The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
The Netherlands will scrap its blasphemy law. But it’s still not okay to diss the queen. Baby steps.
Wendy Kaminer has a thought-provoking piece, sure to rile folks up, on the problem with criminalizing speech and opinions we don’t like:
I’m not suggesting that we should resign ourselves to bigotry. I’m arguing that we should tolerate expressions of it.
Dave Silverman, apparently a fascist, does battle in the War on Christmas with white knight Bill O’Reilly, who says that Christianity is not a religion, which will be news to billions of people.
Meanwhile, Dave is called David Silverman and David Silverstein interchangeably in a San Francisco Chronicle piece about the now atheist-free Congress after the defeat of Pete Stark.
Louisiana’s voucher law, which channels public money to religious schools (remember the Loch-Ness-Monster-proves-creationism thing?) is being challenged on two fronts: It’s heading to state court over the way the law is funded, and a federal judge has ruled that the law mucks with unrelated desegregation laws. Neither of these challenges has anything to do with church-state separation.
Russia’s blasphemy legislation is held up for being too vague. Also sad/hilarious: the phrase “Putin’s human rights council.”
Tom Flynn offers two cheers (withholding the third) to Rhode Island for its stance on its “holiday tree.”
If God is aware of suffering, and if God loves his creation and feels compassion for it, can God be “happy”? Leszek Kołakowski asks at NYBooks.
Rick Warren’s logic: Homosexuality = arsenic = fisticuffs.
Some Jews in Israel are rejecting circumcision for their sons, and face a social stigma for it.
Joelle Fiss at Human Rights First heralds Pakistan’s dropping of its blasphemy case against Rimsha Masih as a huge mark of progress.
Lamar Smith of Texas, who denies human involvement in climate change, and author of the universally-maligned SOPA legislation, to lead the House Science Committee.
Skeptical Inquirer profiles Surly Amy as part of its “Art and Skepticism” feature.
The verdict on Alber Saber, persecuted Egyptian atheist, is postponed until December 12.
Is Healdsburg, CA right to deny a license for a “psychic” to set up shop in its commercial district?
An alleged psychic is pimping himself out to businesses as a “benefit” to employees, helping them to contact dead loved ones. Says the psychic in question, Robert Fahey:
Once a worker experiences the paranormal prescription of a spiritual message from the beyond or by way of an afterlife encounter, it delivers a boost in job competency skills, work interest, motivation, and kindness for the making of better communications and relationships.
Turkey ends its ban on headscarves for female students in the context of religious schools.
CFI-Indiana is about to get Higgsy with it. (I’m sorry.) Physicist Dr. Daniela Bortoletto will join them November 29 to talk about the Higgs boson discovery.
Jann Bellamy at Science-Based Medicine on the efforts of naturopaths and other shillers of CAM in Oregon to have taxpayer money wasted on their fake treatments.
Vermont TV news covers the guy who photographed a gray blob which is obviously Bigfoot. (Who, by the way, is as big as “the abomino snowman.”)
Quote of the Day
Christian columnist for Samford University’s school paper asks fellow believers not to fear the presence of atheists in their midst:
Are the only questions we can ask of God really “How can you bless me today?” and “Will you come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior?” Doubt is not a sin. It is both natural and inevitable. The worst thing we can do is pretend that it does not exist. Any God worth believing in has to be a God that can handle the big questions.
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.
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