You Can ‘Opt Out’ of My Covenant

December 3, 2012

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

This is why the Heresy is late today. It’s bad news: An Indiana court has dismissed CFI’s lawsuit challenging its prohibition against the solemnization of marriages by secular celebrants. CFI boss Ron Lindsay:

According to the court, what is a required accommodation for the religious, is just a matter of convenience for the nonreligious. It would be difficult to imagine a clearer way to classify nonbelievers as second-class citizens. . . . A wedding is one of the most important ceremonies in a person’s life, and it is just as meaningful to atheists as it is to theists. It’s disappointing that a 21st-century court refused to recognize this reality.

CFI plans to appeal. Early reaction to the decision from Hemant

Better news: The UN omits blaphemy and “defamation of religion” language from its text on religious intolerance. 

A state judge rules Louisiana’s school voucher system unconstitutional, but not for the reasons readers of this blog might hope – not for church-state separation, but because of the way it allocates public school funds to private schools.   

This weekend, CFI’s Michael De Dora talked to Stephanie Zvan for Atheists Talk radio.

Council for Secular Humanism chief Tom Flynn is invading the Bible Belt just in time for Christmas.

My own personal blog Near-Earth Object gets a new home at Freethought Blogs, and I join alongside Miriam Mogilevsky’s Brute Reason. Neat, right?

Greg Laden thinks a lot more “witches” have been killed since the Middle Ages than is commonly thought.

Catholic priest to Fox & Friends:

If our Christmas is going to be all about getting upset at people who are to trying do away our Christmas, isn’t that silly, too? 

Already morally-challenged Boy Scouts of America is so porous about its hiring, several pedophiles have been hired

Michael Moyer at SciAm is glad that Time is considering the Higgs boson for its something-something of the year, but, “Every single sentence in Time’s nomination contains at least one serious error.” 

The Michigan Senate Committee on Health Policy approves legislation that allows religion to be an excuse for LGBT discrimination in health care. 

West Point hosts its first same-sex wedding

Another Hollywood fraud psychic pleads guilty to, well, fraud. 

Ashley Miller tells a heartbreaking story of being disowned by her father for dating out of her race. In 2012. 

NYT: Across Russia, a “collective mass psychosis” over the Mayan apocalypse. 

North Korea makes a lot of nutty claims, but the discovery of a unicorn was not among them

Monica Harmsen writes for the CFI On Campus blog on the Eddie Tabash-Frank Turek debate at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and offers advice for folks looking to put on similar events.

Seer-of-angels Lorna Byrne to The Guardian: “Sometimes I will say, ‘Leave me alone’, but it doesn’t work. I can’t hide from them.” Yep.

Paul Finkelm at NYT argues that Thomas Jefferson should be looked on far more harshly than he is for his perpetuation of slavery and pseudoscientifically-based racism.  

Also filed under Kill Your Heroes, at The Atlantic, Isaac Chotiner looks to deflate what he believes to be Salman Rushdie’s overrated writing:

Before the fatwa, Salman Rushdie wrote two great books, Midnight’s Children (1980) and Shame (1983). Since the fatwa, he has not written any.  

In Skeptical Inquirer‘s special section on art and skepticism, Ben Radford muses on the power of context

12 folks tell Templeton whether the universe has a purpose

Dr. Oz gives a platform to cure-the-gays therapy. 

BREAKING: God prohibits lawsuits against pedophile priests. Says God:

If you disagree with my solution of granting an irrevocable safe harbour for the actions of a corrupt priesthood in perpetuity rather than lifting a single heavenly finger to alleviate the torment of young children who did nothing whatsoever to deserve the pain they will experience until the day they die, you can ‘opt out’ of my covenant by telling me so the next time you pray to me. Once I receive your cancellation request, I shall cast you into a lake of fire to writhe in hellish torment for all time. This clearly satisfies legal and moral standards. 

Tell my wife that I can now have as much damn coffee as I want

Congratulations, you’ve got stripes

Quote of the Day       

Adam Roberts bends one’s mind with a sort of atheists-are-cooler-about-God-than-believers play:

What should believers do if they discover that their belief is getting in the way of their proper connection to God? Would they be prepared to sacrifice their faith for their faith? For the true believer, God is always a mysterious supplement, present in life but never completely known, always in essence just beyond the ability of the mind to grasp. But for a true atheist, this is even more profoundly true: the atheist embraces the mysterious Otherness of God much more wholeheartedly than the believer does. To the point, indeed, of Othering God from existence itself. 

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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