September 22, 2015

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

Quick housekeeping update: I’ll be gone the rest of the week for my brother’s wedding, so the incomparable Stef McGraw will take over Heresy duties for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. You won’t even miss me.

Today you are stuck with me.

Oh, and let’s start by clarifying something that’s been all over social media over the past day or so: Saudi Arabia has NOT been made head of the UN Human Rights Council (can you imagine???). They do hold a seat, alas, and head one panel, but that’s not new. So go ahead and be angry that they’re there at all, totally legit, but don’t spread the false report that they now lead the whole council. They don’t. 

Hey look who’s on Point of InquiryIt’s Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. 

It’s today. It’s here: THE POPENING. His Fluffiness will be in DC today. WaPo is none too pleased with his visit to Cuba. David Gibson reports that, actually, the Vatican is not peeved at Obama’s White House guest list after all. Or, if they are, they’re not saying so, which is just as good. This is what happens when Breitbart can drive the news narrative. 

Peter Weber calls Francis a “Christian humanist…defining that as one who cares about human beings more than ecclesiastical considerations.”

Ben Carson is dealing with his assertion that he “would not advocate” for putting “a Muslim in charge of this country” by saying that he meant a radical Islamist, and that he’s worried about something called taqiyya allegedly giving Muslims license to lie (it doesn’t), which I am not allowed to make a joke at Republicans’ expense about because we are a nonpartisan nonprofit. 

Let’s get a breath of fresh air. Here’s Colin Powell on Meet the Press in 2008 when he said about the Obama-is-a-Muslim lies, “…but the really right answer is, ‘what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?'” 

Rep. Andre Carson, unrelated to Ben and himself a Muslim, called Ben Carson’s position “asinine.” 

Mitt Romney tweeted yesterday, “Of course, no religious test for the presidency–every faith adds to our national character.” I mean, he should add “and no faith” or something like that, and Colby Itkowitz at WaPo noticed the omission:

While there may not be a religious test, there is an irreligious test, at least in public opinion. Not believing in God is perhaps the greatest limitation to getting elected to public office, particularly at the national level. 

We’ve had a lot to say about what’s wrong in Bangladesh lately, but Nick Kirkpatrick and Allison Joyce at the Washington Post report on another sad fact of life there: child brides:

The country has the fourth-highest rate of child marriage in the world, with 29 percent of Bangladeshi girls married before age 15 and 65 percent before age 18. …  “When I asked both girls [child brides] if they were happy they seemed almost confused by the question,” Joyce said. “They both replied along the lines of ‘Well this is my fate, I didn’t have any say in it. This is my life now.” 

I thought the Dawkins/Ahmed’s-clock thing was over yesterday, but it’s not. Also, Ahmed and his siblings have been taken out of the Irving, Texas school system, and who can blame them.

Jerry DeWitt is the subject of a big NYT “op-doc.” 

In Skeptical Inquirer, Steve Cuno takes a deep dive into what is and is not true about deceptive and subliminal advertising.  

Benjamin Radford notices an odd contradiction about conspiracy theorists: “One curious and often-overlooked element of conspiracy thinking is that conspiracy theorists are for the most part completely uninterested in actual, provable conspiracies.”

Kaya Oakes at Religion Dispatches writes that while the Catholic Chruch’s sex abuse scandals may not be making atheists, it is making “Nones.” 

Maajid Nawaz strikes back at an Intercept journalist who called him Sam Harris’s “porch monkey”:

I am a Muslim. I am born to Muslim parents. I have a Muslim son. I have been imprisoned and witnessed torture for my previous understanding of my religion. The “Muslim experience” of liberal, reforming and dissenting Muslim, and ex-Muslim, voices is every bit as valid, every bit as relevant, and every bit as authentic as
anyone else that is touched by this debate.  

Naturopaths are lobbying to get their hokum into the VA system, and Harriet Hall is having none of it:

This proposal appeals to “health care freedom” but goes beyond the issue of health care freedom. It calls for health care irresponsibility and asks for taxpayer dollars to be spent on unproven and pseudoscientific treatments. Our veterans (and our taxpayers) deserve better. This proposal is gravely misguided. It would hold medical care hostage to self-serving lobbyists and misinformed public opinion. 

Wow, Edward Snowden knows all the secrets, like why we haven’t heard from the space aliens yet

Richard III’s ghost shows up in a photo taken by a fake-psychic. WE BROUGHT THIS ON OURSELVES. 

Quote of the Day:

The quote of the day is this hat:

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