Associate Citizens

April 6, 2016

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

Well, Tennessee looks about to adopt the Bible as the official state book. Katie Rogers at NYT reports:

During a Senate floor session on Monday, Senator Steve Southerland, the Republican who sponsored the bill, argued that it is about honoring the Bible’s historical and cultural contributions to the state. He said that a Jewish friend of his had agreed the Bible is a historical text. ... The legislation does not say which version of the Bible would be used. 

Well, if his Jewish friend is down, BY ALL MEANS. 

You may have heard of the case of Renee Rabinowitz, the 81-year-old El Al Airlines passenger who was made to switch her seat because an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man refused to be seated next to a woman. Our Nick Little has asked the FAA to explain exactly what the policy here is, because it sure looks like that not only is religion being privileged, but also it's the woman that must bear the burden of that privilege:

HE had the problem with his seat assignment, yet the airline’s policy was to ask HER to move to a different seat. If it’s his problem, if he is seeking the special treatment, why shouldn’t he be the one to move? Yet the default solution is that where a man is unhappy with the actions (or existence) of a woman, it should be up to the woman to change. The problem is no longer his irrational fear of sitting next to her, it is her very existence in a seat next to him.

Mississippi gets its own discriminate-against-gays "religious freedom" bill signed into law. How do these people sleep at night? 

Alabama's governor gets caught in an affair, and says, "I've asked God to forgive me because that's the most important thing. I want back in His fellowship. And so I asked God to forgive me." What else could possibly matter?

Eduardo Porter at NYT looks the weird lack of religion in the Trump candidacy:

At the very least, it does suggest that Republicans’ longstanding strategy of building majorities for their anti-tax platform by appealing to working-class voters’ Christian morals has lost a lot of its power. 

Unitarian humanists are not happy about the UU church's new agreement with the Boy Scouts, who still make kids declare a belief in God. The UU Humanists say, "We continue to call for the UUA to make an unequivocal, clear, public statement that they disagree with the BSA policy and that they will work to change it."

At Religion & Politics, Leigh Eric Schmidt marks the 50th anniversary of Time Magazine's famous "Is God Dead?" cover, noting that the actual content of the article focused less on atheism and more on new kinds of religious "awakenings." 

Myanmar's Religious Affairs Minister, Aung Ko, says Buddhists are "full citizens" and followers of other faiths are "associate citizens." It's not going over well.

A majority of Scots now report that they have no religion, and most of the attrition is coming from the Church of Scotland. 

At Skeptical Inquirer, Kylie Sturgess interviews Dean Burnett, author of The Idiot Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really Up To. 

A guy gets video of "some weird thing floating up in the sky," which I think is the giant whale-seeking space-cylinder from Star Trek IV. It found whales, and moved on. 

Christian apologist Josh McDowell is going to set you free from porn. No need to thank him.

Nessie visits the Thames

SNL, usually a cavalcade of cringes and disappointment, does a pretty good number on the GOP "establishment" here. 

Quote of the Day:

Trump has had, let's say, fluctuating positions on the abortion issue. Point of Inquiry's own Lindsay Beyerstein puts it better than I could, tweeting:

The @realDonaldTrump's stance on abortion is evolving faster than a new strain of chlamydia on spring break.   

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