And In the Darkness Bind Them

August 23, 2017


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

At ThinkProgress, Jack Jenkins takes a historical view of the rise in white supremacist noise and the spine-chilling acquiescence of many political evangelicals, explaining that Christian nationalism has always been a part of politics, and is a harbinger of worse things to come.

Emma Green at The Atlantic says that not all of the president’s evangelical advisers are on board, but struggle with whether they can do more good by keeping close. Tony Suarez, one of Trump’s faith advisory council members, says:

If I’m invited to a table … where I’m given the opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless, share my convictions, and share my heart, then I need to go … If there was ever a time that we need to give counsel and advice, it’s right now.

Here’s an angle I hadn’t thought of. Robin Givhan at WaPo wonders why there has been so little response to Charlottesville from the fashion industry:

The relevance of fashion in the conversation about racial hatred goes well beyond any particular brand. For an observer cognizant of the internal symbols and visual language of white nationalists, there was a lot to read: neo-Nazi, Proud Boy, skinhead, alt-right. But for the uninitiated, the style of dress was unremarkable. This wasn’t a crowd filled with white robes and hoods. The protesters recognized the power of fashion’s visual language, and they embraced it. More than one young recruit taking his first tentative steps into white nationalism has recounted the delight — and perhaps relief — in finding that these conspirators in hate look so normal

Other than polo shirt manufacturers, who is it that the white supremacists look to for inspiration? Not 1930s Germany, but 2010s Russia. Casey Michel says, “Russia remains the last, best hope for the world they would wish in Washington.”

After Charlottesville, Rev. William Aitcheson steps down from his position in the Catholic Church after openly contending with his past with the KKK. He wrote:

My actions were despicable. When I think back on burning crosses, a threatening letter, and so on, I feel as though I am speaking of somebody else. It’s hard to believe that was me. … Racists have polluted minds, twisted by an ideology that reinforces the false belief that they are superior to others.

It used to be that Muslim men in India could divorce their wives by merely reciting the “triple talaq,” in which they simply say “Beetlejuice” “divorce” three times. But no more! A panel of judges has put a stop to that, pending legislative action.

In Skeptical Inquirer, Kyle Polich lets some of the air out of the “mysterious disappearances” chronicled in the Missing411 series of books by David Paulides. 

Tara Isabella Burton at Vox spends eclipse day with the Gardnerian Wicca group Oldenwilde Coven in Asheville, North Carolina. There, she hangs with Queen Lady Passion, expresses her wish to “bind” Donald Trump. You do what you have to do, Queen.

The city council of Visalia, CA votes against having the motto “In God We Trust” displayed in council chambers, because, get this, they think the separation of church and state is something worth preserving! I KNOW!

Kim Krieger of UConn Today interviews anthropologist Dmitris Xygalatas (that’s an amazing last name) about his now-famous/infamous study that revealed an ingrained prejudice against atheists:

As an anthropologist, I have often heard people argue that without religion there is no morality. And last year, during the presidential campaign, Ted Cruz argued that people of all faiths have the constitutional right to run for the presidency, but atheists are not fit for the job. However, data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons suggest that atheists are far less likely to commit crimes than religious people, and globally the least religious countries have the lowest crime rates. This is of course correlational evidence: it does not mean that being an atheist leads to committing fewer crimes. But the intuition that our study reveals, i.e. that atheists are immoral, is definitely not supported by reality. 

On September 1, give a friendly wave to Asteroid Florence, which will safely pass Earth at a distance of over 4 million miles, which is cosmologically close, and maybe send out a thank you for not slamming into us.  

Quote of the Day:

We now have evidence that the eclipse truly united Americans like nothing else. The official Twitter account for Netflix tweeted:

Hey, just wondering why 10% of you chose to watch a giant rock cover a giant ball of gas when I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR YOU.

and then said:

but really, there was a 10% drop in plays during the eclipse today. Well played, Moon. 

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