A Crammed, Exotic Cocktail

July 29, 2015

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

A sobering and fascinating Point of Inquiry, as Harvard foreign relations expert Stephen M. Walt talks to Josh Zepps about what happens if and when the Islamic State stops being a crisis or a revolution, and just becomes, well, a state.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says no to a rehearing of the case to keep the Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol. Republicans threaten a constitutional amendment to clear the way for it.

It's probably our species' greatest existential threat, but 40% of adult humans have never even heard of climate change. Happily, an alliance of 14 major corporations including Google, Apple, and Bank of America pledge $140 billion as part of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Here's Google's statement.

Never underestimate the Catholic Church's ability to hinder life-saving initiatives for no good reason: Bishops in Kenya are trying to put the kibosh on the polio vaccine

Mustafa Akyol at NYT writes that the scriptural case for Islamic opposition to homosexuality is sketchy at best. 

Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin opines against the public funding of private and religious schools at the Journal Standard

A Religion News Service photo essay tells stories of life for trans Muslims in Malaysia.

Legal Sea Foods restaurants test the patience of the easily offended with an ad campaign that spoofs religion. “Presbyterians will give you a sermon. Pescatarians will give you a salmon.”

Rob Bell, the former megachurch pastor who questions the existence of Hell among other things, is touring with a lecture that mashes up Christianity with Chopra and other stuff:

[Materialism] works until you’re standing in the hospital room and your first kid is born, and you need something more. You and I are made of dust and bones, and yet you are also made of something called spirit. You are crammed full of a divine breath of life itself. You are an exotic cocktail of dust and soul, bone and spirit.

Oh, we're crammed with something, alright. 

Matthew Estes at Harvard Business Review looks at the alienation of conservative atheists: Unwanted by the right, awkward among the secular left. 

Warren Geltch delivers an atheist invocation to the Orange County (FL) Board of County Commissioners after a 14-month delay. He said, in part:

We must feel good when we do the right thing and feel bad when we do the wrong thing. We must be held accountable and responsible for our own actions. That includes treating others how we ourselves want to be treated, and not just making the best we can for ourselves, but for everyone in life, because every life is precious. Without empathy and without good conscience, we will not progress. 

Here's a mess: The Westboro Baptist Church (I know, I'm sorry) indicates support for the Lafayette shooter, says it will picket the funerals of victims, Bobby Jindal threatens to "lock them up," and the ACLU says oh no you won't. 

Jeremy Li at the University of Toronto's The Varsity makes a teach-the-controversy case for the school's problematic alt-med classes. 

Quote of the Day:

Like any organization, we get a lot of weird email. Lots of spam, support, criticism, etc. Here's one Barry Karr got just this morning:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am sorry to disturb you. I look through your website, and find you are the professional one in Vegetables mesh bag...

I've been meaning to talk to Barry about that. 
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Original image by Shutterstock.

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