The Morning Heresy 4/9/12: Assimilate This

April 9, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Here’s hoping you survived the spookiest holiday of them all this weekend. Speaking of which, Easter brought about some interesting opining in the media on attitudes toward religion, and the Sunday shows did their usual parading of a bunch of religious pundits to talk about faith and whatnot. Let’s have a look.

The president lays the religion on thick in his weekly address, speaking as though resurrection of Jesus is an historical fact, claims even nonbelievers can appreciate how Jesus’ story emphasizes “triumph of faith over doubt.”  

The well-meaning Nick Kristoff dusts off the eye-roll-inducing “secular fundamentalism” canard 

Ross Douthat laments the passing of a less-diverse, yet somehow “centrist” American Christianity:

“It was the hierarchy, discipline and institutional continuity of mainline Protestantism and later Catholicism that built hospitals and schools, orphanages and universities, and assimilated generations of immigrants.”

Keep in mind, though, that as I have previously noted (plug plug) when Douthat talks about “assimilation of immigrants,” he has also written that xenophobia in America’s history has also been good for immigrant assimilation. 

Hemant comments on Sunday’s Meet the Press: Billy Graham’s daughter insists atheists not fit for high office (but at least the Canadians trust us)

On Face the Nation, Cardinal Dolan complains of an effort to put “duct tape” over the mouths of religious folks, and that the president is “intruding” on religion. Yeah, can’t religion just be left a lone, which is all it really wants???

Later, FTN has roundtable discussion on the question of what church-state-separation means (spoiler: almost every answer is self-serving) 

Moving on… 

The Council’s Tom Flynn responds to criticism of his Free Inquiry op-ed on humanist ritual 

CFI’s John Shook: There’s not even a glimmer of benefit to prayer before an exam 

Hey, it’s not intentional fraud by fake psychics! It’s my protected religious belief

Big Think helps you figure out how atheistic you actually are (I’m about as close to a 7 as you can get and still be intellectually honest) 

PZ: Talking about being “good without God” undermines our whole purpose: to be “subversive” (and he takes his message to Salt Lake)

Rest assured: Praying for God to harm someone is not illegal. Attempting an Avada Kedavra curse also protected 

Neil deGrasse Tyson: “I’m not an -ism” 

Katie M. Baker in Jezebel on how to do Passover for a Jewish atheist 

Skeptoid on the “flippant” coverage of neuroscientific findings in the media 

Asheville Citizen-Times puff piece on growth of “naturopathic” practices 

HuffPo: Acupuncture combined with psychotherapy for “energy psychology”

Ovular UFO filmed from airplane window, scares baby 

CFI-LA’s Jim Underdown smacks down alleged teen exorcists

FDL: Rick Warren “un-dorses” Romney? 

Taslima Nasreen begins a stint at Freethought Blogs 

NYT: Matthew Hutson on the psychological benefits of superstition 

Quote of the Day  

Alexandra Petri in WaPo, having attended the Reason Rally, on the plight of the “somewhat religious:”

Why go to ch
urch anyway? All I had to do was show up at a campaign rally in order to be prayed over and occasionally exorcised. I got more than enough religion as it was from my state legislatures.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI 

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