The Morning Heresy 9/6/12: Splatform

September 6, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Filed under Too Good to Be True: The godless Democratic Party platform gets re-god-ified during a messy, noisy floor vote – Hemant has a roundup. Interestingly, it was the delegation from Utah that fought the changes the hardest from the floor, though many protested merely the other “omission,” that of support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

CFI boss Ron Lindsay shrugs, and looks for the silver lining:

The Democrats do not have a platform in which God references are pervasive. God snagged one passing reference. The inserted language is some political pabulum about how government needs to give everyone the chance to “make the most of their God-given potential.” Frankly, if I were God I’d be insulted. He’s becoming an afterthought. 

CSH boss Tom Flynn sees this as a slap in the face to seculars.

Posner reacts: “Democrats should have stuck to their guns. Because heavy-handed manipulation of domestic passion is the Republicans’ forte.” Politico covers how “bummed” atheists are. (And I take that as a sign of progress – I suspect that four years ago, no mainstream outlet would have cared how we felt about it.)

National Review points out (joyfully, no doubt) that God was absent from the 1992 platform as well, save for a “sop to Lieberman” about faith more generally. 

Meanwhile, the guy leading the religious charge for the Democrats further alienates seculars:

Faith is an integral part of the Democratic Party. Don’t put any credence to the lie that somehow faith is not an integral part of who we are as Democrats—somebody ought to say, ‘Amen!’ 

Not surprisingly, Paul Ryan is telling folks that prayer in schools should be left up to the states

Must-read: William Dalrymple on a possible turning of the tide against blasphemy laws in Pakistan. 

Jacques Berlinerblau has a video assessing Mitt Romney as a candidate for seculars. 

Here’s video of our own Tom Flynn doing The Full Ingersoll at CFI-Indiana’s celebration of the orator’s birthday last month.

Bad, but not surprising, news on the formulation of Egypt’s new constitution, from The Egypt Independent:

The Constituent Assembly’s Formulation Committee has in principle approved a new constitutional article that would criminalize blasphemy, including comments insulting God, the prophets or Prophet Mohamed’s companions 

Conservative atheist Razib Khan weighs in on Atheism+:

I wish Atheism+ (or New Atheism, or whatever) would really just get off it, because there are some things that are obviously not going to be subject to critique or skepticism. If you do subject those things to critique, you’ll probably be called a “douchebag.” 

Headline of the Day: “Psychics to heal with didgeridoos” 

LaRae Meadows at the CSI site profiles Ariel Waldman who wants more public participation in space exploration. 

Astrophysicist Mario Livio at HuffPo tries to draw a firm distinction between science and pseudoscience.  

JREF’s Carrie Poppy, in her presentation at TAM, wants us to learn some communications strategies from the Mormons. Fascinating.

Dave Johnson at AlterNet tells us why Texas politicians are a menace 2 society, citing their battles against science and critical thinking. (And what is it with AlterNet and listicles anyway?) 

This is neat. American Buddhist clergy join with other faiths in writing in support for the teaching of evolution.

NYT on the religious struggle in French society:

Oddest of all, it is the secularists who are pushing for the old time religion of moral instruction, while the faithful are more than a bit dubious. 

CFI Institute will be presenting “Defending Science: Challenges and Strategies” at Indiana State Library, with Julia Galef, Massimo Pigliucci, John Shook, and Jason Rodriguez on October 6. 

BaltSun covers the Secular Coalition’s foray into Maryland

Quote of the Day      

Zachary Bailes at, yes, the American Baptist Press:

Using “war on religion”
only belittles the actual wars men and women currently fight in the Middle East. Soldiers are still dying, and many of those soldiers fight a battle within themselves once they return home. I wonder how those, soldiers and civilians, that died in an actual war might feel about the “war on religion.”

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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The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta