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Miss. Adopts Sweeping Discrimination Measure

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a broadly worded bill into law in April that allows government employees, corporations, individuals, healthcare providers and non-profit organizations to use religion as a justification to discriminate against same-sex couples, single mothers, divorcees and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage.

According to National Public Radio, Bryant claimed on Twitter that he signed the bill, H.B. 1523, “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions...from discriminatory action by state government.” Read more

Lousy Landlord: RV Park Owner Allegedly Booted Couple Because His Church Opposes Interracial Marriage

In a move that seems straight out of the 1960s, a Mississippi landlord has asked a husband and wife to leave his recreational vehicle (RV) park for no reason other than the fact that they are an interracial couple. And like so many attempts to discriminate in 2016, the owner of the park is relying on an old tactic, reportedly booting the two because his church opposes such marriages. Read more

Bill Promoting Creationism Dies In Miss.

A Mississippi bill that would have allowed public school teachers to include pseudoscientific theories in classroom instruction died in the House Education Committee.

As reported by the National Center for Science Education, the bill, H.B. 50, claimed “to help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” It cited “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life and human cloning” as controversial subjects. Read more

Weak Defense: Miss. School District Punished For Coercive Prayer Violations Claims Its Officials Don’t Understand First Amendment

A Mississippi school district is in hot water after it invited a Christian pastor to deliver a prayer at a school function, in violation of a court order. But the best (worst) part of this story is the district’s excuse for the violation: its administrators are incapable of understanding the First Amendment. Read more

Read All About It!: State Legislators Propose Awarding The Bible Special Status

A legislator in Tennessee has proposed naming the Bible the state’s official book.

State Rep. Jerry Sexton says the proposal would simply acknowledge the Bible’s “historically important role.” Read more

Boot These Bigoted Bans: Movement Seeks To Remove Anti-Atheist Bias From State Constitutions

Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.

These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days. Read more

Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion

A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.

The proposal put forth by the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is pretty wide-ranging and is being pitched as a way to protect “Southern” (read: pro-Confederate) culture. It contains 12 subsections. Read more

Bible-Based Laws?: Miss. Congressman Mails Calls For Policy Anchored In Scripture

A Mississippi congressman mailed a Bible to each of his fellow representatives last Friday. In a letter enclosed with the Bibles, U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) wrote that the tomes are intended to provide guidance for public policy.

“Our staffs provide us with policy memos, statistics and recommendations that help us make informed decisions. However, I find that the best advice comes through meditating on God’s Word,” Palazzo wrote. “Please find a copy of the Holy Bible to help guide you in your decision-making.” Read more

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