Mayberry Leads to Hell

May 14, 2015

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

Yesterday we announced that a bill authorizing Secular Celebrants in Oregon to solemnize marriages, championed by CFI-Portland, had passed a key committee vote, and it looks like the bill will be voted on by the full House tomorrow! If you're in Oregon, tell your state rep to vote for it

Meanwhile, a little under the radar, atheists win the right to officiate at weddings in Washington County, Minnesota

Our boss Ron Lindsay talks to WBFO in Buffalo about the Pew survey showing the religiously unaffiliated at number 2 in the US. As noted yesterday, Ron was also a guest for the hour on the Diane Rehm Show

The UN finally weighs in and condemns the attacks on Bangladesh's secularist bloggers

Media Matters did some research, and our pals at Forecast the Facts put out a press release about it: Looks like the major papers are really blowing the whole skeptics-vs.-deniers thing, which was first stirred by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's statement to the media.

The Vatican officially recognizes the state of Palestine

Cornell has a new Carl Sagan Institute, aka The Institute for Pale Blue Dots, all about detecting life on exoplanets

New Jersey atheist Shannon Morgan's suit to be allowed to have a license plate that says "8THEIST" is cleared to go ahead. I first wrote about this case at Friendly Atheist in 2013.

Wales, UK is discriminating against a Pastafarian's monster-given right to wear a colander on his head for his driver's license photo. 

Wildlife experts in Scotland say that if you believe in the Loch Ness Monster, you otter think again. SEE WHAT I DID THERE 

This is not surprising, but newly revealed letters show that Prince Charles actively lobbied then-Prime Minister Tony Blair against the regulation of homeopathic and herbal "medicines." 

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention has an interestingly nuanced take on the Pew data:

Bible Belt near-Christianity is teetering. I say let it fall. For much of the twentieth century, especially in the South and parts of the Midwest, one had to at least claim to be a Christian to be “normal.” During the Cold War, that meant distinguishing oneself from atheistic Communism. At other times, it has meant seeing churchgoing as a way to be seen as a good parent, a good neighbor, and a regular person. It took courage to be an atheist, because explicit unbelief meant social marginalization. Rising rates of secularization, along with individualism, means that those days are over—and good riddance to them. 

He also says that the fact that people can now be openly atheist is "good news." Oh, and this:

We don’t have Mayberry anymore, if we ever did. Good. Mayberry leads to hell just as surely as Gomorrah does. But Christianity didn’t come from Mayberry in the first place, but from a Roman Empire hostile to the core to the idea of a crucified and resurrected Messiah.  

Quote of the Day:

Sam Harris on Twitter, with an awkward realization:

Just discovered that the French edition of "Letter to a Christian Nation" is titled "The Bible of Atheism." Sorry about that...

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