July 2, 2013

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

I gotta tell ya, folks. The death of Google Reader has added a dose of entropy to The Morning Heresy that it did not need. Yet I plow ahead.  

CFI’s Michael De Dora judges the new, final rules laid down by the HHS on contraceptive coverage exemptions with a very nuanced-but-unmistakable “meh.”

Your wrenching, unbearable wait is over! Videos from Women in Secularism 2 are starting to be posted online. (It takes some work to get these up, folks, so you need to have a wee bit of patience.) We’ve got up now Rebecca GoldsteinKatha Pollitt, and Susan Jacoby.

Meanwhile, you can buy an official “Heresy Makes for Progress” T-shirt and explain it to everybody at your July 4 barbecue.

The American Conservative, of all outlets, highlights the Ingersoll Oratory Contest, sponsored in part by CFI-DC, with winner Sarah Henry. 

Protests in Egypt continue, as the army gives Morsi a deadline to, well, do something before they take matters into their own hands. 

Documents reveal that Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the early 2000s warned Pope Benedict that a “true scandal” was in the works with the deluge of sex abuse allegations, and worked to push out “problem priests.” Laurie Goodstein reports on Dolan’s attempts to financially protect his archdiocese.

These days, we have Pope Francis knocking heads at the Vatican Bank

Russia’s upper legislative house approves a bill making hurting religious feelings a criminal offense. 

Islamic law council in Aleppo issues a fatwa against women “leaving the house in immodest dress.”

Saudi Arabia convicts 7 men for “incit[ing] protests, illegal gathering, and breaking allegiance with the king” on Facebook.  

It’s not the lotus position, it’s “crisscross applesauce.” Yoga gets approved for public schools by a California court, as long as it doesn’t sound too fancy-schmancy exotic. 

Sarah Palin says more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a good thing because it might bring back the dinosau—ok it’s a joke, but a good one.

Rabbi Norman Lamm, chancellor of Yeshiva University, steps down over mishandling of sex abuse allegations against rabbis in the 1980s. 

France’s President Francois Hollande moves to legalize voluntary euthanasia.

Get out of school with a note from your doctor saying you’re possessed.  

The star Gliese 667C now looks like it has three “habitable” planets in its orbit. Those quotation marks around “habitable” are heavy ones, however.

Kylie Sturgess’s interview with Elise Andrew of “I Effing Love Science” is up at  

LiveScience says that the Loch Ness Monster may be the result of geological activity around a fault line. Sharon Hill, who knows a thing or two about geology, says not so fast

New Mississippi law goes into effect that makes a lot of room for school prayer

George Takei omits “under God” from his Pledge of Allegiance on TV, conservative outlets wet themselves. 

Lama Jampa in the Buddhist publication Tricycle says Buddhism doesn’t need scientific verification

It’s not that the dharma needs to be placed in a special protected category reserved for “faiths,” a reservation into which reason is not allowed. In this respect, Buddhism is not like the varieties of theism, the authority of which rest, in final analysis, on the acceptance of divine revelation. Rather, it’s because the dharma need only be defended by direct experience and reasoning that it doesn’t need to borrow these aspects from science. 

Foundation Beyond Belief announces its latest round of charities

The Bigfoot DNA is subjected to peer review! Guess what

“You’re very lucky. You get to receive from two Reiki Masters today.” An exploration at 40Towns from Madison Pauly.

Quote of the Day 

Katherine Stewart in The Atlantic expands on the problem of Joe Klein’s cheap shot against secular humanists:

[People’s] desire to help is grounded not just in their conviction of the existence of a deity or deities, but because they possess the human attributes of empathy and common sense. That reality presents a conundrum, even a threat, to some religious leaders, whose power depends on the notion that morality hinges on religious doctrine, rather than on the innately human concern for the welfare of others. Professed nonbelievers are singled out for special abuse not because they represent so few Americans, but because they speak for so many. 

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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