Job Interview Questions About Gay Marriage, Abortion, and Religion Lead to Lawsuit

Back in March, Constable Bobby Gutierrez (sort of like a sheriff) retired, so the commissioners in Williamson County, Texas had to replace him.

They interviewed five candidates and asked them each a series of important, relevant questions:

Are you for or against gay marriage?

Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

Who did you vote for in the last election?

What are your religious beliefs?

Because you have to be a good conservative Christian to be a cop.

Robert Lloyd, who was interviewed for the position but didn’t get it, is now suing the commissioners (along with Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis, who was also involved in the hiring process) over the illegal line of questioning:

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Salafi Muslims in Egypt Are Filing More Blasphemy Cases Than Ever Before

Ben Hubbard and Mayy El Sheikh of the New York Times have a frightening report of how charges against blasphemy — a victimless crime, as the joke goes — are increasing dramatically in Egypt under President Mohamed Morsi.

It’s a witch-hunt, pure and simple. Just take a look at what happened to this teacher who was falsely accused of insulting religion and the government:

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Atheist Alliance of America National Convention Tickets Now Available

The annual conference for Atheist Alliance of America takes place on Labor Day Weekend in Boston this year and early bird registration is coming to a close soon. If you’re able to attend, get your tickets now! Kids are welcome, there’s a strong group of speakers, and the student discounts are terrific:

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Court Strikes Down New Hampshire’s Tax-Money-For-Religious-Schools Law

On Monday, New Hampshire was the scene of a state court verdict (PDF) that struck down a recent law allowing tax dollars to flow into religious schools:

The program provided a large tax credit to businesses that contributed to scholarship organizations that paid for tuition at private schools. Though the program was purportedly designed to expand educational opportunities, Justice John M. Lewis held that the program violated the state’s constitution because it had the effect of diverting public funds to religious schools.

“New Hampshire students, and their parents, certainly have the right to choose a religious education,” the Stafford County Superior Court judge wrote in the ruling. “However, the government is under no obligation to fund religious education. Indeed, the government is expressly forbidden from doing so by the very language of the New Hampshire Constitution.”

With that phrase, Lewis was referring to the Blaine Amendment that is enshrined in the Constitution of no fewer than 39 states, including his.

The amendment has a pretty fascinating genesis.

In the 1870s, Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, frequently expressed his commitment to keeping tax money out of religious education. In fulsome tones, Grant praised the separation of church and state, and attacked the idea of government support for “sectarian schools” run by religious organizations.

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Scouting Group Girlguiding UK Revises ‘Promise’ So That Non-Religious Girls Can Join

Two years ago, seven-year-old Maddie Willett was told that she had to pledge an oath to god if she wanted to remain in Girlguiding UK (their version of the Girl Scouts).

The pledge reads: ‘I promise that I will do my best, to love my God, to serve the Queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide law.’

Her parents, Barry and Juliette Willett, are furious the 2nd Crawley Down Brownies troop in West Sussex has refused to alter the wording so their daughter could make the promise.

‘We don’t have a belief in God and our daughter is yet to make her decision,’ Mrs Willett said.

‘It’s a big decision for her to make and it would be offensive for an atheist to say they love God.’

Much like the Boy Scouts of America still do today, atheists were not allowed to become members of Girlguiding UK — at least not ones who were open and honest about their non-belief.

Unlike the BSA, though, Girlguiding UK has done something wonderful: Today, they announced a revision to the Promise that will allow openly non-religious girls to join the organization without a problem.

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