We Are Born Bad

January 6, 2017

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

Priorities well established, Paul Ryan is ready to do the people’s work…by defunding Planned Parenthood. Take THAT, cancer screenings!

Robert Leonard at NYT has a must-read piece on the fundamental philosophical divide between liberals and conservatives, speaking to rural Iowans:

They are part of a growing movement in rural America that immerses many young people in a culture — not just conservative news outlets but also home and church environments — that emphasizes contemporary conservative values. It views liberals as loathsome, misinformed and weak, even dangerous. …

He also speaks to former GOP Congressman J.C. Watts, a Baptist minister, who says:

The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe people are fundamentally bad, while Democrats see people as fundamentally good. We are born bad. … We teach [children] how to be good. We become good by being reborn — born again.

Similarly, Sarah Pulliam Bailey looks at the nostalgia factor for Trump voters who want to resurrect a kind of Christian Mayberry. Says one North Carolina mayor, “We try to live the good old days, but it’s hard.” (Also, turns out the 1960s Mayberry of The Andy Griffith Show was itself meant to hearken back to the 1930s.)

The U.S. Army now says turbans, beards, and hijabs are okay if required for religious reasons.  

Stuart Vyse writes about how people see the hand of fate in all manner of events — even many atheists.

Monterey County Weekly reports on SkeptiCamp, which features several of our own folks, and a large, friendly picture of the great Leonard Tramiel. 

Remember when Mark Zuckerberg said he wasn’t an atheist, and a billion articles sprang forth to repeat this single, unremarkable sentence? Well here’s why it might matter: Zuck may be looking to run for president

Daniel Schultz at Religion Dispatches has advice for those who think Democrats should do more overt outreach to people of faith: Don’t bother:

There’s no evidence beyond anecdotes that emphasizing religious outreach is worth the potential risk. Nor is there good evidence it would be more effective than working on race and economics. Show me some numbers that say otherwise, and we’ll talk. 

Acupuncture, according to Mark Crislip, is so pseudoscientific, it barely even exists

Many, many people at the Washington Post Express are feeling very, very stupid. We all make mistakes. 

Speaking of mistakes, I feel kind of bad for this woman who’s been thinking she was praying to Saint Anthony, but was actually praying to Elrond of Rivendell.

That crappy movie The Day After Tomorrow, where a big current of the Atlantic Ocean just stops? Looking more likely in reality

Hey it’s 2017, which means that this year we’ll be saying happy 500th birthday to Martin Luther’s 95 theses! It’s, it’s been great. Just great.

Quote of the Day:

At his blog, Alan Jacobs quotes this selection from George Marsden’s book Jonathan Edwards: A Life:

Much of the history of religion in America has been written to emphasize the triumph of pluralism. Perhaps rightly so. That has meant, however, that those who have never conceded the premise that all or most religions, or even most Christian denominations, are more or less equal, have not been taken as seriously in our histories as they might. Even today there are vast numbers of Americans who, although committed to live at peace with other religious groups, believe it is a matter of eternal life or death to convert members of those groups to their own faith. Like it or not, such evangelistic religion has been and continues to be a major part of the experiences of many ordinary Americans. The dynamics of such religious experience need to be understood if one is to understand large tracts of American culture. Indeed, the tensions between religious exclusivism and pluralism are among the leading unresolved issues shaping the 21st century world. 

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Photo credit: chris jd via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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