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Outweighing Humanity

February 12, 2019

The horrified, “you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me” reactions continue to pour in over the Supreme Court’s refusal to grant a Muslim death row inmate the chance to have an imam present at his execution. Our legal guru Nick Little writes:

This basic right to a moment of solace in face of death is one granted by Alabama law, but apparently now one granted to Christians alone. And in this decision, 5 Christian men on the Supreme Court decided that this right did not extend to Muslims. … I’m not asking you to feel sympathy for a man who raped and murdered a child. I’m asking you to be outraged by a Supreme Court blatantly and publicly stating that only Christianity matters.

At The Atlantic, journalist and playwright Wajahat Ali takes looks at this case and the Court’s decision to uphold the Muslim ban while also deciding that bakers who don’t like gays don’t have to serve them because Jesus:

Whatever the legal merits of these individual decisions, the lasting impression they create for Americans is undeniable: Islam is a faith tradition that is not only inferior to Christianity but also inherently hostile to America. We practicing Muslims are treated as security threats by virtue of our existence and are left to conclude that we are not co-equal citizens of this country—even though we’ve been here since the beginning, when enslaved people were brought to this country. …

… With Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch now on the bench, I worry that this Court will stretch its mental and moral faculties to expand religious liberties as a shield for conservative Christians and potentially as a weapon against every other religious community.

Even the Legion of Doom itself, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says the Court was dead wrong:

People deserve to be accompanied in death by someone who shares their faith. It is especially important that we respect this right for religious minorities.

Ian Millihiser reminds us that we were warned about a Supreme Court like this one by none other than a fresh-faced Illinois senator in 2005.

Happy Darwin Day, by the way. What better way to celebrate the day than with FACTS? Pew Research has some facts about attitudes toward evolution ready to go.

Insects are disappearing. Normally this would make me very happy, because nature and I have never really gotten along. However, Damian Carrington at The Guardian reports that this is really bad, indeed, the word “catastrophic” is used three times in the piece:

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.

Also going extinct: Chocolate.

Tomorrow, the other Portland, the one in Oregon, will debate a new ordinance that would add nonbelievers to the list of protected classes in the city’s civil rights code.

As the measles epidemic continues in the Pacific Northwest, antivaxxers make clear they won’t comply if Oregon and Washington enact stricter vaccination laws.

The Chicago Tribune editorializes against the antivaxxers:

Seeking a second opinion may sometimes be wise. Opting out of sound medicine and public health policy in favor of conspiracy theories is not.

At a “legislative coffee meeting” for South Dakota legislators and constituents, lawmakers get an earful about gifts they received from a religious nonprofit, Capitol Commission: Bibles emblazoned with the South Dakota state seal, permission for which was granted by the secretary of state.

Oklahoma’s Sen. James Lankford wants to repeal the Johnson Amendment (of course), making the false argument that it restricts the free speech of people working for churches and other charities. But what else is new.

Zak Bagans of “haunted museum” infamy boasts of the acquisition of a “haunted mirror” owned by Titanic captain Edward John Smith. At Skeptical Inquirer online, Kenny Biddle takes a closer look to find 1) it’s not haunted (duh), 2) it was probably never on the Titanic, and 3) it might not have been owned by Captain Smith. Good find, Zak!

A Fox News talking meathead, Pete Hegseth, does not wash his hands. “Germs are not a real thing. I can’t see them. Therefore they’re not real.” Yep.

Mars One, the Amway of space exploration, files for bankruptcy.

Quote of the Day

George Takei, usually so full of sunshine, starts to sound more like, well, me:

Sometimes I look around, see the folly of humankind, what we are doing to the planet and its ecology, and I think, “Nope. We are not going to make it. Our species has failed.” It is a profound sadness, for despite all our gifts and our intelligence, we humans are so, so foolish.

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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.