The Morning Heresy 9/27/12: Fragile, Easily Bruised Feelings

September 27, 2012

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

The big story remains the issue of blasphemy and the fate of free expression. 

Al Jazeera has a TV piece on the relentless calls from Muslim nations to criminalize blasphemy. 

At Friendly Atheist, I highlight President Obama's speech to the UN yesterday, and laud his unabashed defense of free speech and opposition to blasphemy laws. 

In an astounding stretch of logic, the head of the Arab League at the UN equates religious hurt feelings with physical harm:

If the international community has criminalized bodily harm, it must just as well criminalize psychological and spiritual harm. The League of Arab States calls for the development of an international legal framework which is binding ... in order to confront insulting religions and ensuring that religious faith and its symbols are respected.

Mike Rosen in the Denver Post finds irony in the need for blasphemy laws:

Although fundamentalist Muslims — a euphemism for retrograde, intolerant, murderous fanatics — behave like the toughest kids on the religious block, they somehow seem to have the most fragile, easily bruised feelings.

Austin Dacey, on the futility of blasphemy laws, says the only ones who benefit from them are those "who anoint themselves as representatives of the outraged and thereby claim authority and consolidate power within the community." 

Mahfooz Kanwar in the Calgary Herald says blasphemy laws must be "opposed at every turn":

This punishment is as cruel, arbitrary and illogical as was its imposer, Zia, the semi-literate fundamentalist president who was addicted to Islam. 

There is disagreement between the Vatican, which officially opposes a UN blasphemy law, and Catholic leaders in Muslim countries. 

Rimsha Masih is not off the hook, as she now faces a trial in juvenile court. Rimsha spoke to CNN and said: "I'm scared. I'm afraid of anyone who might kill us." 

Trial of Egyptian atheist blogger Alber Saber deferred to October 17. 

Egypt Independent: Blasphemy laws are really a political tool that make it easy to "fabricate charges," according to one human rights activist.

NBC News: Ultra-conservative Islamist cleric in Egypt facing charges of blasphemy for desecrating the New Testament outside US embassy. 

US embassy in Bangkok now seeing protests over "The Innocence of Muslims." 

In other news...

At CSI: The Merseyside Skeptics release a video debunking "athletic enhancement" magic sports bands, and Kylie Sturgess interviews Mike Hall for more. 

Even though he's waging a war on religion or something, Obama is going to handily win the Catholic vote

The Secular Coalition is getting ready to school some congressfolk on October 1, and you can go, too. 

Ed Kilgore: The Christian Right debases religion by codifying it in secular ethics and politics. 

Speaking of which, Rick Perry makes clear he is really scared of Satan.  

Taslima Nasrin: "I just want to kiss the Hubble telescope."

Hey cancer patients! Try curing yourself with this homeopathic scorpion toxin

Alt-treatments "healing touch" and "guided imagery" being used with some success to treat PTSD in veterans.  

The blog Viz looks at the disparities in sex representation in atheist visual rhetoric. 

US servicemembers still being issued rifles with biblical codes etched in them. 

Roanoke, VA's county board debates public prayer, and Roanoke Times' Dan Casey says, "For fans of irony, it was a really great show." 

Letter to the editor in WaPo advocates for government getting out of marriage altogether, issuing only civil unions for all, gay and straight. Tom Flynn, I presume, will approve.  

Say this five times fast: "Ironman Buddhist King from space."  

Joe Nickell reviews The Master

Runner-up Quote of the Day: Ed Brayton warns the trolls about indulging in Rebecca Watson Derangement Syndrome:

You have every right to be a dick, but you won’t be doing it here. 

Quote of the Day        

Hussein Ibish for Now Lebanon [h/t David Frum]: 

The OIC [Organisation for Islamic Cooperation] wants to globally shut down freedom of thought, conscience and speech to further "protect" Islam from perceived slights. There is only one appropriate response to this, in language the devout should be able to easily understand: to hell with you.

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 

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