Not a Political Act, a Human One

June 27, 2013

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

DOMA is dead, Prop 8 effectively so. We at CFI celebrate a grand step toward being a more perfect union. From our press release, here's Michael De Dora:

DOMA and Prop 8 were betrayals of the secular ideals set forth in our founding documents, relegating LGBT Americans to second-class status. The Court’s rejection of these measures strongly reinforces the idea that religiously based attitudes on sex and marriage will not stand in the way of granting fundamental rights to anyone. 

President Obama and Defense Secretary Hagel promise immediate action concerning federal benefits for same-sex spouses. 

RNS rounds up various religious groups' and figures' statements on the rulings (including CFI's) and Hemant rounds up the various freethought groups' statements

Andrew Sullivan, one of the earliest mainstream advocates of gay marriage, is moved:

Marriage is not a political act; it’s a human one. It is based on love, before it is rooted in law. Same-sex marriages have always existed because the human heart has always existed in complicated, beautiful and strange ways. But to have them recognized by the wider community, protected from vengeful relatives, preserved in times of illness and death, and elevated as a responsible, adult and equal contribution to our common good is a huge moment in human consciousness. . . . I understand and respect those who in good conscience fought this tooth and nail. I am saddened by how many failed to see past elaborate, ancient codes of conduct toward the ultimate good of equal human dignity. 

Daniel McCarthy at The American Conservative on what happens now for cultural/religious conservatives:

Conservatives have a different battle to fight, psychologically as well as legally, to preserve religious liberty and ensure that this revolution already made doesn’t enter a more radical phase. High-strung right-wingers who say, for example, that the country might as well embrace polygamy if it’s going to have same-sex marriage are not doing themselves any favors. More seriously, this would be a good time for conservatives to take supporters of SSM at their word and insist on stronger cultural as well as legal affirmations of monogamy for everyone. Somehow, though, I suspect that rather than using this as an opportunity to build new coalitions against promiscuity or divorce, we’ll just see a redoubling of resentments.

Indiana governor Mike Pence's Facebook page is scrubbed of pro-gay marriage comments. 

In a bewildering turn of events on the other side of the planet, atheist (and first female) prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, is booted from her leadership position of the country's Labour Party. For what it's worth, the new PM, Kevin Rudd, is an Anglican.

And in case you missed it, here's our statement on the president's climate change plan, with input from CSI fellows Stuart Jordan and Marc Boslough. 

Emily Willingham on the alleged dangers of GMOs: "It looks like there's no there there at all."

Evangelicals love America more than you do, statistically. 

Kylie Sturgess hosts a gaggle of skeptics for her podcast, including Elise Andrew of "I [Effing] Love Science" fame, Phil Plait, and many other smart folks.  

Ben Radford on the anatomy of a haunted potty report

New study has lots of information on different countries' attitudes about religion, including the counter-trend of younger Israelis being more religious than their parents, and half or more Americans and Brazilians finding atheism "threatening." Hey Americans and Brazilians! BOO!  

Saudi Arabia lowers the haj quota to allow for more work on Mecca's Grand Mosque and to mitigate the spread of a SARS-like virus. Yeah, I know, that is a weird sentence. 

Ohio GOP governor John Kasich plays the God card against fellow Republicans who want to block health reform's Medicaid expansion. 

BBC: Scientists in Japan clone a mouse from a drop of blood. 

Joe Nickell reviews a movie about "magicians," Now You See Me:

Others . . . may prefer that ubiquitous movie alternative, Now You Don’t.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley blocks a pro-female-ordination Austian priest from speaking at the Boston Archdiocese. 

Oxford math professor calls atheism a "delusion" and a "fairy tale":

God is not the same kind of explanation as science is. God is the explanation of why there is a universe at all in which science can be done. 

St. Michael's Hospital study: Even if the current flu vaccine doesn't perfectly match the strain that's out there, get it anyway

Deepak Chopra wants us to get fit this summer, and to begin, we can "up-regulate our genes." Man, can that guy mash words together or what?

Quote of the Day 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, asked for comment on Michele Bachmann's contention that the Supreme Court cannot overturn God's will:

Who cares?

* * *  

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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Comments:

#1 Felix (Guest) on Thursday June 27, 2013 at 8:55am

Re Lennox: God is a claim, an assumption, a presupposition. How can any of those three be an explanation if there’s no reason or evidence to consider such an extravagant declaration true in the first place? Lennox wants his audience duped into believing there are explanations from the realm of the implausible. God is only an explanation when.being defined as such. That makes Lennox’s god a circular semantic play - no more real than the invented thoughts of an imaginary character in a fantasy novel. Or for that matter, an equation on paper. That works well with other numbers and factors on paper, but still makes each individual number no more real than angels dancing on a pin head. Lennox can’t be so foolish to think that a mere symbol for an explanation we don’t (yet) have is just as solid - and indeed communicative and praiseworthy! - as something that demonstrably exists independently of our fantasies and our grid paper.

#2 Griff on Thursday June 27, 2013 at 2:08pm

Jesus Henry.  If cancer were cured tomorrow, you guys would work the event into a triumph for secularism.  So, tell me about this strange world you reside in.  Is it a world in which people, following a horrible natural disaster, say, “I wonder what CFI’s take is?”  Ditto, for important supreme court rulings?

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