Talks with God and Knocks People Down

May 8, 2017

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

Not a joke: Stephen Fry is being investigated for blasphemy in Ireland (IRELAND!!!) for his comments in 2015 calling the imagined Abrahamic God “a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god.” 

A Hindu man in Pakistan is arrested for blasphemy, and a mob outside the police station where he is held gets violent as they demand to be allowed to beat up the guy themselves.

CFI Northeast Ohio’s Monette Richards in quoted in a Columbus Dispatch piece on local reactions to the executive order on “religious liberty”:

The Johnson Amendment is not enforced already. I do think it was President Trump’s way of signaling to the religious that we’re not going to enforce this, we are going to hold your religious values up above the right of the people.

LA Times’ editorial board says Trump’s order “turns out to be mostly a restatement of the legal status quo combined with some ringing rhetoric about the importance of religious freedom.”

The administration’s great purge continues with the firing of five scientists on the EPA’s scientific review board, replacing them with fossil fuel industry representatives.

Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee signs into law a “natural meaning” bill, a between-the-lines piece of legislation that Republicans hope will undermine same-sex marriage rights and other things they don’t like. 

Jim Wallace of Sojourners lays into Jerry Falwell Jr. for his characterization of Trump as a “dream president” for white Evangelicals:

This is about the moral hypocrisy of white American evangelical religious right leaders like Jerry Falwell Jr. causing a crisis in the church, dividing American Christians on racial lines, and astonishing the worldwide body of Christ — the international majority of evangelical Christians who are people of color — and whose leaders keep asking many of us what in the world is going on with white American evangelicals. 

Julie Goldberg says Christianist Evangelicals see Trump’s ignorance as a plus

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio thought Trump had shown [Trump] was a fraud, but his very unfamiliarity with theology, church culture, and Scripture proved he was one of the Evangelical-but-unchurched gang. He didn’t need to show off his Christianity. Just his Christianism. 

Kyle Fitzpatrick at Popsugar explores why atheism is being embraced by millennial women:

In speaking with young atheist and secular women, some through lines appear, among them a hope for equality that could be stymied by religion’s grasp on society. There is a desire to normalize differing points of view, from LGBTQ people to atheists. 

Massimo Polidoro in Skeptical Inquirer looks at some of the more contemporary reports of fairy sightings. (For example, in Bangkok a temple has on display what it says are the corpses of fairies. How nice.) 

Joe Nickell investigates a menu of mysteries in Queensland, Australia, and notes the law enforcement investigation of televangelist Benny Hinn, who “talks with God and knocks people down by merely pointing at them.” Sounds like he is strong with the Force.

Kendra Pierre-Louis at Popular Science looks at why acupuncture seems so hard to evaluate for efficacy, and it seems a big part of it is the problem of creating an acupuncture placebo that doesn’t involve pricking someone. David Gorski answers much of what the article raises.

In Scotland, humanist weddings are exploding in popularity

University of Kansas researchers examine the use of freedom-of-speech defenses of racist speech, and find, “The correlation between using the free speech defense and people’s own racial prejudice is pretty high. It’s racists defending racists.”

Christian Post profiles writer Andrea Lucado, daughter of Christian preacher Max Lucado, who writes about her religious doubts. “Why do the atheist and agnostics I know seem more peaceful and loving than many of the Christians I know?” 

Fresno city council member Garry Bredefeld writes an op-ed on why “In God We Trust” should be put into the council chambers, and it more or less amounts to “because faith.” 

Cassini brings the sounds of Saturn sort of

Hey man, I know why ghosts do their haunting. Love. It’s about love.

Oh thank goodness someone spotted Nessie, so we can stop worrying.

Quote of the Day:

Raymond Szymanski’s clever title for his book about his hunt for UFOs and extraterrestrials

Fifty Shades of Greys

PROPS to that.
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