The Most Privileged Dirty Old Men

April 4, 2016

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

Brandon Withrow at the Daily Beast looks at the places around the world where Christians really are persecuted (hint: not Starbucks), and the larger problem of blasphemy and apostasy laws. Oh, I'm quoted here too:

We have to “look beyond our borders,” adds Fidalgo. We need to recognize that “people truly are suffering in unthinkable ways—being beaten by mobs, imprisoned, executed, flogged—for holding certain beliefs or questioning the majority. And then we need to start bringing to bear our diplomatic and economic influence and making serious efforts to make change."  

Richard Dawkins posts an update on his health (he's doing well!), and gushes about a book-cataloguing app.      

CFI's legal director Nick Little sits down for a 20-some-minute debate on Public Square about the big SCOTUS case on Texas abortion access, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, deftly facing off against a guy from the right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom. 

The White House announces some small changes to its policy on allowing faith-based organizations to get federal funding for public services, but still nothing on stopping discrimination in hiring. This is good, though:

[The final rules] prohibit organizations that receive Federal financial assistance from discriminating against beneficiaries, including denying services or benefits, based on religion, a religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to attend or participate in a religious practice.

A federal judge strikes down Mississippi's ban on same-sex couples adopting children, which nixes any other such bans throughout the country. 

Brendan I. Koerner at Wired takes a deep dive into the ISIS social media operation

Looks like Turkey's president and Twitter-eradicator Recep Tayip Erdogan has been bringing some of his anti-free-expression thuggery to the U.S., as his security complement roughed up journalists in Washington, prompting the Brookings Institution to threaten to cancel his appearance there as he was en route. 

Did you know that France has a minister for women's rights? That's cool. However, she's made a lot of people unhappy by saying:

Of course there are women who choose (to wear the veil). There were African negroes, American negroes who were for slavery. I believe that these women, a lot of them, are militants for political Islam, and I confront them as militants. 

His Noodliness wants you to play this retro in-browser FSM game. Run out of rum, and you die. 

To make progress on climate change in Pakistan, you apparently need the imams to make the case

This Russian guy at a monastery blesses the local cats every day. Apparently this is what goes viral over there. 

NatGeo debuts a documentary series by Morgan Freeman: The Story of God

Making travel plans? Maybe skip the red countries on this map. Just a thought.

Did you eat something that is unsettling your stomach, and you just need to purge it to get on with your life? Perhaps try attending a Ted Cruz-hosted screening of God's Not Dead 2. Oughta bring up whatever's lodged in there. (I wish they had called it God's Not Dead 2: I Feeeel Happyyyyyyy.)

Louisiana State Senator John Milkovich:

Are you aware that there is an abundance of recent science that actually confirms the Genesis account of Creation? The notion of instantaneous Creation has been validated by the scientific study of heliocentric circles in rocks.

Give up. 

NYT posts some interesting letters to the editor in response to William Irwin's piece on doubt. Here's one from Warren B. Lightfoot:

I agree that one cannot reach absolute certainty with regard to the God question, but I suggest aspiring to a different standard. In criminal law jurors are required to become convinced beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty in order to convict. As a trial lawyer who has spent over 50 years examining the evidence regarding God’s existence, I conclude that he has given us just enough evidence for conviction but no more. Applying that same reasonable-doubt criterion to the evidence regarding Christ’s bodily resurrection, I reach the same conclusion.  

Hillary Clinton has good taste in posters, it seems. 

Chang-Yau Hoon writes at Asia One that the religious need to go beyond tolerance of atheists and into real meaningful dialogue. 

Leo Igwe argues that atheism can help save some newborn babies in Nigeria:

Expectant mothers need to be told that there is no God and should stop wasting their time praying and fasting. In fact they should be told that fasting puts their health more in danger; it denies their bodies the nutrients they need and increase the risk of maternal mortality. 

Saroop Ijaz calls out Pakistan's government for "facilitating atrocities" by upholding the blasphemy law and failing to address discrimination and violence against religious minorities. 

Quote of the Day

Mohammed Hanif denounces the attempts by Pakistan's "pious men" to stop a law that would prevent domestic violence against women, because it's "un-Islamic":

Their logic goes like this: If you beat up a person on the street, it’s a criminal assault. If you bash someone in your bedroom, you’re protected by the sanctity of your home. If you kill a stranger, it’s murder. If you shoot your own sister, you’re defending your honor. I’m sure the nice folks campaigning against the bill don’t want to beat up their wives or murder their sisters, but they are fighting for their fellow men’s right to do just that. ...

... The government-appointed Council of Islamic Ideology has also declared it repugnant to our religion and culture. ... The council’s past proclamations have defended a man’s right to marry a minor, dispensed him from asking for permission from his first wife before taking a second or a third, and made it impossible for women to prove rape. It’s probably the most privileged dirty old men’s club in the country.

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