A Stark, Soulless, Inhuman Edifice

May 22, 2015

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

Before I was "executive producer" (cough cough) of Point of Inquiry, I was its biggest fan. I still am, so I'm doubly excited that Spotify picked Point of Inquiry as one of the few podcasts for the launch of its brand new podcast streaming offerings. See our announcement/brag here, and read me gushing about the show. Congrats, guys.

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First of all, I had no idea Bob Gates was now head of the Boy Scouts, but that's on me. Second of all, he just said he wants to reverse the ban on gay leaders.  

CFI's David Koepsell sees "brutalism" becoming the norm in academia: "The academy, under these trends, will become a stark, soulless, inhuman edifice: unwelcoming, efficient, and cold." Mr. Sunshine, here.  

Josh Duggar admits to child molestation and quits the Family Research Council. Note all the grinning photos of him with conservative leaders included in this article.

Nebraska's legislature votes to abolish the death penalty in the state, thanks to a bill introduced by atheist Ernie Chambers. The vote margin was enough to override an expected veto. 

Nick Street writes about the Burrito Project, an attempt to spur service-oriented events that span religious and nonreligious worldviews:

Religious disaffiliation is a liability for civil society only if we assume that the impulse toward compassion and selfless service—the primary social goods that are usually associated with religious traditions—is lost when people leave institutional forms of religion. The dramatic growth of service groups that are attracting religious “nones” suggests that while the altruistic impulse may be specially honored in many religions, it isn’t unique to any of them, or to the phenomenon of religion itself. 

Jerry Coyne sounds the alarm about faith-healing and children at Slate:

If your faith mandates spiritual healing and your child dies because you offer prayer instead of insulin or antibiotics, your chances of being charged with a crime are slim. There are religious exemptions for child neglect and abuse, negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter. Several states allow parents to use a religious defense against charges of murder of their child—and in some places they can’t be charged with murder at all. And even when parents are prosecuted, acquiescence to religious belief often leads to their being acquitted or given light sentences, including unsupervised parole.  

Sean Hubler at the Sacramento Bee slams anti-vax activists engaging in despicable behavior against opponents like stalking and vigilantism. 

The Thirty-Meter Telescope was supposed to begin construction on Hawaii's Mauna Kea last March, but it's being held up by protests due to the "sacred" status of the mountain, "where the sky father Wākea married the Earth mother Papahānaumoku and together they created the Hawaiian islands." 

Joe Nickell rounds up some miracle claims for saints-in-waiting, and laments the lazy thinking and superstition. 

106 people are charged with the mob killing of a Christian couple in Pakistan who were alleged to have committed blasphemy. 

The U.S. Air Force is disinclined to discipline Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, who gave a big speech about how God gave him powers at a National Day of Prayer broadcast. 

Mark Hill at Cracked says he can solve all of atheism's problems, but it starts badly by saying that Dawkins is responsible for Reddit atheists being mean. I stopped reading there.  

Quote of the Day:

Executive order from New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, in opposition to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal's right-to-discriminate executive order:

The purpose of this Executive Order is to confirm for the residents of the City of New Orleans, its businesses and visitors that religious beliefs are protected from unjustified governmental burden, but that there is no tolerance in the City of New Orleans for discrimination on the basis of race, creed, national origin or ancestry, color, religion, gender or sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, marital or domestic partner status, age, physical condition or disability.
 
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Comments:

#1 Randy on Friday May 22, 2015 at 8:51pm

“the alarm about faith-healing and children”

One problem is that children are considered like pets: property.  And this isn’t going to change legislatively until the percentage of adults who are parents is reduced.

The courts have abdicated their responsibility to protect children, as though they are not individuals with their own protectable rights.

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