French Muslims to Get Out The Vote, Impact Election: News Roundup

In the news: Secularists celebrate the National Day of Reason, Libya drops its ban against parties based on religion, French Muslims to be a force in upcoming elections, and other stories.

In October, Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress ignited a firestorm by calling Mormonism a "cult" and telling Republicans not to vote for Mitt Romney because the presidential aspirant was not a "competent Christian."
 
Today, Jeffress is endorsing Romney.
 
He is just one of many evangelical Christian leaders putting aside their suspicion of the former Massachusetts governor, a Mormon, to support him against President Barack Obama ahead of this November's election. Chicago Tribune
 
As millions of Americans bowed their heads on Thursday (May 3) for the annual National Day of Prayer, atheists, humanists and other nontheists marked a day of their own.
 
The National Day of Reason – or "NDR" in the shorthand of the nontheist community – was also held May 3, part protest, part celebration and totally godless. Religion News Service
 
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that Family Foods, Inc., a company that operates a number of Taco Bell restaurants in North Carolina, has agreed to pay $27,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit they filed last year on behalf of an employee that was fired after refusing to cut his hair for religious reasons.
 
Christopher Abbey, 27, worked at a Taco Bell in Fayetteville, N.C., from 2004 until 2010, when managers asked him to cut his long hair in accordance with the restaurant's grooming policy, Occupational Health and Safety magazine reports. But Abbey refused to comply with the policy on the grounds that getting a haircut violates the Nazirite religion, which he has been practicing since age 15. Huffington Post
 
Libya has dropped a ban against parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity, an official said, after the law irked Islamist parties in the run up to the first free election in June.
 
Members of the ruling National Transitional Council's judicial committee on Wednesday read out an amended version of a law governing the formation of political parties, making no mention of the ban, which was announced last week.
 
"This point has been dropped and so any party or political organization will follow the law as it is now," Salwa Al-Dgheily, a member of the NTC judicial council, told Reuters. Chicago Tribune
 
They are France's millions-strong minority with a voice that usually falls silent at election time. But this year, there is a special new effort to mobilize French Muslims to speak up at the ballot box in Sunday's presidential race — amid a surge of Islam-bashing among the French right.
 
Imams and Islamic associations are calling on Muslims to do their duty as citizens and go to the polls. And while they're not officially endorsing anyone, the call itself is a bold move in a country where statistics on religious affiliation are formally banned and where secularism is enshrined in the constitution.
 
Socialist Francois Hollande — the poll favorite — is more likely to benefit from the get-out-the-vote push, because conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out against Muslim practices in his campaign and experts say that Muslims in poor neighborhoods and Muslim youth tend to vote for the left. But the Muslim vote is diverse, and there's no guarantee that the push will bring out voters, since Muslims have tended in the past to avoid politics.  Fox News