The Garshfather

February 27, 2017


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

The latest issue of the super nice and handy CFI newsletter Cause & Effect is out, recapping a fortnight of all the stuff our vast community is up to. 

The Trump administration may pull the U.S. out of the UN Human Rights Council. Un-goddamn-real. 

Sean Spicer blacklists The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN from the White House’s non-televised “gaggle” press briefings. The AP and Time boycott in protest. It’s the last straw for Dan Rather:

This is an emergency that can no longer be placed solely at the feet of President Trump, or even the Trump Administration. This is a moment of judgement for everyone who willingly remains silent. It is gut check time, for those in a position of power, and for the nation. 

Here are 18 states in 2017 America in which legislatures are looking for ways to criminalize protest

A pediatrician in Michigan refuses to treat the baby of a same-sex couple after “praying on it.” While this is apparently legal, the women wisely point out that the baby in question has not yet identified as gay or straight.

In Texas, student athletes must compete in the leagues that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. So student wrestler Mack Beggs, a boy who is transitioning from a girl, is forced to wrestle in the girls’ league. WaPo reports:

Some of Beggs’s female competitors forfeited their matches in the regional meet, reported the Associated Press, out of apparent fear of injury because the 17-year-old is taking testosterone that could create a physical disadvantage. 

Scott Pruitt, who now runs the EPA, thinks it’s just fine to kill the EPA

Bill Gates is (publicly) unfazed by Trump and the post-fact climate:

First of all, I think it’s overblown, this term “post-fact.” People want success, they want education that works, they want healthcare that works, and so to the degree that certain solutions are created not based on facts, I believe these won’t be as successful as those that are based on facts. Democracy is a self-correcting thing. And so, yes, I think facts will stay strong. 

The Economist sees a potential silver lining to Denmark’s charging a man with blasphemy:

The case may yet turn out to be a last gasp for the application of blasphemy laws in western Europe. In the prosecutor’s words, “the circumstances of this case are of a such a nature that the matter should be prosecuted, in order to enable the courts to assess the case.” If a judge throws out the charge, then arguably the law will become a dead letter. And if the charge is upheld, then perhaps legislators will be embarrassed into changing the law. 

(CFI on Denmark’s blasphemy law: Grrrrrrr.) 

Emma Green at The Atlantic (just churning out super-important pieces) looks at a real problem within the FBI: Religious illiteracy. (I can recommend this book to help with that.) 

Also at The Atlantic, David Epstein takes a long look at the medical practices that patients demand, and many doctors provide, even though there’s no evidence they do anything

What do you do when you’re an atheist and asked to be someone’s godparent? Amy Dickinson says:

If you are NOT comfortable fulfilling religious-oriented roles as a godfather, you should thank your friend for this honor and gesture of friendship and trust. Ask him if you can be given an alternate status, whereby you will forge a special friendship with the child. Perhaps you could be the “goshfather” — a special friend and honorary uncle. 

And if you’re a really goofy uncle, you can be the “garsh-father.” 

When in Idaho, it might be hard to find fellow atheists. Or pagans. The AP reports on those who are succeeding in finding their communities

When you’re depressed, you can feel it in your guts. Turns out your guts are feeding on your brain

Hey, I want the asteroid to take us all out as much as anybody, but how might the impact of a said asteroid with Earth actually, like, go? Here’s a flowchart.

Quote of the Day:

Christian scholar and writer Alan Jacobs:

Christians who want religious liberty only for Christians are managing the remarkable twofer of maximal uncharitableness and maximal stupidity. They are enthusiastically handing boxes of ammunition to those secularists who think that Christians don’t give a damn about religious liberty but are only clutching desperately at what little remains of their social power. Why should secularists value religious liberty when Christians don’t? — when Christians would rather eviscerate the First Amendment than allow Muslims the rights that Christians enjoy? They are like the woman who, when faced with a great choice by Solomon, preferred that the baby she said was hers be cut in half rather than have it go to another woman. Let us all be chained rather than Muslims live free — that’s their position. 


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