That is So Yuck

September 12, 2016


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

First things first: Go see last week’s Cause & Effect newsletter, if for no other reason than that I work really hard on it, and maybe it will inspire you to become a member of CFI.

Yesterday of course marked 15 years since the 9/11 attacks, and it blows my mind that there exist now adults who were too young to remember it, yet we’re still utterly entangled in the decisions made in the immediate response to the attacks. Some related news relevant to our little community: 

Jill Stein says we need a new “comprehensive and independent inquiry” into the 9/11 attacks, because of what she says was a “whitewashing” by the 9/11 Commission. You know, on its face, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to dig deeper into such a monumental event, but coming from Jill Stein, well, you know.  

Matt Kwong at CBC News explores why the 9/11 truther movement has endured, and checks in with Dave Thomas, a fellow of CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Speaking of truthers, Facebook’s magical non-human algorithm boosts a truther conspiracy article into its “trending” echelon.

Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, and was visibly ill as she left a 9/11 memorial service early, which of course fuels the conspiracy theories that she’s secretly on death’s door. Emily Willingham (coming to Women in Secularism 4!) clears up what is and is not true about Clinton’s diagnosis, fainting from the heat, and the rest.

Donald Trump, however, is about to go on the Dr. Oz show to talk about his health. Nope nope nope nope nope. 

Ooh! We have a brand new interview for CSICon Las Vegas, where the most excellent Carrie Poppy talks to the also-excellent CSICon speaker, memory expert Elizabeth Loftus!  

An 11-year-old boy in Ohio with what is described as “autistic tendencies” was allegedly forcibly baptized by his Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor and the Morning Star Friends Church. His mom is pressing charges, saying:

They held my son under water. It wasn’t like they sprinkled water on his head, it was like full immersion. He kicked, he screamed and told them beforehand that he was afraid. Every day since then he’s had nightmares, the same recurring dream, about being baptized over and over like he’s drowning. 

Meanwhile, that crazy old guy from Duck Dynasty, who for some reason gets a national platform on things not related to ducks or beards, tells the Values Voters Summit he’d like to baptize Donald Trump, and then says secular humanism is bad because something-something Bible something-something Nazis.

Trump, meanwhile, says it’d be good if we could all just start worshipping the same god. He did not specify whether that god should be him.

Anti-vax pediatrician Bob Sears is in trouble with the Medical Board of California for “gross negligence” when he allowed a toddler to go unvaccinated, putting the kid and everyone else at risk. 

Pope Fluffy says, “The devil has two very powerful weapons to destroy the Church: divisions and money.” That’s funny, because those are also the two weapons the Church uses to destroy everyone else. I wonder if that’s a coincidence.

The United Church of Canada’s leaders say atheist minister Greta Vosper should be let go, but her congregation is standing by her. Said one member of her flock:

It’s not about coming to hear that I’m a sinner. That is so yuck. This fulfills my need to feel upbeat. The services are more happy and joyful, more interested in community and justice. 

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention sternly rebuts a man who asks him why Christians should tolerate equal rights for Muslims, and while it seems at first to be a sort of brave defense of Muslims’ rights, it’s more about the self-interest of his sect: if government can outlaw one kind of religion you can outlaw theirs too, and anyway you don’t want “pretend Christians” who will just wind up going to hell. 

The 9th Circuit declares the Mount Soledad Cross case over, now that the property on which the cross stands is now privately owned. 

Quote of the Day

A former employee of the late Miss Cleo (“call me now!”) who worked as a hotline psychic reveals — get ready — they weren’t actually psychics!!!!

I expected callers to see through my act, but mostly they dialed in ready to believe. Anyway, it turned out I wasn’t such a bad psychic. My two years as a submediocre liberal arts major had made me an expert at fraud. The key was just to toss out a bunch of free associations and hope one of them hit.  

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