This is Part of the Weirding Way

August 23, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI made known its condemnation of violence against religious groups in Egypt:

No person should be targeted for violence because of his or her religious affiliation. As atheists and humanists, though we may disagree strongly with the beliefs of other groups, we wholeheartedly reject oppression and violence carried out against those who hold those beliefs. Freedom of conscience is a fundamental human right.

Hemant Mehta notes that our words are "backed by action," and tells the rest of the skepto-atheist community that "we ought to be among the leading voices condemning a real assault on religious freedom." 

I was the guest pundit on yesterday's episode of Tech News Today on the TWiT network, and it was pretty fun. Also, the host referred to me as the Kwisatz Haderach. 

CFI filed an amicus brief with a court in Massachusetts for its case concerning atheists and the Pledge of Allegiance, and with a novel new tack, CFI boss Ron Lindsay thinks we may just have a chance this time:

[E]very court case has so far concluded the Pledge is a patriotic exercise. Indeed, it is usually described as an important patriotic exercise. If that is the case, then presumably children who are excluded from participation are being denied an important benefit. Furthermore, if the exclusion is based on religious beliefs, then it’s a palpable violation of equal protection. 

In an op-ed for NYT, Adam Frank bemoans the state of the public's acceptance of, well, reality:

[I]nstead of sending my students into a world that celebrates the latest science has to offer, I am delivering them into a society ambivalent, even skeptical, about the fruits of science. 

In the wake of the murder of Indian skeptic Narendra Dabholkar, The Economist laments that "powerful groups remain to exploit superstition and religious fear."  

We gave out a few awards to campus groups at our Student Leadership Conference, and Sarah Kaiser has a rundown of the winners

An Alabama state senator introduces a bill to protect "Merry Christmas," something something secular progressive agenda, blah blah blah. 

A man is declared dead, and 45 minutes later he comes "back to life." 

Okay, I'd never heard of the show Duck Dynasty until yesterday, but apparently it's hyper-Christian (because duck hunting = Jesus? I dunno.) and hyper-popular.  

The government of Malaysia wants to make sure non-Muslims can't use the word "Allah" to refer to God, because it "would confuse Muslims." 

Ian O'Neill ponders, um, what if we do meet some aliens one day? 

A set of charter schools in Florida is under scrutiny for serving predominantly "Jewish communal purposes."

Mayor of Glendale, AZ has ironclad logic for opening all city council sessions with sectarian prayer:

I mean obviously look at some of the problems we've had in the city over the years. A little help would go a long way I think. 

A church offering cookies opens across the street from a Texas public elementary school. Classy. 

Terry Sanderson at the National Secular Society aims to clarify that ideologies do not deserve human rights, saying, "human rights are too important to be sacrificed on the altar of never-ending religious demands."

Astronomer Alex Parker uses Hubble images to make Van Gogh's literally starry night

Toothpaste for Dinner vs. science

Spaaaaace cooooowwwwws

Quote of the Day

Matthew Yglesias solves the politicking-from-the-pulpit problem:

Let's tax churches! All of them, in a non-discriminatory way that doesn't consider faith or creed or level of political engagement. There's simply no good reason to be giving large tax subsidies to the Church of Scientology or the Diocese of San Diego or Temple Rodef Shalom in Virginia or the John Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion church around the corner from me. Whichever faith you think is the one true faith, it's undeniable that the majority of this church-spending is going to support false doctrines. Under the circumstances, tax subsidies for religion are highly inefficient. . . . [T]rying to say that churches should get subsidy when they don't endorse candidates is de facto a kind of subsidy to religious doctrines whose views happen to lack strong partisan implications.

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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#1 Veronica Abbass on Saturday August 24, 2013 at 7:17pm

If the mayor and city council need prayer to help them to run Glendale, then Glendale needs a new mayor and city council.

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