The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
After the absurd spectacle of Ireland investigating Stephen Fry for blasphemy, which prompted Richard Dawkins to challenge Irish authorities to arrest him for his own blasphemy, New Zealand wises up and decides to scrap its blasphemy law. Not lookin’ so great right now, Ireland. Or Denmark.
Or Canada. I could go on.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is trying to scare the crap out of its people even more than it already does by sending text messages to people’s phones warning them against committing blasphemy. Reads the text:
Uploading & sharing of blasphemous content on Internet is a punishable offense under the law. Such content should be reported on firstname.lastname@example.org for legal action.
Mike Pence tells World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians that Christians are some of the most persecuted folks on Earth.
Dawkins’ challenge also spurs a couple letters to the editor of the Irish Times, the authors of which think that Fry should not be charged with anything, but are also kind of jerky about it.
Rick Brattin, a Missouri state legislator, informs us that gays aren’t the same as human beings because religion. DO TELL.
When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Qur’an, of other religions. There is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being.
Here’s why the West Virginia Supreme Court says beating up someone because they’re gay doesn’t count as a hate crime (via Slate):
Chief Justice Allen H. Loughry II … [wrote] that the “common and ordinary meaning” of the word “sex” simply “imparts being male or female, and does not include ‘sexual orientation.’ ” He reached this conclusion by citing several dictionary definitions and ignoring Supreme Court precedent interpreting sex discrimination to encompass “the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women resulting from sex stereotypes.” Loughry also noted that the legislature has repeatedly tried and failed to add “sexual orientation” to its hate crime statute. Its failure to add these words, Loughry asserted, indicates that the legislature did not intend to protect LGBTQ people from hate crimes.
Robert H. Nelson posts five “rational arguments” about why God probably exists. I don’t think you’ll find them even the least bit compelling. Or even novel.
I mean, like, he’s gonna be the one guy who figured it out and knows how to blow the minds of atheists everywhere. Just him. Okay, guy.
David Gibson explains (I’m sorry: “‘splains”) what the deal is with Our Lady of Fatima.
We know that vaccines don’t cause autism, so Julia Belluz takes a stab at exploring the various guesses about what actually does. Genes are the big thing (as someone with autism, I’m a little weirded out by the use of the term “genetic defect” but I’m a big boy I can take it), and the rest is a hodgepodge of possibilities about environmental triggers or infections.
Luciano Joshua Gonzalez and Juhem Navarro-Rivera have a new podcast about politics and culture “from a secular Latinx perspective,” with a cool name to boot: The Benito Juarez Experience.
Scientists “discover” a “new” shade of blue, “YInMn Blue,” which looks like regular old blue to me, but what do I know? Crayola will make a new crayon “inspired” by said color, whatever that means.
UFO enthusiasts claim to have found evidence of an “alien tank” on the Moon and… You know what? Nope. I can’t. Tank on the Moon? Really? Not, like, rocks, but a tank made by aliens? They really think that? I can’t even think of jokes. Nope nope nope that’s it. Can’t do it. Heresy’s over. Shuttin’ it down. We’re done for the day. See you Monday.
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