Turkey Overturns Pianist’s Blasphemy Conviction


Finally, a bit of good news concerning "blasphemy" in the Muslim world. The supreme court of Turkey has overturned the blasphemy conviction of Fazil Say, a very famous pianist who was convicted for joking about religion on social media. The case got a lot of attention a few years ago, for good reason, and this is a very welcome development that hopefully portends greater freedom in that country. … [Read more...]

Even Conservatives Wary of Carson’s College Censorship Plan

Credit: Michael Vadon https://goo.gl/cS3vxP

Showing once again that he either doesn't understand the First Amendment or doesn't give a damn about it, Ben Carson last week came up with the idea of having the federal government monitor and cut off federal aid to any university that shows "extreme political bias." It's a plan that even his fellow conservatives seem to be rather wary of, for rather obvious reasons. Dana Loesch challenged him on it on her show: … [Read more...]

Cruz, Carson Appear in Film Promoting Pro-Slavery, Dominionist Pastor


Many of my readers are no doubt familiar with Douglas Wilson, the incredibly far-right, pro-slavery, dominionist preacher from Idaho. This is a guy who claims that slavery in the south was an idyllic society based on "mutual affection" between slave and master. He's also a dyed-in-the-wool theocrat, demanding a Bible-based society where adulterers would be put to death. So why are Ted Cruz and Ben Carson in a documentary about him? … [Read more...]

Wait, Texas Was Still Banning Flag Desecration?


Someone sent me a link to this article and I was a bit confused. The state of Texas tried to prosecute someone for desecrating an American flag for throwing it to the ground, but a state appeals court overturned that conviction because the law he was charged with violating is a violation of the First Amendment. How is this still an issue? The Supreme Court ruled on this more than 25 years ago. … [Read more...]

For the Millionth Time: Criticism is Not Censorship


It always drives me crazy when the right wing pretends that if you criticize someone, you've somehow violated their First Amendment rights. The latest example is from Jonathan Saenz, the virulently anti-gay leader of the group Texas Values, who is outraged -- or so he says -- that "hero" (actually, baseball player) Lance Berkman is being criticized for coming out against the Houston human rights ordinance. … [Read more...]

Russia May Punish Apple for Gay ‘Propaganda’


Russia's infamous anti-gay law not only punishes people for being gay, but also forbids anyone from engaging in gay "propaganda," by which the law means anyone who advocates for equality anytime for any reason. Officials there have now apparently opened an investigation under that totalitarian law against Apple for including an emoji of a gay couple in a recent update. … [Read more...]

School Bans Shirt for Reference to Lesbianism

Here's yet another example of a school administration that is completely clueless about the First Amendment and eager to make sure no one expresses a message they don't like. A student at Chesnee High School near Spartanburg, S.C., was suspended for refusing to change a t-shirt that said "No one knows I'm a lesbian." The school claims that the shirt is "offensive and disruptive." Eugene Volokh, one of the top First Amendment experts in the country, reports: … [Read more...]

Scott Lively Suddenly Loves the First Amendment


Deranged anti-gay bigot has suddenly developed an undying devotion to the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. He's quite upset about laws that forbid the use of gay reversion therapy on minors in several states and he declares that this is an outrageous violation of the First Amendment. Which would be almost touching if he hadn't already defined the First Amendment as protecting only Christian views. … [Read more...]

Welcome to Grand Rapids, Land of Jerks

I moved to Grand Rapid two months ago and I've been thrilled with it. I love living in the city and I'm especially happy to be close to so many friends who were a 40 minute drive away for the past few years. And then I see a story like this and I am infuriated. There's a group of people in the city who are so adamant about getting rid of homeless people panhandling that they're going out and standing next to them with signs telling people not to give them money. … [Read more...]

Florida School Tries to Ban a Book to Appease Christians


It seems the age of book banning is not a thing of the past. A high school in Florida is trying to ban a book about a young man with Asperger's syndrome because the book discusses adults who are struggling to keep their faith in God. I probably don't need to mention that a group of Christian parents are the ones demanding its removal. … [Read more...]

Bangladeshi Government Sides With Fascist Islamic Murderers

In the worst possible response, the Bangladeshi government is taking the side of the Islamic fascists who have now murdered four atheist bloggers, warning other bloggers that if they write anything that "hurts religious sentiments" they will be arrested and face 14 years in prison. … [Read more...]

Saudi Prince Demands More Blasphemy Laws

A Saudi prince who works as one of that country's foreign ministers told a gathering of the Non-Aligned Movement that we need laws to punish blasphemy all over the world. Because it's a "misuse" of freedom to criticize religion (well, his religion) and it leads to violence. … [Read more...]