November 29, 2017


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

[SCENE: Interior, hyper-modern newsroom for a giant media company. Sights and sounds of typing on keyboards, phone calls, smartphone notifications, several television sets with news programming, bustle of a busy office.]

[Cut to elevator doors opening, where in walks PAUL, impresario of Morning Heresy Media, Inc., jacket draped over one arm, looking groggy.]

[As PAUL walks through the newsroom, he is joined in mid-stride by his assistant, let’s call him LUAP, pronounced “LOO-op,” for lack of anything better. LUAP carries an iPad in one hand, coffee cup in another. He matches walking speed with PAUL as he hands him the coffee cup.]


PAUL: Thank you, Luap.

LUAP: Good morning, sir.

PAUL: Anything interesting going on?

LUAP: Quite a bit, sir. [Looks to iPad.] You probably already know about Matt Lauer.

PAUL: Matt who?

LUAP: The co-host of the Today Show?


LUAP: Did that abysmal pair of town hall interviews with Trump and Clinton last year?

PAUL: Oh, christ, right. Gah. So what’s the deal there?

LUAP: Well, NBC just fired him for sexual misconduct.

PAUL: Wow. What’d he do?

LUAP: No details yet, sir.

PAUL: Oof. Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer…you think Stephanopoulos is crapping his pants?

LUAP: Sir?

PAUL: Never mind. What else?

LUAP: The Silicon Valley company Essential just put its CEO Andy Rubin on leave due to similar concerns–

PAUL: Andy Rubin? Creator of the Android operating system? The mind behind the original T-Mobile Sidekick phone?? The robotics maven??? The founder of the super-hot-yet-troubled new tech company Essential????

LUAP: So you know who that is. 

PAUL: Nothing makes sense anymore. 

LUAP: Correct. NPR also just fired its Chief News Editor over–

PAUL: Yeah I dunno what that is. What else? 

Also, President Trump tweeted–

PAUL: Oh god.

LUAP: President Trump tweeted out some terrible anti-Muslim propaganda this morning, sharing content from a British far-right extremist group purporting to show Muslims beating up Christian boys.

PAUL: Are the videos legit?

LUAP: Unclear, but get this – even a guy from InfoWars is telling Trump that it’s garbage. 

PAUL: What a world.

LUAP: Indeed. The president also seems to be telling people that the Access Hollywood recording of his own sexual assault admission is fake.

PAUL: Of course he is. This is just what he does, makes his own reality, and his people eat it up. We really are doomed. I don’t know why I bother coming to work. Or even getting up in the morning.

LUAP: Sir?

PAUL: Forget it.

LUAP: Forgotten, sir. Also, Leigh Corfman, the woman who accused Roy Moore of molesting her when she was 14 is speaking out, pushing back against Moore’s attempts to discredit her.

PAUL: Good for her.

LUAP: There is a lot of talk about the president’s attacks on the press. CNN just disinvited itself from the White House holiday party, and Julia Ioffe–

PAUL: Oh, is that how you pronounce that name? “Ioffe?”

LUAP: Obviously, sir. Anyway, she wrote that Trump’s attacks on the potential AT&T-Time Warner merger mirrors the way Putin’s Russia terrorizes the press

PAUL: Yowza. Luap?

LUAP: Yes, sir?

PAUL: Why are we still walking?

LUAP: It’s a very big newsroom, sir.

PAUL: Too true. Carry on.

LUAP: Well, you know that new Museum of the Bible?

PAUL: Snigger snigger.

LUAP: Sir?

PAUL: I’m sniggering. You know, like a wry chortle. A derisive giggle.

LUAP: Sure. Anyway, former Center for Inquiry president Ronald Lindsay–

PAUL: Hey! How’s Ron doing these days?

LUAP: Well, I can’t say I know, sir…

PAUL: Hell of a guy. Anyway, what are we talking about?

LUAP: Mr. Lindsay? He’s written a piece about the museum from a secular perspective, writing, “In some places the mask slips, and the museum tosses aside the role of curator to don the robes of the evangelist,” having just visited.

PAUL: He visited this office and no one told me??

LUAP: No. Sir. He visited the Museum of the Bible.

PAUL: Ugh. Why?

LUAP: Never mind. 

PAUL: Excellent.

LUAP: Moving on, Religion News Service reports that many churches are providing sanctuary to immigrants threatened with deportation, and Religion & Politics reports on the New Poor People’s Campaign launched by religious progressives, while the DC Catholic Archdiocese is suing Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for rejecting its promotion of a specific religion with a transit ad.

PAUL: Snoozers!


PAUL: Gimme something fun.

LUAP: Well, NBC News has a cool, short little video explaining the near-impossibility of attaining light speed.

PAUL: Did you understand it?


PAUL: What else?

LUAP: Stuart Vyse has a profile of Dan Q. Posin, a kind of proto-Carl Sagan, a pioneer of science communication from the 50s.

PAUL: The 50s?? Yeesh, what is this, Masterpiece Theatre? Come on, keep me current here.

LUAP: Well, scientists have discovered an exoplanet that may be a better candidate for life than Proxima B, called “Ross 128 b,” only 11 light-years away.  

PAUL: Meh.

LUAP: Meh?

PAUL: Call me when they actually catch sight of some Klingons or something.

LUAP: On your cell or office line?

PAUL: Office. I’m not a slave to my job.

LUAP: That you are not, sir.

PAUL: What’s that?

LUAP: Nothing, sir. Here, you might be interested in this. Long-disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker has launched a 24-hour shopping network devoted to surviving the End Times. 

PAUL: Holy crap.

LUAP: Thought you might like that. 

PAUL: Holy moly.

LUAP: Yep.

PAUL: That’s a great idea!

LUAP: Sir?

PAUL: Well, whether its biblical or climatological or even nuclear, the world is ending soon.

LUAP: Uh, it is?

PAUL: And almost none of us are prepared for it.

LUAP: I suppose not.

PAUL: Except for them Silicon Valley billionaires. 

LUAP: Sir?

PAUL: Like Andy Rubin! They all have these super-secure, stocked-up bunkers in places like New Zealand for when the shit hits the fan.

LUAP: New Zealand?

PAUL: I’m so goddamned jealous. I’d go live in one of those things right now if I could. It’s not like things are getting any better. Everything is dying. Even me. Did you know I turn 40 on Friday, Luap?

LUAP: I didn’t, sir. Happy early birthday.

PAUL: Oh please. What’s happy about it? Didn’t I just get finished saying that the world is ending?

LUAP: Yes, but I think it best we end this conversation now, sir.

PAUL: Why?

LUAP: We’ve finally reached your office, so you can go and write The Morning Heresy, sir.

PAUL: Oh. Damn, this is a big newsroom.


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The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta