Cortical Gyrification

May 10, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

While millions celebrated yesterday what was a huge move forward, symbolically at least, for LGBT marriage equality, CFI championed marriage equality of another kind in Indiana. From our press release:

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) filed a complaint in the United States District Court challenging an Indiana law that privileges religious institutions in the solemnizing of marriages. Indiana code 31-11-6-1 specifies that marriages in Indiana may be solemnized only by a small number of secular elected officials and a large number of clergy or other persons associated with religious organizations. 

CFI . . . believes the law is unconstitutional on the grounds that it allows all manner of religious leaders to celebrate marriages, and allows persons of faith to be married by religious leaders of their choice, while denying these opportunities to persons who desire a nonreligious celebration by a Secular Celebrant. This represents a preference for religion over non-religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and denies rights secured by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  

WIBC radio talks to ACLU’s Ken Falk about the case, and the story hits the Indianapolis Star:

Rulings in past cases have made it clear that the state “cannot prefer religion over nonreligion any more than it can prefer one religion over another,” [Falk] said.

“What the Center is asking for … is the ability to engage in the exact same behavior that the clergy can engage in,” he said. 

More coverage in local station RTV6:

“This case is more than just an issue of fairness,” said ACLU of Indiana Interim Executive Director Frank Young. “It’s about respecting the rights of all who value marriage in Indiana. All who wish to have their marriage commitments solemnized should be able to do so in accordance with their beliefs, whether those beliefs are religious or not.” 

More on the SCA’s new boss 

CFI chief Ron Lindsay weighs in after the big CFI cruise (“It went well, thanks.”), giving a little bit of behind-the-scenes context, and reminding us we have a chance to hear from Edwina Rogers herself:

. . . we are pleased to announce that Ms. Rogers has agreed to speak at our upcoming Women in Secularism conference in Arlington, VA. She will be speaking on Saturday morning, May 19. Let’s hear what Edwina Rogers has to say, and let’s withhold final judgment until she has had a fair opportunity to articulate her views and carry out her duties as the executive director for SCA. I’m hoping—for the sake of all of us—that she proves to be a smashing success.  

Hemant advises restraint and patience amid criticism of Rogers:

Now, we have to give her time to figure out what makes our movement tick. I know we want her to be well-versed in it already, but that’s not going to happen overnight. 

Vjack agrees, but still awaits clarifications:

If Rogers cannot be accurate in her appraisal of her own political party and is unwilling to come to terms with the record this party has had on secularism, I do not think she can hope to represent secular Americans effectively. 

But Adam Lee suspects she may be “woefully unqualified” 

Matt Dillahunty doesn’t want you to stop supporting the SCA member organizations because of the Rogers hire (thanks), but shouts: “The SCA screwed this up, in a major way.” 

CFI-Indiana members Jeff Jones and Scott Trout react on local TV news to the president’s gay marriage announcement 

PZ is “not impressed”:

Jebus Teetotalin’ Christ. That’s the best we’ve got from Obama? Seriously? It’s taken him this long to “evolve” to the point where he can take a personal (not even a political) stand on civil rights? 

Posner ties it to Obama’s faith:

[Obama] abandoned conservative religious rhetoric about [gay marriage] and signaled that religious conservatives, even his close religious advisors, don’t own the conversation on what Christianity has to say about marriage.  

Kimberly Winston in WaPo: “One of the biggest growth areas in political activism around religion is coming from an unlikely source: the nonreligious.”  

Kylie Sturgess interviews Perry Romanowski for CSI on the pseudoscience of cosmetics: “People don’t want to know the truth.” 

The latest edition of The Human Bible <thundercrash!!!> features scripture’s relationship to knock-knock jokes and superheroes! 

Mark Silk ponders what religious freedom advocates have lost with the ouster of Dick Lugar at the hands of the Tea Party 

One in six Americans still think Obama is a Muslim. Now they will probably think he is a gay Muslim. 

Selma, California lifts a ban on fortune tellers, despite outcry from religious community

Steven Novella: Let’s stop wasting money on alt-med 

New comic book series looks to take on pseudoscience 

AP: California may ban cure-the-gay therapy 

NYT looks at meditation’s role in brain development, with my new favorite medical term:

A striking finding of the study was that the degree of cortical gyrification appeared to increase as the number of years practicing meditation increased. 

Tony Perkins: The Girl Scouts are out to “get our kids”!!! 

The Guerrilla Skeptic saves the Wikipedia entry for Ingersoll’s birthplace!  

Uh oh. Wired has troubling material on the U.S. military’s training in “total war” against Islam

Quote of the Day    

Bill Maher on the GOP (I know this is old, but I just saw it): 

I think the Republican Party is at war with common sense. I think Republicans live in a world now where whatever a liberal says, no matter how sensible, is automatically evil, wrong, and needs to be fought with the fervor of a starving raccoon on crystal meth.

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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