A Cabal of Vicious Zealots

November 16, 2016


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

Because of some news we’re working on, this has to be super quick.

Ensaf Haidar, global activist and wife of imprisoned Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, writes to Donald Trump in Newsweek:

We must support those who, from within, challenge Islamic law and fight for freedom of speech, press, religion on a daily basis. Those brave young women and men like Raif. … Let it also be your mission, President-elect Trump. I urge you to help me secure Raif’s release, as well as all prisoners of conscience around the world. 

Trump is looking at bringing into his cabinet two anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists as national security officials: Clare Lopez and Frank Gaffney

Jeremy Scahill says to look out: Mike Pence is not the most powerful “Christian supremacist” in American history:

Trump is a Trojan horse for a cabal of vicious zealots who have long craved an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors. With Republican control of the House and Senate and the prospect of dramatically and decisively tilting the balance of the Supreme Court to the far right, the incoming administration will have a real shot at bringing the fire and brimstone of the second coming to Washington. 

Ben Carson, however, will not be joining the administration. Something something small favors. 

An AVAAZ petition is circulating to urge Trump not to withdraw from the Paris climate agreements.  

Richard Grenell might be Trump’s UN ambassador, and he’s kind of a jerk about women.

The latest Dawkins Foundation newsletter delves into the implications of a Trump presidency.  

Andrew R. Lewis and Paul A. Djupe and FiveThirtyEight say Nones are more approving of socialism, but the “rise of the Nones” doesn’t help much because, due to lack of religious cohesion, they don’t reliably vote in blocs. 

The Supreme Court is going to hear today the case about Arlene’s Flowers, where the proprietor refused to provide services to a same-sex couple for their wedding. One of the guys’ names in the wronged couple in question? Robert Ingersoll. 

Holy moly, there’s some real movement on Bangladesh dropping Islam as its official state religion. Bangladesh!  

If it’s not coming out of dirt, is it organic? Here we go. 

Quote of the Day:

Dan Rather:

The political press treats science as a niche issue. But I would argue that it is central to America’s military and economic might, that it shapes the health and welfare of our citizenry, and that our governmental support of the pure pursuit of knowledge through basic research is one of the defining symbols of American excellence. Science bolsters our global stature by its institutionalized respect for the truth, its evidence-based decision-making, and its willingness to accept differing opinions when the facts dictate them.

This is why we need to radically rethink how the press, scientists and politicians place science in the national discourse. And we can’t afford to wait. The top priority must be for scientists to try to engage the incoming administration. While the early indications of how a President Trump may approach issues of science are concerning, we cannot afford not to try. I would suggest that a group of Nobel Prize winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific leaders who may get his attention, offer to meet with the President-elect to lay out what they think the biggest issues are. Top of the list is to assert the special role of science in planning for our future, especially, of course, when it comes to climate change. 


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