Ted Cruz Needs to Explain Why He Spoke at Event Hosted by Pastor Who Wants Gay People Executed

I posted about this earlier this month, but it’s still appalling that Pastor Kevin Swanson said that homosexuals should be put to death, as it says in the Bible, only to add that he didn’t want people to take action on that immediately because gay people needed “time to repent.”

Maybe your initial reaction is: Who cares? That guy is on the fringes of Christianity. He doesn’t represent most Christians.

And yet Swanson is popular enough that three Republican Presidential candidates saw it fitting to attend that very conference — knowing what Swanson had said about gay people. They cared so much about getting a few more votes that they were willing to overlook his murder fantasies. This man is not on the fringes of Christianity. He represents a sizable voting bloc — one large enough that Presidential candidates are clamoring for their votes.

At least Rachel Maddow was willing to talk about the issue on her show:

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Satanists Thank Christian Legal Group for Paving the Way for Their Own Success

If you think about what the Satanic Temple has accomplished recently, it’s impressive for any group, much less one you didn’t even know existed before 2013.

They pressured Oklahoma to reconsider a Ten Commandments monument at its State Capitol building because they wanted a statue of Baphomet in the same space. (The Christian monument was eventually deemed illegal, anyway.) They got a Florida school district to ban Bible distributions because they wanted to give away Satanic-themed coloring books. They got a Satanic display in the Florida State Capitol building to join the Nativity scene last winter. And, perhaps most significantly, they sued the Governor of Missouri on behalf of a member who didn’t want to wait for the 72-hour mandatory waiting period to pass before she could obtain an abortion. She used the argument that waiting so long violated her “religious freedom.”

It’s easy to forget that the Satanic Temple doesn’t actually believe in anything supernatural, including Satan. Yet they’ve forced government officials to recognize that if they want to grant privileges to the Christian majority by saying the door is open to all religions, they may have to treat Satanists the same way. It’s an argument that doesn’t always work with atheist groups who explicitly reject God.

Valerie Tarico, writing at Salon, spoke with the group’s leader Lucien Greaves about their activism, and he makes some excellent points:

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Jacksonville Holds “Community Conversation” On LGBT Rights; Angry Christians Call It A Sham

Last week in Jacksonville, Florida, anti-LGBT activists threw a fit at a public forum because LGBT people dared to say they had experienced discrimination.

The occasion was the first of three “community conversations” held by Jacksonville’s mayor, Republican Lenny Curry, about whether the city should extend nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. This forum was called “Supporting the Needs and Well-Being of Families,” and as you might expect, it quickly devolved into shouting and false accusations.

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Dr. Ben Carson, Breaking the Irony Meter, Says He Doesn’t Want Ideologues in Public Office

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Dr. Ben Carson explained his views on everything from vaccine efficacy to Creationism. It’ll make your head explode if you let it.

The Republican Presidential candidate says he’s a Creationist, though not necessarily a Young Earth Creationist, as if that’s really any better. He accepts that vaccines work, though he thinks they could be administered on a more spaced out timetable, contrary to what experts say is healthy for babies.

But maybe the oddest thing he said involved who he wanted to see running for public office:

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Cayman Islands Legislator: “We Do Not Need An Atheist Chairing Our… Human Rights Commission”

In a move that sounds like something you’d expect to hear from Republicans in Congress, a Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly member is calling for the chairman of the territory’s Human Rights Commission to step down because he’s an atheist.

It all stems from when MLA Anthony Eden (below) and his colleagues said civil unions and gay marriages should shouldn’t be allowed in Cayman, bolstering their argument by equating homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia and even threatening violence against gay people in some cases.

Human Rights Commission Chairman James Austin-Smith responded by saying that rhetoric amounted to “poisonous hate speech.”

And now Eden wants Austin-Smith, an atheist, to step down:

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