North Carolina Magistrate Refuses to Perform Gay Wedding Because of His “Religious Beliefs”

Yesterday was the first day of legal gay marriage in North Carolina, which means you knew this was going to happen:

William Locklear and his partner showed up at the county courthouse Monday expecting to get married after 31 years together.

The couple didn’t get the chance.

A magistrate turned them away.

“He said, ‘I won’t be performing your marriage because of my religious beliefs,’” Locklear said.

The article never mentions the faith of the magistrate, but would anyone like to take a wild guess…?

[Read more...]

Texas A&M Now Holds University-Supported Prayers Before Football Games

Over the weekend, before Texas A&M lost to Ole Miss, the Aggies held not one, not two, but three separate prayers on the field before kickoff. The first two were led by Student Body President Kyle Kelly. The third was led by Memorial Student Center President Ryan Trantham.

Kelly said the idea originated from the South Carolina game when he noticed how the Gamecocks led a prayer before the game. He said he liked the idea, but didn’t think anything more of it.

The following week, Kelly said he received a phone call from Regent Jim Schwertner, who asked if Kelly had also noticed the gameday prayer.

“Our school has got such time honored traditions and values and I thought why aren’t we doing that?” Schwertner said.

Because it’s illegal, that’s why.

[Read more...]

Catholic Church In Kenya Opposes Tetanus Vaccinations, Suspecting a Secret Plan to Sterilize Women

As we’ve seen, Muslim fundies are often anti-vaxxers. In places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, they’ve gotten it into their heads that polio-fighting programs are really Western-led campaigns to make Muslims infertile. As a result, terrorist groups have waged a long intimidation campaign against medical teams.

Minus the violence, that same mindset has now taken root in Kenya – courtesy of the Catholic Church, which wants Kenyans to stay away from government-led efforts to eradicate tetanus:

The Catholic Church has opposed a tetanus vaccination campaign scheduled to start next week that targets women between the ages of 19-49 years, claiming it is a secret government plan to sterilize women and control population growth.

[Read more...]

The Benefit of Long-Form Conversations

Last night, Sam Harris appeared on CNN to talk about his criticism of Islam with anchor Don Lemon:

[Read more...]

The Bill Nye Event at Vanderbilt Was Even Better Than I Expected

Bill Nye smiled and waved to the row of people seated along the outside of Langford Auditorium at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University last week. Bow-tie wearers down and around the corner were hopping to their feet with excitement; you could sense they were almost willing to lose their spot in line to run to him. Without stopping to chat, Nye was ushered into the lobby where several dozen well-dress students were eagerly gathered to welcome him to the reception, a pre-event meet & greet for the Vanderbilt Speakers Committee members and a handful of contest winners. Nye confidently walked straight into the crowd, shaking hands, nodding his head with every introduction until he had gone to one end of the room and back.

You may have noticed there are a lot of selfies of The Science Guy on the Internet these days. That’s because he has somehow made it his “thing.” He’s often the one holding the phone — I’m guessing this is because the fans shake too much when they’re on a Nye-high. That, and he’s got arms that extend out like Inspector Gadget. Nye then reminds his fan to look at the camera lens, not the screen, and that he’ll hit the shutter three times, making sure to capture at least one Tweet-worthy pose. That’s the standard routine I observed for several selfie-cycles while monitoring from the front of the line that was naturally forming out from where he was standing. (The picture below is a rare exception to that routine.)


[Read more...]