The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
CFI’s Sarah Kaiser considers the wisdom of a New York state bill that would toughen penalties for crimes committed in a place of worship:
[N]ot every citizen of New York is a member of a religious institution, incorporated or not. In fact, many citizens are members of local secular groups (like CFI–NYC and CFI–Western New York), and their communities would be harmed by robbery, property damage, and vandalism just as much as places of worship.
I can’t believe this is a thing: GOP congressional candidate is being attacked for playing live-action role playing games (yes, he LARPs), which I think makes him awesome, but makes fellow GOPers think he’s a Satanist.
Comedian Leighann Lord will perform at the special Saturday night dinner event at Women in Secularism III. That’s awesome.
A Louisiana teacher gets two Starbucks beverages with a pentagram and “666” written on the foam in caramel drizzle. Complaining to the company, she writes of the offending employee:
I am in no way judging his beliefs or dis-meriting his beautiful artwork, I am however judging his lack of professionalism and respect for others.
Natalie Angier at NYT writes about what scientists are discovering about “the brighter side of spite.”
Russell Saunders makes clear that natural does not equal healthy:
“Natural” is such a pretty word. It conjures up all sorts of nice mental pictures: waterfalls, butterflies, the slow return to spring after a long winter. When someone makes reference to nature and all things natural, odds are that’s the kind of thing you’re meant to think of in response. Presumably they’re not expecting you to think of amoebic dysentery.
As you surely know, there has been another shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, and the reason I bring it up here is because it spawned perhaps the Worst Tweet Ever Tweeted by some horrid person who works for the various Breitbart outlets.
Police in Bangladesh arrest two teenagers for “hurting religious sentiment” for Facebook posts critical of death threats against atheist blogger Abhijit Roy. The teenagers had already been attacked and beaten by a mob.
A hoax letter bearing the U.S. Geological Survey logo is circulated warning about an impending earthquake.
Herb Silverman suggests amending the Bible like we do constitutions: “Is this heresy? No, it’s tradition!”
Based on analysis of blood flow, any Christians who put stock in the Shroud of Turin (which you shouldn’t because it’s either way too recent or a fake) may need to reconsider the whole “cross” shape and embrace the letter Y.
Foundation Beyond Belief picks the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty as one of its beneficiaries, and explains the thinking behind it:
There is more common ground between religious and nonreligious people than either side tends to realize. When our values and interests overlap, as they strongly do in this case, it stands to reason that we should reach out in common cause and support each other.
This Philadelphia Inquirer piece warning against giving homeopathy too much credence is a bit too cautious for my tastes. Just tell folks it’s junk.
Joe Nickell looks into the “miracle” of a glow-in-the-dark Virgin Mary.
Robert Price of The Human Bible is interviewed on the Malcontent’s Gambit podcast.
Bill Clinton, defender of Earth against aliens.
Quote of the Day
Jeffrey Kluger at Time on the “numbskullery” of anti-vax parents:
[H]ere’s the thing the anti-vaxxers need to know, for the one billionth time: You’re wrong. Really, it’s that simple. You’re trafficking in junk science, in thoroughly debunked science, in the dizzy stuff of rumor mills and conspiracy theories. And about nature? “Messing with nature” is the whole point of medicine, given that it’s nature that cooked up every disease that ever existed. You want pure nature? OK, die young.
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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