Oleaginous with an Appetite for Obsequiousness

May 10, 2018


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

Alright, stop. Everyone just STOP. There are people drinking hydrogen peroxide to cure headaches and Alzheimer’s because some health-guru-dingbat told them to on YouTube, to the point where government health officials have to tell people NOT to do this. 

Rep. Jarred Huffman goes on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to talk about the new Congressional Freethought Caucus, and gives this response to a very anti-science caller:

Totally respect your belief in God and your religious views, but these are good examples that you’re bringing up of how strong religious views, if they’re translated into public policy, can hurt other people. You may be confident that God is gonna deliver us from climate change, global warming. I hope you’re right! But all of my reasoning, all of the facts, all the science I’m aware of says that you’re wrong about that. And so on what basis should we make public policy? I think we should listen to the facts and follow them, the same with regard to our public health, whether it’s vaccinations or medicine or research. Again, totally respect your individual choices about what medications you want to take, and your beliefs about the vaccines, perhaps, but we also have all the science telling us that we have to guard against disease outbreaks, and we have to protect our public health through certain medicines. So I’m on the side of science, I’m afraid. 

Francie Diep at Pacific Standard looks at why the Freethought Caucus was necessary:

At first glance, it seems strange to package discussions of personal religious journeys and the rest of these policy goals into one cohesive platform. After all, you don’t have to be an atheist to support science-based policy, and there seems to be no natural connection between climate action and separation of church and state. But the Freethought Caucus is a reaction against how some conservatives have blended faith and policy over the past few decades, [Freethought Equality Fund Political Action Committee’s Ron] Millar says: “The connection is that we wouldn’t be talking about these things without the religious right.” 

The State History Museum in Tacoma will host a “Bigfoot Night,” and one of the entertainers will be the band Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole, which features former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. Why is THAT interesting to me? Because Novoselic is also the board chair of an organization I worked for before CFI, the electoral-reform group FairVote. Somewhere there exists a photo of me and Krist at a FairVite conference, where Krist is kneeling and I am standing, and yet he remains taller.

Climate scientist Michael Mann, a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, talks to KQED about the battles he’s had to fight:

I wasn’t a big kid when I was in elementary school but I always stood up to bullies and I always fought back, even if I was likely to get beat up, because it was the right thing to do. You don’t back off from a worthy battle when the stakes are important. And in this case, what could be more important than the battle to preserve this planet for future generations? 

The LDS Church ends its century-old partnership with the Boy Scouts of America so it can run its own Mormon youth programs. 

Lauren Slagter at MLive.com reports on how LGBTQ students at Christian colleges are refusing to be marginalized. 

Pastor Andy Stanley (I call fake name) argues that Christianity needs to stop taking the Old Testament so seriously, because folks “find it virtually impossible to embrace the dynamic, the worldview, and the values system depicted in the story of Ancient Israel.”

Kenny Biddle dissects the claims of a Bigfoot sighting in New Jersey, and finds more fault in the reporting than in the witness’s claims:

She’s not quoted in the article actually claiming it was a Bigfoot, nor does she state this when the reporter calls her on the phone in the accompanying video segment. She clearly states “whatever this was” when referring to the creature, never stating she thought it was a Bigfoot. According to her statements, she doesn’t know what she saw—and that’s as far as it should have gone. … And in the video segment, it is Hank Flynn, the reporter, who claims “she said she saw Bigfoot.”

A court in Berlin uphold’s the city’s religious-neutrality laws, telling a Muslim primary school teacher that she may not where her head scarf at school

These two con artists in India are extraordinarily creative, even making homemade space suits to sell their lie:

They reportedly told investors they were building a device which they called the ‘rice puller’, which could be used to generate “electricity from thunderbolts”. This device would be sold to NASA once it was complete. Delhi Police say at least 30 people fell for the swindle, and paraded the pair in their crinkly silver outfits for the press. 

Satire outlet Hard Times “reports” on a conundrum for religious liberty: when a cakeshop owner hates not gay (same-sex) couples, but gay (happy) couples:

Of course they were nice, but what is ‘nice’ if not phony and manipulative? … I can still see their beaming smiles when I close my eyes, full of life and hope. … I don’t have a problem with couples who are happy. Just don’t come in here and rub your joyful lifestyle in my face. I believe the world is a black vortex of pain none of us can ever hope to escape.

I could have written that myself. But, like, meant it. 

Quote of the Day

George Will is covered in the blood and white hairs of Mike Pence, who he has just eviscerated and consumed:

The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor … is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing. …

… Pence, one of evangelical Christians’ favorite pin-ups, genuflects at various altars, as the mobocratic spirit and the vicious portion require. …

… Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.

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