After Backlash from Muslim Groups, Brandeis University Will No Longer Be Giving an Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Last week, Brandeis University announced that it would be awarding honorary degrees to five notable figures, including atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her advocacy of women’s rights around the world:

Hirsi Ali, in her bestselling books Infidel and Nomad, made no secret of the fact that Islam, as interpreted by militants, extremists, and even (in some cases) casual believers, was not only untrue but harmful to the world. Between female genital mutilation, honor killings, the idea of martyrdom, and the murder of her friend Theo van Gogh, you can understand why she has courageously put her own life on the line to speak out against the horrors of the faith. In her mind (and many atheists agree), the problem isn’t radical Islam. It’s Islam, period. Much like how Sam Harris criticized religious moderates in The End of Faith for providing cover to the extremists, Hirsi Ali minced no words in a 2007 interview when describing her goal of trying to defeat Islam as a whole because she didn’t believe the religion of peace was capable of being saved in its current form.

Almost immediately after the announcement of her honorary degree, Muslim groups began to protest her selection.

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This Week, a Catholic School Will Host a Conversation About the Harm Religion Can Inflict Upon Children

On Tuesday night, a Catholic university in Texas is hosting a potentially controversial and tremendously important event: a symposium about the physical and mental harm religion can inflict upon children.



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After Depriving College of Funds for Reading Program with LGBT Themes, State Senators Vote Against Its Trustees, Too

South Carolina State Senator Mike Fair, whose district includes Bob Jones University, has already been in the news this year for trying to block the state from adopting new education standards regarding evolution because he wanted to “teach the controversy” and trying to block the adoption of the Wooly Mammoth as the state fossil. .

Now, the man who can’t seem to get more conservative has hit a new low, voting to defund the required reading program at the University of South Carolina Upstate because he thinks it’s promoting the “gay agenda”:



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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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Idaho’s Largest School District Removes Award-Winning Book from Curriculum in Part Because It Mocks Jesus

Here’s what you need to know about Sherman Alexie‘s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian:

It’s won a ridiculous number of prestigious awards since being published in 2007.

Every kid you know who’s read it has loved it.

A couple of parents in Idaho have convinced a local school board — representing the largest school district in the state — to remove the book from its curriculum because it’s too “obscene” for them.



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