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That Incredible Noise

June 26, 2019

Michael Ollove at Pew Trusts’ Stateline looks at the efforts to give teenagers more say in their health decisions, since, you know, their parents seem to think that there are demons in vaccines. New Jersey and DC are considering measures to allow teens to authorize their own vaccinations, and our own Jason Lemieux is slated to testify on behalf of the DC bill today.

On the other side of reality, Prince Charles has become the official patron of an organization called The Faculty of Homeopathy. I mean, why not just decide to go all-in on being remembered by history as a huge joke?

Cathedral High School in Indiana doesn’t fire a teacher for being gay, so the Catholic Church says, well, you can’t be a Catholic school anymore. So the school buckles and fires the teacher. But wait, there’s more! Turns out Cathedral High School has gotten over $1 million in taxpayer funds through vouchers. So the good folks of Indiana are footing the bill for kids to attend a religious school without the moral courage to even stand up for its own. Classy.

USA Today columnist Michael J. Stern decries the Trump Justice Department for enforcing its own version of religious liberty that applies to conservative Christians only:

As the Justice Department continues to deploy “religious liberty” to push the Trump political agenda, the challenge for DOJ will be what to do when a hotel owner relies on his religious beliefs to deny a room to a black couple. Or when a corporate CEO says the Bible portrays women as subservient and claims that his religious liberty is violated by anti-discrimination laws that force him to employ women. … [But] blacks and women have too much political power for DOJ to withstand the public outcry that would come with subordinating their liberty to a claim of religious freedom.

It’s the gays, Mexicans, Muslims and bathroom-swapping transgenders that religious conservatives still stand a chance of barricading below deck.

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore at The Guardian reports on an art exhibit at the National Gallery of Australia on works from Indonesia, and blasphemy is a theme:

In Wall of Tolerance – one of 50 plus works currently showing in Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia … a brick wall is peppered with gilded brass ears. At first the wall seems quiet. But lean in close and the ears emit the sounds of a call to prayer, recorded by artist Agus Suwage in his own neighbourhood.

“One of the things you first hear in Indonesia is that incredible noise – you’re relying on hearing as well as sight to navigate,” says the NGA’s Jaklyn Babington, who curated the exhibition. In Indonesia, the call to prayer, she adds, has become “literally a competition for airspace”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says his country is totally not persecuting Christians, and hey, there are knife attacks sometimes in the UK, so, uh, so there.

In his Ask the Atheist column, Jim Underdown sees what all the fuss over Good Omens (on Amazon, not Netflix) is about:

I barely could bring myself to watch the first episode of Good Omens. The last thing I need after a hard day of fighting religious orthodoxy and a plethora of wacky beliefs is to have my down-time filled with religious orthodoxy and wacky beliefs.

Dr. Lee Jaffe of the American Psychoanalytic Association apologizes for the organization having ever labeled homosexuality as a “disorder”:

It is long past time to recognize and apologize for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession and say, “We are sorry.”

Ken Ham, who has devoted his life to convincing us that humans had pet dinosaurs like on The Flintstones, says libraries are dangerous to kids because something-something GAY. Or, as he calls the LGBTQ community, “the enemy.” But it’s the library that’s dangerous, you see.

Also hating gays is Brazil’s Bishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, head of the country’s Conference of Catholic Bishops (Legião de Desgraça), who argues against hate crimes legislation to protect LGBTQ people by saying:

We hope [authorities] will realize that the freedom of religion, secured by the Federal Constitution, presupposes the preservation of moral codes rooted in faith.

I don’t think that’s what freedom of religion means at all. Maybe it does in Brazil, but I doubt it.

John Gehring at RNS says, hey, you know what might do the Catholic Church a little bit of good, you know, and stop venting moral credibility? Maybe shut up about sex and gender for a while. Just a thought. Try it out.

The Democratic Party has a new faith outreach director, Rev. Derrick Harkins. No mention if he intends to reach out to to the nones, and if past is prologue, then probably not.

Tip o’the hat to the folks in Ostritz, Germany, who bought all the beer in town. Why? So the Nazis coming to town for a music festival couldn’t have any. HAHAHAHAHA BEERLESS NAZIS HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Quote of the Day

David Von Drehel at the Washington Post says that accepting climate science does not mean fully buying into the apocalypse:

The challenge of climate change demands an urgent response but not an apocalyptic one. For example: It has become common in certain circles for people to say they won’t have children because of the impending hellscape of drought, fire, flood and tempest that will ruin future lives. How common? A celebrity member of Congress gave an endorsement. “Basically, there’s a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). She added: “And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question: Is it okay to still have children?”

This is not the language of science. That gloomy “consensus” has no scientific claim. Instead, with so much still to be learned and such a powerful tool in science, optimism is the attitude worthy of the work ahead.

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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.