Bill Maher Explains Why He’s Openly Secular

The Openly Secular campaign, which encourages non-religious people to say as much publicly, no matter what label they use, just got a nice boost from comedian Bill Maher:



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It’s Time for Conservative Christians To Take Responsibility For Transphobia

LGBT advocates are still grieving — will long be grieving — the loss of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender girl who committed suicide partly because of her religious parents’ rejection of her identity. Her death has reignited a national conversation about the struggles transgender youth face, and the devastating effects that can result when they aren’t met with love and support.

But all sensitivity is lost on the religious right, who are jumping to prove that Leelah’s death was the result of her own selfish “disorder.”

For example, in a blog post last week, the Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins asked, “is theologically orthodox Christianity to blame for Josh [sic] Alcorn’s suicide?”

We don’t even need to point out that the entire post misgenders Leelah, using male pronouns and her birth name. That’s par for the course when it comes to conservative Christian “analysis” of trans issues.

But even having the common decency to use her name wouldn’t make up for how Higgins tries to break down the circumstances of Leelah’s death. Here’s a list of possible explanations she offers for Leelah’s suicide, as well as the despair suffered by so many other LGBT teenagers, particularly those who are trans:

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Iowa House Republicans Begin New Legislative Session Using Gavel with Bible Verse On It

The Iowa State House just began its new legislative session today by swearing in new members and the House Republicans (in the majority) tweeted out this picture of the gavel they’re using:



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Saudi Cleric: Snowmen Are Anti-Islamic; Supporter Says They Promote Lustiness and Eroticism

You thought cartoons depicting Muhammad were the low point for fundamentalist Muslim rage?

Turns out snowmen piss off one “prominent Saudi Arabian cleric,” too:



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Are There Limits To Multiculturalism? Jerry Coyne, Ripping Into Apologist Reza Aslan, Says Absolutely

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Jerry Coyne sticks his neck out in a new piece about multiculturalism. The object of his ire is Reza Aslan, the Muslim scholar, who put in a performance at CNN the other day during which he excelled at apportioning blame for Wednesday’s violence to France’s ostensible failure to embrace multiculturalism, rather than faulting the tenets of radical Islam.

After quoting Aslan’s words at length, Coyne observes that there are two kinds of multiculturalism, one of which is toxic.

What is wrong with “multiculturalism”? That depends on how you define it. If you mean “tolerating or celebrating the customs of people from another land,” it’s fine — and desirable. The U.S. would be bland and uniform without its many immigrants, their celebrations and holidays, their food, their politics, their philosophies, and so on.

But when multiculturalism involves importing antidemocratic ideas into a democratic culture, then it becomes problematic. The kind of “multiculturalism” that Charlie Hebdo opposed, and wished to be dissolved by “French” values, was Islam’s veneration of sharia law, its institutionalization of the subjugation of women, its calls for the death of apostates, gays, and adulterers, its belief in corporal punishment for criminals, and the Muslim habit, in some places, of patrolling the streets, looking to find and admonish young Muslims partying, drinking, listening to music, dancing, and associating with members of the other sex. Fun is a no-no.



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