Barack + Nessie 4eva

March 4, 2013


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

Margaret Talbot at the New Yorker on the internal views of the sex abuse crisis within in the Catholic Church:

What is distinctive is that Catholic officials can find a higher purpose—protecting the sanctity of the priesthood—in shielding abusers, and a spiritually rewarding humility in enduring criticism of their conduct. [Los Angeles cardinal] Mahony has been blogging about the public disparagement he has received, and he compares it to what Christ withstood, urging the faithful to join him in exploring what it is to “take up our cross daily and to follow Jesus—in rejection, in humiliation, and in personal attack.” But, unlike the criminal prosecution of perpetrators—or real Church reform—that doesn’t do much to help victims or to prevent abuse.

Disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland cops to “having engaged in unspecified sexual misbehavior” with priests. 

That’s right, a 2 1/2 year old kid born with HIV may have been cured

Attention “paleo” fans: Marlene Zuk at the Chronicle of Higher Education disspells myths about what humans are “meant” to do in terms of diet and behavior, and the false idea that evolution has halted for homo sapiens

Bunny, watch your back. CSH’s Tom Flynn is coming to California to present “The Trouble with Easter.”  

Sharon Hill has a new piece at the CSI website on building bridges with believers to mitigate mischaracterizations of skeptics. 

American Atheists turns heads with a new billboard campaign calling out the theocratic musings of high profile religious conservatives, apparently misquoting Sarah Palin in one of them, and inspiring a spokesperson for ad subject Rick Santorum to thank AA for the publicity.

Jeff Strang, already a very good egg and member of the freethought community, donates $240,000 to the Foundation Beyond Belief. Says Hemant, the chair of FBB:

[T]his sort of gift will transform the way we do things at the foundation. It’s game-changer in the best possible way and we can’t thank him enough.

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom calls upon Pakistan to “stem the rising tide of violent religious extremism that victimizes all Pakistanis.” 

Sadly, more cases are added to the list of persecuted individuals at CFI’s Campaign for Free Expression.  

Cool CFI events going on all over the place. A sampling:

  • CFI-Michigan is going to have Ed Brayton, who is hilarious, tackling the serious topic of religious justification of violence, on March 13. 
  • CFI-NYC starts a new group, Queer Humanists, just to drive the religious right into a slobbering fit, March 13.
  • Susan Jacoby will talk Ingersoll with CFI-Michigan on March 27.
  • CFI-UK presents an event on “The Tricks of the Mind” on March 30. 

I have a humble suggestion for the papal conclave, by way of Father Sarducci.

Texas public school class on religion is criticized as a way of “using a high school elective to pole-vault the wall between church and state.” 

A staged performance of last year’s trial of Pussy Riot in Russia is interrupted by the Russian Federal Migration Service to check for illegal aliens in the crowd. 

After linking to an anti-vaxxer conference for the irony of it in a previous Heresy, Tim Farley wisely reminds me that the Google machine doesn’t understand derision, and that pageviews are pageviews. He offers this bit of helpful advice for keeping those links from benefiting the bad guys. 

London nonprofit promotes the reliance on peer review for scientific claims made in the media and in products. 

Minister, writing for a Wichita Falls, TX newspaper, is scared of how well secular humanism is doing, frequently citing the Council. 

City of Lleida, Spain has its ban on Islamic veils overturned

AllAfricaHorrors of genocide turn many surviving Rwandans to atheism. 

Seth Kurtenbach shows how the evil skepto-atheist plan to topple the Catholic Church is working:

Joey Ratz, former Boss of the syndicate, shall retain the title of “emeritus pope”, which helps us by dividing Catholic loyalties. Each resulting faction will be weaker than they otherwise would be as a unified party. 

John Gordon at Salon, battling his way to sobriety, describes a kind of reverse-Francis-Collins-waterfall moment:

I stood on a mountaintop and looked out over the sea. A thousand feet below me, eagles soared on thermals. Wind blew through my hair and I felt dizzy. I fell to my knees and cried. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this “white-light” experience was the moment I realized there was no God — I had been struck atheist. 

Anti-church-state-separation group Becket Fund denounces atheist attempts to level the religious-display playing field as the creation of a “Stupid Public Square.” (Tim, I did the “no follow” in the HTML, ok?)

South Dakota is going to have itself an atheist convention

Bill Moyers’ website rounds up previous discussions on his shows about atheism. 

Reuters posts a photo essay on UFO hunting in Arizona. 

A new edition of a collection of Mormon holy books wrestles more openly with the church’s views on race and polygamy.

Anti-Quote of the Day

Indonesian Constitutional Court justice candidate Arief Hidayat

Indonesia is a religious nation; so, religious freedom in this country must uphold theistic principles. The discussion about religious freedom here, therefore, is not about whether Indonesians may be atheists. All Indonesians should be believers. 

Quote of the Day 

Question posed at the always-risible Yahoo Answers site (with original comma usage maintained):

Why has Obama been hiding the Loch Ness Monster, from us? And, why has the mainstream liberal media been covering it up?   

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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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