Poncho Symbolism

May 2, 2018

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

Today China implements its own kind of “blasphemy law,” intended to “protect” the legacies of Communist Party-approved heroes and martyrs.

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upholds the charges of atheism and blasphemy against Ahmad Al-Shamri, who has now been sentenced to death.

A bill allowing public schools to display “In God We Trust” passes the senate in the far-right, theocratic backwater of…Minnesota? Wait. 

Jason Lemieux posts a CFI Advocacy Update for what was indeed a very busy April.

At RNS, professors Wendy Cage and Laura Olson ask, “How does Congress have chaplains without violating the separation of church and state?” Answer: It doesn’t.

AU chief Rachel Laser (pew-pew!) says, actually, maybe we don’t need to have a congressional chaplain to begin with:

Just because something may be allowed does not mean that it is required or right. Traditions, though sometimes important, can also be misguided and perpetuate bias and privilege not understood at the time of their creation. 

Tara Isabella Burton at Vox covers the founding of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, and considers the above-mentioned issue:

The Congressional Freethought Caucus suggests that all religious identity groups — including the nonreligious — merit active representation and advocacy in Congress. After all, there’s a chaplain position open.  

51 percent of Muslims in the U.S. now support same-sex marriage.

Dearborn Catholic High School in Michigan was going to give out “modesty ponchos” to girls who wore revealing dresses to prom. And then, you know what, they realized how stupid and humiliating that was, and changed their minds…unless they meant it to be merely symbolic all along, which isn’t clear to me.

The British Homeopathic Association has successfully gotten a judicial review of the NHS’s stance against homeopathy. There’s a possibility that, unlike their product, they could be effective.

Michael Marshall at Gizmodo gets to know veteran conspiracy theorist David Icke, writing, “When your opinion can be accurately and eloquently expressed by David Icke, it may be time to re-examine the factual basis of your opinion.”

Israel’s Knesset passes a law urging (though not compelling) judges to use Jewish law as precedent when relevant secular legal precedent is not available. What could go wrong.

On his latest podcast, Sam Harris talks to Bart D. Ehrman about Christianity, which will likely be the least controversial thing he weighs in on this year.

Quote of the Day

It’s been a while since NDT has earned a spot here. But this is so nice and to the point:

Science literacy empowers you to know when someone else is full of shit. 

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