It Was the Monstrous Ugliness

June 23, 2016


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

The House Democrats continue their sit-in on the House floor, led by the amazing John Lewis, trying to move the very, very heavy needle on gun control. The House GOP had the TV cameras turned off for much of the night, so Democrats resorted to Periscope and Facebook Live to continue broadcasting their protest. Complicating matters is that the specific bill the Democrats are trying to get a vote on is one that would stop people on the FBI’s no-fly list from buying a gun, but of course the no-fly list is rife with its own extra-judicial problems. But I guess from the Democrats’ perspective, the GOP has not only moved the goal posts on gun control, they’ve airlifted the goal posts to another field entirely. What a time to be alive, folks.

Meanwhile, the UK might say TTYL to the EU and GTFO. It’s kind of a BFD.

Erica Hellerstein and Josh Israel at ThinkProgress do a deep dive into the problem of Catholic-owned hospitals, and how they let dogma determine the kind of care they give, and our own Michael De Dora provides insight.

Speaking of Michael, we have two, hot-off-the-servers videos of his statements to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Here’s one on the Bangladesh crisis, and another on the freedoms of expression, assembly, and opinion. 

HOLY CRAP. Americans spend about $30 million per year on alternative medicine. Why not just throw $30 billion in bills into a shredder, burn the shreds, and inhale the fumes as aromatherapy? 

Our friends at CFI–Canada (which operates independently from us) are pushing a parliamentary petition to get Canada’s absurd blasphemy law nixed once and for all. 

Cracked profiles the journey of Charles Veitch from becoming 9/11 truther and back again. “It was the monstrous ugliness of the other theorists which set me on edge,” he says. “I’m made to believe they’re all a part of the 10,000-man-strong Illuminati?” 

Zack Kopplin writes at the Daily Beast about what had been the deadliest attack on LGBT Americans before Orlando, the 1973 arson attack on the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans, and how despite human beings being “literally roasted alive,” it was treated by many as a joke. 

Wishing for the best is fine, but Stephen Law says that’s not enough:

Faith and hope are vastly overrated. We’d be better off prioritizing compassionate action grounded in gritty realism. … Whenever you hear anyone using the words ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ in the same sentence, your bullshit detector should immediately switch on.

Dammit, Christian conservatives are going to MAKE themselves love Donald Trump

And dammit, they are really determined to get gay-conversion therapy legalized in California. 

Iowa is going to get $45,000 in damages from one Timothy Clements, who bilked Iowans with a psychic mail scam.

The Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility for murdering Amjad Sabri, a popular singer of Sufi devotional songs, which the Taliban considered blasphemy. 

Black holes: They can warp spacetime, even when sleeping.  

Kylie Sturgess interviews Dr. Kat Arney about her new book Herding Hemingway’s Cats: Understanding How Our Genes Work for CSI. 

Cara Prior, running for the Arizona state legislature, is openly atheistic in identity and in her messaging:

I am running for office to help fight the biblical based requirements that women should be silent and subservient. I am running for office to show that women can serve equally without being affiliated with any ideological or religious organization. 

Quote of the Day:

Phil Zuckerman has an op-ed in the LA Times on how kids raised without religion are doing just fine in the morality department. Citing research by Vern Bengston at USC, he writes:

[Bengston found] high levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.

“Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents in our study,” Bengston told me. “The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.” 

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