In College Town Where Students Observe the Sabbath, Same-Sex Partners of Government Employees Will Receive Benefits

Collegedale, Tennessee was founded as the home for Southern Adventist University and has a huge Seventh-day Adventist population.

The school is so religious, in fact, that it actually observes the Sabbath (as Adventists do). This is from the student handbook (PDF):

That’s why it’s a bit surprising (and amazing) that Collegedale just became the first city in Tennessee to extend benefits to same-sex partners of its government employees:

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Switzerland Will Soon Replace Its Religious National Anthem with a Godless One

The text of the Swiss Psalm, written in 1841 and adopted as the National Anthem in 1981, includes lyrics like this (when translated into English):

When the morning skies grow red,
and over us their radiance shed
Thou, O Lord, appeareth in their light
when the alps glow bright with splendor,
pray to God, to Him surrender
for you feel and understand
that He dwelleth in this land.

In the sunset Thou art night
and beyond the starry sky
Thou, O loving father, ever near,

when to Heaven we are departing
joy and bliss Thou’lt be imparting
for we feel and understand
that Thou dwellest in this land.

That’s a nice… psalm… but, outside of church, it’s really out of place.

The Swiss government has finally recognized this and they’re ready to chuck their current, religious anthem in favor of a new, secular one:

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Arab Atheists Are Slowly Coming Out of the Closet

The Associated Press’ Diaa Hadid has an encouraging story about brave atheists in the Arab world. Despite having to constantly look over their shoulders to make sure no one catches them, there’s clearly a small-but-growing presence:

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Former Congressman Barney Frank Finally Comes Out as an Atheist

Yes, former Congressman Barney Frank is gay.

Yes, Barney Frank is liberal.

Yes, Barney Frank is a Democrat from generally-progressive Massachusetts.

Yes, we all probably assumed he was an atheist.

But until now, his official religious affiliation (PDF) had always been “Jewish.”

Last night, after taping Real Time with Bill Maher, Frank referred to the fact that he was a “pot-smoking atheist” on the post-show segment “Overtime” (about 0:50 into the segment):

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Frederic Rich: The Christian Right is Not Just Cranks and Knuckleheads

After the 2008 election, I think a person could be forgiven for thinking the tide had finally turned on the Religious Right, as a young, progressive, black politician was elected president. All the fear-mongering and rumors churning about whether Barack Obama was a secret Muslim, or perhaps Satan himself, didn’t seem to stop the dam from bursting on the Bush years.

The political elastic, of course, snapped back pretty hard in 2010 (though I would never take a midterm election to be representative of the entire potential electorate, since turnout in those is usually limited to activated partisans), and particularly in state legislatures, we saw Christianists swarm into power.

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