May 23, 2014


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

We learned from Right Wing Watch and Ed Brayton that the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice has been talking out of both sides of its mouth on blasphemy laws, condemning them in one place and endorsing them in others. I take them to task:

Now we see that for the ACLJ and its affiliates [free expression] extends only to Christians. For dissidents in Russia, be they non-Christian, gay, atheist, or simply at odds with the regime, CFI will seek to defend their freedom of expression; the ACLJ and its friends will work to see them behind bars. 

Robert Mackey at NYT on Twitter agreeing to censor “blasphemous” tweets in Pakistan:

This censorship comes as challenges to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy law have become increasingly deadly, amid a flurry of arrests, killings and assassination attempts on secularists. 

Also see in that same piece the censored International New York Times, with a big blank space where an article on Pakistan and blasphemy would have been. How’s that for a morning heresy? 

Meanwhile, in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, Islamists shut down schools, and women and children protest.

The Sudanese government issues an astoundingly tone-deaf and Orwellian statement on the case of Meriam Ibrahim, sentenced to death for apostasy:

This case remains a legal issue and not a religious or a political one. It is unwise and dangerous to politicize the issue at hand to spur religious tension between the two peaceful faiths with similar foundations. Notably, It is important to emphasize that freedom of choice is the cornerstone of both Islam and Christianity. 

What emerges is a sad pattern of a man who has almost 2 million followers (and a verified account!) acting as if it is vitally important his followers see that he is debating with certain key atheists on Twitter. He also seems bizarrely obsessed with getting certain people to read his blog. In the process I believe he’s skirting the Twitter rules on spam, and encouraging bad behavior in some of his co-authors as well. 

God compels a guy, a 2nd grade teacher, to attack kids with a skateboard. Mysterious ways, y’all.

American Atheists’ suit with the IRS over churches getting unfairly favorable tax treatment is dismissed

Make that morning beverage tastier with a bit of a new sweetener, Advantame, but only use one-twenty-thousandth the amount of sugar you’d normally use.

The Creation Museum has an Allosaurus skeleton, which proves the Bible is true. Checkmate, atheists. 

Gizmodo warns of the big problem with antibacterial soap and superbugs. 

Evil, world-controlling, earthquake-causing super-weapon in Alaska shuts down, bumming out conspiracy theorists.  

SETI tells Congress that if there’s extraterrestrial life in our Solar System, we could find it within 20 years.

Gov. Nikki Haley makes it official, the state fossil of South Carolina is the Columbian mammoth. 

Lt. Gen. William “My God is Bigger Than Your God” Boykin, now with the odious right-wing Family Research Council, is reprimanded by the Army for releasing classified information in his 2008 book.

Conchita Wurst is responsible for Balkan floods, because God. 

Here’s an idea: Why not jab a bunch of needles into our pets

So how old are you? Here’s how you’re most likely to die, if you were to die right now

Charts don’t lie: The sun causes men in Washington to slip to their deaths. Ban the sun!!!! Wait.

Richard Dawkins, in an opera

Dig the planetary super-selfie

Quote of the Day

Peter Beinart at The Atlantic ties the stigma against atheists to the great lie of a “war on religion” in the U.S.: 

If liberals really stigmatized the religious, wouldn’t some of them have objected when John Kerry flaunted his Catholicism in 2004 or Barack Obama flaunted his adult embrace of Christianity in 2008? Is there a single example, even in the most liberal city or district, of one Democratic candidate trying to outdo the other by proclaiming herself more hostile to religious belief? I doubt it, because most secular liberals understand—even if Fox News commentators don’t—that America’s last acceptable religious prejudice isn’t against evangelical Christians. It’s against atheists.    

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Image from Twitter, via Simon Prosser

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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