An Obscure Gem of a Nonprofit

March 21, 2013

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

Emily Willingham at Forbes: Be watchful for panicky stories about how there are more folks with autism than we thought:

. . . if you look at the numbers and the report itself, you’ll see that overall, the numbers of people born with autism aren’t necessarily increasing dramatically. It’s just that we’re getting better and better at counting them 

Chris Stedman offers tips for Christians in connecting with non-Christians without making everyone mad. (And cites our new report on fundamentalism in the military.) 

At Buffalo's ArtVoice, Ian Murphy of The Buffalo Beast calls out CFI as a "positive influence" in the region, but calls us "an obscure gem of a nonprofit," which is weird, but we'll take it.

Pope Francis reaches out to nonbelievers:

. . . atheists and believers can be “precious allies” in their efforts “to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.” 

Aww, the pope once had a crush. (Oh, and could maybe-possibly-kinda might be open to changing celibacy rules for priests.)

Julie Mankowski at the On Campus blog wonders what the hell we seculars should say when people sneeze. It's a great post, ruined for me by the inclusion of a comedy clip from Dane Cook. But I forgive her. 

Americans United on the moves by the Legion of Doom to have the contraceptive mandate in health reform repealed, calling them "Crafty Bishops," which made me chuckle. 

Joe Nickell: the so-called "true story" of the Amityville haunting is "deliberate fiction."  

UN religious freedom chief reacts to a report of Iran's oppression of Baha'is, calling it "one of the most obvious cases of state persecution." 

Political Research Associates releases a report on "religious liberty" as a cover for curtailing civil rights. (PDF

I feel like every few months we get another Voyager-has-left-the-Solar-System story, and here's another, to which NASA says, "It is the consensus of the Voyager science team that Voyager 1 has not yet left the solar system or reached interstellar space."

Pastor Robert A. Lyzenga is arrested for placing hidden cameras in his church's women's bathroom, getting videos and photos of women and girls in stalls.

Alcoholics Anonymous tries to figure out how supernatural to be

Public high school guest speaker tells students they need God to stop themselves from overeating. 

Kentucky's state-funded child care agencies may not discriminate based on religion, and may not proselytize, according to a new settlement. 

Pastafarians in Poland work to attain legal recognition as a religion.

CFI-Okanagan gets press for celebrating Darwin's birthday with local students. 

Canada's House of Commons approves a bill making discrimination against transgender Canadians illegal.

Just £65 and you, too, can have a psychic connection to your dead pet

AP: Pediatricians are okay with gay marriage:

The American Academy of Pediatrics' new policy, published online Thursday, cites research showing that the parents' sexual orientation has no effect on a child's development. Kids fare just as well in gay or straight families when they are nurturing and financially and emotionally stable, the academy says. 

Committee of the Alabama legislature approves an amendment to its constitution that would allow the display of the Ten Commandments. Really earning their pay, those folks. 

Michelle Shocked scrambles to correct the record of a reported anti-gay tirade:

I am damn sorry. If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them. I say this not because I want to look better. I have no wish to hide my faults, and – clearly – I couldn’t if I tried. 

Quote of the Day 

David Black, a retired pastor in Virginia, on why churches should have no say in marriage equality:

When I wed a couple, I am not acting as the agent of a church. My legal authorization came from the Commonwealth of Virginia via the Circuit Court, and without it, I had no legal standing whatsoever to wed couples. Just being a “preacher” does not authorize one to be a legal officiant in Virginia. That’s significant, folks. It means that, in truth, marriage is a civil business. It is a matter of state law. And the officiant — judge, marriage commissioner, minister/priest, whoever — is an agent of the state. 

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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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