Comprehensive Broomstick Reform

May 14, 2013

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

Minnesota will soon be the 12th state to allow gay marriage. 

CSICOP.org starts a new column by Kyle Hill on what the real-world implications would be if some paranormal claims were true. To kick off: Magnet people -- how do they work? 

Guys! It's cool. The Catholic League says there is no sex abuse crisis. Whew! 

Also: Stop worrying, Texas, it's now totally legal to say "Merry Christmas." Double-whew! 

James Dobson emerges from his crypt to declare the coming death of feminism, so he can hold the door for women again or something.

Construction company extracting rock for a road "accidentally" destroys a Mayan pyramid

Shelley Segal did a little gig for the folks in Amherst, and we have video of her live performance of "Saved."  

Author Jeff Sharlet went on a tweetathon yesterday attacking the concept of "dialogue" as a panacea to deep rifts:

[A] Fetish for "dialogue" assumes those you disagree w/ lack only your insight; assumes they want to "compromise." . . . Well-intentioned liberals always ask how we can "educate" haters. Elite haters don't need "education"; they need to be challenged.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa totally nails Obama for being nice and calling up Jason Collins after he came out as gay: Why not call Tim Tebow, huh? Why "Mister President"?!?! 

Filmmaker Vikram Gandhi aims t make a documentary about the pull of gurus, and decides the best way to do that is to pretend to be one himself

Real Time had a neat debate, clipped by Andrew Sullivan, on fundamentalism, imperfect revolutions, and radical Islam.  

I had never heard of "Slender Man" until last year's CSICon, and now I wish I hadn't because it creeps me out

Swaziland takes steps to control the problem of witches flying too high on broomsticks with some sensible regulation. 

Daniel Loxton on what he believes the skeptic movement does best:

When skepticism serves up opinion, it is just more noisy punditry. When skepticism can be counted on to deliver the demonstrable facts, it becomes, like Consumer Reports [or like Snopes.com], a useful public service. 

Jonathan Merritt at RNS looks at the rise and "cult-like" stature of pastor Mark Driscoll. 

Ali A. Rizvi explains how he can consider himself an "atheist Muslim" in a world in which "everyone cherrypicks": 

For me, the answer is that Islam is a religion, but the experience of being Muslim, practicing or not, is much more nuanced and complex. 

A majority of Americans still think there was a deeper conspiracy behind the JFK assassination, but fewer than used to

I know you've seen this already, but here's that deeply moving music video from astronaut Chris Hadfield. 

SciAm: Our little rituals before job interviews, or after someone dies, actualy have beneficial effects

Brainy website Big Think launches a "mentoring" video series with familiar figures to skepto-atheists like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Julia Galef. 

Tennessee public school may have opened a can of worms by allowing the Gideons to give out Bibles. 

In Saudi Arabia, help someone convert from Islam, go directly to jail

Thanks to Americans United, a public school in Maine will no longer be blessing boats

Louisiana may repeal a 1981 law (struck down by the Supreme Court but still on the books) giving equal treatment to creationism in schools. Wait, what? 

Our own Joe Nickell meets pioneering Bigfoot legend-spinner Bob Gimlin, who offers Joe three little words on a signed photo.

Joe also rounds up 10 faked miracles from history for HuffPo. 

There's video of Rep. Jerrold Nadler's address at the SCA lobby day, and he'd like "religious chauvinists" to "leave us Jews out." 

Are folks prepping for Doomsday, or just spending money on a swanky bunker? Amanda Shapiro at The New Inquiry explores:

[N]ot all survivalists are interested in roughing it now or in the post-apocalyptic world. For those with means, survivalism can look a lot like planning for a very comfortable retirement.  

The Southern Hemisphere is gaining more Catholics, and there's been a huge uptick in deacons.  

"Erasmus" column at The Economist looks at the secularity (and non-secularity) of nations' constitutions

Bigfoot researcher donates a big, honking sasquatch statue to a middle school classroom. Erm, thanks? 

Many Muslims in Virginia are "furious" that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was buried in a local Islamic cemetery.

Man do we get some weird mail at CFI. 

Quote of the Day 

HuffPo's Paul Raushenbush has an interesting take on why Ten Commandments displays in public schools are a bad idea for the religious:

Every religious person should object to having the Ten Commandments in schools because you are allowing other people -- people over whom you have no control -- the responsibility of interpreting said commandments. If you take the Ten Commandments seriously, you certainly don't want someone who doesn't share your beliefs explaining to the classroom what they mean. 

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