No Black Friday Sales for You!

May 1, 2013

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

Tomorrow, for real this time, CFI and other allies around the world will protest for free expression in Bangladesh. Here are the details, and don’t forget when tweeting from or about protest events to include the hashtag #DefendDissent. 

Big news! CFI announces its super-mega-ultra conference, combining the powers of humanism and skepticism into one! It’s the CFI Summit, October 24-27 in Tacoma. Early information is here

A bill in Michigan would exempt medical professionals from having to perform any function that conflicted with “moral” religious beliefs. CFI’s Office of Public Policy wants Michiganders to tell their state senators to shut that whole thing down

Meanwhile, the U.S. House has a new bill that would allow individual citizens from exempting their tax dollars from funding the Affordable Care Act because of religious objections. Man, these guys are tenacious. 

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom releases its annual report (PDF), which includes information on the persecution of nonbelievers. 

Pew has a slew of new data on the practices, beliefs, and opinions of Muslims around the world. The Economist breaks some of it down:

Almost 80% of Egyptian Muslims say they favour religious freedom and a similar number favour sharia law. Of that group, almost 90% also think people who renounce Islam should be put to death. Confused? So are they.  

If you’re a woman in Saudi Arabia, be careful you don’t accidentally send a text message that might perchance be misinterpreted as promoting the wrong kind of Islam. 

Ed Markey wins the Democratic primary to run for John Kerry’s old Senate seat – Markey is a co-sponsor of a resolution to honor Darwin Day. 

CFI’s John Shook responds to First Things‘ David Baggett on the subject of secular morality:

Unable to see anything in the human world that tells him where his real moral obligations lie — not in our humanity, and not even in the real suffering of a child — he needs a “Decider” just to be sure. Sounds pretty inhuman to me.  

Theocratic faux-historian David Barton invited to speak at a military prayer breakfast at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

No matter how many times I read this, it’s still funny. Letter to the editor from Brian Metzgar sticks it to the atheists:

If you choose to be a nonbeliever, that is your choice, but that means you have to have a job that does not give you off on Christmas and makes you work for regular pay on Sundays without that day off. Nonbelievers also can’t take advantage of the Black Friday/Christmas sales either. 

Jon Peters of CFI-Portland (Oregon) commemorates “DNA Day,” celebrating the publication of Watson and Crick’s discoveries. 

Governor of Tokyo apologizes for saying this about Olympic rival city Istanbul:

Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes 

Britons don’t trust the church, and the don’t trust Google either. 

Turkish sociologist who equated atheism and autism: Sorry. (Sort of.) 

Hungary bans protest by far-right anti-Semitic groups as Budapest readies to welcome the World Jewish Congress. 

In addition to be a day of protest, tomorrow is also the National Day of Reason, and we have at least two cities making proclamations: In Charlotte, NC and Dunedin, FL.

Meanwhile, CFI-Portland is holding a fundraiser this Friday for its charitable Freethought Books Project. 

Awkward! Ex-pope Ratzinger is coming back to the Vatican

Moroccan atheist Eddin Habib is reportedly being hunted by police for secularist activism. 

So a robot has found mysterious metallic spheres in the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. No, this is not the title of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. 

How could people be duped by fake bomb detectors? Ben Radford explains at Discovery News

Whoa! 64 percent of British Columbians are “nones”! 

Responding to Bible distributions at Florida high schools, Central Florida Freethought Community will give out evil atheist literature

Seth Kurtenbach writes at the CFI On Campus blog about last week’s protests in Columbia, MO. 

So now there’s a genre of music known as Bigfoot metal. Great.

Quote of the Day  

I know, I know, he’s really bad on alt-med. But Sen. Tom Harkin does right by atheists in his speech to the SCA:

I do not agree with calling secular people “nonbelievers.” I have lots of friends who hold on to secular viewpoints and they are passionate believers; passionate believers in the First Amendment. They believe in justice. They believe in living moral and ethical lives. They believe in tolerance and nondiscrimination. So please, don’t refer to yourselves as “nonbelievers.”  

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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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