Mick Mulvaney, the president’s chief of staff (though these things are so fleeting), told the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast:
The president has allowed us, Christians of all denominations, folks from all different faiths … to be very vocal about their faith, and to practice their faith, and to take their faith and work it into our policies.
That’s funny, I thought all those freedoms already existed. Weird.
On the opposite side of the moral universe, Pete Buttigieg tells the audience at yet another CNN town hall:
…I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, and I think anybody who steps into the public sphere needs to make it clear that they’re here to support people of any religion and people of no religion.
But I also think we ought to be honest about where we’re coming from — and part of where I’m coming from is a faith tradition that councils me to be as humble as possible, that councils me to look after those who need defending…
Researchers at the University of St. Andrews say that belief in the Loch Ness Monster probably started because of a “collective illusion” brought about by the discovery of the first dinosaur fossils. The Telegraph reports:
Although stories of sea creatures date back through history, before 1800 just 10 per cent of cases described animals with a long neck. But by the 1930s, when [the first person to have reported seeing Nessie, George] Spicer saw his ‘monster’ the number was close to 50 per cent.
The study hints that a kind of ‘collective illusion’ had gripped the national consciousness to such an extent that any unexplained shape, splashing about in the water, was attributed to dinosaurs.
In a report on the rebuilding efforts following the church arson attacks in Louisiana, Washington Post‘s Ashley Cusick hits upon this little gem, emphasis mine:
“I got a call this morning from a men’s Catholic group that wants to contribute,” [Community Foundation of Acadiana’s Raymond] Hebert said. “That’s the kind of thing we are hearing. It doesn’t matter the denomination. It doesn’t matter the race. Everybody is stepping up to the plate, which is impressive.” …
… “We got $1,000 from an atheist,” [Reverend Gerald] Toussaint said with a laugh. “He said he didn’t believe in God, but he don’t believe in burning buildings down, either.”
Major tech companies and dozens of other businesses are imploring Texas not to pass Senate Bill 17, which, as you probably guessed, is another license-to-discriminate bill for the religious. CNBC reports:
“We will continue to oppose any unnecessary, discriminatory, and divisive measures that would damage Texas’ reputation and create problems for our employees and their families,” said representatives in a joint letter, also signed by a dozen local Chambers of Commerce. “These include policies that explicitly or implicitly allow for the exclusion of LGBTQ people.”
Similarly, activists in Mississippi are pointing to their own state to show Texas what a crappy move this would be. NewNowNext reports:
The passage of HB 1523 led to major fallout for Mississippi, with companies like Levi Strauss, Nissan, Toyota, and Tyson Foods calling for the law’s repeal. Singer Bryan Adams canceled a concert in Biloxi after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law in March 2016, while actress Sharon Stone pulled out of a TV miniseries with a production company in Canton. Last year Stony Brook University was barred from playing a three-game series against the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg because of New York’s ban on nonessential travel to the state.
Amy Littlefield at Rewire.News reports on how some doctors and caregivers at a Catholic hospital in Iowa had worked to defy the rules against contraception, sterilization, and abortion services, but all on the sly:
MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center … had an area that one provider wryly called the “sin room.” … the workaround allowed providers to perform tubal ligations and other procedures banned by the Catholic directives in an operating room suite on the labor and delivery floor.
But the Legion of Doom, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, has seen to it that all of these measures are shut down.
Paul W. Armstrong and C. David Naylor write an editorial for The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA if you’re nasty) arguing for more assertive action to counteract health misinformation by journals like JAMA:
The rising tide of medical misinformation is already having adverse effects on global health. It requires a robust and coordinated response from health professionals, organizations, institutions, and mainstream media. Medical journals now have an opportunity to galvanize and support this important effort.
At his CFI column “The Rationality of Science,” Jamie Hale dispels some misconceptions about “learning styles” in education.
An Indian state court upholds the legality of a marriage between a man and a transgender woman:
“Sometimes to see the obvious, one needs not only physical vision in the eye but also love in the heart,” Justice Swaminathan wrote in his 28-page order on Monday. He also ruled that any marriage between a man and a transwoman both professing Hindu religion is a “valid marriage” and the Registrar of Marriages is bound to register the same.
Mars, it turns out, sometimes quakes. It’s probably nervous because of all the robots we keep throwing at it.
Quote of the Day
Oh, Vice, you rapscallions. Taji Ameen gathers a focus group of pet psychics to find out what the animals think about the state of the world. The chicken, for example, is okay with Trump’s wall, as long as one can see through it. The goose is no fan of Kanye’s, but the alpaca seems more sympathetic.
Here’s another example of the high-minded discourse:
Ameen: Should there be any system in place of governing the world?
Chicken psychic: If it keeps the donkey over there, yes. Chicken’s not fond of the donkey.
Donkey psychic: Why does the chicken always interrupt me?
Maybe that’s a question you should ask yourself, donkey.
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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.