The Smell of Burnt Limes

February 17, 2017

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

Trump, as you probably know, held a deeply bizarre press conference yesterday, in which he lied and lied and lied and lied. Like, not politician-lied. Like Hurricane Lie. “Unhinged” is one way to put it.

Reporter Jake Turx of Orthodox Jewish publication Ami Magazine got to ask Trump a question, began it by saying he thinks Trump is not anti-Semitic, asks about anti-Semitism more generally, and then Trump berates him and tells him to be quiet and sit down and is really mad for some reason.

Washington’s State Supreme Court says a florist who refused to sell services to a gay couple did indeed violate anti-discrimination laws, despite her religious opposition. (And again, the name of one of the men in the couple in question? Rob Ingersoll.)

Nina Burleigh at Newsweek reports on the “many gifts Donald Trump is expected to shower on the religious right” and you ARE allowed to giggle at the use of the word “shower.” 

Graham Vyse at The New Republic looks at how Trump and pals are pushing hard on equating “religious freedom” with Christian privilege

Another way to put what is really meant by “religious freedom,” by Sunnivie Brydum in the context of the “First Amendment Defense Act”:

[It] means queer people, or unmarried heterosexual people, or anyone whom a business-owner or person of faith believes might be having sex outside of marriage, is subject to a denial of service. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not particularly interested in letting my local baker peer through my bedroom window before they accept my order for a cake. 

CFI’s Ron Lindsay writes about the necessity of a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, noting, “Exacerbating the tendency of both sides to nurse decades-long grievances is the overlay of religious conflict.” 

Tim Binga, CFI’s Master of the Realm of the Libraries, shows off materials on Mina “Margery” Crandon, who Scientific American (with Houdini) tested for spiritual-medium powers in the 1920s (she failed).

Here’s fake news from 1917, when Britain wanted to get China into the war by spreading the false story that Germany was “extracting glycerine out of dead soldiers” which had the “smell of burnt limes” for some reason.

Here’s fake news from 2017, in which 20th Century Fox posts a fake news site with a fake headline about Trump and Russia to promote a new movie, A Cure for Wellness. Here’s how the PR folks explained it:

‘A Cure for Wellness’ is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker. As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news. 

Quote of the Day:

Former South Carolina governor and current GOP U.S. House Representative, Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford, surprises the hell out of me by out and out opposing the Trump administration:

I believe in a war of ideas … and I tell the staff all the time: Look, we’re in the business of crafting and refining our arguments that are hopefully based on the truth. Truth matters. Not hyperbole, not wild suggestion, but actual truth. …

… If you see a pattern of over and over and over again, wherein facts don’t matter and you can just make up anything … [stops himself] … Our republic was based on reason. The Founding Fathers were wed to this notion of reason. It was a reason-based system. And if you go to a point wherein it doesn’t matter, I mean, that has huge implications in terms of where we go next as a society.

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