Lest We Get On Our High Horse

February 6, 2015

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

Did you get your sticker yet? Sign up at the Keep Health Care Safe and Secular website, and get your two free “Vaccinate” stickers. If you put one on your bumper, it might inoculate you against Rob Schneider. Because what are viruses good at? MAKIN’ COP-PEEEES!

Meanwhile, legislators in California are looking to end the personal-belief exemption for parents who don’t want to vaccinate their kids. 

CFI-DC’s Simon Davis interviews Paul Offit for VICE, exploring the idea of a vaccine-free world.  

President Obama went to the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday (boo!) and reminded everyone that no religion is immune from violent interpretations (yay!):

Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. 

And man did that make conservatives mad. But then he also said that people are “obligated” to condemn religious criticism (“obligated”? Boo!):

If in fact we defend the legal right of a person to insult another’s religion, we’re equally obligated to use our free speech to condemn such insults and stand shoulder to shoulder with religious communities, particularly religious minorities who are targets of such attacks. 

Tim Farley reports that the strange case of Dennis Markuze, a.k.a. “David Mabus,” is still not over, with a sudden calling-off of his sentencing hearing. 

Franklin Graham says “Secularists … have taken control of our country.” Had I known that, I would have claimed some territory already. Any good states still available? (hat tip to Rob Boston for the tip and the joke) 

Today is International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

Reporters Without Borders petitions the religious leaders of France to sign on to a free-speech declaration. That should be revealing.

NYT looks at the clash between France’s laïcité and the desires of its growing Muslim population. But President Hollande says, “Secularism is not negotiable.” Word.

Pastor in Toronto says a sexual assault case against an exorcist will cause exorcism to be “unduly demonized,” I presume not grasping the hilarious irony.

Susan Gerbic at Skeptical Inquirer launches a sting to catch fake-psychics in the act.  

You’ve probably seen Stephen Fry’s stone-cold dissing of the idea of a benevolent God, and Abby Ohlheiser points out all the places in the world he could be killed for it

Andrew Copson of the British Humanist Association calmly defuses a Christian activist on TV who says humanism is “demonic.”

The pope is going to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on September 24, which is a first. On a Google Hangout, His Fluffiness says, “I am not able to use computers. What an embarrassment, right?”

A new poll shows that Americans largely favor legalizing same-sex marriage, but also favor loads of religious exemptions for businesses and even government officials. 

Quote of the Day

Jessica Firger of CBS News, in a piece about the willingness of people to believe in celebrity-endorsed pseudoscience:

Most women will probably tell you they barely have time to iron their pants, much less steam their vagina.

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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