Out of the Comfort Zone

January 13, 2017

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

The Washington Post editorial board comes down against Trump and the news of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. being maybe-asked to head a “vaccine safety commission,” saying, “He will endanger the health of millions of children if he fans doubts about vaccine safety.”

Emily Willingham scared the crap out of me, as a recently-diagnosed autistic, with this today: “Of all of the groups out there whom Donald Trump disdains, whom his policies will endanger profoundly, autistic people stand to suffer the most.” On Trump’s possible collusion with RFK Jr, she says: 

But that chat, according to Trump’s team, was about autism, not vaccines, and about “forming a commission on Autism [sic].”  … it is a threat because every time someone raises autism as a specter and consequence to fear from vaccines, autism gets cast as the bogeyman. Trump’s own spouse seems to view a presumption of autism as an unforgivable insult. Vaccines aren’t the really scary thing in these narratives. Autism is. When you set up a neurobiological condition as something to fear, you set up the people who are that neurobiology as fearsome, too. And that has consequences ranging from social shunning and abuse to death and more death.

Daniel Oberhaus at The Outline warns that bills in some states, like North Dakota’s House Bill 1185, could be harbingers for a national push to “reclassify any products that distribute the internet as ‘pornographic vending machines.'”

Sarah Pulliam Bailey chronicles how, through Trump, Franklin Graham is now able to insinuate himself into the levels of presidential power that Billy Graham had for generations.

Open Doors USA tracks the 50 countries with the worst records of persecution of Christians. I can’t seem to find the U.S. there, but we keep being told that Christians are an oppressed group here, so I dunno, they must have screwed up. Or maybe they didn’t look closely enough at Starbucks.

Ron Lindsay says Trump “is no fascist,” because he has no core ideology or principles, but he might be more Harding than Hitler:

Like Trump, Warren Harding rode to office on a wave of reaction: whereas Trump has pledged to make America great again, Harding pledged a “return to normalcy.”  

In Tennessee, you can already request to have your car’s license plate have religious messaging on it. Not good enough! Rep. Bill Sanderson wants it to be the LAW that all license plates say “In God We Trust.”

Atheist Warren Allen Smith, author of Who’s Who in Hell (a tongue-in-cheek compilation of famous atheists before the Information Superhighway), died Monday at the age of 95.

Julia Belluz and Javier Zarracina at Vox make a supremely bold claim in their headline: “Sugar, explained.” Gutsy. 

Now this surprised me: There’s a new burqa ban, not in Europe, but in Morocco. They say it’s because they’re sometimes used for, like, bank robberies or something? I’m not kidding.

A Pakistani Senate committee is going to debate how best to keep the country’s blasphemy law from being abused. My suggestion: repeal it. 

Mayor Dan Curtis of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory dons a Sikh turban and dances a Bhangra, and it’s adorable and Canada is great. “I had no clue [it was being recorded],” said Curtis. “I was out of my comfort zone, to be honest. No one with my physique is that comfortable with juggling around.”

Fox News’ Shep Smith defends CNN’s Jim Acosta against the belittling and bullying he was subjected to by Trump and his lackeys. 

There were only three Shakers left, and then one more died on January 2. They’re celibate, so unless there are a lot of sudden converts really soon, the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing will gone.

Quote of the Day:

You know what? QOTD goes to Don Lemon of CNN, who was talking to Jim Acosta about the crap he took from Trump: 

I expected the person, the woman or man who followed you to say, ‘I yield my time to Jim Acosta’ or ‘My question is Jim Acosta’s question.’ I think this is a time for the press to stand up for each other. … I saw Sean Spicer on Fox News and he said you were rude. And I thought, when he called you fake news, what if you called him a fake president?


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