Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert Files Bill to Put Up Ten Commandments Display on Capitol Grounds

Today is the last day for Arkansas politicians to file bills for this legislative session, meaning we should be on the lookout for any shenanigans.

And, oh, what’s this…?

State Senator Jason Rapert (a Republican, of course) has filed a bill to install a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol:



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Environmental Officials in Florida Were Ordered to Stop Using the Phrases “Climate Change” and “Global Warming”

Officials in the Department of Environmental Protection in Florida, a state that’s especially affected by climate change, were told they could not use that phrase (or “global warming”) in their communications or reports.

This stunning bit of censorship was brought to light by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting:

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In County with “In God We Trust” Plaque, The Satanic Temple Wants to Put Up Sign Reading “E Pluribus Unum”

For weeks now, I’ve been writing about how Clark County (Washington) officials, after initially saying no, have gone ahead and approved an “In God We Trust” sign in city hall.

An atheist said last week that he wanted to petition to put up a sign next to that one reading “In Dissenters We Believe.”

Soon, another voice may be added to the mix: The Satanic Temple.

The head of the Temple’s Seattle chapter tells me she will soon petition for a sign in city hall that says “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one), our nation’s original (but unofficial) motto. Below is a mockup of what the sign might look like:



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Saturday Night Live Mocks Dr. Ben Carson for Saying Homosexuality is a Choice Because Prison Turns Some People Gay

In case you missed it last night, Saturday Night Live ripped on Dr. Ben Carson for his recent homophobic comments during the “Weekend Update” segment… and kept going, joke after joke…



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French to Crack Down on Hate Speech, Including the Anti-Religious Kind, “In Much the Same Way [As] Pedophilia”

Recently, French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira announced that she wants the power to quash speech as she and her government see fit, stripping judicial niceties from the process of shutting people up, says Paris-based news outlet France24.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira has said she will push for legal reforms that would help French authorities crack down on racism and anti-Semitism online in much the same way they do with pedophilia. The proposals include empowering French authorities to shut down websites hosting content that is deemed illicit without prior court approval.

“Crimes recognized in public spaces must also be recognized as such on the Internet,” Taubira [said], echoing other recent statements on combating terrorism. “Our challenge is to find the most appropriate responses, but we are determined to wage an unmerciful battle against racism and anti-Semitism on the Internet.”

Almost no one likes hate speech, but neither should the government of a modern, secular state be in the business of defining and targeting it… unless and until it rises to the level of incitement. It’s fairly easy to get people to agree (as do I) that racist and anti-Semitic invective should not be tolerated. For me, that means that sanctions should be social, from verbal pushback to full-throated rebuttals to ostracism.

Intemperate words and pictures are rarely, I think, a matter for the police or the courts.

Taubira’s well-intentioned but dangerous proposal has every likelihood of defining public discourse down to the comfort level of the most thin-skinned and vocal members of society. And I predict that this will please and benefit no group quite as much as French Muslims who believe that the Charlie Hebdo victims had it coming. The hate-speech crackdown will feel like vindication to them, and/or like a government-endorsed justification après la lettre.

Brendan O’Neill at Reason explains how illiberal France’s plan is:



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