Some links gathered over the week for you to peruse:
• Ed Miliband, the leader of the UK’s opposition Labour party, is a nonbeliever. He says he doesn’t hold religious faith, but rather a faith in human progress. This column by Fraser Nelson admits that this may be a smart move in increasingly secular Britain, which is no longer a Christian country “but… still a country of compassion and principles”.
• A UK judge rules that parents have “no sacred right” over the education of their children, ruling against an ultra-Orthodox father who wanted his children to have only religious schooling.
• A New York City investment banker with terminal brain cancer wins the right to die, over opposition from religious parents (one of them a pastor) who told her that turning off life support would be committing suicide and would send her to hell, and who tried to have her declared legally incompetent when she persisted.
• A Republican member of the House Science Committee, Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, hates science and calls evolution and the Big Bang “lies from the pit of Hell“.
• At least some theists understand that the way to respond to bad speech is with better speech.
• Welcome news: Saudi Arabia promises to curb the power of its notorious morality police, most infamous for forcing schoolgirls back into a burning building because they weren’t wearing the appropriate Islamic dress to appear in public.
• Another day, another case in which the Catholic church allegedly helped an accused pedophile escape justice.
• It pained me to read this, but I’m glad it was written: a lengthy article laying out damning evidence that Thomas Jefferson actively condoned and perpetuated slavery on his Monticello estate when he realized how profitable it was for him. Coming from a man who wrote so powerfully about human liberty, and whose fiery denunciation of the slave trade nearly derailed American independence, this is a necessary reminder that even intellectual greats aren’t immune from gross hypocrisy.