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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

Pulpit PAC: Miss. Pastors Plan Big – And Possibly Illegal – Push For Embattled Senator

Voters in Mississippi are headed to the polls tomorrow for an important run-off election. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is locked in a tight battle against a state senator, Chris McDaniel, in a Republican primary.

Cochran has served in the Senate since 1978, but he’s running scared against McDaniel, an aggressive Tea Party challenger. The incumbent senator hopes to pull out a win based on an unusual weapon: black churches. Read more

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