The Morning Heresy 10/2/12: Look on in Horror

October 2, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The Campaign for Free Expression is on. See the website, watch the goosebump-inducing video, follow @CFICFE, and get involved. Here’s the press release announcing the launch.

Well, this surprises me. Supermajority of Danes support the country’s blasphemy law. 

Jonathan Zimmerman opines at the Philadelphia Inquirer that as Americans “look on in horror” at reactions to blasphemy around the world, “we should also confess the sins of our own past.” 

Reza Sayah at has an explainer on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. 

IHT: Chief of radical Muslim group in Pakistan says Barack Obama, in his UN speech, was “instigating people to make blasphemous movies and caricatures.” 

Warren Ellis at Vice says that blasphemy has nothing to do, really, with God:

. . . the gods and prophets don’t even notice. The latter are dead and the former never showed any signs of life. Blasphemy, like heresy, is thoughtcrime: a questioning of institutions, authority structures, and the way we live. When I wipe shit on the face of your god, I’m not doing it to your god—I’m doing it to you, because it’s you who serve it and you who use it as justification of your position. It’s a political act. It does, however, allow the state to pick up one of its most ancient weapons. 

Hussein Ibish at Now Lebanon, opposing blasphemy laws, wants the US and other western nations to also look to their own prohibitions on “hate speech.” 

WaPo’s Dana Milbank mocks political atheists following the SCA’s briefing in DC yesterday, and makes a point of focusing on what SCA chief Edwina Rogers was wearing. 

Ikea airbrushes women from its catalogues in Saudi Arabia, then backtracks. (h/t Maryam Namazie

Massimo Pigliucci joins Chris Mooney for the latest Point of Inquiry podcast. 

Carl Zimmer in NYT: Science may be in the midst of a retraction-gate

In a special article for CSI, Caleb W. Lack gives the low-down on how to protest fraud psychics without making everyone hate your guts. 

NYT: Something about the human skull turns up the volume on pseudoscience. 

This should be interesting. Gotham Chopra has produced a documentary that seems to be critical of his father, Deepak. 

Alan Miller at turns up his nose at “spiritual but not relgious.” 

Disciple of the Westboro Baptist Church (of “God Hates Fags” infamy) wants a seat on the Kansas Board of Education.

Sharon Hill has a sad reminder of the violence and murder visited upon women accused of witchcraft in Africa. 

UN’s climate change chief is optimistic about rejection of the denialists. 

Meanwhile, justice is sought in Connecticut for those who lost their lives after being accused of being witches in the 17th century.

Want to be free of “excessive thinking”? Echart Tolle is coming to DC to lighten your burden. (He’s also going to be at the Religion Newswriters Conference, which I’ll be at too. Maybe he can lobotomize me.)  

You know who’s popular? TSA agents who give pat-downs. You know who’s more popular? Pedophile priests. I know! Let’s combine them

Author Thomas Harrop writes in to let us know that he has a new book to help secular families get some ideas about how to celebrate a nonreligious Winter Solstice. 

Stephan Marche at Esquire thinks atheists should leave the religious to their intra-sectarian squabbles:

I don’t think atheists should relish these struggles, but we should pay attention, because these debates are obviously far more important to the future of the United States than anything the miniscule fragment of nonbelievers might care to debate. We should just step back and let it all happen without our involvement. Hopefully, we might even learn to be more tolerant of our cosmically deluded brethren. Religion is clearly not some overarching conspiracy or nefarious hierarchy, as so many atheists have been screaming. It’s much more chaotic tha
n that. Just people trying to figure out what the hell’s going on.

Russell Blackford argues that the contraceptive mandate case of O’Brien v. US Department of Health and Human Services was a slam dunk for church-state separation, helpfully reminding us, “no one is actually required by her religion (or at least by Catholicism) to run a mining company.”

Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-aye-ee-aye-oh. And on this farm OMG HE WAS EATEN BY HIS PIGS.

Quote of the Day        

Edward Falzon at HuffPo notes CFI’s efforts, calls work like ours against blasphemy laws “crucial”:

. . . as long as we condemn a video before we condemn a violent reaction to it, we’ll always be bestowing power upon those who wish to pass this kind of law. 

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

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The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta