The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible, whose adherence to faith-healing resulted in the death of their 2-year-old-son in 2009, are sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for the faith-healing death of their second child, only 8 months old, from pneumonia. On Twitter, CFI chief Ron Lindsay says the judge in the case was wrong to place blame solely on the parents, but should have also pointed to their church. Ron also tweets:
Minister in faith-healing death case insists teachings are correct. Child died b/c of “spiritual lack” in parents. That minister is a killer
Brian Palmer at Slate is agog at the popularity of the very-much-full-of-crap “Natural News” page on Facebook, and has a request:
When one of your Facebook friends posts a link to a story about spirulina boosting brain function or how to cure pneumonia with vitamin C, I beg you to respond. A simple “bogus” will help halt their descent into insanity induced by Natural News.
Speaking of bad science, you can now write off Thought Catalog as a source of anything credible, as it publishes an article entitled, unironically, “Congratulations, You’ve Vaccinated Your Child And Now They’re Retarded.”
Members of Pussy Riot are physically attacked by police and Cossacks in Sochi.
Damon Linker pulls a kind of Malcolm Gladwell-ian “turns out…” trick, saying that the progress toward LGBT marriage equality is rooted in…wait for it…Christianity!
* Network with speakers and attendees. Build new relationships. Challenge your thinking. Learn about secularism, feminism, international women’s rights, intersectionality, and more. (Okay, so that was more than one reason, but you get the idea…)
Friend to secularism on the Hill, Rep. Rush Holt, has opted not to remain inside the soul-sucking pit that is the House of Representatives.
Naveed Ahmad at RNS reports on the growing discomfort around the world with Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Let’s keep making noise, folks.
I first thought this was about “tacos’ hum,” but that made no sense, but really it’s Ben Radford writing about the town of Taos and a mysterious hum, which makes about as much sense.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will fork over $13 million to 17 sexual abuse victims.
That awful bill in Kansas is dead for now, but many states are working up similar “religious freedom” anti-gay bills, according to Gabriel Arrana at the American Prospect. My own state of Maine has just rejected one such bill.
Mark Joseph Stern looks at one particular bill, Idaho’s, and it’s an evil doozie:
Under the bill, a doctor may refuse to treat gay people and be protected from losing his license—even if the American Medical Association requires nondiscriminatory treatment. … A schoolteacher or college professor can openly order gays out of her classroom—even if her school has a policy of equality. Banks and law firms will be forbidden from requiring LGBT inclusiveness. … Under the proposed law, not a single group in the state of Idaho will be permitted to require the equal treatment of gays.
Mitchell Stephens notes the diminishment of humanity’s concept of God:
God once was seen as commanding the entire universe and supervising all of its inhabitants — inflicting tragedies, bestowing triumphs, enforcing morality. But now, outside of some lingering loud pockets of orthodoxy, we have witnessed the arrival of a less mighty, increasingly inconsequential version of God. God is becoming … ordinary.
A flock of cardinals are pecking over the many seeds of contention within the Catholic Church at the Vatican.
Missouri legislator proposes a bill that would require schools to warn parents if their kids are about to be taught evolution. Holy moly.
Unvaccinated UC Berkeley student brings measles back from the Philippines and exposes a train full of people to the virus.
We’ve all been so hung up on Mayan apocalypses and Second Comings, that we forgot to be scared of&n
bsp;Ragnarok, the Viking end of the world, which happens Saturday.
This May, the Montgomery Area Freethought Association will hold a rally at Alabama’s State Capitol Building.
If you get tipped by the Tips for Jesus guy, and you’re an atheist, you can still keep it, right? Right?
Stanley Romanek, who has attracted some media attention for his claims of being abducted and experimented on by aliens, is arrested for distributing child pornography. Says his wife Lisa:
We will be taking UFOlogy into the courtroom. We know that this has EVERTING [sic]… to do with our being outspoken about the ET/UFO reality!
Rufus Wainwright defends his song “Gay Messiah” from accusations of “blasphemy” in Italy.
Bananas are chemicals! Nothing is safe! Wait.
Black hole to gas cloud: “Om nom nom.”
Dave Kempa talks about holding his tongue about his atheism, while noting that the religious do quite the opposite in some odd situations:
At my grandma’s funeral a few years later, the priest spent more of his sermon warning my sisters and me that we were in danger of spending an eternity in hell than he did honoring my busia’s memory. . . . I was talking to my mom the other day about how, even at services for the irreligious, things always devolve into proselytization. She explained that funerals aren’t really for the departed, but for those left behind. In that case, I said, what if I opened my speech at her memorial with, “There is no God. My mother is no more. Gone.”
“What do you think I’ll care?” she said. “I’ll be dead.”
Quote of the Day
Peter Hasselbacher, president of the Kentucky Health Policy Institute, on the striking down of the state’s prohibition of same-sex marriage by a federal judge:
American Democracy has evolved beyond its initial flawed implementation and is no longer a vehicle to force the will of even a majority or of those in power upon the constitutionally protected rights of any minority. …[P]rotecting the particular religious tenets of a hospital in its dealings with either its employees or its patients is not a proper role for our government.
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