The Bloody Sword of Spain

June 26, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Shall we begin with some horn-tooting? Yes, I think we shall. 

Ed Brayton, whose set before Jamie Kilstein had me guffawing at an embarrassing volume, calls the CFI Leadership Conference “a great weekend in every way.” Ophelia hears all the good responses about the event, and concludes “CFI goes from strength to strength. Noticed that?”

Jessika Griffin of the Secular Alliance at IU called it the “greatest weekend ever” in her conference recap. University of Michigan student leader Monica Harmsen, admiring her CFI HQ surroundings, sighed:

This place…Is so perfect, so beautiful. It is a paradise of freethought and secularism. Within its walls is a monument in glorification of the human mind. Outside, it’s sunny and warm, far enough away from the outside world to be peaceful, but not so much as to be isolated. I never want to leave. 

As Harrisburg gets ready to axe kindergarten due to budget cuts, lobbying money is flowing toward PA legislation that would send more tax dollars to religious schools.

MSN picks up the Free Inquiry study on the bazillions in revenue lost to subsidizing religion, and in reaction, Dan Antoszyk at the SCA’s Secular District blog calls for changes and clarifications in how churches classify their work.  

Dave Silverman takes to Fox News to talk atheists’ progression in politics, makes many frustrated faces at weird things being said around him. 

SCOTUS opts not to deal with a memorial cross in San Diego, sending it back to the lower court to figure out how to get rid of it. 

Adrien Chen at Gawker calls out Reddit atheists for priggish and boorish pseudo-activism

Indre Viskontas returns to Point of Inquiry for a talk with Stuart Firestein on the power of ignorance as a fuel for science. 

CFI podcast Center Stage presents Rita Swan‘s address from the Moving Secularism Forward conference on religious child endangerment. 

Patheos blogger Fr. Longenecker: Atheists can be good without God, but they can never become virtual gods. Aw, nuts

Op-ed in the Jakarta Post by Harvard’s M. Syafi’i Anwar on Alexander Aan troublingly dabbles with moral equivalencies between Aan’s treatment and his “extreme” atheism. 

CFI’s Cody Hashman rounds up a half-year of Music Mondays, and out of nowhere hashes it out in an extremely odd and brief talk show

Are academics being too hard on folks investigating Sasquatch? 

They’ve checked the math: Heaven is hotter than hell. 

James Kirk Wall feels cognitive dissonance about Christianity among African Americans:

Christianity didn’t spread through the Americas with the love of Jesus. It spread through the bloody sword of Spain and the European settlers and slave traders.

Zack Beauchamp defends being both Jewish and atheistic:

. . . the fact that God can’t pass the intellectual smell test doesn’t say a thing about whether I can find value in participating in the traditions that shape my cultural heritage. 

Ed Brayton looks to boil down the current religious freedom debate:

The question is not when should the government violate someone’s religious liberty, it is when should the government violate anyone’s liberty for any reason.  

Maryan Namazie posts her speech to the Council of Ex-Muslims:

. . . first and foremost the CEMB is a challenge to political Islam. It is meant to shock and provoke. Throughout history that is how barbarity has been pushed back – not by tiptoeing around it, accommodating it, appeasing it, tolerating it but by facing it head on. Pragmatism never changed the world but we intend to. 

Austin Dacey writes about hurt religious feelings and Sanal Edamaruku at the CSI website, as The Revealer excerpts Austin’s The Future of Blasphemy.

In the present of blasphemy, Tunisia’s appeals court upholds a 7 1/2-year prison sentence for said crime (and yes, it’s about cartoons of Mohammed). 

Asheville nonprofit offers affordable alt-med to veterans so our heroes can have heated glass jars stuck to their backs. For healing. 

Eek! Death by wi-fi!!! (Not.) 

Via Hemant, Humans in Design posit that Australian census data may suggest that “no religion” is the country’s largest contingent. 

New book advises that angels, UFOs, and Mayans will help you fulfill your spiritual destiny by getting touch with your subconscious…oh, never mind. 

Pheromone pseudoscience? This is why I’m glad I’m no longer single and trying to date:

At a dimly lit art gallery in Los Angeles on a recent night, partygoers huddled around several tables covered with plastic freezer bags stuffed with shirts and an index card bearing a number. Once they found one they liked, a photographer snapped a picture of them holding the bag and projected it onto a wall so the shirt’s rightful owner could step forward and meet his or her odor’s admirer.

Quote of the Day     

Montaigne, impatient with spiritual magic-people who can’t deliver on their woo:

Amongst the Scythians, where their diviners failed in the promised effect, they were laid, bound hand and foot, upon carts loaded with firs and bavins, and drawn by oxen, on which they were burned to death. Such as only meddle with things subject to the conduct of human capacity, are excusable in doing the best they can: but those other fellows that come to delude us with assurances of an extraordinary faculty, beyond our understanding, ought they not to be punished, when they do not make good the effect of their promise, and for the temerity of their imposture?

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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