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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In the Wake of the Charlie Hebdo Attacks, Let’s Eliminate Blasphemy Laws Everywhere

It’s hard to say there’s a silver lining after yesterday’s massacre at Charlie Hebdo, because we’d surely be better off if it didn’t happen at all, but I’m glad there’s a renewed push in Canada for the Department of Justice to eliminate its blasphemy law:


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Relaxed Educational Standards for Homeschooled Children in Pennsylvania and Beyond Should Frighten All of Us

The New York Times published an article about recent changes to Pennsylvania’s laws governing homeschooling, and it highlights a number of concerning points — both in relation to Pennsylvania and homeschooling in general.

Full disclosure: I was homeschooled for my entire K-12 education and learned a lot of really silly religious stuff (like Creationism) in the process. My mom taught us what she and my father believed to be true; but, at the same time, she was a great teacher (when religion didn’t conflict with reality) who fostered a keen love of learning and the natural world. My problem with homeschooling, then, isn’t that I imagine a lack of sincerity on the part of the parents or that I think there are no potential benefits or scenarios where it could work well.

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