Arizona Bill Would Exempt Churches from Paying Property Taxes on Buildings They Rent

Arizona legislators have just introduced a bill that would allow churches to claim a property tax exemption on buildings they rent rather than just own. A similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer last year, but there’s no telling if the same thing will happen under new Governor Doug Ducey.

House Bill 2128, which passed through the House Ways & Means Committee yesterday on a 6-3 party-line vote, points out that the state already “exempts property owned by a non-profit educational, charitable and religious organization from taxation.”

However, if a church rents space from, say, a public school, they can now claim an exemption on it, too. That rule would not apply to secular non-profit groups that rent the same space.

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In Egypt, Atheists Are Considered “Threats to National Security” or “Carriers of a Dangerously Contagious Virus”

Mona Eltahawy has an important and eye-opening opinion piece in tomorrow’s international edition of the New York Times (online today) all about the persecution of atheists in Egypt.

The people she writes about — like Karim al-Banna and Alber Saber — are familiar names to readers of this site, as is the ridiculous report about how there are exactly 866 atheists in a country of more than 80 million people:

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Mike Huckabee Suggests that Prayer and Bibles in Public Schools Would Prevent Shootings

Mike Huckabee, the man who wants to become President to protect us from an atheistic theocracy, has a solution to violence in this country, particularly in our schools.

Take a guess.

You’ll never figure it out.

Okay, okay… it’s more God. (Gotcha, didn’t I?)

Speaking at a conference arranged by televangelist Morris Cerullo, Huckabee recounted how, when he was a youngster, his public school was full of religion:

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Alexis Tsipras, New Greek Prime Minister, Is an Atheist

Greece, New York famously has issues with atheists.

Greece, the country, is now led by an atheist.

NPR contributor Joanna Kakissis, reporting from Athens, says that what’s unusual about Alexis Tsipras, who was sworn in as Greece’s prime minister yesterday, isn’t necessarily his young age or the fact that he doesn’t like to wear ties.

As scores of news photographers clicked away, Alexis Tsipras took his oath of office … He said he promised to uphold the Constitution and look out for the welfare of Greeks. Tsipras is an atheist, so he refused a religious oath — the custom in this Greek Orthodox country. He’s the first prime minister to do so. He’s only 40, so he’s also the youngest leader in Greece since 1865.

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Delaware Governor Issues Proclamation in Honor of Darwin Day

It has no legal weight, but Delaware Governor Jack Markell issued a proclamation in advance of Darwin Day (on Charles Darwin‘s birthday) recognizing his accomplishments:

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