Adultery and Gluttony and Greed and Pride

August 15, 2016

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

The new video just posted for CFI's series Reasonable Talk has good ol' Matt Dillahunty at CFI HQ talking about his experiences in debating the religious, and how we all can hold beliefs that don't jibe with reality.  

Friday's issue of Cause & Effect (which is the official CFI newsletter, by the way) is just busting with good stuff. It's like Reader's Digest of Awesomeness. I may be overselling it a bit.

On Saturday, Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin, his assistant, were shot and killed in Queens near their mosque. The motive for the killings is not known.

Lamenting how religion is used as an excuse to discriminate against and persecute those who are trangender, Mark Sameth at NYT notes the almost arbitrary flip-flopping of gender pronouns in the Hebrew Bible, and drops this truth bomb:

The four-Hebrew-letter name of God, which scholars refer to as the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, was probably not pronounced “Jehovah” or “Yahweh,” as some have guessed. The Israelite priests would have read the letters in reverse as Hu/Hi — in other words, the hidden name of God was Hebrew for “He/She.” Counter to everything we grew up believing, the God of Israel — the God of the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions to which fully half the people on the planet today belong — was understood by its earliest worshipers to be a dual-gendered deity. 

Sen. Marco Rubio makes the surprising move to go before the hard-right, anti-gay American Renewal Project and tells them to, well, stop being so anti-gay:

To love our neighbors we must recognize that many have experienced sometimes severe condemnation and judgment from some Christians. They have heard some say that the reason God will bring condemnation on America is because of them — as if somehow God was willing to put up with adultery and gluttony and greed and pride, but now this is the last straw. 

Trump tells these same folks, a bunch of pastors and whatnot, that church attendance is in decline because they've "been silenced," and implies he can reverse the trend.  

Remember that new California law that says kids who don't get required vaccinations can't go to public schools? Well it's doing what it's supposed to, an unvaccinated kids are being sent home on day one. 

Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar has been issued an arrest warrant because he shared a cartoon on Facebook about ISIS and God. 

Anshu Lal at India's First Post says discrimination against nonbelievers needs to end:

People all over the world need to realise that it is not enough just to be tolerant and respectful to all kinds of faith. They also need to be accepting of a lack of faith. And that can only happen when people get over their obsession with faith. This obsession leads most of the people to perceive faith as such a necessary trait in a human being that its absence is seen as a flaw, which ultimately leads to discrimination against those without faith. 

Belize's Supreme Court overturns a 2013 law criminalizing homosexual sex, saying that not only did the law violate the country's constitution, but that Belize's international human rights treaty obligations had to inform the interpretation of the constitution. 

Benjamin Radford investigates the scammy operations of the "Health Sciences Institute" which offers clickbait to spook you, and wants to charge you money to get allegedly life-saving information from them. Oh, and something-something HILLARY. 

Shannon Morgan has won a $75,000 settlement from the New Jersey DMV, which refused to allow her to have a license plate that said "8THEIST" because it was "objectionable." (Oh hey I wrote that piece!)

Trenton, NJ has a weird curfew law that lets police take kids violating curfew and drop them off at area churches

There's a new card game designed to teach evolution called Origins, which looks like fun.  

Quote of the Day

Sarah Vowell looks at the legacy of inclusivity championed by many American leaders from Washington to Teddy Roosevelt to the Taft clan. She gets this quotes from Judge Alphonso Taft from 1870:

The idea, that a man has less conscience because he is a Rationalist, or a Spiritualist, or even an Atheist, than the believer in any one of the accepted forms of faith, may be current, but it is not a constitutional idea, in the State of Ohio. 

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#1 Sam (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 9:49am

“Faith is the most over-rated of the virtues”
- Hitchens

#2 Mario (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 4:19pm

Wow, I’m staggering the force of that truth bomb.  I don’t know how I can type and stagger at the same time.  Fetch the smelling salts, James.

Actually, the staggering detail is the $75,000.  Does this mean that atheists are going to do the honorable thing and retire the persecuted-minority shtick, now that unbelievers are paid huge (taxpayer-funded) settlements over vanity plate snubs?

Ad nauseum, atheists tell us they just want to be treated like everyone else.  Yet, if anyone else demanded big-time recompense for every slight they encountered, they’d be laughed out of town or forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.  Be careful what you wish for.

#3 Mario (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 4:24pm

Curses.  I’m staggering FROM the force of that truth bomb, not staggering the force.

I’m not using the Force, either.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 4:43pm

“accepted forms of faith”

Interesting concept, in the context of inclusivity.

#5 Randy (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 4:44pm


Can we make an app of it, and offer it free to every Pokémon player?

#6 Randy (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 4:46pm

“drop them off at area churches.”

Surely you mean Pokéstops…  every single one in my neighborhood is either a Pokéstop or gym.  There’s something fun about evolving there, even if it’s not even remotely close to real evolution.

#7 Randy (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 4:52pm

“Nahed Hattar”

I was disappointed that the link didn’t seem to include the original cartoon. I found a copy at the website clarionproject dot org.

#8 Randy (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 4:56pm

I’m impressed with Marco.  Queer people are mostly mocking it, but this is the sort of thing that Obama used to get praise for doing.  I hope it’s genuine.  Regardless, when even a ... a… well lets just leave it at “nominee”... like Trump feels a need to pander to queer people, at least minimally, things are changing.

#9 Randy (Guest) on Monday August 15, 2016 at 5:04pm

“the God of the three”

It’s not that simple.  In some places the god is called “El” (also “Elohim”).  And other sources indicate that god has a wife named “Asherah”.

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