D’Souza? D’oh!
October 17, 2012


Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Takeaways from last night’s debate? Not a whole lot for our skepto-atheosphere. Most notable, really, is what wasn’t said. Not once was there discussion of things near and dear to our hearts like, oh, the global rise in temperatures that may result in the destruction of human habitats and spur a series of environmental catastrophes. But hey, they both like coal!   

Baptist Press trumpets an effort by lawmakers in nine states to form “religious freedom caucuses,” which of course means essentially the opposite of what it says. The piece quotes CFI chief Ron Lindsay:

Unfortunately, ‘freedom of conscience’ and ‘religious liberty’ are sometimes improperly invoked by those who seek to impose their religious views on others, directly or indirectly. Whether the American Religious Freedom Program will help strengthen the right to freedom of conscience or subvert this right largely depends on the understanding of religious liberty that will guide its activity.  

He Breaks Things
October 16, 2012


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Rebecca Watson one-ups Newsweek:

But last night, after seven hours of rest during which the human part of my brain (i.e., all of it) showed significantly slowed brainwave patterns, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in Narnia. 

CFI’s Michael De Dora talks with Jamila Bey on Voice of Russia Radio about blasphemy and incitement laws around the world. 

NBC Nightly News does the first in a series of pieces on alternative medicine — it’s highly uncritical, and even says that insurance companies need to do some “catching up” to cover CAM treatments. 

Some of Us Were Blushing
October 15, 2012


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As Election Day approaches, it’s not the presidential race that has the exclusive attention of the Florida political class. It’s “Amendment 8,” a proposed change to the state constitution to allow taxpayer funds to flow to religious institutions — and a reaction to a lawsuit brought by the Council for Secular Humanism concerning a proselytizing prison ministry.   

A piece by Robyn Blumner in the Tampa Bay Times quotes CFI legal guru Steven Fox on the implications of the amendment, and Blumner concludes that its passage would mean:

. . . proselytizing by the likes of the Lamb of God Ministries, the local mosque or Scientology center, and, heck, even the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster could become just another government-funded program, with all of us compelled to foot the bill. 

Release the Biden!
October 12, 2012


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I enjoyed the hell out of last night’s debate, my friend. And yes, there was even fodder for the Heresy, as Joe articulated the whole point of secularism in a religiously pluralistic society:

My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. . . With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. 

Ladybugs’ Picnic Day
October 11, 2012


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I declare today Ladybugs’ Picnic Day. Why? Sing it with me!

One-two-three, four-five-six, seven-eight-nine…(and today’s date!) 10-11-12!!! Get it???

Sunshine State News chronicles the tit for tat over Florida’s Amendment 8, which would allow state money to fund religious institutions, and is a reaction to the Council for Secular Humanism’s lawsuit against the funding of proselytizing prison programs in the state. So obviously, we’re against it

Unaffiliate This!
October 10, 2012


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Holy moly, did the media get excited about the rise of the so-called “nones” yesterday! Honestly, the new numbers from Pew showing that a fifth of Americans eschew religious affiliation surprised almost everyone. In a press release yesterday, our boss Ron Lindsay talked about how this bodes well for policy and culture in the long run as religion loses ever more of its influence.

CNN’s The Situation Room checked in with Ron to talk about the political implications of this new data. 

ABC News picks up our release, and includes some political implications, including the possible election to the US Congress of Arizona nontheist Krysten Sinema.

The Morning Heresy 10/9/12: Nones, Above
October 9, 2012


Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Big news for us seculars today, as the Pew Forum releases an important new survey showing that the religiously unaffiliated, the “nones,” are very much on the rise in the US. Now, this is not to say there’s a huge uptick in self-described atheists, but those not bound to a particular religious tradition now make up one-fifth of the population — 33 million people, with 13 million atheists and agnostics. 

The Morning Heresy 10/8/12: Not a Complete Loser
October 8, 2012


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I spent the weekend representing CFI at the Religion Newswriters Conference in Bethesda, MD, and I met a lot of very interesting people (journos and otherwise) and made some really valuable connections. (Some of those connections are now new readers of the Heresy, so to all those new eyeballs, welcome!) The pic in this post shows the folks from the “atheist corner” of the exhibitor hall, an unholy alliance of nontheist PR flaks: Myself, American Atheists’ Teresa MacBain, SSA’s Jesse Galef, SCA’s Lauren Anderson Youngblood, and AHA’s Brian Magee (photo taken by the charming Kimberly Winston). What a neat and utterly-damned bunch. 

Here’s a little bit of the reportage from the conference that might interest all you heathens…

The Morning Heresy 10/5/12: Have Your Newborn Stuck with Needles
October 5, 2012


Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

We’re doing another short Heresy today, folks, as I’m stationed here at the Religion Newswriters Conference in Bethesda, and I really should be, you know, representin’. Squeezed into my little corner of the exhibitor room are some of my heathen allies, Teresa MacBain from American Atheists, Jesse Galef from SSA, and Brian Magee from American Humanist Association. We’re talking shop and shooting the breeze about the gadgets we brought. Now you know. On to the news!

The Morning Heresy 10/4/12: Off the Record
October 4, 2012


Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

It’s is a quick one today, as your Morning Heretic is going to catch a plane to go see a bunch of reporters in a big hotel.

Tim Farley, jealous of the riches and glory that The Morning Heresy brings me, has begun his own daily product focused on news and tools of use to skeptics. Here’s the Morning Toolbox.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty at NPR sees the 2012 campaign as less focused on candidates out-Godding each other

Jacob Sollum in Reason says Obama “pandered” to radical Muslims in his UN speech. I could not agree less