The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
I admit that I felt (feel) a sense of panic over the white supremacists in Charlottesville and the response of the president. So I needed to talk to someone smarter than me about it, someone wiser, an expert in humanism, and with a sexy British accent. Lo and behold, I bring you the latest episode of Point of Inquiry, in which I talk to (and am counseled by) James Croft of the Ethical Society of St. Louis.
Well this is novel. With the goal of booting President Trump off of Twitter, Valerie Plame Wilson is running a GoFundMe campaign to buy Twitter — yes, to actually purchase the company — and ban the president from the service. (For you millennials and other larvae, she is the ex-CIA agent whose undercover status was blown by Karl Rove and the George W. Bush administration because they were all mad about her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, contradicting the administration’s false claims about Iraq and WMD.)
Okay now this is scary. Law enforcement authorities in New Mexico raided the compound of a paramilitary Christian sect that is literally called “Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps.” I mean, at that point you might as well just call yourselves COBRA. And there are so many charges, including truly horrifying child sexual abuse,
VICE talks to Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham, who is trying to raise the alarm about sexual abuse within Protestant churches. I saw this guy speak a few years ago at a Religion Newswriters conference, and yeah, just like with the Catholic Church, this is a big deal.
Susan Gerbic got to go to New Zealand for the annual skeptics’ conference there, and writes, “I was left so impressed with the quality of the speakers and the organization that I can’t fit it all here.”
Susan also interviews Richard Saunders of The Skeptic Zone as another preview for CSICon 2017.
India’s “guru of bling,” Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of the Dera Sacha Sauda religious sect, was found guilty of raping two of his disciples, prompting thousands of his approximately 100,000 followers to descend on the city of the trial, scaring the crap out of local authorities. Kyle Swenson at WaPo reports:
While the Dera’s followers maintained their presence was peaceful and supportive, critics said it amounted to threat-by-numbers and meant to frighten riot-weary government into lenient verdict. “It is absolutely an intimidating tactic,” Utsav Singh Bains, an attorney representing the two victims, told NDTV this week. “This is a subversion of justice. You cannot put any kinds of pressure on a judicial system as a means to intimidate.”
Marilyn Bodnar, a naturopath in Sydney, pleaded guilty for her role in almost causing the death of an infant, having told a mother to put the baby on a water-only “diet” to cure eczema. THEN it turns out that Bodnar was responsible for the death of a woman back in 1988, and was told she was not allowed to practice on children.
The Satanic Temple shares some of the angry emails received by the city of Belle Plaine, Minnesota when the city was deciding what to do about allowing religious monuments in a “free speech zone,” which the Satanists would have joined in on. Says one, “Are you nuts or just plane dumb … Please reject the proposed monument of satin.”
There is apparently a big billboard in Tupelo, Mississippi that asks “Are vaccines killing our babies?” Yes, you should be really freaking angry about that. This article quotes Paul Offit who, of course, rejects that nonsense. “If vaccines kill babies, I’m on their side. But they don’t.”
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, writing at National Review, says America is secularizing like France, but also not quite like France, and also not really secularizing, but professing religion, but also not acting religious. Very clear.
Quote of the Day:
Emma Richards at Asian Correspondent responds to the crackdown on atheists in Malaysia with a lesson in what religious freedom actually means:
There seems to be a disconnect between what religious freedom really means and how it’s being carried out. Any bastardised version of religious freedom selective in its approach, is not religious freedom at all.
… Through malicious policy and provocative rhetoric similar to what we hear today in Malaysia, Muslims are often marginalised in societies across the globe. In trying times such as these, religious freedom should be of the utmost importance.
But it must be understood that religious freedom does not simply apply to your religion.
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