September 26, 2013

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

In conjunction with CFI, Trinity College's American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) releases a new report on the religious identification of college-age Americans, and the results are rather surprising. Not only do these folks divide pretty much evenly between three groups (Religious, Spiritual, and Secular), but the those claiming "no religion" are not just fuzzy "searchers," but mostly straight-up nontheists. Here's the press release with highlights and the full report (PDF)

On Monday, CFI's Michael De Dora will do a video chat with persecuted atheists Alber Saber and Kacem El-Ghazzali for International Blasphemy Rights Day. This is an amazing opportunity, and it's not to be missed. 

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi says, I assume with a straight face, that Jesus invented Twitter. Sort of:

[Jesus] used tweets before everyone else, with elementary phrases made up of fewer than 45 characters like "Love one another." 

Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter, believed he was being controlled by extremely low frequency radio waves. 

Pakistan's religious scholars on the targeting and killing of religious minorities: "Stop it."  

You can try to feng shui your living room, but what if we had to apply its principles to city planning? Kyle Hill shows us it'd be all fenged up

Voice of America does a video piece on the new Freethought Equality Fund, which just so happens to include a shot (uncredited) of CFI's Darwin Day graphics.

The Blaze tries to make sense of FFRF's International Blasphemy Rights Day plan to invite folks to stone them -- and also uses a CFI graphic, but gives us proper credit. Thanks, Mr. Hallowell!

Exorcizing your house of demons may be ridiculous, but it may also help you sell it

Over 100 groups of liberal Catholics seek a meeting with the new, cuddly pope. The pope who, by the way, excommunicated an Australian priest for supporting women's ordination.

David Gibson: Archdiocese for the Military Services issue new rules to Catholic chaplains about what they may and may not do for or in the midst of gay people:

Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage, nor are they allowed to take part in any marriage counseling retreats that are open to gay couples under new rules . . . [which] also bar chaplains from taking part in a funeral for a Catholic if that participation “would give the impression that the church approves of same sex ‘marital’ relationships.” 

Activists may give activism a bad name. Ahem. 

Ryan Cragun wonders whether the activities of atheist activists increases overall interest in atheists. To the Google machine! 

CFI-Indiana and the Athenaeum Foundation will present the program "Leaving My Religion: The Risks and Rewards of Becoming Non-Religious" on November 7.

Seth Kurtenbach has the formula to solve all problems

In Canada, homeopathic vaccines get a warning label

SCA grades NJ's gubernatorial and senatorial candidates (and Christie gets an F, which surprised me a little, but there you go). 

Phil Plait is unimpressed by the appearance of a diatom in the atmosphere, which has been claimed as evidence of life originating IN SPAAAAAACE. 

Jessica Ahlquist becomes a target for bullying and abuse again for fortifying the wall between church and state at her school. 

A woman pleads guilty for manslaughter for getting her husband to shoot someone for "telepathically raping" her.  

Islamist political party in Tajikistan tap a female "secularist outsider" as its standard-bearer in the presidential race, making many mullahs squeamish.

I am hobbling around the Religion Newswriters Conference with a big orthopedic boot thing on my foot, which I refer to as my "robot foot." But holy crap, look at this, a real bionic foot controlled by your mind

15 percent of Americans do NOT use the Internet. A third of Americans don't like it or care about it. So they'll never know I'm sticking my tongue out at them right now, going, "nyeah, nyeah, nyeah-nyeah, nyeah." 

Quote of the Day

Scott Gavura goes through Dr. Oz's "superfoods," and gets a metaphorical tummy ache:

The real genius of the term is that it has no set definition. Here, superfoods are products that “rev” your metabolism and “whittle” your waist. The implication is clear – consuming them will have magical effects – you eat, you still lose weight, and you look and feel wonderful. What could be wrong with foods like that? . . . [But] Superfoods are pure marketing speak, meaningless nutrition woo like “detox”, “cleanse”, “immune boost” and pretty much every other word you’ll see in the advertising from a naturopath or nutritionist. 

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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