The Most Disdained Group of All

June 13, 2012


Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

There’s some religious ugliness in the news today, folks, so if you’re looking to start your day with smoke coming out your ears, you’ve come to the right place. But let’s start with some very good news!

North Dakota’s “Measure 3,” which would have allowed religious belief as an excuse to avoid compliance with all kinds of laws, and which CFI urged voters to oppose, was defeated yesterday! Roundly defeated, even, 64% to 36%.  

Okay, let’s get the ugly out of the way so you can start fuming. 

NYC board of health tries to regulate the metzitzah b’peh so babies don’t have to get herpes. What’s the metzitzah b’peh you ask? I told you you’d get mad:

. . . an adult male, usually the circumciser, places his mouth directly on the wound created by the removal of the infant’s foreskin to suck away the blood.

And of course attempts to regulate this are being resisted. Of course. 

Christian clergy in Uganda are not happy with how long it’s taking to get the Kill-the-Gays Bill enacted 

You can almost set your clock by it: Conservative [religious adherents Xriot in [country Y] over allegedly offensive [art medium Z]. Here the variables are X=Islamists, Y=Tunisia, Z=exhibit spelling God’s name with insects. 

Moving on to other items of interest… 

Via CFI’s Michael De Dora: We want Obama to stand his ground and finalize the rule on the coverage of contraception

CSI’s Ben Radford at Discovery: Couple suing media outlets for reporting on fraudulent psychic claims about a mass grave in their yard now also suing the police:

Psychic information often wastes police time and resources following up on false leads. Despite popular belief and claims to the contrary, there is not a single documented case of a missing person being found or recovered due to psychic information. 

Article comparing secular and evangelical substance abuse treatment features Jim Christopher of the CFI-affiliated Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)  

The Hill looks at atheist political activism, with Edwina Rogers, Annie Laurie Gaylor, and Pete Stark 

Hemant is working on a new book about high school atheists! 

Anti-evolution Kansas BOE member doesn’t want to be thought of as a “crackpot” 

Louisiana parish’s school board decides to challenge new state law expanding vouchers to religious schools 

Ed Brayton on why religion is more than your run-of-the-mill irrational tribalism:

. . . a secular and skeptical worldview . . . begins with the premise that we should apply the tools of reason to better understand the world and which has no threat of an afterlife to compel one not to question. It’s certainly true that skeptics, both individually and in groups, can and do engage in the kind of ostracism that can happen in any community in response to those who challenge the positions taken by the majority of people in the community, that response is at least not built in to the belief structure. Tribal thinking is possible in any group, of course, but skepticism, properly understood and put into practice, demands that it be avoided as much as possible; religion, on the other hand, positively encourages such irrationality with multiple levels of punishment for those who question, both immediate and for all eternity. 

The Secular Coalition’s snowball of state chapters keeps on a-rollin’! (St. Louis Trib covers Missouri and Illinois branches, here’s the AP mentioning Florida)

Greta Christina clarifies how the skeptic movement should address social justice:

Those of us who are saying that skepticism should address social justice issues?

We’re not saying, “Skeptics all have to agree on social justice issues..”

We’re saying, “Skepticism should address social justice issues.” 

Vatican has nice chat with nuns, then tells them they are absolutely subject to its whims 

With $100k bounty on his head, Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi goes into hiding 

The Times Literary Supplement looks at Darwin’s struggles with writing prose 

NYT glowing piece on the Interfaith Youth Corps with, yes, includes atheists, “the most disdained group of all”

New-age Islam?&n

Dan Fincke offers some highlights from a dissertation on the Westboro Baptist Church   

You probably saw this already, but just in case, from The Onion: “Man On Verge Of Self-Realization Instead Turns To God” 

“Oh Snap” Quote of the Day     

Mormon David V. Mason, insisting that he is not a Christian:

Being a Christian so often involves such boorish and meanspirited behavior that I marvel that any of my Mormon colleagues are so eager to join the fold. 

No he didn’t!!!  

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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