The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Susan Jacoby is the guest on Point of Inquiry this week, talking about religious conversions — the big, fall-to-your-knees ones, sure, but also the ones that were done for convenience or other secular reasons.
In Free Inquiry, Carol Delaney ponders God as an idea, writing, “It is the concept that troubles me, because once a label is put on that awareness, something else happens.”
Well, this is revolting, if not at all surprising. Kenneth Lovett at The Daily News reports that the Catholic Church has spent millions of dollars lobbying against New York legislation that would extend the statute of limitations on the sexual abuse of children and other measures meant to protect children from being abused, or from seeking justice after abuse has occurred. I wonder if Pope Fluffy has anything to say about this.
Kavin Senapathy profiles ex-naturopath and now an active alt-med whistleblower, Britt Marie Hermes.
Maajid Nawaz writes with encouragement about developments in Tunisia, where an Islamist party made the choice to separate its religious activities from politics:
These are Muslim democrats. They are akin to religiously conservative Republicans in America. Not quite liberal, but certainly not theocrats. They may be religious in their personal lives (so what), driven to public service due to their religious conviction (again, so what), but they do not seek to impose their religious views on others. They represent religious people in politics, instead of politicized religion.
The latest Dawkins Foundation newsletter urges you to “plug into reason,” what with the Reason Rally barreling down on us.
A Brooklyn public swimming pool makes accommodations to the Orthodox Jewish population, with women-only hours. (Not unlike the Swedish municipalities doing the same to accommodate Muslims I mentioned yesterday.) The NYT editorial board says this is a bad idea:
[This is] is unfortunate. The city’s human rights law is quite clear that public accommodations like a swimming pool cannot exclude people based on sex. It allows for exemptions “based on bona fide considerations of public policy,” but this case — with its strong odor of religious intrusion into a secular space — does not seem bona fide at all.
Four people are killed in a mob attack in Nigeria when a Christian was alleged to have said “blasphemous” things about the Prophet Mohammed in a Facebook post. The mob killed the Christian man, and then police had to open fire and three rioters died.
Kenneth Krause surveys some of the current academic perspectives on race as both biological and sociological phenomena for Skeptical Inquirer.
Nina Burleigh in Newsweek looks at the battle over safe spaces, speech codes, and the fate of free expression on college campuses.
Herb Silverman comments on the detente between the Boy Scouts of America and the Unitarians, where the UUs are okay with the BSA’s continued ban on atheists:
A number of courageous and honest atheists have been kicked out of the Boy Scouts for rejecting God beliefs. Apparently, the BSA does not consider honesty a core value in becoming the best kind of citizen, and would rather that boys pretend to believe. This certainly would teach boys a lesson on how best to prepare for political careers, since open atheists currently have little chance of being elected to just about any public office.
Well, we’ll see about that last bit, Herb. WE’LL JUST SEE.
The gravestone and final resting place of Mary Livingston Ingersoll, mother to Robert, has been finally dedicated, only a little less than two centuries after her death.
Donald Trump goes in front of a lot of bikers who believe in a conspiracy theory about captured servicemen in Southeast Asia and laments that he’s not getting an “I have a dream” kind of audience.
Rush Limbaugh, “discussing” the killing of the zoo gorilla Harambe, totally gets evolution:
A lot of people think that all of us used to be apes. Don’t doubt me on this. A lot of people think that all of us used to be gorillas. And they’re looking for the missing link out there. The evolution crowd. They think we were originally apes. I’ve always — if we were the original apes, then how come Harambe is still an ape, and how come he didn’t become one of us?
Ah, I remember back when I was a gorilla. It was hard to use my smartphone, so I chose to evolve.
Quote of the Day:
Sarah Silverman goes all pro-life. Not really:
Scientists have found that … sperm cells have
the sense of smell, and you know what that means: Sperm is life. And you know what that means: We’ve gotta legislate that shit.
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Main photo credit: Benjamin Vander Steen / CC BY
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