The Morning Heresy 7/2/12: For Great Justice

July 2, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities

CFI intern Stef McGraw has a great piece lending some perspective to our America-centric movement:

. . . in comparison to many other countries, our fights are miniscule. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t important—small progress is still progress—but we cannot, as a movement, continue to let international issues take a backseat. 

At Friendly AtheistI look askance at Rod Dreher as he exemplifies the wrong way to think about creationism in schools.

There seems to be a lot of positive feeling about CFI's new harassment and hostile conduct policy for conferences, announced Friday. As though the policy were a paperback novel or movie poster, here are some blurbs! (Imagine there are exclamation points next to each one to get the full effect.)

  • Ophelia declares, "This is huge."
  • PZ calls it an example of winning.
  • Stephanie Zvan calls it "welcoming, focused, and highly professional." 

Even the Christian Post notices! Wait.

Michael De Dora at our Office of Public Policy laments the probable funding of a DC voucher program, but promises that CFI will "remain vigilant" in this ongoing struggle. 

Rebecca Watson trumpets the coming CSICon in Nashville this October, with Barry Karr dressed as a Ghostbuster. (Insider secret: That's how Barry dresses for work every day.)

At, Kylie Sturgess interviews musician and writer Jonny Scaramanga about his experience with Accelerated Christian Education, aka fundamentalist schooling, in the UK:

. . . I’m really super proud of my mom because she left a comment on my blog where she said, “I just completely renounce everything that Johnny was ever taught in that school and I should never have sent him there.” Most parents can’t admit that. Everyone else that I’ve spoken to that was involved in the system all still stick up for it rather than question that they may have done something wrong. 

Meanwhile, Kylie posits that everyone -- in the midst of a lot of turmoil in the atheosphere -- take a moment to recognize some of the great things happening in the movement, be they big or small, and of course attach a Twitter hashtag to them:

Now, what’s a #GreatSkepticism moment? It’s something that Sharon Hill and Michael Marsh have been encouraging via Twitter. I’d like to see more of it. I’d like to see more projects that get that zen-like buzz that makes the rest of the day feel like you’ve accomplished something. Even if it’s getting the mental equivalent of clean jeans ready for the day.

(And sincere, heartfelt thanks to Kylie for citing The Morning Heresy as an example. I bow in deep respect.) 

Kate Donovan continues her series on nonbelief in the military with an interview with MAAF's Jason Torpy. 

Recently-catholicized Leah Libresco talks to RNS's Kimberly Winston on the Godcast about her recent conversion (MP3), who has some great questions for Leah about changes in emotion and behavior. 

Kimberly also looks at the rise of high school atheist groups

Claudia at Friendly Atheist warns about dangerous propoganda on a Catholic blog spreading terrible misinformation about contraceptives. 

A group called Catholics Called to Witness go all Michael-Bay-movie-trailer on the next election with a crazy ad for the faithful. 

FFRF has a new billboard in Texas telling folks to quit the church.  DePaul student Andrew Tripp posts his controversial presentation from the CFI Leadership Conference on the veil of privilege he feels our movement needs to overcome

Dave Muscato reflects on his experience at the conference, and posts some great photos (one of which is above).  

150 folks, objecting to its activism against, well, progress, leave the Mormon church en masse in a big ceremony. 

Gannett profiles Florida State University's freethinkers group, a CFI On Campus affiliate. 

University of Queensland study: Loss of feeling of control in one's life makes one more likely to believe in a psychic octopus. 

Sam Harris, though not happy with the word "atheist," would like to reclaim the word "spiritual." (By the way, I think he's right.)

Is the Affordable Care Act unfair to Christian Scientists? (If so, is that a problem?)  

Before the Democratic and Republican conventions, venues will be host to huge prayer-fests. asks whether discovery of alien life would damage belief in religion (spoiler: no). 

Here's an opener for you. Jesse Bering at Salon:

This is a difficult confession to make, because on the surface, I’m sure it sounds wildly hypocritical. Still, here it goes: I trust religious people more than I trust atheists. The hypocritical part is that I happen to be an atheist with unshakably strong godless convictions. 

Sharon Hill: Even though the Mayan 2012 thing has been debunked, expect folks to prepare for it anyway.  

Also from Sharon: Shame on Business Insider for propping up astrological nonsense as legitimate science. 

Bulgarian priest decides to go totally biblical on gays, encourages folks to "throw stones" at LGBT pride parade participants. 

IHT: More mob beatings for blasphemy, this time in Pakistan:

According to the police, Faryad allegedly committed some blasphemous acts over which the residents of Marzi Pura caught him and severely thrashed and tortured him. 

So you've got Orthodox Judaism, but then you also have "ultra-Orthodox" Jews, and they are not happy that the state of Israel exists, because it's too early. They're response? Desecrate a Holocaust Memorial. 

AP: "Questionable" statutes about to go into effect in Florida, including prayers in public schools, and everyone gets ready to go directly to court. 

Chris Lombardi at SCA wonders whether the Texas GOP has considered all those it's leaving out with its God-riddled platform (I'm guessing not):

Can a Hindu in San Antonio who might otherwise firmly believe that border security is essential to national security and that welfare should be reformed still be allowed to run as a Republican? Can a Muslim in Houston who thinks the Transportation Safety Administration should be abolished because he is tired of being harassed at airport checkpoints find safe harbor in the Grand Old Party? What about an Atheist in Dallas who believes that less government regulation will help her small business grow? The party platform would suggest the answer is “no”. 

Why is Taslima Nasreen being banned from Facebook? 

Daylight Atheism....the book!!! 

Also a book: David Niose's Nonbeliever Nation is excerpted in The Humanist

Via Kylie, "physician" in Perth may face criminal charges for hastening the deaths of cancer patients by the use of toxic "alternative" treatments. 

This is awkward. Navy SEALS using cutouts of women in hijabs for target practice in "kill rooms."

Joe Nickell, a fan of both vampires and Honest Abe, is not impressed by the movie.

Joining with the cinematic disappointment, Ben Radford sighs in despair at Seth MacFarlane's Ted.  

Oh, and you may already know, there are some things going on at a popular atheist blog network. 

Quote of the Day     

Leah Libresco -- whose conversion has not dampened her ability to come up with zingers -- on churches' role in civil marriages:

There’s no reason for . . . any religious leader to serve the functions of the state. They should no more sign off on marriage certificates than they do on drivers licenses. 

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)! 

The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta