U.S. State Department Defends Raif Badawi Just Before He is Lashed 50 Times for “Insulting Islam”

It doesn’t look like there’s much we can do now. Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger, will receive the first batch of his 1,000 lashes today. All for the “crime” of running a progressive website that called for, among other things, religious tolerance and women’s rights.

Yesterday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement in defense of Badawi:

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“Traditional Values” Are Losing Ground with Voters and We’re All Better Off as a Result

When you hear politicians talk about “traditional values,” it’s usually just code for anti-gay, anti-women, pro-Christianist thinking. Saying gay people should not be allowed to marry may be politically toxic these days, but no one has a problem with “values,” right?

I’m happy to say that voters, who may finally be catching on to the con, are caring less and less about traditional values these days. Aaron Blake at the Washington Post explains:



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Texas Republican’s Bill Would Withhold Salary from State Employees Who, in Future, Issue Gay Marriage Licenses

A new bill in Texas sponsored by Republican Rep. Cecil Bell would cut off the salary of any state official who issued a wedding license to a gay couple… if that ever became legal. (Texas is currently one of only 14 states where gay couples can’t get married.)



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Saudi Blogger Accused of “Insulting Islam” Will Receive the First 50 of His 1,000 Lashes Punishment Tomorrow

30-year-old Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi was punished in 2013 for starting a progressive website that called for, among other things, religious tolerance and women’s rights. That was insulting to Islam, his critics said, and tomorrow, he will face the first 50 of his 1,000 lashes punishment (he also faces 10 years in jail and owes a 1,000,000 Saudi riyal fine — about $266,000).

The Center for Inquiry, which has worked to secure Badawi’s freedom, to no avail, released this statement earlier today:

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Oklahoma State Capitol’s Replacement Ten Commandments Monument is Going Up Today

Back in October, Michael Tate Reed Jr., a Christian who had been “diagnosed with Bipolar and… was off his medication,” drove a car into the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol lawn.



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