Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill That Would’ve Allowed Proselytizing During Football Games and Graduation Speeches

Earlier this year, Virginia legislators attempted to pass Senate Bill No. 236. Among other things, the bill would legalize student-led, administration-supported proselytizing at football games, during morning announcements, graduation ceremonies, and anywhere else where students had a public forum. While the bill had stalled at one point, it eventually made it through both the state Senate (on a 20-18 vote) and House (64-34).

Proponents of the bill argued that it allowed students to organize religious clubs, plan “See you at the pole” gatherings, and wear religious symbols — but all of those things were already legal. The only thing this bill did was “permit a student speaker to express a religious viewpoint at any school event at which a student is permitted to publicly speak.” It was Christian code, letting students know they could (and should) proselytize at every available opportunity. It was a horrible idea, but the legislators didn’t have the backbone to stand up to the Christian Right.

Thankfully, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe had the guts to veto the bill on Friday, citing precisely that distinction:

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American Atheists’ David Silverman Addresses Crowd at Mass Mormon Resignation

Yesterday, while the 184th Annual General Conference of the (Mormon) Church took place nearby, two atheist groups led a mass resignation for Mormons who wanted to leave the Church for good.

Atheists of Utah and American Atheists (national) led the 75-person march around Temple Square. Afterwards, AA President David Silverman spoke to the crowd:

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This Week, PBS Will Begin Airing Neil Shubin’s Evolution Series, Documenting How We Are ‘Just a Jerry-Rigged Fish’

In 2006, paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin and his team discovered fossil remains of a genus they called Tiktaalik. While anti-evolutionists constantly declare there are no “transitional fossils,” Tiktaalik beautifully represented the shift from fish to amphibians, containing traits of both and countering those Creationist claims.

Shubin later wrote about his discovery and how our own bodies give us clues to our evolutionary past in Your Inner Fish, and that book is now being turned into a three-part PBS documentary series that begins airing this week.

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A Secular Invocation at the Pensacola City Council Meeting

Earlier this year, David Suhor gave an excellent non-religious invocation at a meeting of the Pensacola City Council:

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The Best Sound Bites and Speeches from Prominent Atheists, All on Video

The Agnostic Atheist Anti-Theist Foundation on Facebook have been putting up a lot of great videos on YouTube lately, compiling the best speeches and sound bites from prominent atheists.

Below is just their latest one featuring Christopher Hitchens (part 7 in the series, natch):

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