June 6, 2018


Our legal director Nick Little tries to suss out what the hell happened in the SCOTUS Cakeshop case, and sort of assures us that “the decision is bad, and the future is murky. But the sky hasn’t fallen. Yet.”

In Free Inquiry, Tom Flynn reminds us that freethought’s history is not just something that slipped off the radar:

…to say that freethinkers, early abolitionists, and other reformers were forgotten suggests a passive process. What actually took place required greater agency: they were actively disappeared.

Plus, Sally Roesch Wagner writes about Matilda Joslyn Gage, the 19th-century radical who took no crap in the fight against religious oppression:

“Not until the church is destroyed will women be freed,” Gage wrote to the editor of Lucifer the Lightbearer, a freethought paper. “I strike the church.”

There’s simultaneously something wonderful and nauseating about this headline in the Post: “Scott Pruitt enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife find a job — with Chick-fil-A.”

Meanwhile, a federal court says Pruitt must comply with a FOIA request to show how they reached the conclusion that “there’s a tremendous disagreement about the degree of the impact [of] human activity on the climate.”

Edzard Ernst, writing for Skeptical Inquirer, backs up his dismissal of Prince Charles as “foolish and immoral” due to “Charles’s foolishness in respect to the promotion of quackery,” meaning of course homeopathy and other fake medicines.

Craig Foster says we should stop getting all worked up about the flat-Eathers in order to “avoid being unfittingly distracted by less important forms of pseudoscience.”

PEN Germany profiles writer-in-exile Arpita Roychoudhury, one of the secular activists assisted by CFI’s Secular Rescue program.

Laura Pappano at the Times explores the struggles faced by LGBTQ students at Christian colleges, many of whom invoke scripture to make their case for equality.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court says to a Satanist that “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency does not count as a religious endorsement. And if I write “I LOVE THE GUY WHO PLAYS THOR IN THE MOVIES” across my forehead, it’s not an endorsement of Chris Hemsworth.

A court in Louisiana rules that a mother’s objection to getting her kid vaccinated does not count as religious:

[T]he trial court found that Ms. Dicharry’s “reluctance to have her child vaccinated arises from a personal, moral, or cultural feeling against vaccination for her minor child.” The trial court found that “[ t]hese views and feelings are more in the nature of a secular philosophy than a religious belief.” Considering the record, we find no manifest error in the trial court’s factual determinations.

A sign in a public school classroom in North Carolina mocked the concept of atheism gets taken down after it shows up on the news.

An outlet called About Her, which it says “offers an intimate look into the lives of influential Arab women,” chooses five books to “make you smarter,” and all of them are by men. They’re all fine choices, as one of them is Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality, and another is the book by the xkcd guy. Still that seems weird.

Quote of the Day

At the Post, David Cole, the ACLU lawyer who represented the couple in the Cakeshop case, seems to agree with Nick:

The court made clear that states are free to require businesses, including bakers, to serve gay and lesbian customers equally, including in the provision of wedding cakes. In fact, Charlie Craig and David Mullins could go right back into Masterpiece Cakeshop today and request a cake to celebrate their wedding anniversary — and if Jack Phillips refused them, he would have no First Amendment right to turn them away.

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