A Semi-Reputable Curiosity

June 15, 2016


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

Without naming him (other than referring to “politicians who tweet”), President Obama gets hot under the collar over Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant stances.

The raids in Bangladesh to stop the machete attacks have resulted in over 11,000 people being rounded up, only 145 are said to be “Islamic militants,” the rest, well, it’s not clear, but the opposition party says it’s their own people being targeted. Something is very fishy about this.

Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst at Religion Dispatches talks to Jason Kelly, author of a new book about the combination of my three least favorite things: religion, exercise, and being around people.

David Gushee at RNS considers the possibility that Omar Mateen was gay, and unable to deal with the internal conflict due to his religion:

It might end up making the motivation of the horrifying Orlando massacre look more like: I want you. God says I can’t want you. So I must kill you. And it opens up the broader issue of the severe mental health challenges facing young people who discover, against the stern teachings of their religious traditions, that they are attracted to members of the same sex.

The House GOP blocks a measure to prevent federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. (And Republicans seem to be at pains to explain/lie that the Pulse club was not a gay club, no no no.)

In the Wall Street Journal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali says that the homophobia from extremist Islam is particularly virulent:

The rise of modern Islamic extremism has worsened the intolerance toward homosexuality. Extremists don’t just commit violence against LGBT people. They also spread the prejudice globally by preaching that homosexuality is a disease and a crime.

Not all Muslims are homophobic. Many are gay or lesbian themselves. Some even have the courage to venture into the gender fluidity that the 21st century West has come to recognize. But these LGBT Muslims are running directly counter to their religion.

Tip of the hat to Orlando-area Chick-fil-A folks, who despite the company’s earned anti-gay reputation, took their traditional day off (Sunday) to distribute free food and drinks to people donating blood, law enforcement on the scene, and anyone else in need.

Brian Lambert at MinnPost speculates as to why the atheist perspective is usually missing from the discussion of major tragedies like Orlando:

Maybe the real issue is that the taint of taboo that still hangs to word “atheist.” Conventional journalism is partial to conventional wisdom and despite the steadily slumping numbers in church/synagogue/mosque attendance — and the rapid increase in those tuning out traditional religious messages — conventional journalistic wisdom has not yet reached a comfort point with overt atheism. Until that point is reached, speculation here is that mainstream news organizations will continue to treat it like a semi-­reputable curiosity.

James Croft argues for the inclusion of nonbelievers in the vigils for Orlando:

I understand the desire of religious people and religious leaders to respond to this atrocity in the language of their faith, and it is the right of every person to draw upon their religious beliefs and culture to give them strength in dark times. Yet many queer people have been harmed and continue to be harmed by religion, and it can be unbearable if we are forced to enter a religious space or endure religious messages so that we can grieve alongside our community.

Look out, ye who dare breach the church-state partition. The ever-watchful eye of Zack Kopplin is…ever…watching! At ThinkProgress, he casts his gaze at Focus on the Family as they infect public schools with a “comprehensive health” curriculum that is really about “biblical values.”

John Allen Paulos at Skeptical Inquirer explains the thinking behind his “meta-memoir,” A Numerate Life. (You can also hear him on a recent Point of Inquiry.)

The Texas Democratic Convention will include a Secular Caucus, hosted by the Secular Coalition for Texas, the first nontheist caucus ever at a major party convention.

Mike McPhate at NYT reports on a strange new phenomenon in the field of paranoia: “Targeted individuals.” It’s not as straightforward as the label makes it sound:

The group was organized around the conviction that its members are victims of a sprawling conspiracy to harass thousands of everyday Americans with mind-control weapons and armies of so-called gang stalkers. … The community, conservatively estimated to exceed 10,000 members, has proliferated since 9/11, cradled by the internet and fed by genuine concerns over government surveillance. A large number appear to have delusional disorder or schizophrenia, psychiatrists say.

Here’s a short documentary film about a Jewish woman, Razie, who’s just become an atheist, and is about to try bacon for the first time. (Spoiler, she was “not stricken down” by God.)

The Antichrist has,
as you know, been living in the allegedly-human body of Barack Obama for some time now, but some guy on Jim Bakker’s show says, the Beast will next be piloting Hill Force One:

That spirit of Antichrist is majorly on one of these candidates, and that’s Hillary Clinton, and Jesus even said there will be many Antichrists in the world; well that spirit of Antichrist is on our president right now. So as Christians, we have got to turn out and vote.

Quote of the Day:

Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut (an elder in his church) has had it with moments of silence and thoughts-and-prayers, telling Ruth Graham at Slate:

We’ve done a half-dozen of these already this year. As I told someone else yesterday, we should be shouting the names of the people who are killed in preventable violence, not standing there in some mock and tepid ritual of sanctity—this smug “We care” statement in the face of gross negligence. I’m not going to be part of it anymore. … “Thoughts and prayers” are three words that cost you nothing. I’m sick of it. Show some courage.

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Photo credit: infomatique via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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