Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gul Defiant As Secular Turks Rally

ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- On Sunday at least 300,000 demonstrators gathered in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, to protest against Erdogan's Islamist-influenced government in defense of the country's secular political traditions, The Associated Press reported. Local media estimated that around one million people took part.


9 U.S. Troops Die In Iraq Battle, Blasts

BAGHDAD (AP) - A suicide car bomb exploded Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala as the streets were packed with people heading for evening prayers, killing at least 63 and wounding scores near some of the country's most sacred shrines. Separately, the U.S. military announced the deaths of nine American troops, including three killed Saturday in a single roadside bombing outside Baghdad.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

God Is Not Great

An excerpt from Christopher Hitchens' new book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything HERE.

Priest Sexually Harassed Me, Woman Tells Murder Trial

A Roman Catholic priest who admitted having a sexual relationship with a Polish student whose body was later found under a chapel floor chased and harassed a church guitarist, a court heard yesterday.


School Scraps Nature Course As Pigs Enrage Muslim Pupils

AMSTERDAM, 27/04/07 - A school in Amsterdam has halted lessons on rural life because the Islamic children refused to talk about pigs. Reporting this, Alderman Lodewijk Asscher said he wants to take "tough measures." Subsidies for all kinds of dubious groups must stop and parents of unruly children penalised financially.


Church Choirmaster Jailed For Child Sex Abuse

The Church of England was criticised yesterday for failing to report a self-confessed child abuser to the police, a move that allowed the man to continue to work closely with children.


See also:

Church kept quiet about Halliday's assaults

Egypt's 'Dr. Ruth': Let's Talk Sex In The Arab World

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Dr. Heba Kotb is tackling a taboo in the Arab world unlike anyone else: She's talking about sex openly on a show broadcast all over the Middle East.


Taliban Free French Aid Worker

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A French aid worker tearfully thanked the Taliban for releasing her Saturday after more than three weeks in captivity, and she pleaded for the freedom of four colleagues still held in southern Afghanistan.


Somali PM: 'We Have Won' Fight With Insurgents

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi claimed victory over Islamic insurgents in Mogadishu on Thursday, after nine days of bloody street battles using tanks and artillery that have left hundreds dead.


Gere Apologizes In Kissing Controversy In India

NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- Richard Gere tried to quell the storm over a public kiss he gave a Bollywood star at an AIDS awareness event, apologizing Friday for any offense.

Gere's embrace and kiss of actress Shilpa Shetty sparked several noisy demonstrations by hard-line Hindu groups and a flurry of legal complaints, which ended with a judge in the northwestern city of Jaipur issuing an arrest warrant for the two stars for violating obscenity laws.


Saudi Official: Arrested Militants Planned 9/11-Style Attack

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Some of the militants arrested in a terror sweep in Saudi Arabia trained to use civilian aircraft in suicide missions, an official said Saturday, detailing a plot that reflected the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Mansour al-Turki, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said the group of 172 Islamic extremists "are carriers of al Qaeda ideology, working on achieving al Qaeda goals, which is to take over the society."


Turkey Warned: Respect Democracy

ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- Friday's parliamentary vote to elect Turkey's next president has been marked by tensions between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist Justice and Development Party and members of Turkey's secular establishment.


Pakistan Suicide Bomb Kills At Least 28

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday at a public gathering in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 28 people and injuring at least 37 others, police said.


New Noah's Ark Ready To Sail

SCHAGEN, Netherlands (AP) -- The massive central door in the side of Noah's Ark was thrown open Saturday -- you could say it was the first time in 4,000 years -- drawing a crowd of curious pilgrims and townsfolk to behold the wonder.


Car Bomb Attack Near Shiite Shrines Kills Dozens

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 58 people were killed in a car bomb attack Saturday between two Shiite shrines in the Iraqi city of Karbala, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pakistan Bans Satire About Burqas

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Irate Islamist lawmakers have persuaded the Pakistan government to stop a theatre group staging a satirical play about the burqa, the all-covering head-to-toe garment worn by conservative Muslim women.


Bomb Found At Women's Clinic

(CNN) -- An explosive device "which could have caused substantial harm" was found Wednesday in the parking lot of an Austin, Texas, women's clinic where abortions are performed, authorities said.


CofE 'Was Warned Of Choirmaster's Abuse'

The Church of England has been accused of covering up child sex abuse carried out by a former choirmaster.

Peter Halliday, 61, was today jailed for two and a half years for abusing three boys who were in his church choir, between 1985 and 1990.


Judge: No Religion At Post Office

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Religion has no place in post offices run by churches and other private contractors, a federal judge has ruled, citing the constitutional separation of church and state.


Iran Arrests 300 'Insufficiently Veiled' Women

TEHRAN, Iran - With the arrival of spring, Iranian police have launched a crackdown against women accused of not covering up enough, arresting nearly 300 women, some for wearing too tight an overcoat or letting too much hair peek out from under their veil, authorities said Monday.


Jesus 'Love-Bombs' You

There is a false, but effective, fiction that one has to be born again to be a Christian. The Christian right refuses to acknowledge the worth of anyone's religious experience unless - in the words of the tired and opaque cliche - one has accepted "Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior."


Potentially Habitable Planet Found

WASHINGTON - For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."


Debate Over Religion In Military

Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate who's led a two-year crusade against alleged proselytizing at the academy, squared off against Sekulow, an attorney who defends religious freedoms. They hold opposing views on what constitutes unwanted religious influence in the military - a fight that Weinstein says is a "war."


Religious Militancy Can Engulf Pakistan If Not Contained

Islamabad -- Former Pakistan Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan's People's Party (PPP), Benazir Bhutto has said that Pakistan risked being engulfed by religious militancy which threatened the safety and security of the entire country.


History Of Disbelief Hits National Television

To kick off the U.S. premier of a groundbreaking three-part television documentary, "A Brief History of Disbelief," its host Jonathan Miller will appear on the "Bill Moyers Journal" May 4 at 9 p.m. The unprecedented documentary, co-sponsored by the American Humanist Association, will premier on public television stations in some markets that same day and in others over the following weeks.


Humanists Call For Flags At Half Staff Until War Ends

Today the American Humanist Association called on individual Americans as well as institutions to fly American flags at half staff until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end.

"This will honor our fallen troops and remind us of the human cost of war," said Mel Lipman, president of the American Humanist Association. "It will be an ever-present stimulus to help people remember those who have died."

Individual humanists began asking for this campaign immediately after reading news reports about U.S. Army Sergeant Jim Wilt of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. On April 23 Wilt wrote how he found it ironic that flags were flown at half-staff nationwide for the victims of the recent killings at Virginia Tech yet they aren't lowered even on military bases for the deaths of U.S. soldiers.

"Obviously, it was appropriate to mourn the deaths of the students in Virginia," Lipman said, "but how can we not similarly mourn the deaths of our young men and women in uniform? As long as our service people are dying at war, we should honor them by flying flags at half-staff."

This practice is especially important now because many Americans have been insulated from the true impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For example, Lipman notes that the federal government has enacted policies to veil the personal cost of war from the public. "The administration won't allow the media to show the flag-draped caskets of slain soldiers returning home," he said. "Therefore, isn't it time that ordinary Americans challenge this official forgetfulness? The people shouldn't be shielded from the supreme sacrifice that over 3000 Americans have made. Flags flying at half-staff all around the country in honor of our fallen will be a constant reminder of that human toll."

There are reasons why the American Humanist Association, in particular, is the first organization to make this call to the public. "Humanism means, among other things, caring about human beings and remaining thoughtful about the issues that matter most," Lipman said.

Therefore, the American Humanist Association encourages all citizens to start flying their flags at half staff and start urging businesses, clubs, and government entities at all levels to do likewise. A groundswell of this activity can't help but raise the consciousness of all.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Use Of Wiccan Symbol On Veterans' Headstones Is Approved

WASHINGTON, April 23 -- To settle a lawsuit, the Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to add the Wiccan pentacle to a list of approved religious symbols that it will engrave on veterans' headstones.


Mogadishu War Escalates, Hundreds Dead

The week's final death-toll is expected to soar and may come close to the estimated 1,000 casualties from a similar four-day flare-up at the end of March. Most of the victims are civilians.


Continuing Violence In Iraq

Al-Qaida group claims killing of 9 GIs in Iraq

Gunmen execute 23 members of Kurdish sect

US builds Baghdad wall to keep Sunnis and Shias apart

Suicide Bomber Kills 12 in Baghdad

Iraqis hunt for dead relatives after bombs kill 190

Vicar Denies 14 Child Sex Abuse Charges

A parish priest sexually abused boys over a period of nearly 30 years despite two separate claims by the church that it had "dealt with the matter", Bristol crown court heard yesterday.


Extremists Used Internet To Urge Muslims To Follow Bin Laden

Three British-based men used the internet to spread extremist propaganda and seek recruits for an international holy war, a court heard yesterday.


The Secrets Of The Christian Right's Recruiting Tactics

A look at the cult-like recruiting tactics of the Christian right, including the manipulative and highly successful practice of "love bombing."


Catholic Church Lays Limbo To Rest

The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went.


See also:

Pope ends limbo after 800 years

1st Catholic U.S. Bankruptcy Ends With $75 Million Settlement

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- The first Catholic diocesan bankruptcy proceeding in the nation ended April 17 when a federal judge approved a $75 million settlement of clergy sexual abuse claims and a financial reorganization plan for the Portland Archdiocese.


Christian Right Leaders: America Can Only Be 'Reclaimed' By Religious Revival

Religious Right leaders at the Reclaiming America For Christ Conference fretted that America cannot be "reclaimed" from the grip of the evil forces that now engulf it until religious revival sweeps the land.


Muslim Militants Behead 7 In Philippines

JOLO, Philippines -- Muslim extremists decapitated seven men they were holding hostage on the southern Philippine island of Jolo and sent the heads in sacks to two army detachments....


Rev. Phelps To Picket VTech Funerals

Can anyone tell me which version of the Bible Fred Phelps reads?


Open Letter Re Franklin Graham

This letter was originally sent to a number of Binghamton University administrators - including the president and provost - in protest of the appearance of the Rev. Franklin Graham, scheduled for this June as part of a three-day rally, at the BU Events Center. Its list of sponsors has grown, and follows after the main text.


Franklin Graham: Spiritual Carpetbagger

Franklin Graham is a spiritual Carpetbagger and war profiteer who trades in souls. Those are near-fightin' words for a Southern boy from Boone, North Carolina who delivered the invocation at President Bush's 2001 Inauguration.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dozens Killed In Baghdad Attacks

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Attackers set off deadly bombs in neighborhoods across Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 66 people and wounding others, an Interior Ministry official said.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jury Likely To Decide Long Island Church Sex Abuse Suit

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) -- The nation's sixth-largest Roman Catholic diocese went on trial Monday in a $150 million lawsuit accusing church officials of recklessness for employing a youth minister who raped and sodomized teenagers.


See also:

Sex scandal bishop tells of fleeing the media

Good News: Atheism On The Rise In Europe

There's no doubt that the political influence of a church that once placed kings on their thrones and sent conquistadors off to new lands to add souls to its ranks (and slaughter them in the process), has greatly declined in European countries these days.


Krugman: There Really Is A Vast (Religious) Conspiracy

In 1981, Gary North, a leader of the Christian Reconstructionist movement - the openly theocratic wing of the Christian right - suggested that the movement could achieve power by stealth. "Christians must begin to organize politically within the present party structure," he wrote, "and they must begin to infiltrate the existing institutional order."


A Decline In Catholic Church Influence In Mexico

A recurring episode in Mexican history has been a periodic reappraisal of the Roman Catholic Church's role in society, which has usually resulted in a lessening of its power. Such a moment has again arrived, with the catalyst being the proposed decriminalization of abortion in Mexico City, the nation's capital.


See also:

German Catholics leaving in droves

Scuffles In Gaza Over Kidnapped Reporter

On Sunday, a previously unknown group, "The Brigades of Tawheed and Jihad," said it had killed Johnston to support demands for the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. But Palestinian officials have said they could not confirm the claim.


9 Dead As Taliban Steps Up Attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) -- About 100 Taliban raided Afghan police posts and a district government headquarters northeast of Kabul on Tuesday, in the heaviest fighting in an area so close to the capital since 2001.

Earlier on Tuesday, a bomb blew up a U.N. vehicle in the city of Kandahar killing four Nepali contractors and an Afghan driver. The Taliban claimed responsibility. Separately, four children were killed in a blast at a school in the city of Herat.


Web Claim: 20 Iraq Security Forces Executed

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents executed 20 members of Iraq's security forces who were seized last week, according to a claim posted on the Internet on Tuesday.

The Islamic State of Iraq -- an umbrella group of Sunni extremists that includes al Qaeda in Iraq -- claims it carried out the executions.


Moon Waning In Washington?

On May 17, former president George H. W. Bush will deliver the keynote address at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times newspaper at the National Building Museum.


Justice For Jesus

Is Virginia Beach's Christian university taking over the government?


Maher Blasts Regent Law School's Transformation Of The DoJ

Video from "Real Time" HERE.

Snake Oil For The Snake Oil Salesmen

Nisbet and Mooney do it again, with an op-ed in the Washington Post ... and I'm afraid they've alienated me yet further. I am convinced now that theirs is not an approach that I could find useful, even if I could puzzle out some useable strategy from it. In the very first sentence, they claim that Richard Dawkins gives "creationist adversaries a boost" -- it's the tired old argument that we must pander to religious belief.


Biblically Correct

Newsweek -- A former teacher is opening a Creation Museum in Kentucky. Will its appeal extend beyond the believers?


'Don't Have Sex' Campaign A Flop

It's been a central plank of George Bush's social policy: to stop teenagers having sex. More than $1bn of federal money has been spent on promoting abstinence since 1998 - posters printed, television adverts broadcast and entire education programmes devised for hundreds of thousands of girls and boys.

The trouble is, new research suggests that it hasn't worked. At all.



True Love Waits International will expand its abstinence-until-marriage message in six African countries, utilizing $950,000 in donor gifts...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dozens Dead, Wounded In Bombings Across Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A string of car bombs and suicide attacks across Iraq on Sunday killed and wounded dozens in what has been a bloody weekend for the war-ravaged nation.


For Some Hispanics, Coming To America Also Means Abandoning Religion

RICHMOND, Va. -- On Sunday afternoons, when the local Roman Catholic church holds Mass for Spanish-speaking Catholics, Edgar Chilin is playing soccer in a league with hundreds of Hispanic players.


Against God

Dawkins' is just one of at least half a dozen popular books preaching an anti-religious message that have appeared in the past year or so. There are more to come, too. Connoisseurs of the heretical will be salivating at the prospect of Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which is due in May.


As Religious Strife Grows, Europe's Atheists Seize Pulpit

Passive indifference to faith has left Europe's churches mostly empty. But debate over religion is more intense and strident than it has been in many decades. Religion is re-emerging as a big issue in part because of anxiety over Europe's growing and restive Muslim populations and a fear that faith is reasserting itself in politics and public policy. That is all adding up to a growing momentum for a combative brand of atheism, one that confronts rather than merely ignores religion.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bomb Kills At Least 37 Near Iraqi Shrine

BAGHDAD - A car bomb exploded Saturday near one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines in Karbala, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 150. At least 16 children were among the dead in the latest horrific assault away from the American-led security crackdown in Baghdad.


Friday, April 13, 2007

For God's Sake

The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda - which is very different from simply being people of faith - is one of the most important stories of the last six years. It's also a story that tends to go underreported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

So It Goes

Kurt Vonnegut
NEW YORK (AP) -- Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," died Wednesday. He was 84.

Vonnegut, who often marveled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic. He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.


A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view. He also filled his novels with satirical commentary and even drawings that were only loosely connected to the plot. In "Slaughterhouse-Five," he drew a headstone with the epitaph: "Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt."

And so on...

Blast Kills 2 In Iraqi Parliament Building

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An apparent suicide bomber detonated inside a cafeteria in Iraq's parliament building on Thursday, killing two lawmakers and wounding 10 others -- including three lawmakers, an Iraqi official said.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Study Shows Humans And Plants Share Common Regulatory Pathway

In findings that some might find reminiscent of science fiction, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have shown for the first time that humans and plants share a common pathogen recognition pathway as part of their innate immune systems. The data could help shed fresh light on how pathogen recognition proteins function and the role they play in certain chronic inflammatory diseases.


Jail For Serb Video Death Squad

This was the first trial in Serbia to deal with the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys around Srebrenica.


Al Qaeda Group Claims Deadly Bombs

ALGIERS, Algeria (CNN) -- An al Qaeda-affiliated group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's two bomb blasts in Algiers that the state-run news agency Algerie Presse Service said killed at least 24 people and wounded 222.


Study Reveals 'Robin Hood Impulse'

"In essence, what we found is that our taste for equality is one of the important reasons why we cooperate with each other, much more so than, say, other species of primates," Fowler said in a telephone interview.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Daylong Firefight Unfolds In Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi insurgents bombed a college district and a secondary school in Baghdad, and a police recruiting center in Diyala province killing at least 20 people on Tuesday, local authorities told CNN.


4 Bombers, Officer Die In Casablanca Terrorist Attacks

CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) -- Three suspected terrorists blew themselves up as police were closing in Tuesday, and another suspect was shot dead by police while he was preparing to detonate his explosives, authorities said.


Report Says More 1,000 Killed In Somalia Fighting

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Recent fighting that pitted Somali troops and their Ethiopian allies against Islamic insurgents killed more than 1,000 civilians and wounded 4,300 in the ruined capital of Mogadishu, according to a committee assessing damage from the worst fighting in more than 15 years.


Monday, April 09, 2007

The Taliban Are Conducting A Psychological War

Kidnappings of Westerners by the Taliban are on the rise in Afghanistan. What are the kidnappers' objectives?


Shia Leader Calls For More Attacks On US Troops As Car Bomb Kills 17

Thousands of Shia protesters converged on the Iraqi city of Najaf last night for an anti-US rally on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. The Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in a statement distributed in the city, urged Iraqi police and army to stop co-operating with the US, and urged his militia to step up attacks and force the US to withdraw. In the latest violence, a car bomb killed 17 people and wounded two dozen in Mahmudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad, the latest in a spate of attacks outside the Iraqi capital since a US military "surge" spearheaded a new security plan there


10 Americans Die In Bloody Iraq Weekend

Among the 10 U.S. deaths announced Sunday were three soldiers killed by a roadside bomb while patrolling south of Baghdad; one killed in an attack south of the capital; and two who died of combat wounds sustained north of the capital, in Diyala and Salahuddin provinces. On Saturday, the military said, four U.S. soldiers were killed in an explosion near their vehicle in Diyala.


Blog Against Theocracy: A Look Ahead

The good news is that there's mostly good news.


Also see:

Blog Against Theocracy

States Abstain From Federal Sex-Ed Funds

In an emerging revolt against abstinence-only sex education, states are turning down millions of dollars in federal grants, unwilling to accept White House dictates that the money be used for classes focused almost exclusively on teaching chastity.


Keeping The Faith

Walk into a shop to buy a newspaper or a wurst or a Game Boy in the German city of Regensburg and your server will probably welcome you with a brisk "gruss' Gott," shorthand for "God greet you."


Teenage Holy War

This is how you enlist in the Army of God: First come the fireworks and the prayers, and then 4,000 kids scream, "We won't be silent anymore!" Then the kids drop to their knees, still but for the weeping and regrets of fifteen-year-olds.


Praying For The Apocalypse

In this new world, where those who seek to do us harm will soon have in their hands cruder versions of the apocalyptic weapons we possess, dirty bombs or chemical or biological agents, the vision of those among us who welcome catastrophic warfare, indeed seek to hasten it, who fervently await the apocalypse and the end of time, who believe they will be lifted up into the sky by a returning Christ, forces us all to kneel before the god of death. The prayers these "Christians" near Detroit—and tens of millions across the nation—utter for deliverance and apocalyptic glory only hasten our flight from reality and ensure our self-annihilation.


Scandal Puts Spotlight On Christian Law School

Not long ago, it was rare for Regent graduates to join the federal government. But in 2001, the Bush administration picked the dean of Regent's government school, Kay Coles James , to be the director of the Office of Personnel Management -- essentially the head of human resources for the executive branch. The doors of opportunity for government jobs were thrown open to Regent alumni.


The Press Discovers Pat Robertson's Real Influence

When Monica Goodling's name erupted into the news last week, the mainstream press discovered suddenly that Pat Robertson's Regent University exists. Not only that, the press learned that it has made a deep footprint in George W. Bush's Washington.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Taliban Behead Afghan Translator

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- The kidnapped translator for an Italian journalist was beheaded in southern Afghanistan, Afghan authorities and a purported spokesman for the Taliban said.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Art Student's Depiction Of Obama As Jesus Causes Stir

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- He wears Jesus' robes and a neon blue halo, looks like Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and is causing a stir at a Chicago art school.


Friday, April 06, 2007

War Bleeds Baghdad Of Its Best And Brightest

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- In 2003, when Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, a woman named Hamdiyah al-Dulaimi had three handsome sons. They were good men with wives and families, the shining accomplishments of her life.

In hindsight, it was a much better life than she realized at the time. Most certainly better than it is now, four years after the fall of Baghdad.


Suicide Truck Bomb Kills 20 In Ramadi

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Twenty people were killed and 30 others wounded when a suicide truck bomber slammed into an Iraqi police checkpoint in a western Ramadi neighborhood Friday morning, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official told CNN.


5 Christians Charged With Blasphemy In Pakistan

Pakistan's law enforcement agency has charged five Christian men under the country's tough blasphemy laws.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Southern Thai Mosque Bombed

BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) -- A bomb was thrown into a mosque in Thailand's rebellious Muslim-majority south on Thursday, wounding at least 14 worshippers, a senior policeman said.


Bill Would Require Texas High Schools To Offer Bible Courses

AUSTIN -- A Texas legislator wants to require the state's nearly 1,700 public school districts to teach the Bible as a textbook, "not a worship document."


I'm Ashamed I Had Sex With Girl, Priest Tells Murder Trial

UK -- A Roman Catholic priest told a hushed courtroom yesterday that he was ashamed and disgusted with himself after he had sex with a young Polish student whose body was found in his church.


Teachers Drop The Holocaust To Avoid Offending Muslims

UK - Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DefCon Questions TIME Article

The group DefCon (Campaign to Defend the Constitution) has sent out this statement to its members:

"The April 2nd edition of TIME Magazine hit newsstands last week carrying this headline: 'Why We Should Teach The Bible In Public School (But very, very, carefully).'

"Along with thousands of Americans, we were struck not only by TIME's decision to take a position that runs counter to our nation's commitment to the separation of church and state, but to do so without any clarification as to the nature of or reason for the piece; was it an official statement of the magazine's position on this controversial issue? Or was it an op-ed, revealing only the opinion of author David Van Biema, TIME's senior religion writer?

"The staff at TIME Magazine have the right to publish anything they wish. But we also have a right to question their intentions in doing so and ask for clarification when those intentions are unclear.

"Take a moment and send TIME a letter urging the magazine to explain its intentions in running this cover article in the April 2nd edition, and call on the magazine to explore the constitutional and societal dangers of promoting religion in our nation's public schools in an upcoming article.

"Click here to send your letter to TIME Magazine.

"Also be sure to read the article for yourself on TIME's website, and stay tuned to the DefCon Blog for more updates."

American Atheists Criticise UN Resolution On "Defamation Of Religion"

Newswire Services -- "This proposal amounts to an international 'blasphemy' statute, and punishes those exercising a right to question and criticize religious superstition..." - Ellen Johnson, President, American Atheists


Old Church Becomes Mosque In Uneasy Britain

Britain may continue to regard itself as a Christian nation. But practicing Muslims are likely to outnumber church-attending Christians in several decades, according to a recent survey by Christian Research, a group that specializes in documenting the status of Christianity in Britain.


'One In 10' Attends Church Weekly

BBC NEWS -- One in 10 people in the UK attends church every week and one in seven goes once a month, according to research.


Iraqi Civilian Deaths Up In March

Iraqi figures estimate civilian deaths in violence across the country rose by 13% last month, despite the security crackdown in Baghdad.


Lorry Bomb Kills Children In School

IRAQ -- A newborn baby was one of at least 14 children and adults killed when a suicide bomber detonated a lorry laden with explosives close to a primary school in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk yesterday.

The latest massacre of Iraqi children came as 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital. The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Schoolgirls Massacred, Shiites Executed In Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A truck bomber carrying food supplies killed eight Iraqi schoolgirls and a baby in the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Monday as suspected Sunni militants executed 21 Shiite workers north of Baghdad.


Qaeda Is Seen As Restoring Leadership

WASHINGTON -- As Al Qaeda rebuilds in Pakistan's tribal areas, a new generation of leaders has emerged under Osama bin Laden to cement control over the network's operations, according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials.


School: Pirates Are Not Welcome

Weaverville -- An eye patch is no more disruptive than a Christian cross around one's neck.


Resurgent Taliban

Afghanistan -- Taliban fighters hanged three men in Afghanistan yesterday after accusing them of collaborating with British troops, while four children were killed in a suicide bomb attack.


'I'm Not Praying For God to Save Me'

Newsweek -- You'd think that if God was going to protect somebody, he'd protect that boy. But not only did he not protect him, the wind blew him from the road. The hand of God blew him from the road. So I had to think, "What kind of God do I have that doesn't intervene—in fact, may even participate—in the death of this good boy?" I talk about it in the book, that I had to accept that my God was a God who promised enlightenment and salvation. And that's all.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Iraq Says Truck Bomb In North Killed 152

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi government on Saturday gave its first official reckoning of the truck bombing Tuesday in the northern city of Tal Afar, putting the death toll at 152 people, a number about double that in early reports.


Storm Over Chocolate Jesus

The six-foot sculpture, entitled "My Sweet Lord", depicts Jesus Christ naked on the cross.


God's Numbers

The latest NEWSWEEK poll shows that 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God -- and nearly half reject the theory of evolution.


Religion: Is God Real?

Newsweek -- Later, when Blaise Pascal tried to get it all down on paper, he wrote in bursts, capturing flashes of what he thought he had seen in the vision -- a vision that, by empirical standards, could only be called fantastical.


'New Atheists' Push To Eradicate Religion

BOSTON -- Atheists are under attack these days for being too militant, for not just disbelieving in religious faith but for trying to eradicate it. And who's leveling these accusations? Other atheists, it turns out.


Atheist Says He's Victim Of Religious Hate Crime

Canada -- Man says he was assaulted at Ryerson.


U.N. rights Council Adopts Resolution Against Religious Defamation

GENEVA -- Islamic countries pushed through a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday urging a global prohibition on the public defamation of religion -- a response largely to the furor last year over caricatures published in a Danish newspaper of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.


Don't Confuse Terrorism With Islam, Says EU

The European Union has drawn up guidelines advising government spokesmen to refrain from linking Islam and terrorism in their statements.