Secular Women Work Conference in August

CFI is not holding its Women in Secularism conference this year because they’re doing another big conference instead (it will return in 2016, I’m told), but fear not. Secular Woman and Minnesota Atheists are hosting the Secular Women Work conference in Minneapolis, August 21-23. The twist is that they’re doing it entirely through Kickstarter, which is the first time I’ve ever heard of a conference being done that way. I’ll let them explain how it works:
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Liberty Counsel Uses MLK to Justify Discrimination

In a display of intellectual chutzpah that leaves one breathless, Liberty Counsel sent out a press release on Martin Luther King Day invoking the memory of Dr. King to justify anti-gay discrimination. In fact, it says those who refuse to serve gay people in their businesses are the heir to the legacy of King.
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SCOTUS Allows Halliburton Suits to Proceed

The Supreme Court denied cert in several cases in which Halliburton and one of its subsidiaries, Kellogg, Brown and Root, are being sued for injuries suffered by soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan due to faulty workmanship and mishandling of hazardous materials by those companies while working on contracts for the military.
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Pressure May Be Helping Raif Badawi

Mounting pressure on the Saudi government to end its barbaric punishment of atheist blogger Raif Badawi, led by the Center for Inquiry and other secular and human rights groups, might be having the desired effect. He was supposed to receive the second set of 50 lashes (the sentence was for 1000 lashes) last Friday but it was postponed and the case was referred to the nation’s high court.
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9-0 Ruling Sheds Light on Religious Liberty

The Supreme Court issued a rare 9-0 ruling in a case involving religion this week. The case, Holt v Hobbs involved a Muslim prison inmate who sought to grow a half-inch beard as his religious beliefs demand. The prison rules force him to shave. The court unanimously ruled that those rules violate the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
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The Magical Invocation of Reagan’s Name

As President Obama advocates a boost in the marginal income tax rates on the wealthy (a plan that has zero chance of passing, of course), a new poll of Republican voters shows strong opposition — until you ask the question slightly differently, asking if they support setting the rate where it was when Reagan was in office.
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Moron Declares Martin Luther King a Tea Partier

The South Carolina Tea Party Coalition decided to hold its convention on Martin Luther King day, so you knew there would be some seriously idiotic things said about the civil rights leader. Not one to disappoint, some world class dumbass named Wild Bill Finley said that if MLK were alive today, he’d be a Tea Partier.
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More Details on Holder’s New Asset Forfeiture Policy

My friend Radley Balko, who has done as much as anyone in the country to draw attention to the way civil asset forfeitures distort justice and shred the 4th Amendment, has more details on the order Attorney General Eric Holder issued limiting forfeiture under the Equitable Sharing program. One big concern is this loophole:
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The Complexities of a Mixed Religion Family

Neil Carter has a blog post that really resonated with me because of my own background growing up in a mixed-religion family. Neil is an atheist, his ex-wife is a Christian and all four of their daughters (all still young enough to live at home) are Christian as well. That leads to all manner of interesting conversations and delicate situations to navigate. His 11-year old daughter has now begun evangelizing him. His reaction:
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New Secular Group to Help Those Unsafe at Home

My friend and colleague Noelle George, who is all kinds of amazing, has formed a new organization called Secular Avenue, whose initial focus will be on helping those who are unsafe at home due to having come out as atheist or LGBT or facing domestic abuse or religious extremism. On Monday they sent out a press release about the group:
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Dinesh D’Souza IS Martin Luther King, Jr.

We need a new word, one that can adequately represent the act of saying something so gobsmackingly stupid that all you can do when you read or hear it is stare in disbelief. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the dumbest thin you will read all day, maybe all year. Hell, maybe in your lifetime. Compliments of Dinesh D’Souza:
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