A Shattering Disaster

March 29, 2017

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

I was sick yesterday, thus no Heresy. I’m sick today, too, but skepto-atheism never rests. 

The editorial board of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group cites the Center for Inquiry in its piece on Pakistan’s blasphemy crackdown:

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calls blasphemy an “unpardonable offense.” Here, the unpardonable offense would be failing to push back against such backward thing. Facebook and Twitter should help to lead the push.

Point of Inquiry this week has Phoebe Maltz Bovey, author of the book The Perils of “Privilege”: Why Injustice Can’t be Solved by Accusing Others of Advantage

Margaret Sullivan is not impressed by Alex Jones’ “apology” about Pizzagate. 

Marguerite Holloway at The New Yorker reports on two NASA engineers, Natalia Sanchez and Tracy Van Houten, and the how they exemplify how many in science feel compelled to get politically active.

Australia considers an extension of its Racial Discrimination Act to cover religion, which a former human rights commissioner says could “turn Australia into Saudi Arabia, where people can be hauled before courts for criticising religion.”

Michelle Nijhuis at The New Yorker looks at the beginnings of planned retreats from the effects of climate change. “Unless a single government entity, or a shattering disaster, makes a strong argument for the benefits of relocation, inertia tends to set in.” 

As Trump and friends look to gut the welfare state, Emma Green explores how religious charities and even secular “common work” might attempt to fill in the gaps. 

Meanwhile, Christian charities are feeling the heat in India, where the rise in Hindu nationalism pushes out groups like Compassion International. 

Great. Here come the alt-right Mormons

This is interesting: Lauren Camera at US News reports that even boosters of private schools and vouchers are wary of the federal government getting involved in their business.

There’s a new Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) update, where one workshop presenter in North Dakota told Bertha Vasquez he “saw genuine relief for the support offered” from the teachers. 

It’s not so easy for atheists to find the counseling services they need in America’s most religious areas, reports Angela Almeida for The Atlantic

Herb Silverman has a new collection of essays in book form: An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land

Jeffrey Tayler at Quillette profiles Sarah Haider of Ex-Muslims of North America, who says:

Ex-Muslims in the West should be free to be who they are and leave their religion. At the very least, we shouldn’t have to be fearful of our family and friends. If Muslims feel they’re being badly treated here [in the United States], they can go to Muslim-majority countries. But where can a person like me go? I’m in the safest place I can possibly be, yet I’m too afraid to tell people where I live. It’s tragic for me that there’s even a need for our organization. 

Daniel Schultz says there’s no big liberal-religious movement on the horizon: “There is a religious left, just not the one the activists would like to imagine. It’s called the Democratic Party.” 

Joe Nickell looks into the life of nineteenth-century “Magnetic Healer” H.N. Wheelock

Quote of the Day:

The Washington Post on Trump’s reversal of Obama’s climate policies:

Under President Barack Obama’s leadership, the world finally began addressing one of the greatest challenges human beings have ever faced, a multi-generational struggle to keep the planet temperate and accommodating to human life. President Trump’s move to rip up Mr. Obama’s climate policies are beyond reckless. Children studying his presidency will ask, “How could anyone have done this?” …

… The nation had a climate policy. Now it does not. … the president has put the country on a know-nothing path to an endangered planet.

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