"The word atheist in itself is not synonymous with virtuous. The same can be said for any religious brand. No religious or non-religious label can indicate if someone is a moral person as history contains evil and good examples of each. "
"Adding a level of absurdity to the controversy, Little Sisters of the Poor’s insurance plan qualifies as a self-insured “church plan” under an insurance statute known as Erisa. The Justice Department has conceded that it has no authority to compel a third-party administrator of such a plan to provide contraceptive coverage. In this case, contraceptives would not be made available even indirectly to the nuns’ employees. "
"There is no big mystery to morality. It is simply the intention to act in ways that minimize harm. Since harm is material, its avoidance is a natural exercise. Moral principles (rather than rigid commandments) are based on the objective harm that results, or could result, as a consequence of our actions. Henderson is correct that most atheists consider our evolved instincts to be an important part of the moral process, but to assume that that is our only guide is a blinkered attack. We also have reason and law to help us lessen harm."
Oklahoma legislators are aware that the Satanists want to erect their own monument and they have no clue how to respond, so they’re just putting their collective foot in their mouth and crying “Christian privilege!” left and right:
In response to unprecedented Republican obstructionism, Senate Democrats have voted to change Senate rules regarding the filibustering of most presidential nominees. Media Matters looks back at the numerous conservatives who, during the Bush administration, decried filibustering and supported the tactic Democrats have now enacted.
"Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said over the weekend that he had prayed to God to guide him in the shutdown fight and was sure that "his will be done as I know it will be."
Televangelist Pat Robertson opened Monday's edition of The 700 Club by describing the Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline as a "countdown to Armageddon.""
"Typical of the privileged, entitled spoiled brats that they collectively are, the House Republicans threw everything but the kitchen sink into their government funding bill. The bill, which purportedly was to stave off a government shutdown, was instead a big, fat sloppy kiss to all of the special interests that want to curtail average Americans' lives while enriching the top one percent even further."
"In six states, including Arkansas, those contraceptive mandates were signed by GOP governors.
In Massachusetts in 2006, then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed a healthcare overhaul that kept in place a contraceptive mandate signed by his Republican predecessor. Now the GOP presidential candidate is calling the Obama rule an "assault on religion."
At the federal level, President George W. Bush never challenged a similar federal mandate imposed in 2000."
"The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama's ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama's national field director admitted, shortly before last year's election, that "early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election."
The Obama technocrats have developed an efficient system of identifying prospective Obama voters and then nagging them (some might say harassing them) until they actually vote. It may take several days to accomplish this, so early voting is an essential component of the Democrats' get-out-the-vote campaign."
"The now-popular idea of offering public education dollars to private entrepreneurs has historical roots in white resistance to school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The desired outcome was few or, better yet, no black students in white schools. In Prince Edward County, Virginia, one of the five cases decided in Brown, segregationist whites sought to outwit integration by directing taxpayer funds to segregated private schools.
Two years before a federal court set a final desegregation deadline for fall 1959, local newspaper publisher J. Barrye Wall shared white county leaders' strategy of resistance with Congressman Watkins Abbitt: "We are working [on] a scheme in which we will abandon public schools, sell the buildings to our corporation, reopen as privately operated schools with tuition grants from [Virginia] and P.E. county as the basic financial program," he wrote. "Those wishing to go to integrated schools can take their tuition grants and operate their own schools. To hell with 'em."
Though the county ultimately refused to sell the public school buildings, public education in Prince Edward County was nevertheless abandoned for five years (1959-1964), as taxpayer dollars were funneled to the segregated white academies, which were housed in privately owned facilities such as churches and the local Moose Lodge. Federal courts struck down this use of taxpayer funds after a year. Still, whites won and blacks lost. Because there were no local taxes assessed to operate public schools during those years, whites could invest in private schools for their children, while blacks in the county -- unable and unwilling to finance their own private, segregated schools -- were left to fend for themselves, with many black children shut out of school for multiple years. "
"In fact, I wish churches everywhere would take this approach: Stop wasting time and money trying to get these monuments up in front of courthouses, city halls, and public schools when there’s perfectly good space on your church’s front lawn."
"But back in 2005, Brooks suggested, President George W. Bush was providing all the ingredients budding Middle Eastern democracies needed to flower. As his Congressional Republicans waived their purple fingers to celebrate the just-completed elections in Iraq, President Bush declared in 2005 State of the Union address, "We've declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.""
"I know this is Mississippi, but we need brave non-Christian students to take advantage of these laws. Let the state legislature and all those school administrators deal with the pushback they’ll inevitably get when Muslim students say a prayer during graduation ceremonies and atheists remind their classmates at the beginning of the day that God doesn’t exist. "
"Just before 8:00p, the doorbell rang insistently. To answer it, you had to unlock a steel door that opened onto a flight of stairs leading down to the ground floor. Bartender Buddy Rasmussen, expecting a taxi driver, asked his friend Luther Boggs to let the man in. Perhaps Boggs, after he pulled the door open, had just enough time to smell the Ronsonol lighter fluid that the attacker of the UpStairs Lounge had sprayed on the steps. In the next instant, he found himself in unimaginable pain as the fireball exploded, pushing upward and into the bar.
The ensuing 15 minutes were the most horrific that any of the 65 or so customers had ever endured — full of flames, smoke, panic, breaking glass, and screams."
"Every marginalized group has some question, or questions, that are routinely asked of them -- and that drive them up a tree; questions that have insult or bigotry or dehumanization woven into the very asking. Sometimes the questions are asked sincerely, with sincere ignorance of the offensive assumptions behind them. And sometimes they are asked in a hostile, passive-aggressive, "I'm just asking questions" manner."
"Yup. According to PolitiFact, because some employers, including the government, don't discriminate, it's somehow less true that those 29 states lack protections for LGBT workers.
Here's the thing about workplace protections, including discrimination: You shouldn't have to be lucky to be treated fairly. Equal rights should not be dependent on your employer's personal views. In 29 states, though, that's the situation, and PolitiFact is so invested in pretending that doesn't matter that it's challenging a statement that it acknowledges is correct if framed "in the context of blanket protections by states"—which is exactly how Navratilova framed it."
"The fact, however, is that the speculation about right-wing extremism's potential role was entirely rational, considering that in the past four years, there have been nearly 70 acts of domestic terrorism committed by right-wing extremists in the United States, compared to just over 30 such acts committed by Islamist extremists here. (I have prepared a report on this that Mother Jones will be publishing soon.)
And let's not overlook the OTHER terrorist attack that occurred in the same week -- namely, the ricin attacks on the White House and Senate, a case that is still officially unsolved, now that the original suspect has been released. However, considering both the targets and the fact that ricin has long been a favorite weapon of right-wing extremists, there is a high likelihood that one or more of them will eventually prove to be the source of these attacks."
"In an email sent to supporters before Thursday night’s manhunt began in Massachusetts, the Family Research Council attempted to appropriate recent tragedies as arguments that support their social conservative positions. Referring to the Republicans’ Senate filibuster of the gun safety bill, FRC’s Tony Perkins claimed that tragedies like Newtown and Boston — as well as the shooting at its headquarters last summer — are the result of “sexual liberalism” and the lack of Christian influence on society:"
"With these details, both the hospital’s and police’s actions seem more suspect, not less. At the foundation of the story remains the fact that Roger and Allen’s relationship was treated as inferior. Because they did not have a state-recognized marriage, they were regarded as legal strangers despite even having set up the available legal protections for each other. Roger, in turn, was subjected not just to discrimination but police brutality and legal consequences. This tragic story speaks volumes about the consequences of continuing to deny same-sex couples the right to marry and how they continue to be treated as second-class citizens. Notably, not one conservative organization has mentioned this story since it broke."
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