That actual hole in the ozone

July 1, 2016

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

Paul is on vacation for the next week, so now you’re stuck with his Morning Heresy understudy, Stef McGraw. Thanks to CFI Outreach intern Sam Farooqui for finding some of these stories, though no “thanks” should be given to her for finding the creepy fish with human-like teeth (see below).

We have an action alert out, and it’s to urge your U.S. representative to oppose the hilariously misleadingly titled First Amendment Defense Act. From our alert:

[The bill] would bar the federal government from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, certification, accreditation, or employment to a business, non-profit, or individual “based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Get angry and take action, because the hearing for the bill is taking place exactly a month (July 12) after the Orlando shooting of 49 LGBTQ people and allies.

In good news for LGBTQ rights, the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to establish a new independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. Our UN representative Michael De Dora was there to see it go down!

United Church of Canada minister Gretta Vosper is an open atheist, and the Church is so displeased that they’re conducting a so-called “inquisition” into her beliefs. And I have to assume that immediately after this was announced, the United Church of Canada abruptly fired their PR guy. 

Al Jazeera reports on an upcoming rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC, and no, it’s not Reason Rally 3—it’s the American Muslim March. The stated purpose is to stand against “bigotry, ‘extremism,’ and gun violence,” which all sounds good to me.

A Tesla and a tractor-trailer (or as we Midwesterners call it, a “semi”) collided in Florida yesterday, causing what appears to be the first fatal crash involving a self-driving car. A federal investigation is underway, so we’ll see whether it was due to human or a human-created-technology error.

The Huffington Post delivers some breaking news: Christians and atheists actually have similar morals, even though the two groups don’t think too highly of one another. This is according to a recent study where it was found that both Christians and atheists care about those who are suffering, as well as hold values such as justice and fairness. It’s also probably worth noting this:

Atheists typically described Christians more negatively than Christians described atheists, but both groups often claimed the moral high ground

So I guess we should work on that.

You know the almost-proverbial, dreaded “hole in the ozone”? Well, that actual hole in the ozone, located above Antarctica, is improving! That’s thanks to public concern and environmental regulation on the part of government. Yes, despite how Congress is handling the issue of climate change right now, there apparently was a time when government could be proactive about helping the environment—it just happened to be before I was born.

Bernie Sanders addressed his support for GMO labeling in a Tweet:

Congress’ job is to represent what the people want, and an enormous majority of Americans want genetically modified food to be labeled.

Lots of great responses followed, including this fantastic one:

The majority of Americans don’t believe in global warming either. We should be fighting pseudoscience, not writing it into law.

Oh Berrrrrn.

Some fishermen in Russia caught a fish with human-like teeth. That photo is so unsettling! 

Quote of the Day:

Gretta Vosper, who has been outspoken both about her atheism and her solidarity with those persecuted for criticizing religion, on the concept of god:

Were I to be given incontrovertible proof that a god does, or gods do, exist, the evidence of the cruel and capricious realities of disparity, tragedy, illness, and anguish in the world, and the truth that our world and our experience of it is wrapped not only in beauty but also in excruciating pain, would prevent me from worshipping it or pledging my allegiance to it.

There are no moral codes that have been formed by the mind of a god. Rather, there is a morality that we have created.

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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.

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