The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
If ever there was a year that needed to be kicked out into the cold, dark night, it’s 2015. Or, as future historians will one day refer to it, 1 BT (Before Trump).
RNS’s Lauren Markoe rounds up some of the notable figures in religion who died in 2015, and perhaps due to a friendly tip from a certain heretical link-blogger, the list includes Avijit Roy, “a champion of secularism.”
Bangladesh’s president, Abdul Hamid, tells BBC that secularism is “one of the main pillars of Bangladesh.” That’s good he’s saying that, but, you know, something about actions emitting a greater decibel level than words. Bangladesh has just sentenced to death two people who attacked and killed blogger Rajib Haider in 2013, though the groups that have claimed responsibility for the recent spate of secularist killings did not claim this murder as their own.
Adapted from her book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It…Every Time, Maria Konnikova at The New Yorker explores various ways in which personal stories are such powerful tools of deception.
Back to Trump, it looks like his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants is screwing up jury selection in a New York terrorism case. And in North Dakota, Somali refugees blame the rhetoric of Trump for an attack on their restaurant. He’s not backing down, of course, calling Muslim refugees “a Trojan horse,” and dissing Angela Merkel.
Psychic medium Jeffrey Wands tells Alan Colmes (you remember him, right? the guy Hannity yelled at?) that he feels premonitions about a Trump presidency.
Justin Scott writes at Friendly Atheist about his efforts to make the nonreligious an important voice in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.
Wonkette cheers on the ACLU’s efforts to stop Catholic hospitals from denying procedures such as tubal ligations to women, encouraging us to “say a little prayer to Satan or Cecile Richards.”
At The Verge, Adi Robertson and Russell Brandom discuss how the definition of “censorship” has become very cloudy and treacherous in the context of social media.
Ed Stetzer makes a Christian case for protecting the religious freedom of minority and unpopular faiths:
The majority of Americans and Protestant pastors believe religious liberty is on the decline in our nation. We should recognize that we can prevent those erosions by standing for the religious freedom of others. As a Christian confident in my faith, I want freedom of religion because I believe the gospel will advance in a free and open market of religious ideas. I want all to hear the gospel, even those who think I should not share it. But as an evangelical, I believe all are made in the image of God and, as such, all must have the freedom to choose their faith, or to change their faith.
BuzzFeed has a kind of odd short video of people saying “I’m an atheist, but…” and “I’m an atheist, and…” I guess it’s nice?
As the guilt you feel over how much you ate over the holidays begins to gnaw at your heart, Scott Gavura has a gentle reminder that “detoxes” and “cleanses” are mostly worthless:
Any product or service advertised with the words “detox” or “cleanse” in the name is only truly effective at cleansing your wallet – of cash. Alternative medicine’s ideas of detoxification and cleansing have no basis in reality. There’s no published evidence to suggest that detox treatments, kits or rituals have any effect on our body’s ability to eliminate waste products effectively.
Keep calm and troll ISIS.
Oh no, the aliens from the Avengers movie are going to attack CERN.
Get your Pluto stamps! (This just in, these stamps have been demoted from First Class postage to postcard stamps. Get it???)
Quote of the Day:
Hanna Hindstrom at Al Jazeera looks at the difficulties faced by atheists in Myanmar. Even though they must meet in secret, they have so much in common with us. For example, “Theo” says of his small group:
We argue a lot.
It’s like we already all know each other. Stay safe tonight, everybody. * * *
Original image by Shutterstock.
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