Rising Toward Apoplexy

June 1, 2018

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

We here at CFI have this crazy idea that religious people aren’t the only ones who should be allowed to have their marriages solemnized by a representative of their worldview. I know, we’re so selfish. So we’ve just filed a lawsuit in Michigan to see to it that Secular Celebrants can solemnize marriages. One of our plaintiffs is a familiar fellow, one Ed Brayton, who writes:

I think that secular-minded people in the state should have their wishes respected in terms of the person they’d like to officiate important rituals like weddings and funerals and I look forward to being able to provide that for them when this suit is finished.

The Trump administration has appointed a religious-right propagandist who runs those deceptive “crisis pregnancy centers” to head the Office of Population Affairs (OPA, but not the Outer Planets Alliance OPA) at HHS, which focuses on, yes, reproduction and family planning. Here’s our response to the appointment of Diane Foley.

Susan Gerbic scores an interview with CSICon speaker and New York Times science writer Carl Zimmer. Nice.

In Skeptical Inquirer, Joe Nickell drops a reality bomb on the big to-do over UFOs and the Defense Intelligence Agency, calling it a “comedy of errors.”

Trump has signed the “right to try” law that gives a lot more leeway to patients who want to try experimental medical treatments, and its author, Sen. Ron Johnson, is explicit in his desire to see the FDA weakened.

The Twin Cities’ Archdiocese announces a $210 million settlement with victims of sexual abuse by its clergy.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine is withdrawing its membership with the Maine Council of Churches because the other churches are just too nice to the gays. You just keep on with all that #winning, you guys.

But it’s not just the Catholic Church, of course, with the abuse problem. As reported by former evangelical pastor Joshua Pease at the Post, “Across the United States, evangelical churches are failing to protect victims of sexual abuse among their members.”

This is bananapants. Liberty University has produced a film-not a documentary, but a dramatic movie-about how God told a firefiighter about the ascendance of Trump. I don’t know how the actors kept straight faces long enough to shoot their scenes.

Funny story: Kids in voucher programs actually do a lot worse in math than public school students. Oh wait that’s not funny at all.

Peter Montgomery at ReWire looks at the hypocrisy of right-wingers who believe themselves to be free speech champions, but are cool with health care providers being gagged from discussing abortion with patients.

Clay Jones wrestles with the question as to whether pediatricians ought to boot families who refuse vaccinations from their practice.

In a d’stressing d’velopment, Trump is pardoning raving conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza.

I saw this press release for something called the Festival of Science & Religion, and I was all, hey, that sounds suspiciously Templetonian, and HOT DAMN I WAS RIGHT.

Quote of the Day

Alan Burdick at The New Yorker explores the two-dimensional world that is flat-Eartherism, reporting back from their big conference:

The conference audience was frequently encouraged to “do your own research,” which mostly seemed to involve watching more YouTube videos and boning up on Scripture.

Flat-Earth logic is by turns mesmerizing and maddening. There is no gravity, nothing to restrain it, but as a theory it explains fewer phenomena than the theory it seeks to supplant. In the corridor, I met a documentary filmmaker—there were several milling around at the conference—who had been following the flat-Earth community for months. His face bore a look of despair. “If you’re going to dismiss everything as a hoax, you’d better have something clear to replace it,” he said, his voice rising toward apoplexy. “If you tell me your car isn’t blue and I ask you, ‘Well, what color is your car?,’ don’t fucking tell me, ‘I don’t know, but it’s not blue.’ What color is your fucking car?!”

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