Flood destroys home of man who believes floods sent to punish gays

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Amid the horror of floods that have covered southern Louisiana in recent days, a grim note of irony: Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-queer Family Research Council, is among those whose homes are underwater. Perkins believes natural disasters are sent to punish gays. Read the rest

This 90-year-old man is building a cathedral by himself, by hand

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For more than 50 years, Justo Gallego has spent his days building his own beautiful cathedral outside of Madrid, all by himself.

"When I started to build this cathedral, the word on the street was that I was crazy," Gallego says.

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America's biggest health crisis? Not gun violence but porn and gays, GOP says

We like pie.
The Republican party platform is veering to the right as GOP delegates descend on Cleveland to produce the party’s principles document. Several positions about same-sex marriage and scientifically debunked “gay conversion therapy” passed preliminary votes today.

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How and Why God Made Various Animals

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Welp, this explains a lot. A collected series of Twitter musings on why and exactly how the magical great bearded old dude in the sky (and his indentured angelic maker minions) created various critters.

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Federal judge blocks Indiana abortion restriction

Protesters rally in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Austin, Texas July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Stone

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the state lacks the authority to limit a woman's reasons for ending pregnancy.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted an injuction against an Indiana law that banned abortions sought because of fetal abnormalities, and which mandated funeral rituals for aborted fetuses.

Pratt said the Indiana law would go against U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have declared states may not prohibit a woman from seeking an abortion before a fetus is able to live outside the womb. She also said the state had not cited any exceptions to that standard.

"This is unsurprising given that it is a woman's right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the state to examine the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice," Pratt wrote. ... The lawsuit also challenges the law's provision requiring that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated. Planned Parenthood currently disposes of remains by incineration, as with other medical tissue. Pratt's ruling blocks the burial or cremation requirement from taking effect.

It's been a rough week for anti-abortion campaigners: the Supreme Court also struck down a Texas law requiring clinics to meet hospital criteria. Read the rest

US DoD white paper: wearing hijab is "passive terrorism"

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Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods & Strategies, a 2011 publication by the Air Force Research Laboratory, was just re-released with a new introduction that touts, "the wisdom contained in this paper collection is more relevant than ever." Read the rest

Man pointed gun at priest "the whole time" he was giving confession

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A priest at St. Christopher Parish in Rocky Hill, Ohio says a man resembling this police sketch reportedly gave confession while pointing a gun at him the entire time. The fellow is still at large.

"He just came in, you know, to go to confession, and before he sat down, he pulled out this gun from behind his back," the priest said in a call to 911 after the incident. "So I did confession at gunpoint."

The question is, what did he confess? Well, that's between him and his priest, and the man of god isn't breaking "the sacred seal of confession."

(ABC News) Read the rest

Apps help women bypass states' barriers to contraception

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In many states in America, legislatures have erected punitive, vindictive barriers for women seeking contraception, requiring them to get prescriptions for safe, widely taken medications. Read the rest

The polyamorous Christian socialist utopia that made silverware for proper Americans

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Lisa Hix of has written a lengthy piece for Collectors Weekly on the Oneida Community of the late 19th century, and how it morphed from a group of men and women who "believed the liquid electricity of Jesus Christ’s spirit flowed through words and touch, and that a chain of sexual intercourse would create a spiritual battery so charged with God’s energy that the community would transcend into immortality, creating heaven on earth," to a company that was famous for its flatware.

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Judenstaat: an alternate history in which a Jewish state is created in east Germany in 1948

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Theodor Herzl's seminal 1896 essay Der Judenstaat called for the creation of Jewish state as an answer to the ancient evil of antisemitism; its legacy, Zionism, underpinned the creation of Israel; in Judenstaat, Simone Zelitch's beautifully told, thoughtful and disturbing alternate history, the Jewish state is created in Saxony, not Palestine, and takes the place of East Germany. Read the rest

Baptist pastor praises Orlando shooter for killing gays

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Pastor Roger Jimenez of Sacramento's Verity Baptist Church delivered a sermon praising the Orlando shooter and lamenting that The tragedy is more of them didn’t die…. I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job!" Read the rest

Family of teen raising money to rescue her from pray-the-gay-away "boarding school"

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When Sarah, a 17 year old in Texas, decided to take her girlfriend to the prom, her parents forced her into an "East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens" from which she has repeatedly attempted to escape. Read the rest

Hours after worst mass shooting in US history, Trump "appreciates the congrats for being right"

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Whatever you are doing, feeling or thinking today, stop: he wants toughness and vigilance.

Previously: Gunman kills 50 in Florida gay nightclub Read the rest

Iranian soccer star suspended for wearing SpongeBob pants

Mr. Squarepants

Sosha Makani, 29, was goalkeeper of Tehran's Persepolis soccer club. But not any more, after Iranian morality police saw him photographed in a pair of SpongeBob Squarepants pants.

“Sosha suspended for six months because of yellow trousers,” read the headline of Varzesh3, an Iranian sports news agency. “SpongeBob [trousers] cause six-month suspension for Sosha,” said the online news agency Asriran. ... Last month, Iranian news agencies reported that Makani, who played for Iran’s national football team at the 2014 World Cup, was being scrutinised by the authorities over his trousers.

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Samantha Bee interviews Frank Schaeffer, who helped create the religious right

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Frank Schaeffer is the son of radical evangelical cleric Francis Schaeffer, who was instrumental in creating the modern anti-abortion movement and forging the alliance between the Republican party and evangelical Christians. Read the rest

EFF: FBI & NIST's tattoo recognition program exploited prisoners, profiled based on religion, gave sensitive info to private contractors

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Dave Maass from EFF says, "Right now, NIST researchers are working with the FBI to develop tattoo recognition technology that police can use to learn as much as possible about people through their tattoos. But an EFF investigation has found that these experiments exploit inmates, with little regard for the research's implications for privacy, free expression, religious freedom, and the right to associate. And so far, researchers have avoided ethical oversight while doing it." Read the rest

Crowdfunding an Atheist Shoe bus to crisscross America

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David from Atheist shoes (previously) sez, "We've just been successful in raising money for the first Atheist Shoes Missionary Mobile Shoe Shop, which will criss-cross the USA, selling handmade shoes and spreading our European message of godless comfort and joy. The fund-raising is ongoing, as we aim to get a whole fleet of buses on the road. The first US tour begins in September 2016, and will take in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas." Read the rest

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