A bill in California seeks to protect the state from new revisions to textbooks made by the Texas school board. The revisions include the idea that the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles and that Thomas Jefferson, a proponent of the separation of church and state, was not as important as other textbooks claim. After they were arrested for holding an engagement ceremony, a judge in Malawi imposed a 14 year prison sentence on a gay couple, saying he wanted to protect the public from people like them.
Some Kenyans are criticizing the Proposed Constitution of Kenya for its opening statement: “We, the people of Kenya, acknowledging the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation.” According to one critic, “The glaring fact is that this preamble is not inclusive of all Kenyans. It makes an assumption, based on the major religions in the country.”
A Catholic nun who allowed doctors to perform an abortion in a Catholic hospital was excommunicated. A statement from the Phoenix diocese said, “She gave her consent that the abortion was a morally good and allowable act according to church teaching.” The procedure was necessary to save the patient’s life. A religious leader in Zimbabwe claims that a government immunization program to combat an outbreak of measles is “a ploy to reduce the population of his growing sect” that does not believe in Western medicine.
Arkansas state senator Kim Hendren attempted to explain why she referred to Senator Chuck Schumer as “that Jew” by saying “At the meeting I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on The Andy Griffith Show.” Hendren attracted 4 percent of the vote in the first round of the GOP Senate primary in Arkansas.
Tea Party leader Mark Williams apparently didn’t see a problem with calling the Muslim god “the terrorists’ monkey-god.” (He later “apologized” to Hindus, but not Muslims, who he has claimed practice a religion that is “a 7th Century Death Cult coughed up by a psychotic pedophile and embraced by defective, tail sprouting, tree swinging, semi-human, bipedal primates with no claim to be treated like human beings or even desirable mammals for that matter.”) Members of Tea Party Express did not distance themselves from the statement; however, a spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots did challenge Williams, saying “This is hate speech and has no place in the tea party movement.” In a perplexing use of the slippery slope fallacy, Bill O’Reilly compared transgender people to Star Wars creatures, saying that if a man working at American Eagle can dress like a woman there is no reason he couldn’t dress like an Ewok either.
Responding to Draw Muhammad Day, Pakistani courts temporarily blocked Facebook after users set up a page for the event. Some women are threatening to protest the proposed French veil ban if it becomes law. President Nicolas Sarkozy defended the law, saying “Citizenship should be experienced with an uncovered face. There can be no other solution but a ban in all public places.”
“Nobody? Nobody is for pornography? Well, I’m shocked,” said Rep. Bart Gordon. A New York Times editorial today calls the incident a “stunt” intended to cut spending on the National Science Foundation. “This is how things are now in Congress as partisans propose mousetrap amendments aimed more at campaign smears than doing good.”