A Cow is Loose

December 14, 2017

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

Two days after losing the Alabama Senate race, Roy Moore refuses to take no for an answer, which I suppose was also the case with him and underage girls. He said:

We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization and our religion and to set free a suffering humanity. Today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty. Abortion, sodomy and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I dunno, I think all three of those are actually right in line with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  

Today, Net Neutrality will die, perhaps before I have a chance to hit “publish” on this post. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is urging a delay of the FCC’s vote due to the blatantly fraudulent public comment process, in which 2 million anti-neutrality comments were shown to be manufactured, and falsely attributed to real Americans’ names. But these days we don’t do anything about this kind of thing. 

Case in point: The Post has a big feature on Trump’s refusal to concede to the fact of Russian interference in the 2016 election:

The result is … a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government. 

Here’s an ugly story: Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson, a hard-right preacher who dressed like a Catholic priest as was known colloquially as “The Pope,” was reported to have sexually assaulted an underage girl in the basement of his church. Last night, Johnson committed suicide, shooting himself on a bridge. Johnson posted a suicide note on Facebook:

AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news. Only Three things I ask of you to do,if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself .(3)most importantly LOVE GOD. [sic]

State Rep. Wesley Morgan blamed Louisville Public Media and Democrats for Johnson’s death. 

Jack Jenkins at ThinkProgress writes that after years of being a sort of nascent movement with hints of potential, the age of Trump has energized the religious left to become a real thing and a force to be reckoned with:

Although many have mistakenly lifted up a hypothetical Religious Left as a mirror image of the Religious Right (which attained power over the years through electoral victories), progressive people of faith found themselves at their most influential as agents of protest, not power accumulation. When secular activists sounded the horn to mobilize against Trump, a bellowing symphony of shofars, church choirs, and koras had already filled the air. 

Oh, oh, hey, don’t forget about the latest Cause & Effect newsletter. It’s how you get all caught up with the many many many things CFI is up to. 

Anthony Faiola and Anna Jean Kaiser at the Post look at the rise of a religious right in Brazil, with a profile of Rio de Janeiro’s Pentecostal Christian mayor Marcelo Crivella, as well as others in the movement such as presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who says, “There is no such thing as a secular state. The state is Christian, and any minority that is against this has to change.”

Enjoy some iSchadenfreude over the alt-right/white supremacist parallel internet, where they have their own versions of Facebook, OKCupid, YouTube, and even Reddit (why on Earth would there need to be a more Nazi-friendly place than Reddit???). Kevin Roose at NYT writes:

What I found on these sites was more pitiful than fear-inspiring. Sure, some alt-tech platforms were filled with upsetting examples of Nazi imagery and bigoted garbage. But most were ghost towns, with few active users and no obvious supervision. As technology products, many are second- or third-rate, with long load times, broken links and frequent error messages.   

M. Sanjayan at Vox: Scientists are not really good messengers for science itself. Scientists: Ouch, dude. No, but seriously, it’s an interesting look at delivering heart and caring instead of data.

Disney is buying 21st Century Fox. I’m not so sure that’s good, but it would be nice to bring X-Men into the MCU. Dunno if it’s worth it, though.

The Science Moms have taken LEGO FORM.  

Zachary Moore of the Fellowship for Freethought Dallas proposes a Christmas truce:

Christmas shall henceforth be treated as a secular holiday open to the interpretation and enjoyment of all. Christians are welcome to revel in its theological implications, while atheists and others may pick and choose whatever resonates with their own particular values. The Christmas tree in the square will be a malleable and inclusive symbol, able to support the weight of Magi, Menorah and Muhammad, as well as any other marginalized culture that would appreciate a little bit of fun in the darkness of winter (including we joyless atheists). 

Isn’t this, like, how it already is? 

Jeff Bezos’s space company, Blue Origin, successfully launched and landed its rocket and capsule New Shepard, which is intended to be crewed by humans. In the Crew Capsule, they placed a dummy, with the greatest dummy name of all time: “Mannequin Skywalker.”

Loveday Morris at The Post reports on the backlash to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a backlash that is coming from Christians. Jerusalem’s Christians, in fact, who are protesting the decision and asking Mike Pence not to come for a visit:

“This is where it all started,” said the Rev. Mitri Raheb, a Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem. “The Bible originated in Palestine, not in the Bible Belt, but people in the Bible Belt read the Bible in a way that really makes our lives difficult.” 

You and me both, Mirti. You and me both.

Quote of the Day:

The Philadelphia Police Department:

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