The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Reason Rally preparations are in full swing. We even started a CFI account on Instagram. (Look out for that Instagram, I bet it’ll be big…Friendster-big!) The week’s first Advocacy Day is already underway. Remember to bookmark centerforinquiry.live and start checking in on Saturday for on-the-ground coverage of the Rally by actual humans like Nora Hurley and Matt Licata, and sort-of humans like me.
Tom Krattenmaker says that the Rally is an example of how the secular population is reaching a tipping point of political impact:
A glass-half-full assessment of the secular movement shows a level of progress and momentum that promises to make it harder for politicians to ignore. … It’s a poor testament to our politicians’ character that no Senate or presidential candidate has the temerity to speak at Reason Rally 2016. The citizens who are attending, and the many they represent, are equally American and equally deserving of attention and respect.
In the run-up to the Rally, Pew Research lists 10 facts about atheist demographics, such as:
Self-identified atheists tend to be aligned with the Democratic Party and with political liberalism. About two-thirds of atheists (69%) identify as Democrats (or lean in that direction), and a majority (56%) call themselves political liberals (compared with just one-in-ten who say they are conservatives). Atheists overwhelmingly favor same-sex marriage (92%) and legal abortion (87%). In addition, three-quarters (74%) say that government aid to the poor does more good than harm.
At the Huffington Post, Ron Lindsay looks at the current dynamics religious freedom versus religious privilege, recalling the 800-year-old myths surrounding Thomas Becket:
His murder [shouldn’t] transform him into someone who should be honored for his advocacy of religious freedom. He didn’t advocate religious freedom; he obstinately argued for immunity from the law for the church and its clergy.
Along similar lines, Stephanie Russell-Kraft notes how businesses that would like to discriminate against LGBT folks are becoming pre-martyrs, filing lawsuits before they get charged with anything.
Horror show: In Pakistan, the family of Maria Sadaqat turns down a marriage proposal from the son of the owner of a local school. So a group of men burned her to death, and it took her three days to die. Local elders warn the family to stop talking about the attack lest it “malign” her further. BBC also notes, “Under Islamic laws introduced in the 1980s the victim’s family can pardon the perpetrator in return for money or other considerations.”
Another: Calgary parents return home from church to find their 15-year-old son, Alexandru Radita, not breathing. Instead of getting help, they pray for two hours. Of course the boy died. National Post reports, “The boy, a diabetic, died from bacterial sepsis due to complications from starvation and neglect.” The parents are being charged with murder.
Professor Aaqil Ahmed, head of BBC’s head of religion coverage and a Muslim, says we can’t pretend that ISIS is not Islamic:
I hear so many people say Isis has nothing to do with Islam — of course it has. They are not preaching Judaism. It might be wrong but what they are saying is an ideology based on some form of Islamic doctrine.
David Bergman at India’s The Wire expresses skepticism about claims that the attacks in Bangladesh are all about political rivalries and responses to the ruling party:
The vast majority of people killed are ‘political/religious’ targets – that is to say people murdered because of their critical views on religion, or because their lifestyle or life choices are seen as inconsistent with a particular fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. These are not the kind of attacks that you would expect as a response to Awami League’s repressive activities. They seem much more likely to be the product of individuals with very different political motives.
Strotman [the defendant] may be happy with his sentence, but that doesn’t mean it is right. While judges can have great leeway in sentencing for some matters, they cannot ignore secular law in favor of religious justice.
The AP reports that more than 54 people were imprisoned in Russia for “hate speech” last year, “hate speech” including things like humorous Facebook posts critical of the state.
Michael De Dora has CFI’s latest advocacy update, covering work from Washington to Dhaka.
King Tut’s dagger was literally
FROM OUTER SPACE.
Quote of the Day:
Remember those “Ich bin atheist” shoes? Well now they’re going to be sold from a truck traveling across the country, that is, assuming its Kickstarter gets funded. Cory Doctorow writes a sentence that is way funnier out of context:
I own a pair of Atheists and they are not only amazingly comfortable, they’re also super-cool looking and leave the best prints behind me in mud, sand, wet ground, etc.
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