Free Speech Coalition Asks Secretary of State John Kerry to Help At Risk Bloggers in Bangladesh

The head of the PEN American Center — the group that gave the Charlie Hebdo staff a Freedom of Expression Courage Award earlier this year despite pushback from many members — along with several other groups are now asking Secretary of State John Kerry to “provide humanitarian parole for a limited number of high-profile Bangladeshi secularists at imminent risk of attack.” Humanitarian parole is basically a way to circumvent normal regulations and get someone into the United States due to a “compelling emergency.”

It’s a tremendous showing of support for critics of religion in Bangladesh, many of whom remain on a hit list following the brutal deaths of five writers and publishers over the course of the year.

[Read more…]

Sheriff in Texas Plans to Put Christian Crosses on All Department Vehicles

We’ve seen a lot of sheriffs putting “In God We Trust” stickers on city-owned vehicles over the past few months. Unfortunately, there’s not much recourse for that. The sheriffs just lie about the religious basis for that, shrug their shoulders, and say, “It’s our motto!”

But when it’s a Christian cross, you have to think that crosses a line. This is a mockup of the cross that Brewster County (Texas) Sheriff Ronny Dodson plans to put on his office’s vehicles:

[Read more…]

Utah Woman, Competing on Swedish Reality Show, Says She Will Leave the Mormon Church

There’s a reality show called Allt för Sverige (Everything for Sweden) in which Swedish Americans return to their native land to learn more about their ancestry. (And somehow, people get booted off the show each week because it’s reality TV.)

Karin Berg Roylance, a Utah native who was one of the contestants this season, didn’t win, but she made an important decision during her time in Europe: She plans to leave the Mormon Church when she returns home.

Part of her decision stemmed from the realization that she was an atheist. She had grown up believing atheists were immoral heathens, but living in Sweden — a country so non-religious that sociologist Phil Zuckerman wrote a book about it — convinced her that not believing in God wasn’t so bad after all.

[Read more…]

A Creationist Politician Will Now Oversee Education-Related Legislation in Arizona

Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen (R) is one of those people who have no business making decisions on behalf of other people because she rejects reality and wants to push her religious on everybody else.

More than five years ago, she said Earth was only 6,000 years old during a discussion about uranium mining in the state:

[Read more…]

Neil deGrasse Tyson Examines Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Twitter

If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet — and, really, what are you waiting for?! — be warned: Spoilers ahead. Nothing too major, but there you go.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, who caught the movie over the weekend, found a few parts that stood out, as he explained in a series of both humorous and serious tweets.

Some were less problematic plot-wise:

[Read more…]