The Last Spasm

October 10, 2016


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



How was your weekend?

Good! Good. Mine was fine.

Okay, so a couple things on the horrific-and-yet-sadly-predictable admission of sexual-assault from Donald Trump. MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid confronted Michele Bachmann about the former Representative’s theological endorsement of Trump:

You, Congresswoman, back on August 30th of this year, said on a show called “The Brody File,” that God had raised up Donald Trump. That Donald Trump has been raised up by God to be the Republican nominee. And you went on to say that God lifts up who he will and takes down who he will. So it seems to me that just based on your own past statements, this was either done to Donald Trump by himself, by David Fahrenthold, by somebody at “Access Hollywood,” or by God. And I wonder if you now believe that God has taken down who he will?

Chris Matthews didn’t appreciate that one bit.

Several folks have noted that the preponderance of those sticking by Trump are ironically/predictably Christian-conservative types. (He’s now saved, you see.) Collin Hansen of the Gospel Coalition has this to say about all that:

The 2016 presidential election will be remembered as the last spasm of energy from the Religious Right before its overdue death.  

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention says:

Some “evangelicals” defending or waving this away. Some are putting the “silent” in “silent majority.” Morally repugnant. 

Alastair Roberts and Alan Jacobs have some thoughts on retiring or “stealing back” the term “evangelical.” 

Herb Silverman reflects on Mike Pence at the VP debate:

Like Pence, I don’t struggle with how to balance personal faith and pubic policy decisions—this is never a problem for atheists 

Aside from, you know, the obvious stuff, there was also other important news. For example, NYT’s Laurie Goodstein has this almost mind-boggling report on the LDS Church and videos recently leaked from meetings of its elders. One big reveal made my jaw drop, which maybe it shouldn’t have, being old and cynical like I am, but nonetheless:

In a presentation that has provoked some criticism, former Senator Gordon H. Smith, a Republican of Oregon, shared with the apostles that he voted in favor of the Iraq War partly because he believed it could open the region for Mormon missionaries. “If that succeeds, there will be an opportunity to begin building the church in the Middle East, which is a deeply troubled place,” said Mr. Smith, who at the time had recently lost a re-election campaign after two terms in the Senate. 

We had a really news-packed Cause & Effect on Friday, I should say. I haven’t even fully recovered from the previous fortnight-and-then-some. 

CFI–Pittsburgh gets a shout-out in the Pittsburgh Tribune in a piece on how politicians still ignore the nonreligious. 

Police in Indonesia aren’t sure yet if Dimas Kanjeng Taat Pribadi, a cult leader, should be charged with blasphemy. Oh, I should mention that this would be on top of the existing investigations into murder and fraud. 

T.C. Sottek at The Verge hits “idiots like Matt Drudge” for trying to make Hurricane Matthew appear to be a government conspiracy to sell us all on the climate change “hoax.”

In November, the CFI Institute will hold a two-day workshop in Los Angeles: “Beyond Reductionism: Confronting Both Religious Fundamentalism and Scientism to Be Better Freethinkers.” 

Helen Branswell at STAT explores the debate over whether certain alt-med practices should be further studied in order to more thoroughly prove their ineffectiveness, or should not be given the dignity of such efforts.

Edzard Ernst laments the scams perpetrated by alt-med practitioners on desperate cancer patients, such as Leah Bracknell, who is raising funds to be treated by a German Heilpraktiker, “a poorly regulated leftover from the Third Reich.”

Susan Perry at MinnPost explores the problem of parents ignoring the dangers of treating kids with alt-med in lieu of real medicine. 

4-year-old autistic boy is hospitalized in London after his parents gave him supplements that included vitamin D, camel’s milk, silver, and Epsom bath salts. 

Quote of the Day

@SmarmyJerkface on Twitter before the debate last night, bringing in the First Contact reference:

The Vulcans just turned the ship around, will try first contact again in 200 years. 

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