SCA’s Morning Read for 4.16.14

Atheism, Movement & Related Morning Read
Americans Intuitively Judge Atheists as Immoral (Pacific Standard)
Atheists have been speaking up more loudly in recent years, adding a fresh perspective to debates over meaning and morality. But in spite of this new visibility, the way Americans view non-believers remains extremely negative, according to a newly published study.

First Amendment 
Freedom From Religion as a Civil Right (Huffington Post)
The separation of church and state in the U.S. constitution is more honored in the breach than in the observance. Those who want to escape from organized religion must fight for that freedom against those in power who would foist religious views upon them at every turn. The religious pledge of allegiance continues to be recited in schools despite being clearly unconstitutional.

Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green launches a new project: a public school Bible curriculum (RNS)
The Mustang, Okla., school board voted Monday (April 14) to adopt a Bible course developed by Steve Green, clearing the way for the Hobby Lobby president, whose suit against the Affordable Care Act is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, to enter another charged arena at the borderline of church and state.

Oklahoma Biology Teachers Don’t Understand Evolution (i09)
Much of the debate about evolution in public schools concerns the content of textbooks. But a new study points to another worrisome trend: teachers who have misconceptions about evolution might be passing those ideas along to their students. Researchers surveyed Oklahoma high school biology teachers, and found that 23 percent of them misunderstand several key concepts.

Women’s Rights & Development Prevention 
The Medical Community’s Hidden Abortion-Training War (Daily Beast)
How the medical community is cutting out abortion training and isolating the very doctors that women need most.

A Texas OB/GYN Details the Horrific Consequences of Abortion Restrictions (Cosmopolitan)
My first hysterectomy as a resident was on a 16-year-old who had an illegal abortion. Her pelvis was nothing but pus. That’s the sort of thing we saw all the time. I admitted about two or three women like this every night. That’s what we’re headed towards now. We’re heading back to those days. Because of the restrictions lawmakers impose, women will seek abortions illegally, and we’re going to see a rise in septic abortions.

Why not get the state out of the marriage business? (Washington Post)
Why should any marriage require state licensing or recognition at all? … If instead people who wished to marry were to seek out their church (or whoever) for recognition, and handle all other secular legal matters by contract, we’d have fewer issues.

Religion as a human rights liability (Open Global Rights)
Although many human rights movements have religious underpinnings, explicitly linking religion to human rights can lead to the exclusion and persecution of minority groups. To protect the rights of those minorities, we must work to keep religion separate from human rights.

‘Secular canopy’ is keeping European politicians quiet on faith (Christianity Today)
The European Union has often been characterised as something of a ‘Christian club’ of nations, but does that mean that the people who run it are actually Christians?

Why Blasphemy Laws Are Actually Anti-Islamic (Huffington Post)
Such cruel and unusual penalties are on the books in far too many Muslim nations. In many instances they are the legacy of colonial rule. A case in point is Pakistan, where the existing blasphemy laws date back to 1860 British laws against insulting religion to keep the peace between religions. These provisions were inherited by Pakistan in the 1947 partition.

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