One Hundred Trillion Blessings

August 25, 2015

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

Yesterday we announced the winners of the No God But Funny contest, where folks were asked to come up with lovable atheist sitcom characters in the form of a pilot script and/or webisode. They're great! The best script was for Thank God I'm an Atheist, and the best webisode is this charming, fully-produced piece, Earth Angel. (Hemant wants more Earth Angel episodes so he can binge-watch.) Congrats to all!   

You're gonna like this, heathens. Point of Inquiry this week has Eugenie Scott, chatting with Lindsay Beyerstein about things like alien-human hybrids, yetis, the interesting genetalia of particular insects, and how biological anthropologists define "race." It's a good one! 

Megan Barry, candidate for mayor of Nashville, has rumors spread about her that she is an atheist. So of course, she stands up and says, "I am not an atheist, but what would it matter if I was? I'm running for mayor, not pastor." I'm kidding! Of course she didn't say that. Instead, she pulled a Kay Hagan, said that the rumors were "not nice things" being said about her and that they were "hurtful" (because being an atheist is bad, remember), and then did The Full Jesus:

The values I have always brought to my public service have always been a deep reflection of what I believe as a Catholic. ... In prayer and in Jesus, we are all together in this. ... My faith is something I will always take with me into the mayor’s office. 

The LA Times backs the position of the coalition of 130 groups (including CFI) who want to see an end to hiring discrimination within faith-based initiatives:

If a church-affiliated soup kitchen can't proselytize, it makes no sense for it to be allowed to use government funds to hire only cooks who are believers. 

Bob Egelko at the San Francisco Chronicle profiles the case of Rachel Miller who was denied sterilization because her hospital, which received state funding, is a Catholic one. Miller says:

I was shocked to learn from my doctor that the hospital was telling me no and that the only basis for that was a religious doctrine. I have no problem with people practicing their religion. But because there are so many Catholic hospitals, especially in the north state where I live, it leaves women with very little choice. 

Egelko reports, however, that the Hobby Lobby case is making it easier for religious institutions to impose these kinds of restrictions, despite current law. The ACLU is bringing suit.

At Skeptical Inquirer, Tamar Wilner rounds up useful online tools for skeptics looking to fact check claims in a social media landscape that "tends to reward emotional manipulation over truth-telling." 

Two women graduate the U.S. Army Ranger School (yay!) in a ceremony awash in Christianity (boo!). 

GovTrack posts a recap of the 2015 summer session in Congress, and has this important reminder about the efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, emphasis mine:

Congress ended its summer session on the subject of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, following the release of a series of videos showing a Planned Parenthood executive discussing payments for the exchange of fetal tissue. ... This was legalized in 1993 — almost unanimously.

Pat Robertson, of course, knows that Congress's failure to defund it so far has resulted in God's wrath upon global markets. Man, we humans are such disappointments.

The Pope is coming to Philly, and the merchandising is in full swingFind the pope in the cheesesteak

Pediatrician Aaron E. Carroll at NYT: No, no, no, you don't need eight freaking glasses of water every day. Stop saying it. 

A priest is going to prison and being registered as a sex offender for groping a sleeping woman who didn't know him on a US Airways flight. The priest, Marcelo De Jesumaria, told the flight crew the sleeping woman was his wife so he could be moved next to her. 

Quote of the Day:

John Oliver's fake-but-real church starts raking in the cash, but wants to get more specific:

So, let me be clear, we want U.S. currency. I should have mentioned that last week because we have received currency from all over the world, including this $100 trillion bill from Zimbabwe. I was actually genuinely excited about this and was about to send 100 trillion blessings your way until I checked the exchange rate and found out this is worth about 40 cents, so now, I wouldn’t even bless you if you fucking sneeze.

Now check out his segment on LGBT discrimination, which is based on, now what is it again? Oh yes, religion. 
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Original image by Shutterstock.

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