House of Pain

July 20, 2016

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

At Deseret News, Billy Hallowell looks at the history and modern implications of the Johnson Amendment, which keeps churches and nonprofits (like us!) from endorsing political candidates. CFI's Michael De Dora provides a lot of background and perspective for this article.

Hemant Mehta posts a column at RNS on why he thinks Hillary Clinton needs to do more to appeal specifically to "nones" and the nonreligious:

We’re not asking her to change her views or enact radical policies. We’re not asking her to denounce her Methodist upbringing. All we’re asking, by and large, is for public assurances that faith will not trump reason in a Clinton administration. 

Amanda Marcotte shows how this GOP convention is a wasps' nest of conspiracy mongers:

To my eyes, this group of people, at best, represented a very thin slice of America: Almost completely white, mostly male, paranoid, and sticking to an aesthetic that is best described as “defensively masculine”, with a heavy emphasis on biker gear and ill-fitting T-shirts. It was a crowd completely detached from any relationship to truth or fact. 

We would like your help to get Congress to make a strong statement condemning blasphemy laws around the world. Happily, Malta just repealed its blasphemy law, though some people (namely Catholic bishops) are sad about it.

NPR hosts a discussion with Islamic scholars arguing against the persecution and prosecution of "free-thinking bloggers" and other progressives in the Muslim world.

Mira Sethi writes about the strangling death of Pakistani social media star Fauzia Azeem, aka "Qandeel Baloch," who was murdered by her brother because he felt she had brought "shame" to their family:

Pakistan has resolved to fight terrorism in all shapes, and we say we are opposed to the Taliban’s perversion of Islam. Yet we unwittingly affirm those perversions by quietly acquiescing to the honor killing of women.  ... Her brother, upon his arrest, said he had done the right thing to salvage his family’s honor. Pakistan can now be proud of its many very good murderers.

Ken Kimmell of the Union of Concerned Scientists lambastes the Republican House's poorly named Committee on Science, Space and Technology and its chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith, for subpoenaing the UCS's correspondences:

Mr. Smith makes no claim that our organization violated any law or regulation; he simply demands to see our correspondence. This is a deeply troubling request. It is, in effect, a bullying tactic that threatens the work that advocacy groups like mine do under the protection of the First Amendment when we “petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Are we to expect a subpoena every time we have a conversation with a public official if some committee chairman dislikes or disagrees with us? 

Julia Belluz at Vox is all, look, vitamin supplements are mostly useless but if you must, ugh, fine, get these. I am paraphrasing. 

Steve Novella has a CRAZY idea for pharmacists:

Just stop selling health care products that have no evidence of efficacy or evidence of lack of efficacy. Stop selling products that don’t work. 

KKCO in Colorado profiles high school student Cidney Fisk, who came out as an atheist when she found her school pushing religiously-based "sex-ed."

At KQED, Ripudaman Malhotra, an atheist, explains why he prays despite his nonbelief:

Stripped of the reference to God, prayers are expressions of wonderment, of our aspirations and desires, and of contrition. This world is awesome and amazing, and I am thankful to experience it. I have aspirations. I wish I could be kinder, more loving, and less prone to anger. I wish the world were a more peaceful place. Occasionally when I find these ideas expressed in certain passages of liturgy, I get goose bumps. The feeling is real, and I want to experience it every time. 

Minnesota Daily does a fluffy interview with alleged "psychic" Echo Bodine, and wouldn't you know, never once asks her to prove her abilities or questions her claims. Sad! 

Ben Carson, who managed to stay awake long enough to deliver a late speech at the GOP convention, says Hillary Clinton something something Saul Alinsky something something SATAN

Quote of the Day

This needs two parts. Nothing to do with skepto-atheism or anything. So you know how Melania Trump's speech was plagiarized of course. Journalist Tony Gatto tweets, "RNC Chief strategist @seanspicer claims Melania used common phrases used by Kid Rock, John Legend, Public Enemy, Akon, House of Pain." 

To which John Legend himself responds

I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.
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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 at 12:39pm

“stop selling health care products that have no evidence of efficacy”

That would be nice.  In my local pharmacies, the nonsense products are mixed right in with the regular ones.  The only clue (beyond trying to read the fine print) is that the false products tend to have green packaging, so far.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 at 12:58pm

“we’re asking, ... for public assurances that faith will not trump reason”

Let’s go one step further and ask that dogma of any sort will not trump reason…  (such assurance will not be given during my lifetime, but we should at least begin asking).

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 at 12:59pm

Leave to Amanda to bash men.  Why is this allowed on this blog?

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