Odd Season

January 19, 2018

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

Yesterday, TheAtlantic published an important piece on our Secular Rescue program, and central to that article was Lubna Yaseen, a student from Iraq who we helped move to safety in the U.S. It also so happens that she tells her story in full in this month’s Free Inquiry magazine, which we have made free to read here.

Hemant says:

This is such an important program, because there are countless people like Yaseen who are determined to speak out against faith-based injustice and for women’s rights, but who understand that being vocal also paints a target on their backs.

We had some fightin’ words about the HHS and its “civil rights” division housing a “religious freedom” office, you know, to make sure no one has to take care of transgender folks or women who don’t want to be forced to give birth. Here’s bad-cop Nick Little:

If the Trump administration is so concerned about civil rights in health care, they should be protecting a woman whose pregnancy threatens her right to life by making sure she can’t be turned away by church-owned hospitals. The administration should be protecting individuals’ right to decide when and whether to start a family by upholding abortion rights and ensuring that those seeking birth control can’t be refused service by religious pharmacists. It should ensure that all employers follow the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide no co-pay contraceptive services. It should uphold the right of every person to fully be who they are, and not allow knee-jerk conservatism to become a justification for doctors to push transgender Americans aside.

Washington Blade chose to quote good-cop Jason Lemeiux:

The Department of Health & Human Services should have as its sole priority the health and well-being of every American, pursuing policies based in facts and evidence, regardless of any person’s religious beliefs or lack thereof. This grossly misnamed division represents the opposite. It is an abdication of the department’s vital responsibility to the health of all Americans, placing the dogmatic beliefs of a few above the health and lives of the people they serve.

Oklahoma’s Sen. James Lankford sees things differently than I do:

It is a really odd season for us. Religious liberty and religious freedom and the free expression of your faith has been a given throughout American history. Now for some reason, people in our country and this cultural time are becoming afraid of faith and afraid of people of faith.

Yeah, sometimes we’re afraid of it, because we’re afraid of what you’re going to do us or take away from us because of your faith. Anyway, then he goes into the crap about how people aren’t allowed to “bring their faith into the public arena,” which of course they are, and then something-something Martin Luther King.

Look out, Prince Charles. EDZARD IS COMING FOR YOU. You best whip up some super-diluted and properly-shaken homeopathic magic potion to, um, I dunno, do nothing? 

The Telegraph offers an explainer on homeopathy, but is too hedgy. “At such low amounts [of its active ingredient] it begs the questions whether the treatment merely creates a placebo effect.” Yes, I’d say that question has been begged. 

2017 was only the SECOND-hottest year on record, behind 2016, so clearly global warming is a hoax. <sets fire to mountain of plastic>

Ben Radford muses on the absurd process involved in trying to explain (or excuse) Trump’s various contradictory statements:

Saying “Trump is right” about X is meaningless, because he regularly contradicts not only himself but the official positions of his own administration, and on every conceivable topic.

A local Canadian news outlet reports on the upcoming appearance by one Carolyn Myss, who I take it is some sort of pseudo-mystic guru person, and the piece concludes with a reference to Joe Nickell:

Also, Joe Nickell, a paranormal investigator, is quoted as saying, “Myss provides no proof of her alleged abilities. She intuits, of course, her intuitive power, offers only hearsay testimonials and anecdotal evidence as support.” 

Julia Belluz reports on new information about how not to get colorectal cancer, which is to avoid diets high in “inflammation”:

The diets that were the most inflammation-promoting tended to include lots of processed meat, red meat, organ meat, sugary beverages, and refined grains. They were also lower in wine, tea, coffee, and vegetable intake. Conversely, anti-inflammatory diets were higher in vegetable, coffee, tea, and wine intake, and lower in sugary beverages and red and processed meat intake. 

A study in Ireland shows that a whopping 90% of primary school teachers are Catholic, versus 78% of the general population. 

Quote of the Day

Colbert asks Gervais about whether age brings him closer to believing in God:

COLBERT: Have you given any more thought to God and whether He might be real? 

GERVAIS: Uh, yeah, I think about it every day.

COLBERT: Yeah?

GERVAIS: Yeah. He’s not.

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