Merciless Moderation, Ruthless Education, Overpowering Carefulness

July 15, 2016

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

You already know about the nightmarish attack in Nice, France yesterday, where at least 84 people are killed by a man, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, plowing a huge commercial truck into crowds of people in the middle of Bastille Day celebrations. The attack is being referred to as terrorism likely from or inspired by ISIS, but no firm connection has yet been made between the attacker (who was shot dead by police) and any known terror organization. Nonetheless, President François Hollande told the country, "The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism." How grim things have gotten.

This happened on the day that it looked like almost-certainly-yeah-we-think-so-probably that Donald Trump had chosen Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence, you may know, was the guy who signed into law that revolting Indiana RFRA bill, and generally is super-right-wing on pretty much every issue we care about. Trump was going to make an official announcement regarding his pick today, but says he has postponed it due to the Nice attack.

Probably-almost-for-sure-we-think NOT chosen to be Trump's VP is Newt Gingrich, who said this:

Let me be as blunt and as direct as I can be: Western civilization is in a war. We should, frankly, test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. ... Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS, or Al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail. 

Rubbing salt in the bigotry wound is how this fellow, Veerender Jubbal, a Sikh who also seems super cool, was for the second time wrongfully accused online of having been responsible for a terrorist attack. This time for Nice, last time for Paris. 

CFI's Nick Little warns secularists against getting too comfortable with some of our recent Supreme Court wins:

The fight to defend reproductive rights and to roll back religious privilege continues unabated. There’s going to be more setbacks, more losses, more state attempts to impose and promote religion.  

The latest Campus Inquirer is out from CFI On Campus, reminding you that "It's reaffiliation season!"  

A federal court upholds the contempt ruling against Kim Davis.

But also in Kentucky, County Judge Executive Hollis Alexander refuses to perform a marriage because the couple didn't want any references to God in their ceremony. 

Emma Brown at WaPo takes a deeper look at the GOP's decision to include Biblical education in school as part of its 2016 platform. 

A collection of U.S. senators are addressing when they are calling the "web of denial," the fossil fuel industry's funding of climate science denial.

The Economist compares the current state of populist/xenophobic politics around the world to homeopathy

Too often, the response of mainstream leaders amounts to political homeopathy. They offer a small dose of a harmful idea, whether that is foreigner-bashing, protectionism or ugly partisanship, in the vain hope of soothing voters until their fevers pass. That is a mistake. 

Egypt's Islamic authority says Pokemon Go is "prohibited" by Islam, because it "negatively influences the mind and harms the player or others without being aware of that."  

A federal appeals court says Florida prisons must provide Kosher meals to prisoners who request them for religious reasons. Yes, I remember that episode of Orange is the New Black.

Ellen Barry at NYT looks at the role of Vedic astrology on Indian culture surrounding weddings, including the scary "wedding apocalypse" as "shadow planets" Rahu and Ketu are free to cause astrological havoc. 

China will not allow the new Ghostbusters movie to be shown, and it's not because the men there are all deathly certain it will ruin their childhoods. Almost as silly, it's because the movie has ghosts. That's it. 

Quote of the Day:

Jay Michaelson at Forward offers a prescription for fighting ISIS and other forms of Islamic terror:

We need liberal means toward conservative ends: merciless moderation, ruthless education, overpowering carefulness. We must sublimate our rage into reason. Really, as I suggested after the Paris attacks, the real distinction shouldn’t be between Right and Left but between short-sighted emotional responses and cold, calculating rational ones.

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday July 15, 2016 at 12:52pm

I can’t wait for the all-male remake of Thelma & Louise!

#2 Randy (Guest) on Friday July 15, 2016 at 12:58pm

“That is a mistake”.  So is the article.  A state/country is a group of people who actually do have something in common, by virtue of enduring the same laws, the same taxes, and electing the same masters to rule over them.

There’s nothing wrong, whatsoever, with such a group of people setting the terms on which they’ll admit new members, or trade with others.

It is folly to pretend that globalization has anyone’s best interests at heart.  That’s not to say it’s all bad.  But it’s a net negative.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Friday July 15, 2016 at 1:30pm

“Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS, or Al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail”

Newt isn’t the brightest bulb.  Without people viewing these websites, how would anyone know what our enemies are really saying?  In a free country, citizens certainly have a right to access such information and assess it for themselves.  The public should not simply trust government and media to tell the whole truth (regardless of subject).

But Newt is correct to identify that we are in a war, and it’s long past due for leadership to start acting that way.

#4 dmbierlein on Friday July 15, 2016 at 4:11pm

#Randy - War against who? Muslims who acknowledge Sharia law? How about Jews who acknowledge Halakha, or Catholics who acknowledge Canon Law?
We might be at war (if only the fear-mongers had the courage to declare it) but it’s not the type that Newt is stating. Newt really isn’t as intellectual as the GOP would like to think.

#5 Mario (Guest) on Friday July 15, 2016 at 9:04pm

And what kind of war (as if he didn’t know) are we in, pray tell?

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