Transferred to the Chicken

June 8, 2017

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

Happy Comey Day, a day when Americans from all filter bubbles gather together to hear things we already know said in front of senators who will then put on amazing performances. It truly is a magical time.

But are you sure you wanna watch? As Julia Belluz reports, no, it’s not just you: politics is now making people sick.

Reporter-tackling congressman Greg Gianforte apologizes to Ben Jacobs, and donates $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which just so happens to be where our now-FORMER policy director Michael De Dora JUST went to go work. COINCIDENCE? Who REALLY broke that guy’s glasses, MICHAEL?

Oh but it’s not just reporters who feel threatened. Michelle Chen at The Nation reports on the findings of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly showing an erosion of protest rights in the U.S. for “a growing swath of communities of color, workers and immigrants, and other marginalized groups”:

Though it is formally inscribed in the Bill of Rights, the precept has come under assault under the Trump administration, [Special Rapporteur] Kiai says, stoked by the president’s “hateful and xenophobic rhetoric during the presidential campaign” and blatant flouting of civil liberties in his policies and governing style. 

In the case of a Walgreens pharmacist refusing to fill a legal prescription because of his “religious beliefs,” we respond (via our legal director Nick Little) to say:

A pharmacist’s job is to protect a patient’s health, not to concern themselves with a patient’s soul. A community places its trust in the scientific integrity of a pharmacist’s counsel, but this pharmacist chose to reject their vital medical role and arrogantly assume the authority of clergy.

Indonesian high school student Asa Firda Inayah, 18 years old, has become famous in her country for speaking on behalf of religious tolerance. So, of course, in the country where they just imprisoned the governor of Jakarta for blasphemy, she’s getting death threats from militant Islamists. She is being guarded by a “moderate Muslim militia,” which is a really cool alliteration, and yes I know that’s totally not important.

The home of Pakistani journalist Rana Tanveer is vandalized with the message that he is “a non-believer who deserves to be killed.” His employers at the Express Tribune call upon the government to protect him. But we know how that goes.

EPA destructor Scott Pruitt says he would like to set up a kind of faux-debate on climate science, setting up some (I have to assume theatrical) “red team-blue team” debate. It’s funny it sort of sounds like a reality TV show concept. I wonder where that influence comes from. launches a crowdfunding campaign on behalf of the 21 young people who are suing the U.S. government over climate change. 

Wisconsin State Rep. Jesse Kremer: “The earth is 6,000 years old. That’s a fact.” This was said in defense of a “Campus Free Speech Act,” which you can probably guess is really about teaching biblical literalism in the state university system.

I can’t believe this is a thing. The New York Supreme Court said the police can’t be made to stop this from happening:

Kaporot is performed in the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the most holy day of the year to many Jews. In the ritual, men, women and children swing a white chicken — a sign of purity — above their heads three times as they pray for their sins to be transferred to the chicken. Then the chicken is slaughtered in a kosher manner by slitting its throat. 

Naturopaths are really, really close to having essentially the same medical authority as actual doctors in Oregon, that is if the governor signs a bill that inexplicably passed the legislature.

Minnesota’s Veterans Memorial Park isn’t getting rid of its Christian monument, so they have to let in other monuments too. So of course the Satanists have a proposal, which caused a local priest to freak out about how the Satanists’ monument would attract pedophiles. Obvious comeback from Lucien Greaves:

It is unnecessary to point out the irony in seeing a representative from the Catholic Church decrying a perceived threat to children posed by religious Satanists. 

Unnecessary, but welcome all the same. 

Lucy Richards, the woman who believed Sandy Hook was a hoax and sent death threats to the grieving parent of one of the children killed, is sentenced to five months in prison.

Harvard rescinds admission offers for at least ten students who traded “memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children.” 

Skeptic magazine posts a response to their “conceptual penis” hoax
academic article
 from the ur-hoaxer Alan Sokal, who is largely unimpressed…but not before a lengthy defense of the penis-hoax from Michael Shermer.

Quote of the Day:

I’m proud to present some small excerpts from my upcoming romance novel for Harlequin, entitled We Had That Thing:

The President and I had dinner on Friday, January 27 at 6:30 pm in the Green Room at the White House. He had called me at lunchtime that day and invited me to dinner that night, saying he was going to invite my whole family, but decided to have just me this time, with the whole family coming the next time. It was unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner, although I assumed there would be others. It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. …

A few moments later, the President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner. …

He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia…

He said … “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.”

Hot hot hot! 

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