There’s No Snow Where You’re Going!!!
July 9, 2013
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Robert Long at The American Conservative looks at the nonbelief of conservative fixture George Will, who "combines unbelief with a fondness for religion, not a fear of it." CFI, by the way, gets a nod.
The Decatur Daily of Alabama looks at the crisis in Egypt, takes lessons for the U.S., and reaches a conclusion you wouldn't expect from an Alabama newspaper:
While the effort is constantly difficult when a majority of the people in a democracy subscribe to the same faith, government should not be used as a tool for religion. Both institutions suffer from the combination. Much political acrimony in the United States today arises from this tension. . . . The issue is not whether Christian beliefs are right or wrong, but whether government is the proper institution to promote them.
Meanwhile, it looks like most Egyptians at the moment favor Islamism for their government.
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite has a way to evaluate a country's ability to balance religion and secularism:
If you want to understand what has to change for countries to negotiate religion, secularism and the state, look to the struggle over the role and status of women. This is the indispensable litmus test for discerning where and how both religion and secularism need to change in order to engage a robust public space that respects the religious and the non-religious alike, and what has to change for these complex relationships to function adequately in a democracy.
Auditing its own failures in tracking Osama bin Laden, a commission in Pakistan makes a statement I'd never thought I'd see from them:
In the premier intelligence institutions, religiosity replaced accountability at the expense of professional competence.
CFI conference websites get snazzier and snazzier. Here's the new site for the Student Leadership Conference: Super-snazzy!
An study from the University of Montreal purports to puncture the myths surrounding Mother Theresa.
11 UK institutions' scientists team up for the search for alien life.
Aliens came up with math and pyramids? Kenneth L. Feder at Skeptical Inquirer would like to give humans of ancient civilizations a little more credit.
Thomas F. Farr at National Review's The Corner says the U.S. should take note of the plight of blasphemy-accused Rimsha Masih:
The hard reality is that . . . the United States has done virtually nothing to convince Muslim societies that moving toward religious freedom will work to their advantage — by helping to consolidate democracy (think Egypt), undermine violent religious extremism (think Afghanistan), and increase economic development (take your pick). Until we become more effective in advancing religious freedom abroad, our own security will remain at risk.
There may already be a Galactic Internet.
Now there's a video roundup of Bill Maher's Real Time "New Rules" about religion.
If you're Muslim, you can now safely search the Web with "Halalgoogling," which bypasses all those horrible sites with things like gays or gambling.
Ohio attorney general Jim Petro, a Republican, endorses gay marriage and backs an upcoming ballot measure on the issue.
Converting to Islam in Middle America can be rough enough, and then Ramadan comes, and it's downright lonely, according to a report from Omar Sacirbey.
Church of England affirms its intention to ordain women as bishops.
Folks in the Northeast of India are getting skittish about Satan-worshipping teenagers. Did anyone check if they had 20-sided dice?
An atheist walks into a megachurch and gives a big speech. Here's Hemant Mehta at Oak Hills Church.
Paul Offit goes to On Point with Tom Ashbrook to talk about the failures of alt-med.
Central Florida Freethought Community, which got the right to distribute atheist material to Orange County Public Schools, sues over rejections of some material said to be "insulting."
Snopes reminds us that our political leaders are not the offspring of Roswell aliens.
Google honors the Roswell legend with a doodle.
Hamilton Nolan at Gawker on atheists' sullying of yoga:
Atheists should indeed feel ashamed for practicing yoga. As should Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and agnostics. All that posing. It's embarrassing, frankly. F*** yoga. Do squats.
xkcd heralds the end of all debates about the paranormal and cryptozoology, thanks to cameraphones. Sort of.
Quote of the Day
Meg Rhem (a friend of mine) remembers being confronted with the concept of Hell as a child:
Hell is impossible to avoid when you grow up Catholic. Once in school (a far less liberal Catholic environment than church) the priest got mad at us antsy kids anticipating a snow day by telling us "You all better enjoy that snow! Where you're going, you won't see much!" I was eight. Hell. What toxic bullshit. What hateful nonsense. And how impossible to avoid if you're coming up Catholic. I am, in a large part, fond of my Catholic upbringing. I like the shared history, the ritual passed down through countless generations, I liked a lot of the Jesus stories. But that hell stuff... hell no.
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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