Senator Orrin Hatch: The Wall of Separation Between Church and State Must Come Down

In an essay for the Washington Times, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) explains why the separation of church and state needs to end:

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Ted Cruz Says Planned Parenthood Shooter Was “Transgendered Leftist Activist”

One of the few things we know about Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear is that he told police officers “no more baby parts” after he was captured, suggesting that he believed a myth that the Right has been perpetuating for several months now.

But Ted Cruz doesn’t buy that explanation. Or at least, he’d like people to stop paying attention to that four word phrase because it would implicate his own conservative base. So he offered a different motive for Dear’s rampage to reporters in Iowa today:

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No Republican Has Requested We Shut Down Evangelical Churches or Create a Pro-Lifer Registry

This is a powerful reminder of what we’re not doing after the Planned Parenthood shooting, courtesy of Chemi Shalev at Haaretz:

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Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi, Punished for “Insulting Islam,” May Have Received a Pardon

It appears that there may be hope for Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, who was facing another 950 lashes to round out a punishment he received last year (and was upheld a few months ago).

After being sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for “insulting Islam,” Badawi received the first 50 lashes at the beginning of the year, with the expectation that he would receive 50 more every Friday for a total of 20 weeks. But those additional lashes never came for reasons that were unclear.

Here’s the good news: Yves Rossier, the Swiss secretary of Foreign Affairs, has told the newspaper La Liberté that Badawi’s sentence has been officially suspended.

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ISIS Isn’t the Greatest Terrorist Threat to America

On November 15th, Jamar Clark was shot by police officers in Minneapolis. Details surrounding the shooting are contested, but far from encouraging. One side says Clark was interfering with paramedics who were helping a woman he had allegedly attacked. Another side says he was only trying to speak with her, not interfering with the medical help, and not resisting arrest at all.

The family revealed that Clark was shot directly in the head, execution style. Though the public has demanded the release of available video of the shooting, authorities have refused, stating it would jeopardize the investigation.

In a city that had been described as “one bullet away from Ferguson,” the protests erupted quickly. Gathered outside the police station, protesters demanded justice for the death of another unarmed black man. Their emotions were running high, though the demonstration itself was peaceful.

That is, until a group of self-avowed white supremacists opened fire on the crowd, hitting five. As protesters screamed to the police that people had been shot, officers reportedly said, “This is what you wanted,” before shutting their doors. When they finally did come out, they maced the protesters instead of pursuing the assailants.

In the meantime, protests continue in Chicago after the city finally released, after 400 days and a court order, video of an officer executing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, shooting him in the back as he walked away. Community members are furious that it took over a year to bring charges against the officer in question, especially with video evidence so clear, as he continued to collect a paycheck. Outrage was particularly fanned when it was revealed that officers had collectively conspired to erase more than 80 minutes of footage from nearby surveillance tapes. The city was aware of the impact the video’s release would have, stating plainly that they were preparing for mass unrest.

These aren’t isolated incidents. The names Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Reika Boyd, Sandra Bland, and too many others compose a kaleidoscope of lives ended too soon at the hands of law enforcement, often without consequence. And despite efforts to cast these victims as deserving of what happened to them and dismiss concerns of Black Lives Matter protesters, the data shows that these are not one-off cases. Regardless of whether the individual is resisting arrest or not, black individuals are far more likely to be on the receiving end of a police officer’s bullet.

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