How Some West Virginia Businesses Are Responding to the State’s “Religious Freedom” Bill

On Thursday, the West Virginia House of Representatives passed HB 4012 (introduced as SB 11), which would be the state’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bill, which would offer a way for religious business owners to discriminate against LGBT customers (along with anyone else who offended their faith-based sensibilities), got through the House with a 72-26 vote and is headed for the Senate, where Republicans have an 18-16 advantage.

Many businesses in the state, however, are now making it known that they don’t support the bill and welcome all customers.

This is what tolerance and inclusiveness look like.

Sam’s Uptown Cafe:

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Richard Dawkins Says His Health Prevents Him from Attending NECSS Conference

For the handful of you still interested, Richard Dawkins has declined to attend the NECSS conference after being invited, then disinvited, then reinvited.

He said in a letter to emcee Jamy Ian Swiss, published on his website, that his health prevented him from attending the May conference:

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Tim Minchin Releases Song Urging Cardinal Pell to Return to Australia for Child Sex Abuse Inquiry

Cardinal George Pell is the Catholic Church leader who is allegedly responsible for covering up instances of child sexual abuse by priests in Victoria, Australia. He now lives in the Vatican, which is mighty convenient since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is currently investigating the matter. They want Pell to testify at the end of this month… but he’s really sick and can’t make it. Which is also very convenient.

That’s why there’s now an online fundraiser to send the victims to Rome so that, if Pell will at least testify there, he can do it while looking at the victims he (allegedly) put in harm’s way. And if he doesn’t testify or they can’t send the Australian entourage to Rome, the money will go to support a healing center for survivors in the city of Ballarat.

Comedian Tim Minchin just released a single called “Come Home, Cardinal Pell” — whatever he makes from sales of the song will go toward the fundraiser:

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Mississippi Legislators Want to Make the Bible the Official State Book (Again)

Last year, two Mississippi legislators set out to make the Bible the official State Book with House Bill 386:

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It never came to pass, though. The bill died in committee before it could ever come up for a full vote.

Now, Rep. Miles and Rep. Evans are trying again. They’ve introduced House Bill 840, once again declaring the Holy Bible as “the official state book of Mississippi.”

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A Darwin Day Resolution Has Stalled in the Arizona Senate, but You Can Help Push It Forward

Arizona is one of the states where you wouldn’t expect a Darwin Day resolution to get very far, but that could change very soon.

State Senator Andrew C. Sherwood introduced SR1001 earlier this month. It’s a resolution similar to one he introduced last year in the State House, but that one didn’t make it out of the Rules committee.

The current version of the bill — co-written by physicist Lawrence Krauss, who lives in Sherwood’s district — looks like this:

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