Arkansas Legislature Pulls Out All the Stops to Block LGBT Equality — and Other Civil Rights, Too

The Arkansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that will block cities and counties from enacting their own policies to protect LGBT people from discrimination — or, for that matter, creating any civil rights ordinances outside those put in place by the state.

SB202 bars cities and counties in the state of Arkansas from ensuring civil rights protections for any group not already specified in the state law. Currently, the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993 protects against discrimination based on the following characteristics:

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The Associated Press Describes Mild-Mannered Atheism Memes as Carriers of “Vitriol”

In this news article, we learn from the Associated Press that triple-murder suspect Craig Stephen Hicks, according to his Facebook profile, loves his wife, his dog, hiking, nature, history, target shooting, and riding a motorcycle.

Then AP writers Allen G. Breed and Michael Biesecker need a segue to talk about Hicks’ atheism. So they came up with this:

But such descriptions stand in stark contrast to the vitriol Hicks espoused online.

Sounds serious. Make sure you’re sitting down as you behold these terrifying descriptions of pure malice.

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There’s a Christian Version of Fifty Shades of Grey in Theaters Right Now

You all saw the big Valentine’s Day movie, right?

No, not Fifty Shades of Grey.

I mean the movie featuring another Christian:

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New Jersey Judge Rules Ex-Gay Conversion Therapy is Consumer Fraud

For the first time ever, a United States judge has affirmed what the American Psychiatric Association has been saying since 1973: Homosexuality is not a mental illness.

Judge Peter F. Barsio Jr. of the New Jersey Superior Court ruled last week against the conversion therapy provider Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH). Here’s the official ruling, short and sweet:

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Professor Accuses “Irrationally Hateful” New Atheists of Being Zionists and Supporting Palestinian Genocide

False impressions ought to be corrected. One of mine was that if you teach at a university, you have learned how to think, and you’ve accepted that while you have a right to your own opinion, you’re not entitled to your own facts.

I see now that I was wrong. Jamil Khader, a dean of research and professor of English at Bethlehem University in Palestine, has opened my eyes.

In an op-ed piece for Al Jazeera, Khader’s first foray into conclusion-jumping is to assert as fact that the Chapel Hill victims were murdered by an atheist because they were Muslims. (He even calls it, unbelievably enough, “an extra-judicial execution,” implying the behind-the-scenes involvement of some nefarious state player.)

I have spent more time than I wanted these past four days reminding people on both sides that we don’t yet know one way or the other. In other words, it’s seriously, disappointingly premature to insist that Craig Stephen Hicks killed out of atheistic fervor and anti-Muslim animus; just as it is distressingly partisan and over-early to aver that his anti-theism had nothing to do with it. When the investigators tell us what they’ve found, we’ll be a lot closer to the truth.

If Khader had left it there, I wouldn’t even be writing this. But look where he takes his argument:

Commentators who focus only on the Islamophobic sentiments of the perpetrator and frame this incident within the racial politics of the US, get it half right.

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