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After Kansas Post Office Removes Religious Sign, Residents (Fail to) Get Back at Atheists

February 3, 2016

A few days ago, I posted about how a "God Bless America" sign outside the post office in Pittsburg, Kansas had been taken down after the Freedom From Religion Foundation pointed out (on behalf of a resident) that it was essentially government endorsement of religion.GodBlessSignThat didn't sit over well with residents, so they decided to fight back in a way that has conservatives cheering. The website Twitchy used the clickbait-y headline, "Atheists Bully Small Town to Remove God Bless America Flag, What Happens Next Will Lift Your Spirits."What exactly did the people of the town do?
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Ted Cruz Has Given Us a Glimpse Into His Dream Supreme Court Justice, and She’s a Nightmare

February 3, 2016

Republican Ted Cruz has clearly stated in the past that he thinks ignoring Supreme Court decisions conservatives don't agree with is a legitimate course of action. But his preferred response, of course, is to fill the Court with conservatives who will rule the way he wants.That means appointing conservatives like Edith Jones, whose name (years ago) had been floated for nomination instead of David Souter, and whom Cruz has previously opined would have stopped same-sex marriage and overturned the Affordable Care Act.EdithJonesThink Progress' Ian Millhiser took a look at Jones' views on workplace sexual harassment, and her views are, frankly, jaw dropping. (In a nutshell? Short of violent assault, it's no biggie.) Then again, her views on equality, women's rights, and minority concerns are no better. But if you ever wanted a glimpse into how unjust our justice system would be under a President Ted Cruz, keep reading...
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Ted Cruz Has Given Us a Glimpse Into His Dream Supreme Court Justice, and She’s a Nightmare

February 3, 2016

Republican Ted Cruz has clearly stated in the past that he thinks ignoring Supreme Court decisions conservatives don't agree with is a legitimate course of action. But his preferred response, of course, is to fill the Court with conservatives who will rule the way he wants.That means appointing conservatives like Edith Jones, whose name (years ago) had been floated for nomination instead of David Souter, and whom Cruz has previously opined would have stopped same-sex marriage and overturned the Affordable Care Act.EdithJonesThink Progress' Ian Millhiser took a look at Jones' views on workplace sexual harassment, and her views are, frankly, jaw dropping. (In a nutshell? Short of violent assault, it's no biggie.) Then again, her views on equality, women's rights, and minority concerns are no better. But if you ever wanted a glimpse into how unjust our justice system would be under a President Ted Cruz, keep reading...
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“Seasonal Marriage” Law Raises Sex Trafficking Worries in Egypt

February 2, 2016

In Egyptian law, there is a concept of "seasonal marriage" -- a temporary arrangement, during which time two persons are wed, that concludes on an agreed upon date, with money exchanging hands. In a religiously conservative country, it's a means of legalizing what essentially amounts to prostitution. The practice has been dubbed “tourism marriage” by human rights worker Amr Abdel Rahman, as it draws wealthy older men from other countries seeking temporary Egyptian brides. Brides who are, often enough, from very poor families and desperate circumstances.shutterstock_152168087Recent government moves to protect temporary brides by increasing the cost of these marriages have raised concerns that they will only bolster sex trafficking as the women involved may have little or no say in their marriages.
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The American Bar Association Says It Is Investigating Discrimination at BYU’s Law School

February 1, 2016

As many of you are probably aware, Brigham Young University is a private school that, while known for being operated and attended by Mormons, also admits students who are outside the faith. That means even if you don't agree with Mormon theology, you're still playing by Mormon rules.All students, for example, are required to abide by BYU's "Honor Code" -- that means no alcohol, coffee, or pre-marital sex. (Homosexual sex? Don't even try.) You might recoil at all that, but again, this is a private school. They have every right to lay out the rules as they see fit.butzdvfHere's where it gets weird: If you are Mormon, and you decide to leave the church (because you stopped believing in God), your life is practically over. You'll be expelled and possibly evicted. Your transcript won't even be released in some cases, making it tougher to transfer. The pressure is there to keep you in the Mormon faith. Your options at that point are to lie to everybody... or be honest and suffer.But if you're not a Mormon and you change your mind, no big deal. They don't care.A group called FreeBYU made the case last year that all of this went far beyond what a private religious school ought to be doing. They made the perfectly reasonable case that Mormons who changed their mind about religion should simply have to pay a higher tuition (like all non-Mormon students) and that would be the end of the punishments.While BYU hasn't announced any changes to their policies, the American Bar Association is now saying they will investigate FreeBYU's complaints.
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Christian Parents File Federal Lawsuit After Daughter Learns About Islam in World History Class

February 1, 2016

When Fox News' liar-in-residence Todd Starnes published an article with the headline, "Public school forced my child to convert to Islam," I assumed it was bullshit. Partly because it's Starnes, partly because that's not how public schools work, and partly because it just sounds like something Christians suffering from a persecution complex would say.It turns out this story is all about a Christian family upset because their daughter learned about Islam in a World History class.shutterstock_355067648Just how frivolous is this case? Well, I read the federal lawsuit and looked at the most damning claims made by parents John and Melissa Wood on behalf of their daughter to see if there was any merit to what they said. What I found was that no such discrimination was taking place at La Plata High School in Maryland.
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