasion for wealthy Italians 

Ashley Judd, possible US Senate candidate, and deliverer of anti-patriarchy stemwinders (h/t vorjack):

Patriarchal societies are organized in terms of the experience of men as they have been able to define and elaborate on it. Patriarchal religions, of which Christianity is one, gives us a God that is like a man, a God presented and discussed exclusively in male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power. It is the intention to dominate, even if the intention to dominate is no where visible . . .

Two Zambian men die mysteriously, it is blamed on the sorcery of a woman

Elective Bible courses may be coming to North Carolina public schools. 

Or perhaps you could just watch this 10-hour docudrama of the Bible, coming soon! 

CrackedHow to tell if something is a load of garbage on the Internet. I use these when working on the Heresy. (h/t Doubtful News

Fake psychic Sylvia Mitchell pleads not guilty to swindling $150,000 from clients. 

How'd you like to spend almost a year and a half in a confined space with your spouse? What if it was on the way to Mars

The Clergy Project catches the attention of Glenn Beck's The Blaze.

John Kerry defends US conceptions of the freedom of speech and belief (and gets grief for it).  

Quote of the Day 

The Onion: Gay teen worried he's Christian:

It's like I get these weird urges sometimes, and suddenly I'm tempted to go behind my friends' backs and attend a megachurch service, or censor books in the school library in some way. 

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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. 

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