For Some Reason, a Mississippi Courthouse Has a Nativity Scene Inside the Building

This is what you’ll see when you walk inside the Harrison County Courthouse in Mississippi:

If you think that looks like a Nativity scene, well, I’m not patting you on the back because this is Mississippi and what the hell else would that be?

The problem, obviously, is that the courthouse is sending the message that Christianity is the only faith that matters, which is disturbing for anyone who’s not Christian hoping to get a fair hearing.

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center has sent a letter to Harrison County officials asking them to take the display down, regardless of how many years this tradition has been going on:

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Suburban Chicago High School Football Coach Accused of Praying with Team Before Game

This is a little weird for me since it’s happening so close to home, but a football coach at Naperville Central High School in Illinois has apparently been praying with his team before games.

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Atheists Booked Space in the Nebraska Capitol Early, Crowding Out a Nativity Until After Christmas

Atheists will have an assortment of displays in the Nebraska State Capitol building later this month, and because they reserved the space months in advance before anyone else got there, a Catholic group’s Nativity scene won’t go up until after Christmas. And they’re furious.

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American Muslims Raise Money for San Bernardino Victims As a Way to “Respond to Evil with Good”

Following the San Bernardino shooting that left over a dozen dead, a group of American Muslims has responded in an awesome way: raising money for the victims of the shooting. And not a little bit, either:

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Is Our Brain Chemistry the Difference Between Religious Saint and Violent Monster?

Patrick McNamara, the director of the Evolutionary Neurobehavior Laboratory at the Boston University School of Medicine, has an interesting theory about brain chemistry and religion. It’s dopamine, McNamara says — the neurotransmitter known for exciting the reward center in our brain — that “drives the switch” between an extraordinary religious person becoming either a benevolent saint or a fanatical killer.

In an essay published over at Aeon (hat tip Dan Fincke), McNamara notes that

[B]ountiful dopamine has given rise to gifted leaders and peacemakers (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Catherine of Siena), innovators (Zoroaster), seers (the Buddha), warriors (Napoleon, Joan of Arc), teachers of whole civilizations (Confucius) and visionaries (Laozi). Some of them founded not only enduring religious traditions but also profoundly influenced the cultures and civilisations associated with those traditions.

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