Lend Me Some Sugar, I Am Your Neighbor

December 17, 2015


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

THIS IS A BIG DEAL: CFI has been selected to join a coalition of faith-related groups for a campaign aimed at increasing understanding among people of differing beliefs: the Know Your Neighbor Campaign. Today at 1pm ET, CFI’s Michael De Dora will be at the campaign’s kickoff event at the White House. You can watch the live stream here. Importantly, CFI is the only group in the coalition to represent the secular/atheist/skeptic/”nones” perspective, and we’re honored to do so.

(Also, the hashtag for the campaign is #IAmYourNeighbor, which means of course I will have Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” in my head all damn day. #LendMeSomeSugar) 

Coincidentally, today Michael had published an essay for PEN Sweden’s magazine Dissident on the crisis for secularists in Bangladesh. This dude is busy.

Wheaton College, a Christian school, suspends political science professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins, allegedly for her expressions of solidarity with Muslims and for saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. To me, this is like being suspended for saying that the Avengers and the Justice League exist in the same universe. Even if you’re wrong, it’s all made up anyway.

Seth Shostak of SETI, and a CSI fellow, is awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.  

In the aftermath of the recent mass shootings, Stuart Vyse at Skeptical Inquirer cautions us to use our reason, look at the evidence, and reject “the false belief that owning a gun makes you safer.”

Walgreens is going to allow a Catholic hospital to run some of its clinics in the Pacific Northwest, and those who don’t like religion mixed in their health care are not happy. 

That X in “X-mas” isn’t just cute shorthand. It literally means “Christ.” Brandon Ambrosino at Vox explains

Joe Nickell coins the term “hacklore” — distinct from folklore and fakelore — to mean “tales offered by popular writers containing unsourced elements that may be traditional or invented, or a mixture of these, utilized for the purpose of mystery mongering.” My definition? Hacklore: Altering the software the runs Data’s evil twin.

Kurz Gesagt explains how a black hole works, and what happens if you fall in (assuming you’re not already dead from being in space…I mean, you would die, definitely, but it could be really quickly or really, really, really quickly). 

Pope Francis warns Catholics not to pay fraudsters for salvation, but instead believe in his promise of an eternal afterlife and in a guy who is also God and rises from the dead and will come back to Earth. That last part I am extrapolating.  

Orthodox rabbi Mendel Epstein is sentenced to 10 years in prison for “orchestrating a conspiracy to extort religious divorces from unwilling husbands using beatings, stun guns, and an electric cattle prod.”

Manufacturers of “traditional Chinese medicine” are having a problem with contaminated products and, well, the fact that they don’t do anything. Scott Gavura says, “The industry’s unwillingness to recognize the problem and to clean up its own act is telling – these companies prioritize profits over consumer safety.”  

Quote of the Day:

A little heavy on the sentiment for my tastes, but it’s a good thought for the season: Ednor Therriault reconciles atheism and embracing the holidays:

I guess you could say the Christmas I celebrate is Santa Christmas, not Jesus Christmas. For me, it’s not what’s in the church, it’s what’s in the air that matters. Togetherness, laughter, friendship and family—you don’t have to believe in God to believe in that. “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men,” that’s the Christmas spirit for me, not “Away in a manger” or “Hark the herald angels sing.” There are ways for atheists to stand shoulder to shoulder with the most devout Christians, clasp hands and express our joy in complete harmony. When you’re singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” with a group of carolers, for example, substitute the words to “House of the Rising Sun.” Go ahead, try it. It fits perfectly. Take away the religious dogma and you’re left with the spirit of generosity and giving, the setting aside of grudges and the bonhomie that flows from our common holiday traditions and shared memories.   

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