Too Many Popes!

May 13, 2013

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

Apparently, some plants are communicating with each other. Call Peter Singer! (Or, as Ron Lindsay said in response on Twitter, "Clearly the only morally acceptable stance is to limit oneself to drinking Ensure.")

Too many saints! Pope Francis dubs literally hundreds of new saints from the "Martyrs of Otranto" - Italian Catholics beheaded in 1480 for refusing to convert to Islam.  

Ack! No wait! Too many popes! Francis, Ratzinger, and Egypt's Coptic Pope were all in the Vatican at once!

Last Friday, Ben Radford dished on the disaster that is fake-psychic Sylvia Browne on CKNW's Simi Sara Show (scroll to the bottom for the "Hour 2" section) and KIRO's Seattle's Morning News (I can't find a link, but trust me, I heard it, he was on).

CFI chief Ron Lindsay is not sold on the atheist-Catholic dialogue proffered by "Strange Notions": 

[Site proprietor Brandon] Vogt may not be pursuing a genuine dialogue. Instead, he appears to be on a mission to convert people who he mistakenly believes are followers of another faith. 

Pew has new data on American attitudes concerning Muslims and terrorism following the Boston attacks. 

The 387th most popular name for newborn baby boys is "Messiah." Just so you know. 

Church of Scientology photoshops a in stock photo crowd to make you think way more people came to a new building's opening than actually did. 

Apocalypse predictor Harold Camping's Christian radio network looks to be on the way to shutting down, which, one would think, he would have seen coming. 

Secularist wunderkind Zack Kopplin embarrasses WSJ's Stephen Moore on Real Time on the issue of science funding. (Edit: It has been revealed to me that this is like a month old. Whatever, I'm just seeing it now, so it's news to me.)  

Religious conservatives hate church-state separation, at least until Joe Biden asks faith leaders to help out on gun control

Columbia University's Manan Ahmed Asif in NYT on Pakistan's elections:

The candidates campaigning in this election, rather than arguing for the rights of all Pakistanis, have further marginalized religious minorities and given license to those who attack them. 

The Asian Human Rights Commission publishes a report on the history of Pakistan's blasphemy laws

Classy, guys: Chicago novelty shop sells a hijab-wearing suicide bomber doll

Contain your shock, Rabbi David Wolpe doesn't think Dawkins should be considered a leading intellectual. 

Tom Krattenmaker in USA Today on atheists in the Boy Scouts:

Once the Boy Scouts open up to non-believers, they're going to discover they have a lot to contribute — just as they've been contributing all along. 

Vermont on track to be the third state to allow assisted suicide

Rich Lowry of the National Review says that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the guy behind the "Innocence of Muslims" video, is in U.S. jail because he violated an unwritten law against blasphemy against Islam. Erm... 

Congressional report says that churches should be applying for their tax status in the same way that any other nonprofit would. Wait, what? 

Brave atheist high school student who blew the whistle on his school's Ten Commandments plaque allows himself to be outed so his friends would not get blamed for alerting FFRF. 

The Gazette discovers atheists in Colorado Springs. Oooooh! Aaaaah! 

LA Times' Michael McGough calls out "Catholic Sharia" in Pittsburgh's huge overreaction to art students whose work dissed the pope.

American Atheists' Amanda Knief tells Hemant why AA is hiring a DC policy director, when CFI, AHA, and SCA pretty much have that covered:

AA is putting a public policy director in DC in order to give atheists — not humanists or nontheists — a stronger presence when there is lobbying and to make sure AA’s point of view and its members are represented. We think this is a positive sign that four major organizations will provide representation in D.C. for the nontheistic movement. It is a sign that our movement is growing and lets the political world know that our constituency can support such efforts. It increases the credibility and the clout of all of our organizations — especially as we work together. 

Pigeon blood cures warts, with the help of God. Sure, why not. 

Rev. Skip Lindeman talks up believer/nonbeliever dialogue:

One of the tenets of my faith is that everyone is a child of God, even if he/she is not of my religion. I think Jesus was on to something when he said to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you. That sly dog! He realized that once you pray for an enemy, he's really no longer your enemy. From Native American wisdom is the advice to walk a mile in somebody else's moccasins before you judge him/her. That's good advice. 

Animal corpses falling from the sky!!! 

Do not mess with sparrows, lest they go all Jurassic Park on you.

Quote of the Day 

Katherine Stewart at The Guardian on homeschooling's insidious side:

In America, we often take for granted that parents have an absolute right to decide how their children will be educated, but this leads us to overlook the fact that children have rights, too, and that we as a modern society are obligated to make sure that they get an education. Families should be allowed to pursue sensible homeschooling options, but current arrangements have allowed some families to replace education with fundamentalist indoctrination. 

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