Always in Danger of Being Shut Down

December 7, 2016

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

Angela Merkel calls for a ban on full-face veils at a rabble-rousing speech for her party’s conference, veering from her earlier position in which she advocated for bans only in the most specific circumstances when absolutely necessary. CFI, being the stalwarts for freedom of expression and belief that we are, responded:

“We strongly oppose allowing religions to dictate oppressive dress codes on women, but change must come by freeing women to choose their own style of dress — not by imposing bans,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s director of government affairs. “Targeting Muslim religious practices is a distasteful and dangerous electoral ploy to appeal to rising right-wing sentiments. Civil liberties should never be subjected to political calculus,” he added.

In my opinion there is no reason to be even the least bit surprised that Time‘s 2016 Person of the Year is the guy who just got elected president. Runners-up are Hillary Clinton, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the amorphous “hackers,” Beyoncé, and the CRISPR scientists.

Richard Dawkins ranks as the World Post‘s number-4 “global thought leader,” behind Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, and Gary Kasparov. Makes the “religion reigns supreme” tagline of the piece seem, well, not correct. 

Angelo Stagnaro at the National Catholic Register says that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (who, shall I remind Stagnaro, is dead) can’t explain what happened before the Big Bang, and thus, God is real. Yes, the piece even ends with “Q.E.D.”

Fox News’ Monica Crowley is apparently rumored (whatever that means) to be a potential press secretary for Trump. Here’s what she said about climate change:

What this is for the left, and this has been the case now, since they started to make this argument three decades ago plus, is a massive wealth redistribution scheme. It’s also a critical part of secular progressivism where they turn the environment into God. … So, it’s a way of separating Americans and westerners from God and organized religion, and it’s also a wealth redistribution scheme. … This is part of the secular progressive agenda, and has been for a long time. It does turn the Earth into God and replaces God. 

Trump’s new DC hotel is hosting a celebration for Bahrain’s National Day, and Democratic lawmakers are not happy with “e commercial dealings with repressive governments.” 

Ben Carson, nominee for HUD secretary, knows what America needs: “Spiritual infrastructure.” Godless cities everywhere, look out.

Breitbart uses the Weather Channel’s video to spread its climate change denialism, and the Weather Channel is all, oh NO YOU DIDN’T:

To our friends at Breitbart: The next time you write a climate change article and need fact checking help, please call. We’re here for you. I’m sure we both agree this topic is too important to get wrong. 

Some folks are trying to spread the idea that Barron Trump is autistic. (Goddamn it, stop that.) Melania Trump is threatening to sue someone who posted a video claiming as much, and that video is now down and has been retracted by the poster. Emily Willingham writes:

Several people behaved badly in this scenario. Rosie O’Donnell tried to use this ‘revelation’ to drag Donald Trump about his child’s alleged autism and, once again, called autism an “epidemic,” which it is not. The term is offensive to autistic people.

Melania Trump seems to have viewed the conclusions in the video as just about the most awful thing anyone could say about anyone (it isn’t) and trained her firepower via attorney threats on the autistic man who made it. 

Minnesota wedding videographers are suing to be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples. 

Atlas Obscura looks at the FBI doing a headdesk-facepalm over UFO documents. 

Motherboard introduces us to Christo Roppolo, who really seems to believe he can see invisible aliens all around him, and is subject of the documentary Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs

Peter Lewis appreciates the secular character of Australia’s electorate, but wishes the politicians would find a way to find a way to talk about the deeper meanings of existential issues. 

Joe Nickell gathers up some “Herkimer diamonds,” which, turns out, are not magical, but still kind of cool. 

Friend-of-the-Morning-Heretic Nick Fish goes on Fox to talk about American Atheists’ new billboards.  

There’s a big hole in the Sun, because 2016. 

Quote of the Day:

Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot wants to make sure Americans don’t get complacent in the age of Trump. She talks to Jim Rutenberg at NYT:

It’s important not to say to yourself, ‘Oh, it’s O.K.’ It’s important to remember that, for example, in Russia, for the first year of when Vladimir Putin came to power, everybody was thinking that it will be O.K. … 

It is a common phrase right now that ‘America has institutions.’ It does. But a president has power to change institutions and a president moreover has power to change public perception of what is normal, which could lead to changing institutions. … 

You are always in danger of being shut down. But it’s not the end of the story because we are prepared to fight.

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