Former Hillary Clinton Advisor Authors Atheist News Roundup

March 15, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI gave its official response to the election of Pope Francis, mainly in the context of social issues, Meanwhile, Argentina's "Dirty War" dogs the new pope.  

A bill in the US House by Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma calls for protecting religious minorities in the Arab world. Though it does not mention anything about the nonreligious, it does call for an end to blasphemy laws.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes, in this spirit of Arab Spring revolution, that religious minority freedoms and rights must be protected; and

(2) urges in the strongest terms that the United States Government lead the international effort to repeal existing blasphemy laws. 

As we've noted, Pakistan's ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, has been charged with blasphemy, for, if you can believe it, criticizing the country's blasphemy laws. Here is what she actually said that has her in hot water:

The prophet, peace be upon him, fought against injustice, and for protection of minorities, throughout his life. And we can't stain his name and his legacy with this kind of thing. 

From Skeptical Inquirer, we have a fascinating look at UFO skeptic-turned-believer J. Allen Hynek

DC-area secular groups, including CFI-DC, sponsor the upcoming Ingersoll Oratory Contest

The IHEU at the UN goes after the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation for its continued pressure to enact blasphemy measures:

. . . we have waited in vain for condemnation by the OIC of human rights abuses carried out by agents of the State within its member States. Instead, we have seen protests against Islamic extremism condemned as “Islamophobia”, which was recently described by the prime minister of Turkey as “a crime against humanity”. A crime against humanity, Mr President?  No Sir. We see murder, ethnic cleansing, torture, kidnappings, suicide bombings, and terrorist attacks as crimes against humanity. 

New Statesman has a very good piece by John Cornwell on the history of (and prospects for) the Catholic Church's struggles with modernity and pluralism under various popes.

Michael Nugent offers eight recommendations to the skepto-atheist community for coping with the Deep Rifts. 

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville rejected religion, but has not felt welcome among the skepto-atheists either:

. . . female atheists' protests were greeted much the same way with which my protests had been met in my patriarchal church. Silencing. Demeaning. Threats. All of this felt terribly familiar. A bunch of straight, white, male gatekeepers pretending there's no gate. 

CFI-Indiana is among the signatories of an op-ed in the Indianapolis Star against SB 371, the bill which would force women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds in order to obtain pregancy-ending medication. 

Ken Harding of Missouri State University explains why he is beginning a second secular group on his campus:

What this city needs is not another militant atheist organization, but a secular group of people that can champion progressive values and be ethical role models for ideals that religion has previously seemed to have a copyright on. So although there is already a Freethinkers and Skeptics group on campus, I have started a Humanist student group, because in this world it is not enough to be secular; we must take the next step. 

HuffPost Live talks about atheist/humanist chaplaincies with John Figdor, Dudley Rose, Hemant Mehta, and Jason Torpy. 

Sikh man in California insists that compliance with an assault weapons ban would violate his freedom of religion

This is weird. The Telegraph is identifying Lawrence Krauss, who is of course saying tough things about radical Islam, as a "former Obama advisor" (as opposed to, say, "famous physicist" or "professor") because he was on the president's campaign's science policy committee in 2008, whatever that even means. I worked in media research on the Clinton '08 campaign, so am I a former Hillary Clinton advisor? 

Phil Plait is not pleased by anti-vax billboards cropping up. 

"Paranormal Study Center" in Huntsville, Alabama will hear a talk entitled "The Believe Power of You." Did that come out of the Deepak Chopra quote generator

Anyway, your time is probably better spent on something far more concrete: Learning how to actually become a psychic

Qualia Soup has a new video on superstitions

Though they won't be allowed in the St. Patty's parade, Kansas City Atheists will still sport this green shirt

At UK's Spectator, Nick Cohen perceives hypocrisy in the left's unwillingness to confront right-wing Islam:

I can say from experience that if I talk about the ‘American Christian right’ or the ‘Israeli right’ no one will blink. Nor should they, I am using specific terms whose meanings are clear. When I use equally precise language talk about the ‘Muslim right’, one of the great forces of reaction in the world today, my comrades either go blank, because I am using language they cannot understand, or accuse me of ‘racism’, lack of ‘empathy’, inappropriate ‘language’ or some other gross offence against modern etiquette. 

Yours truly has the scoop on three super-amazing miracles that happened on the set of the History Channel's "Bible" thing. 

Fred Edwords testifies to the DC city council on behalf of a new bill that would allow for secular wedding officiants. 

Spooky angel cloud thing

Quote of the Day 


GOP US senator Rob Portman of Ohio reverses his opposition to gay marriage as his son comes out:

It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that's of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have. 


* * *  

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