Hey, Ceres!

March 16, 2016


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

Big day in politics, as Trump and Clinton dominate yesterday’s primaries, Kasich ekes out a win in Ohio, and the president is set to announce his nominee to the Supreme Court this morning. 

Laura Turner at Politico says John Kasich’s devout Christian faith may actually be hurting him in the GOP primary race, because it “appears to drive his politically moderate stances on immigration, climate change and gay marriage,” which of course don’t play well these days.

Trump, meanwhile, is all palsy-walsy with prosperity gospel types. But Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention says, “Any definition [of evangelical] that includes both a health and wealth prosperity gospel teacher and me is a word that’s so broad it’s meaningless.” Interesting.

Michael Schulson looks at how Bernie Sanders appeals to “nones,” and represents a kind of fervent nonreligious morality:

[His] values-driven message might be perfectly tailored to an era of religious disaffiliation—one in which more people are uncoupling their moral search from the institutions and authorities that defined American religious publics of eras past. Like a growing number of Americans, Sanders does not define himself within clear religious categories, even as he stays engaged with questions of morality and a just society.

Point of Inquiry has a fascinating interview this week with former white supremacist leader Arno Michaelis. He’s now a nonviolence activist and Buddhist, but look at his picture, I’m still scared of him. 

With a vote of 393-0, the House passes a resolution calling ISIS’s slaughtering of various groups “genocide,” a resolution CFI helped push for.

Beenish Ahmed at ThinkProgress rounds up a depressing collection of instances of blasphemy charges being leveled for all manner of “offenses” around the world. 

Mother Teresa gets the OK for sainthood, and Adam Taylor at WaPo reminds us why not everyone thinks she’s earned such universal adulation.

Hey look, according to a new survey, the concerns of American Muslims are the same as pretty much everyone else’s! They seem to be interested in “jobs” and “not being violent.” CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?!

Police in Bangladesh say that they’re not so sure ISIS killed a Shia cleric, but perhaps a homeopath who may or may not be Shia. Uh, what’s going on, guys? 

Florida governor Rick Scott (who I think is related to Skeletor) signs the “Pastor Protection Act,” which of course clears the way for religious orgs and employees to discriminate

Tennessee’s legislature passes a bill to prevent religious indoctrination in schools, which sounds good, until you realize it’s just to prevent Islam from crossing the awareness of young Christian ears. 

Ben Emmerson, the UN’s expert on counterterrorism, speaks out against the criminalization of extreme views:

Some States have misused these poorly defined concepts to suppress political opposition or ideological dissent from mainstream values. Legislation against extremism has in some instances been used against journalists, religious groups or critics of state policy and this is not acceptable.

Hey, Ceres! [bong-bong!] What’s with your crazy bright spots evaporating in sunlight?

Quote of the Day: 

Michael Schulson (again) interviews Phil Torres, who has a new book on “secular eschatology,” end-times of the nonreligious sort. He says:

Before I started writing this, I had a bunch of friends who had kids. A lot of them are very open to debate. And so we went out on a number of occasions and had two or three drinks and talked about the ethics of having a kid. There are legitimate questions to be asked, just at an existential level, about whether it’s right to bring something into the world that will suffer—and also experience pleasure—but will suffer and eventually perish.

Let’s imagine the best world we can imagine. Is it right to bring a kid in, because they’re going to live for eighty years, or whatever, and perish? Now look at this world. This is a world where Donald Trump is leading in the polls. It’s a world full of nuclear weapons. It’s one where there are at least some people a bit anxious about the future.

All my friends had kids anyway. They were like, Oh you have a good point, but I’m just gonna do it.  

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