Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo
Well, everyone is exhausted from the CFI Leadership Conference, but it’s a good exhausted. The days were absolutely packed with impactful and practical talks and workshops for both freethinking students and CFI’s branch leaders. Just off the top of my head, CFI’s own Debbie Goddard blew my mind with her moving retelling of her own journey to secular activism, Deisree Schell‘s workshop clarified my own thinking on campaign organization like nothing I’ve yet seen, and Chris Mooney‘s explanation of this Republican Brain thesis was utterly compelling, making me rethink many prejudices I have of both conservatives and liberals. There were several others (truly) that fully impressed me, and I hope both I and others find the time to more thoroughly digest and synthesize it all. Luckily, videos are coming soon.
(I gave my own talk, and it was a success on one level: no one was hurt.)
Student leader Ellen Lundgren wrote of the sense of community after the first day of the conference:
I knew that what I said wouldn’t be judged with dogma, I wouldn’t be looked down on, and I felt like I could freely speak my mind on topics that are considered taboo in “normal” society.
The Big Picture Science radio show talks to Ron Lindsay about genetically modified crops.
Apparenly, Morrissey was just elected president of Egypt, and he’s a Muslim! Wow, the more you ignore him, the closer he gets, huh?
What’s that? Oh. How embarrassing.
Happily, a British Christian organization is coming to the defense of John Richards, the “religions are fairy stories for adults” guy.
NYT ethicist advises atheist who wants to join a Bible study group for educational reasons to keep her atheism to herself. Do you agree?
Philadelphia’s Monsignor William Lynn, who protected child molesters under his power from facing justice, is con-freaking-victed (though acquitted on some charges). Sentencing to come.
Sam Harris chuckles at the use of eye contact by “gurus” gazing into your soul.
The Holy Revolving Door: Fox News reporter whose beat was the Vatican goes to work for the Vatican to advise on how to deal with reporters
The Rapidian highlights CFI-Michigan‘s participation in LGBT pride festival:
“There’s a lot of people here who may not feel that comfortable in the religion they were brought up in, and since we are really open to diversity we’re able to give them a welcoming place to come and express their opinions, and develop their philosophies,” says media volunteer for the Center for Inquiry Jane Whittington.
Hemant introduces us to the Christian version of the Kindle Fire, the Edifi, with 27 Bibles pre-installed! Now, you know someone’s got to hack this to put The God Delusion and the Koran on it, right?
Political and religious scholar, and crack detective, Michele Bachmann: “It appears that there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Psychics begin campaigning to be utilized more in police investigations. Says one former law enforcement official: “Some are pieces of crap and are in it for the wrong reasons.”
One could make the case for tax-exemptions for charitable institutions, though here too there are numerous frauds.
Nicole the Noisy Astronomer at Skepchick on that insultingly stupid, if vaguely well-intentioned, “Science: It’s a Girl Thing” ad.
Mormonism is, oddly, on the rise among Hispanics and Haitians. Via the Sun-Sentinal:
“I don’t dwell on what the church has done,” says Bethel, a member of the Fort Lauderdale Ward, or congregation. “I look at what the church is now, and what it can become. The church is saying, we’re having a party and everyone’s invited.”
Frances Kissling smartly sums up the Legion of Doom’s attempts to get Catholic hospitals essentially classified as religions in order to avoid contraception mandates.
Robert P. Jones at WaPo offers some facts to give the Legion’s “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign some perspective.
Kelly Mochel has a nonbelief book for kids.
Eye-rolliest headline of the day, from Fox News: “Lawmakers claim Air Force culture becoming ‘hostile towards religion.'”
Ben Radford featured in msnbc.com piece on the ubiquity of “Bigfoot”-like myths in many cultures.
And somewhat to my surprise, more pixels are being utilized in Leah-Converstion-Gate:
Hemant wants to get perspective on the actual newsworthiness of the conversion (emphasis his):
It’s just not a major story when one person changes her mind and no one else follows suit. It’s interesting, no doubt, but it’s not a major story.
Eberhard sighs that at least “she’s not displaying signs of advanced senility.” Well, no.
Zinnia Jones asks Leah:
To what extent are you willing to abide by the doctrines of the church even when you disagree or don’t fully understand their rationale?
Oh, and she was on CNN too! When’s my turn?!?!
Space.com looks at the upcoming NatGeo series Chasing UFOs.
This Oregonian will accu-poke your pets to health.
Sarah Posner in The Nation nails a big problem with those who should be secularism’s defenders:
Rather than forcefully arguing that the government cannot, constitutionally, be beholden to or impose upon its citizens any particular religious view, Democrats are frequently caught flat-footed reacting to charges they are secularists waging a “war on religion.” They often respond, instead, with self-defenses that they are indeed pious, their policy views guided by their own sincerely held religious beliefs. They rarely utter the words “separation of church and state,” or elevate the Establishment Clause and secular government in the same way their adversaries do the Free Exercise Clause and religious liberty. [ . . . ]
As the election approaches, it will become less likely that Democrats will defend secularism and the separation of church and state. Instead, all signs point to them injecting more religion into the campaign, discussing it on the campaign trail and deploying surrogates to testify to the president’s sincerely held religious beliefs and how they shape his policy views.
The Freethinker: Creationists using Loch Ness Monster to bolster their case. (See, this is where all the CFI stuff comes together, you know?)
Lawrence Krauss represents nothingness and somethingness on the Colbert Report, where Krauss says that gravity both “sucks” and “is repulsive.” It makes sense in context.
John the Baptist called. He wants his bones back.
UPDATE: As requested:
Quote of the Day
Monsignor Lynn case prosecutor Patrick Blessington:
He deserves to go to prison like the criminal he is.
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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