Socks Education

Because Mississippi law forbids sex education teachers from informing students how to properly use a condom, Sanford Johnson, the Deputy Director of Advocacy for a group called Mississippi First, found a brilliant workaround.

It involves a sock.

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Christians Were Offended By This Atheist Billboard Message?

Last week, I posted about a billboard in Riverside, California put up by the Inland Empire Coalition of Reason:

Turns out some locals were very unhappy by that message even though it was aimed at non-religious people:

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Vandals Cut Down Sculpture of Mythical Irish Sea God and Replace It with a Cross

In Northern Ireland, atop Binegenagh Mountain and overlooking Lough Foyle, there sat a statue of the sea god Manannán mac Lir (below). The statue, created by artist John Darren Sutton (some of whose work can also be seen in HBO’s Game of Thrones), was one of several sculptures to be found along the Limavady Sculpture Trail. The trail was designed with visitors in mind, as a way of sharing and commemorating the area’s “most notable myths and legends.”

I say the statue of Manannán mac Lir “sat,” in the past tense, because, some time prior to Wednesday morning of last week, it was cut from its base and removed. The BBC quotes Sutton as saying the statue’s removal would have required hours of work even from multiple people:

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Catholic Priest Who Said It’s a Sin to Vote for Obama Bans Girls from Acting as Altar Servers

Somehow, a Catholic priest found a way to treat women even worse than the Church already does:

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To Fight Extremism, Should Muslims in French Prisons Receive More State-Sponsored Religious Services?

Farhad Khosrokhavar, a French-Iranian sociologist and author who is an expert on Muslim radicalization, has long scrutinized the role that French prisons play in breeding extremism.

In a piece in the New York Times, he says he believes that while Muslims in France comprise just seven to ten percent of the French population, half of French prisoners are Muslims. He isn’t quite sure, because

laïcité, France’s strict form of secularism, prohibits officially asking and collecting data about people’s religious preferences. These estimates are based on research I conducted in French prisons in 2000-3 and again in 2011-3, when I interviewed some 160 inmates.

That’s a relatively tiny sample, but if Khosrokhavar’s extrapolation is remotely true, that’s a pretty shocking state of affairs.

And Khosrokhavar (pictured below) is just getting started. Imprisoned Muslims believe — sometimes falsely, often not, says the sociologist — that they’re being treated unjustly overall. An inmate of Algerian origin complained

“If I try to take my prayer carpet to the courtyard, they prohibit it. If I grow a beard, the guards call me Bin Laden, smiling and mocking me. They hate Islam. But Islam can take revenge!

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