The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
There’s a lot to cover this morning, folks. Buckle up.
It’s happened again. Bangladeshi atheist blogger Washiqur Rahman is murdered by machete-wielding assailants in Dhaka, and police detain two madrasa students in connection with the attack. From the Dhaka Tribune:
He was a admirer of another secular blogger Avijit Roy, who was killed by extremists in Dhaka one month ago. After Avijit’s killing, Washiqur paid tribute to him making his Facebook profile and cover photos with the text: #iamavijit and words cannot be killed.
The uproar against Indiana’s right-to-discriminate “religious freedom” law has been enormous. More companies are walking out on the state as a result, including cancelled Indiana expansion plans from Angie’s List. Our own Reba Boyd Wooden, director of CFI-Indiana, was on NBC News to talk about what’s wrong with the law. Governor Mike Pence is doing damage control to insist the bill isn’t about discrimination. But of course, if it’s not, there’s no reason for it to exist at all.
Camp Inquiry 2015 is open for sign-ups. This year’s theme: “To believe or not to believe!”
The loathsome Natural News website uses the tragedy of the downed Germanwings flight to rail against the use of antidepressants.
Junaid M. Afeef opines in the Chicago Sun-Times against blasphemy laws: “If there is a blasphemy taking place, it is being perpetrated by those who kill innocent people in the name of religion.”
Dan Courtney and other skeptics organize to infiltrate a Good News Club meeting, and expose the intimidation and fear it peddles.
Felipe Nogueira interviews Jerry Coyne for CFI’s Skeptical Briefs.
That CNN atheist documentary was pretty, well, lily-white. Mandisa Thomas writes about her own experience as a black atheist, at CNN.com, and calls out CNN for its exclusion.
Stephen L. Carter (not an atheist) at Bloomberg View writes, “By focusing on the lives of atheists, CNN swept into the wings, with only the briefest of mentions, atheism’s significant race and gender problems.”
Biology professor James J. Krupa writes about his uphill battle of teaching evolution to students who simply won’t accept it.
Ted Cruz says his climate change denial makes him like Galileo, which is both offensive and hilarious. Don’t bet on any Indigo Girls songs about you, dude.
Colorado State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain, says that the stabbing attack on a pregnant woman, and the removal of the baby from her womb, is the result of “the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation.” This is a guy who gets to write and vote on legislation, folks.
Meanwhile, during a debate over a new abortion-ban bill in Ohio, State Rep. Teresa Fedor courageously discusses her own rape and abortion before the state senate, and some guy laughs at her. But she doesn’t waver.
Narendra Modi moves to end the beef trade in India, pushing a religiously-based ban on the slaughter of cattle. India is the world’s second-largest beef exporter.
A 17-year-old in Singapore is arrested for criticizing Lee Kuan Yew on YouTube.
The Russian Orthodox Church succeeds in getting a Siberian theatre director fired for staging a production of Wagner’s Tannhauser, thereby hurting religious feelings.
William Keener, on behalf of the Secular Coalition of North Carolina, writes in support of a rather mild pro-vaccination bill in the state, which still faces huge resistance.
Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko blasted off on Friday for their year in space.
Two things in astronomy that now seem harder to detect than we thought: Dark matter, which looks like it doesn’t, um, like, rub up against itself, or something, and Dyson spheres, which may be smaller and harder to see than imagined. If they exist at all. Which they really might not.
Erin Aurbach dishes on her career as a&n
bsp;former telephone (fake) psychic.
Max Blumenthal accuses Ayaan Hirsi Ali of a series of lies in a piece at AlterNet.
Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen has a new book in which the Loch Ness Monster is ‘lurking in the background.’
Quote of the Day:
Apple CEO Tim Cook pens an entire op-ed for the Washington Post on his and Apple’s objection to the Indiana law, as a warning shot to Arizona and other states considering similar bills:
This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.
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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