The Sermon on the Mount Makes for Lousy Foreign Policy

July 8, 2013

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

Rabbi David Wolpe (famous in our circles for his debates with various secu-lebrities) causes a stir as he determines that his conservative synagogue will perform same-sex marriages.

Both Science Friday, with help from Paul Offit; and On the Media, with help from Ben Goldacre, take a skeptical look at alternative medicine.   

Lots of Pope action today. Francis "sped two of his predecessors toward sainthood" with approvals for Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. After elevating these guys to celestial awsomeness to hang with God, he then tells priests to stop driving flashy cars.

In the chaos of post-coup Egypt, Islamists are (allegedly) invited to take part in forming the next interim government, to which they respond, "no." 

"No" is also the answer given by some African leaders to President Obama when he asked them to stop persecuting homosexuals

It's a Kraussapalooza! Lawrence Krauss is inescapable in the media, with an op-ed in the LA Times on popes, saints, and miracles; in the New York Times on unilateral nuclear arms reduction, and even The Guardian just a couple weeks ago reviewed his book The Physics of Star Trek, which came out in 1995!!!

A new study looks at the relationship between end-times belief and climate change apathy:

[While] non-end-times believers have little reason to doubt humankind’s infinite persistence, all else being equal, end-times believers ‘know’ that life on Earth has a preordained expiration date, no matter what—and that all Christians will be raptured before the going gets too tough. 

In the Wilson Quarterly, Wilfred M. McClay studies the phenomenon of redemption in American politics. (For example, Mark Sanford is a recipient of redemption, while Barack Obama was perceived as an agent of redemption, etc.)

Kimberly Winston looks at a survey on feelings about the nonreligious (which says, among other things, that 48% of Americans see atheism as a threat), and finds some problems

CFI's John Shook teases apart some of the new atheist-agnostic taxonomy developed in a new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga study. 

Lesley Hazleton, author of The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad, does a TED talk on doubt as part of faith

Israel's cabinet nixes the exemption from military conscription enjoyed by the ultra-orthodox. 

Voyager 1, which may or may not be in the Solar System, is finding stuff at the edge that is blowing astronomers' minds

Bobby Jindal wants a "Young Marines" program in Louisiana "with special emphasis on the love of God" to get $15,000 in taxpayer money

Council of Ex-Muslims gets a branch in France

UK TV channel for Asian audiences is fined £105,000 for broadcasting a lecture by an Islamic scholar that advocated killing for blasphemy and excused terrorism. 

Russia looks poised to overhaul its science and research funding system, with Putin saying that science needs to produce "big, good, socially useful results." Because that's how science works.

Tina Dupuy at The Contributor on the mess in North Carolina's legislature, as it moves on a bill that both stops Sharia and abortion:

Indefensible acts have a defense in religion. And that’s a rickety basis for a government.

Charlie Sheen will find Nessie. Glad that's covered.

Quote of the day runner-up: David Wheeler at has a piece on the American religious sects who are really down on the U.S. of A. Says Mennonite Mark Van Steenwyk:

Let’s face it — the Sermon on the Mount makes for lousy foreign or public policy. We can’t have it both ways. 

Quote of the Day 

12-year-old Egyptian boy Ali Ahmed

We didn't get rid of a military regime to replace it with a fascist theocracy.

How does he know what he knows?

I listen to people a lot and I use my own brain.

* * *  

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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