‘Thanks for Flying SpaceX’: NASA Astronauts Safely Splash Down After Journey From Orbit
Aug 3, 2020

By Kenneth Chang The first astronaut trip to orbit by a private company parachuted to a safe conclusion in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. It was the first water landing by NASA astronauts since 1975, when the agency’s crews were still flying to and from orbit in the Apollo modules used for the historic …

Liberty University Poured Millions Into Sports. Now Its Black Athletes Are Leaving.
Aug 3, 2020

By Joel Anderson In mid-June, as the pandemic surged across the country, hundreds of students were living on Liberty University’s campus. Tayvion “Tank” Land was one of them, taking a summer math class with about 10 other students—half of them his football teammates. One Thursday morning, class was partway through when the instructor told one …

The Supreme Court’s Religious Crusaders Take On the Pandemic Response
Aug 3, 2020

By Linda Greenhouse I know I should be jaded by now by the persistence of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices in seeking to elevate religious interests over those of secular society. After all, in the closing days of the court’s term, religious employers won the right to withhold from female employees the contraception coverage to which federal …

Atheists start an international community-building project: #oneATHEIST
Aug 3, 2020

By RNS Press Release Distribution Service On Saturday International Association of Atheists (IAA) announced their newest initiative, #oneATHEIST, an effort to build a positive, outspoken community under the label atheist and remove the stigma. “Atheists have struggled with the stigma associated with being non-religious for far too long. It’s time to prove to the world what I know …

Child rape charges refiled against Mexican megachurch leader
Aug 3, 2020

By Associated Press California on Wednesday charged the leader of a Mexican megachurch with child rape and human trafficking, months after a court dismissed the previous allegations because of prosecution errors. Naasón Joaquín García, the self-proclaimed apostle of La Luz del Mundo, was charged with three dozen felony counts. Also charged were Susana Medina Oaxaca …

Ancestors of coronavirus have been hiding out in bats for decades, ready to infect humans
Jul 31, 2020

By Yasemin Saplakoglu The ancestors of the novel coronavirus may have been circulating in bats unnoticed for decades. And those coronaviruses likely also had the ability to infect humans, according to a new study. To understand where the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, came from and how it spread to humans, scientists need to trace …

It’ll Cost $850 to Clean Arkansas’ Ten Commandments Monument After “Anointing”
Jul 31, 2020

By Hemant Mehta The other day, I mentioned that four women had “anointed” the stand-alone Ten Commandments monument outside the Arkansas State Capitol. The women weren’t charged with any crimes mostly because Capitol officials said there wasn’t any criminal intent and no clear cut evidence of damage, at least at the time. I wanted to ask State Sen. Jason Rapert, …

Alabama politician resigns as a Southern Baptist pastor after KKK leader’s birthday celebration
Jul 31, 2020

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes (R) said this week that he has no plans to resign from his state legislator position amid national calls for him to step down after he attended a private celebration of the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. On Wednesday night, however, he resigned …

Cleveland evangelist Perry Stone ‘acted inappropriately’ with female employees
Jul 31, 2020

By Wyatt Massey Perry Stone has been away from his multimillion-dollar ministry in Cleveland, Tennessee, for three months, leaving many of his followers confused. But in an audio message played for a small, in-person group of church members several weeks ago — and obtained by the Times Free Press — Stone said he acted inappropriately …

Sleeping microbes wake up after 100 million years buried under the seafloor
Jul 30, 2020

By Rafi Letzter Microbes found themselves buried in the dirt 101.5 million years ago, back before even Tyrannosaurus rex when Earth’s biggest meat-eating dinosaur, called Spinosaurus roamed the planet. Time passed, continents shifted, oceans rose and fell, great apes emerged, and eventually human beings evolved with the curiosity and skills to dig up those ancient cells. …

Atheists Warn Spokane Sheriff Against Using Bible-Based Training Program
Jul 30, 2020

By Hemant Mehta In October, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in Washington will require employees to attend a two-day “Bulletproof Warrior” training seminar. The seminar received renewed attention a couple of years ago when it was discovered that the cop involved in the murder of Philando Castile had been an attendee. It also doesn’t help that the …

Man shot dead for ‘blasphemy’ in Pakistan courtroom
Jul 30, 2020 · 1 

By Asad Hashim A man accused of blasphemy for claiming that he was a prophet has been shot dead in a courtroom in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, police officials say, the latest violence associated with Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws. Tahir Ahmad Naseem was shot six times during a hearing in his case at …