Khuy, Pizda, Ebat’, and Blyad

May 6, 2014

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

The Supreme Court completely blows it. In a 5-4 decision, the Court rules in favor of sectarian prayer at government legislative functions. CFI's response is to call the decision "ill-reasoned," "hostile to the rights of religious minorities," and "dangerous," among other unflattering things. CNN notes our reaction, including our boss Ron Lindsay's statement that "those of us who believe in a secular government must redouble our legal and advocacy efforts. The New York Times called the decision "lamentable."  

We agreed with the dissent of Justice Kagan:

[M]onth in and month out for over a decade, prayers steeped in only one faith, addressed toward members of the public, commenced meetings to discuss local affairs and distribute government benefits. In my view, that practice does not square with the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share in her government.

Calling the Court's bluff, the Satanists are ready.  

Boko Haram's proclaimed leader threatens to sell off the kidnapped schoolgirls "by Allah." 

To lighten things up a bit, Josh Zepps has a really fun conversation with Cara Santa Maria on the latest Point of Inquiry

Because I suppose he thinks everyone in Russia is six years old, Putin signs a new law banning four dirty words: Khuy, pizda, ebat', and blyad. You look them up.

Skeptical Inquirer has a transcript of the much-loved Point of Inquiry interview with Cosmos's Ann Druyan. My favorite part comes at the end (spoiler alert!):

Ann: ... and best regards to everyone at the Center for Inquiry. 

She likes us! Gush! 

A bunch of Mississippi chefs are set to protest their state's "Religious Freedom Restoration" law (aka "Turn Away the Gays") with a "Big Gay Mississippi Welcome Table" at a major expo for the state in New York.

Pope Francis, when there's a AP article talking about how you're engaged in a "crackdown on US nuns," it's hard to call you "Pope Fluffy" anymore. 

Meanwhile, the Vatican says it is oh-so-powerless to prosecute sexual abuse of children by priests if it doesn't happen within its tiny little palace-town-nation. But don't look now, the Catholic Church may be facing charges of violating international treaties against torture.

Australian parents who let their kid die of cancer because of their rejection of medical treatment in favor of "alternative treatments" face an inquest.

The pyramids were built by aliens. Oh, no, I'm sorry, it was 100,000 slaves folks using wet sand. I dunno where I got the aliens thing from. (See the comments for why there's a strikethrough there.)

The National Climate Assessment report will be released today at the White House at 2pm ET, livestreamed here. I'm sure it'll say everything's okay now. 

I know this has been around, but I just saw it for the first time: South Park's version of the origin of Mormonism. Lucy Harris, smart smart smart. 

Underground alien base FOUND. Because of a FACE! In a ROCK! 

Speaking of rocks, this fake psychic is going to jail for scamming folks out of their money with her "healing rocks." They can't heal, obviously, because that's where the aliens are

Josh Topolsky, I sympathize.  

Anti-quote of the Day 

Alabama's Chief Justice, Roy Moore, says the First Amendment only applies to Christians because:

Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures. ... They didn’t bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship. Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history. Let’s stop playing games.

Quote of the Day

Dahlia Lithwick on the Greece v. Galloway decision:

So freedom in America now means more and more sectarian “prayer opportunities” will be hand-delivered to us as we go about our daily lives. And you can be certain that here in the Land of Opportunity, more and more such “opportunities” to respect and honor and even worship along with the majority religions will be offered to us. And more and more, “freedom” will come to mean that unless you are being condemned to hell or threatened with conversion, you are free to sit quietly and give thanks that you still live in a free country. Amen.   

* * *  

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#1 Stacey C. (Guest) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 at 7:24am

Just a point of clarification. The pyramids were not built by slaves. They were built by Egyptians who worked for the state in lieu of taxes. There have been extensive excavations of the workers camps and there was no sign of slavery.

#2 Jay (Guest) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 at 7:48am

Needed a few laughs with all this bad news.  Thanks. 
There’s a Russian Co-worked here that was very willing to translate.  : )

#3 Bob (Guest) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 at 8:01am

Regarding the evidence for the construction of the pyramids, it probably wasn’t 100,000 slaves. Herodotus, who gives us that number, was writing some 2000 years after the pyramids’ construction, and therefore is basically not to be relied on.  Indeed, we have good evidence that the people who built the pyramids were well cared for and took pride in their work. So, probably not 100,000 not-slaves.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 at 7:16pm

“The Supreme Court completely blows it.
In a 5-4 decision ...”

You may want to re-read those two sentences again.

#5 Mario (Guest) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 at 9:42pm

I’m sure this is a vain gesture, but please be informed that “sectarian” does not mean what it’s being used to mean.  To wit, there are sects *within* Christianity, but Christianity itself is not a sect.  For example.  That’s the distinction.  Hardly a meaningless one, but perhaps too advanced for the Twitter age.

The Supreme Court, perhaps uncharacteristically, made the right decision.  Prayer, “sectarian” or otherwise, at “government legislative functions” is a bad idea, and for all the reasons seculars cite.  But bad and unconstitutional are two very different things; for the sake of our democracy, we HAVE to have separate burdens for determining one vs. the other.  The First Amendment doesn’t exist to keep things and people “inclusive;” it exists to maximize ideological liberty by limiting the govt.‘s power to regulate free expression.  Maybe YOU want the state saying how much (or how little, or what type, etc.) of religious expression should be allowed in this or that public situation, but it strikes me as a damned dangerous notion; and, worse, a damned RIGHT-WING one.  Presumably, this is a left-leaning site, but is it?

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