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Can the FBI Sway an Election?

October 31, 2016 The FBI has announced that it is investigating newly discovered messages related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. According to The New York Times, these emails were found in the course of the agency’s investigation of the former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and the longtime Clinton...

Why North Carolina Judges Can Still Refuse to Perform Same-Sex Marriages

September 21, 2016 North Carolina is one of the only places in the United States where judges can refuse to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. If magistrates have a religious objection to same-sex marriage, state law says, they can tag themselves out of issuing any marriage licenses, for either gay or straight couples, for...

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Why a Court Blocked the Obama Administration’s Guidelines on Trans Students

August 22, 2016 This spring, when the Obama administration issued a letter to schools across the country about how they should treat transgender students, LGBT advocates celebrated. They believed the U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines would force schools in every state to let transgender kids use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender...

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Mike Pence Wants to Create 'Safe Havens' Where Refugees Could be Vetted

August 11, 2016 On Monday, U.S. vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence gave an interview with Charlie Sykes, a conservative Wisconsin radio host. Pressed on the specifics of the Trump campaign’s proposed immigration ban on countries and territories that have been “compromised by terrorism”—and specifically what that would mean for persecuted Christians and Jews in...

Why Mississippi’s Law on Religious Rights and LGBT Discrimination Got Blocked

July 1, 2016 Why doesn’t anyone care about Mississippi? This spring, the state’s legislature passed H.B. 1523, an extensive law written to protect people who believe any of the following: that marriage is between a man and a woman; that sex should only happen in the context of marriage; and that the words...

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Quietly, the Federal Government is Expanding Transgender Rights

May 16, 2016 Something big just quietly happened to the Affordable Care Act. More than a half decade after the law’s passage, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has explicitly ruled that hospitals, clinics, and other health-care providers can’t discriminate against patients on the basis of gender identity. This covers a...

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Half of Americans Think Climate Change Is a Sign of the Apocalypse

November 24, 2014 Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, snowzilla, just snow. Superstorm Sandy, receding shorelines, and more. Hurricanes Isaac, Ivan, and Irene, with cousins Rammasun, Bopha, and Haiyan. The parade of geological changes and extreme weather events around the world since 2011 has been stunning. Perhaps that's part of why, as the Public Religion Research Institute...

Is Religion The Cause of All Major Wars in History?

November 4, 2014 "Piles of heads, hands, and feet were to be seen. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses." This was how the historian Raymond of Aguilers described Jerusalem in 1099, as he watched Christian crusaders conquer the city. "Men rode in blood up to...

The Ancient Roots of the Yazidis, and Why ISIL Wants Them Dead

August 13, 2014 Last week, tens of thousands of Yazidis fled from the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar into nearby mountains, escaping violence from the Sunni militant group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Their plight—stranded, and dying of hunger and thirst—prompted the United States to conduct...

from govexec

The Origins of Office Speak

April 24, 2014 Here’s your ‘buzzword bingo’ card for the meeting,” Wally says to Dilbert, handing him a piece of paper. “If the boss uses a buzzword on your card, you check it off. The objective is to fill a row.” They go to the meeting, where their pointy-haired boss presides. “You’re all...