Nebraska Just Repealed the Death Penalty Thanks to Its Atheist State Senator

You may have heard that Nebraska’s legislature just voted to repeal the death penalty. Governor Pete Ricketts threatened to keep it in place, but 30 senators (of the 49 total) were needed to override the veto.

They got exactly 30 votes.

As the Omaha World-Herald says, this represents a “crowning achievement” for State Senator Ernie Chambers (below). He’s the one who introduced the bill in January — something he did unsuccessfully 37 times before.

I feel it’s worth pointing out — since it’s not something we get to do very often with political stories of this magnitude — that Chambers is an atheist. In fact, he’s the highest-ranking elected official in the country who openly admits he doesn’t believe in God.

It’s his focus away from God and toward evidence that led him to fight this battle:

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Swedish Group Wants to Know Why Embassy Rejected Bangladeshi Blogger’s Visa Request Before He Was Killed

We learned early this morning that blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death with machetes as he walked to work:

While there’s a lot we don’t know, one piece of information that has come out since his death is that Das had been invited to Stockholm by the Swedish branch of PEN (the same group that recently gave a Courage award to Charlie Hebdo).

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Wife of Slain Atheist Avijit Roy: “Is Bangladesh Going to Be the Next Pakistan or Afghanistan?”

Back in February, author Dr. Avijit Roy (below) and his wife Rafida Bonya Ahmed were returning home from a book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh where they were promoting Roy’s latest work when two assailants came after them with cleavers and “hacked them mercilessly.”

Roy died shortly afterwards. Ahmed soon issued a public statement in which she claimed “the local police stood close by and did not act” while they were being attacked. We learned this month that Asim Umar, the leader of the Indian branch of Al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a lengthy interview with Reuters published yesterday, Ahmed lamented the tepid response from Bangladeshi officials:

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Once Again, an Atheist Blogger Has Been Hacked to Death in Bangladesh

For the third time since the beginning of the year, an atheist writer has been killed in Bangladesh.

Following Dr. Avijit Roy in February and Washiqur Rahman in March, a group of anonymous attackers killed blogger Ananta Bijoy Das yesterday (or late last night, U.S. time) as he walked to work:



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In Praise of Life (Let’s Ditch the Cult of Longevity)

You are going to die.

If this troubles you, it shouldn’t; you should get over it and get on with living.

Here’s why.

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