The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Now it can be told. Yesterday, Michael De Dora announced that he would be leaving CFI this week, taking a new job at the Committee to Protect Journalists. And I’m fine with it. SERIOUSLY. It’s fine. He’s gotta live his own life. I can’t tell him what to do. EVERYONE has to find their own path and just because he’s ABANDONING me as though ALL WE’VE WORKED ON TOGETHER means NOTHING, hey, ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on, right?!? No, no, YOU’RE handling it badly!!!!
(For serious, congratulations on the new gig, Michael. You will be missed. By me. In the passive voice, of course, in order to maintain emotional distance.)
The Supreme Court rules that Catholic-owned hospitals fall under the “church plans” exemption of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, meaning that they can now ignore the protections the law places on employee pension plans, and keep a lot of money for themselves. Elena Kagan even wrote the opinion for the Court.
Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana goes on a jaw-dropping, religiously maniacal, murderous rant on Facebook:
The free world… all of Christendom… is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.
The Washington Post checked in with him:
Reached by phone, Higgins told The Washington Post that he was surprised that his message was interpreted by some as hateful or an indictment against Islam — in fact, he said, he didn’t view the post as controversial at all. … “I can tell you that there weren’t many Muslims in that part of Louisiana, but those that I have met have been very cool and very loving.”
Anna Sanford at Alternet contrasts Trump’s base of evangelicals with the growing number of “hidden atheists,” most notably among the young.
Mashal Khan, the Pakistani student beaten to death by an angry mob over allegations of blasphemy, has been posthumously absolved (how nice), and DAWN editorializes that law enforcement must be more diligent in protecting those accused of blasphemy so mob violence doesn’t get sparked so easily.
A church in Florida doesn’t want to have to pay for a fire assessment that all nonprofits are required to shell out for. I think because they are a kind of fire department themselves, but instead of putting out fires, they just keep your soul from burning in one for eternity. So it all evens out, you see.
Parents of twin newborns in Oregon are charged with murder for refusing to seek medical attention for one of the babies who was having breathing problems, and died hours after birth. Why no medical attention? Because they relied on “faith healing.”
Amina Khan at LA Times reports on findings from the Mars Curiosity rover that a big ol’ crater, the Gale Crater, may have held a lake for hundreds of millions of years, and in that lake would have been the right conditions for microbial life.
Alan Alda somehow keeps providing reasons to think he’s cool (I would have loved a President Vinick series, by the way). Now he’s got a foundation that’s all about science communication, and a new book called If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
Come to Idyllwild, California, where you can see the Bigfoot-ish Idyll-Beast, or as Drew Tewksbury puts it in LA Weekly, “Chewbacca with a hangover.”
A pharmacist refuses to fill a birth control prescription because of his personal beliefs and because he “has a pretty good idea” of what she’ll use it for. Hemant says:
It was slut-shaming by a pharmacist who felt his religion was more important than a doctor’s prescription to a patient. … Garrett [the pharmacist] is in the wrong profession. If he wants to control women, he can become a pastor.
A thief steals fragments of the brain of Italy’s Saint John Bosco. I am not kidding.
Quote of the Day:
Esther Cole, writing a letter to the Ventura County Star:
When did climate change become a belief? Protestantism is a belief. Theism is a belief. Atheism is a belief. Belief is believing in a spirit, or an idea, with faith. It doesn’t need proof.
Climate change is visible, measurable, documented. It is not a belief. It is not a theory.
Donald Trump does not have to believe in climate change. Climate change will take over whether he believes or not.
Evolution is not a belief. Astrophysics is not a belief. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is unbe
Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.
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