Fall Off of a Cliff

March 2, 2016

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

Sorry about the lack of a Heresy yesterday. I had a thing. Onward!

Lookie here, CFI's Nick Little pens an op-ed for Salon on the big Texas abortion case at the Supreme Court, focusing on the shady character behind the state's case:

Vincent Rue is not a medical doctor, but, through surrogates, he has tried to play one in court. And in this role of a lifetime, he has masterminded the dissemination of pseudoscientific testimony in several state court cases —all in an effort to defeat women’s right to an abortion. His act is about to be reviewed by his most important audience yet – the United States Supreme Court.

Point of Inquiry this week gets a unique perspective on censorship and cultural attitudes in the Islamic Gulf states (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc.), as Josh Zepps talks to journalist Jessica Davey-Quantick

CFI is a co-producer on an upcoming documentary on the crisis for secularists in Bangladesh, and you can see an 18-minute teaser/short version of the film, Razor's Edge, here

A year after the murder of Avijit Roy, Ahmed Abid writes at Bangladesh's BDNews24:

At this moment, it is important to continue to speak out against the erosion of the rule of law and secular values in Bangladesh; or else, the country will go the way of other countries which have recently been overtaken by such extremist philosophies, through citing the need to ‘protect Islamic values’.

Daniel Cox at Yahoo News looks at how "nones" have the potential to be a seriously powerful voting bloc, but lack the cohesiveness to do something meaningful with that power.  

Tobin Grant at RNS explains what it is white supremacists see when they look at Donald Trump:

[They believe that] Trump must be quiet about white supremacy so that he can win the election ... White supremacists know that they are a minority that is kept out of mainstream politics. Granted, they think that this isn’t because their views are repugnant—they blame it on Jews and others who have convinced everyone else that whites are the same as everyone else. They do not need Trump to acknowledge them. What they want is Trump to win. Then and only then do they believe he can work for them.  

"Religious skeptics" are the only faith-related group in the Democratic Party to prefer Bernie Sanders over Clinton, according to the Barna Group.

This, this is just gruesome. Via the AP:

Two Catholic bishops who led a small Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 priests and other religious leaders over a 40-year period, according to a grand jury report that portrays the church as holding such sway over law enforcement that it helped select a police chief.

Said Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, "Their souls were killed as children. They weren't out playing baseball; they were trying to avoid priests." I just don't even know what to say. 

After the killer of Salman Taseer (the Pakistani governor who opposed the blasphemy law) is put to death, tens of thousands honor the killer as a hero.  

Atheist Cristin Padgett loses her primary race for the Texas state House. Don't lose hope, y'all. Run and lose, run and lose, run and lose. Then we start winning. 

For example, we do have Juan Mendez in Arizona, who really is embracing this whole godless-elected-official thing

Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi in the UK, wins the Templeton Prize.  

South Dakota's Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, wisely vetoes a bill that would have restricted transgender students’ access to school restrooms and locker rooms.   

In contrast, check out the big, warm, open heart of Franklin Graham:

I don’t wish [transgender people] ill ... [but] if they don’t repent, God will one day judge them and they will spend eternity in hell. Is that hate speech because you love somebody enough to warn them that they are getting ready to fall off a cliff? 

Good question. Why don't you walk over a cliff and see who tries to warn you? 

Opposing Views asks whether we will see an avowed atheist become president in the next 12 years. Yes we willI mean no

Hey, look at the nerves on that half-a-billion-year-old Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis

Welcome back to your home planet, Scott Kelly. I know, the gravity is a bit much, but you get used to it. 

Quote of the Day:

The most excellent Julia Belluz at Vox writes about something skeptic writers know all too well - the perils of pissing people off with your buzzkilling and party-pooping:

When I’d tell these things to friends and family, my insights weren’t welcomed by all. I quickly learned that alternative medicine, for many, is more a religion than a science. "Enlightening" people about the lack of evidence can actually be deeply offensive. ... I have to admit something: Even if I’ve alienated friends and offended my mother, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d argue for evidence-based thinking over magical thinking every day, even when it’s unpopular.

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Original image by Shutterstock

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 at 6:50pm

“I just don’t even know what to say.”

OK, I’ll say it: this is the Satanic Day Care hysteria of our time.

Our piling on has a lot more to do with being anti-Catholic, and point-scoring, than any genuine concern for anyone, or for the truth.

#2 Stacey C. on Thursday March 03, 2016 at 6:48am

Umm whut? This is not the Satanic Day Care hysteria at all…as in those people back in the 80’s *didn’t* actually molest children whereas the priests have admitted that it’s actually happened. Do you doubt that this actually happened? Skepticism is a wonderful thing but it can go too far. Sometimes people *do* actually do heinous things.

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