Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jessica Ahlquist: Atheist Student Interviewed at Playboy Mansion

Atheist Unite campaign raised over $95,000 for atheist tornado victims, Rebecca Vitsmun and her family

A campaign ran by stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope and called Atheist Unite, out did the American Humanist Association (AHA) by raising over $95,000 for Rebecca Vitsmun and her family.  Their original goal was to raise $50,000 in 60 days, but met that goal in less than 17 hours after going live with the campaign and funds still climb.


As the AHA made a press release of the funds they raised and gave to Vitsmun, Stanhope reached the $50,000 goal and more on Friday.

MORE: http://www.goddiscussion.com/110170/atheist-unite-campaign-raised-over-95000-for-atheist-tornado-victims-rebecca-vitsmun-and-her-family/

Prayer Wars: When It Comes To Religion, The Majority Does Not Rule

Government's first duty is to represent all of its citizens, regardless of what they believe (or don't believe) about God and theology.

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/prayer-wars-when-it-comes-to-religion-the-majority-does-not-rule

Biblical Medicine? How Religious Corporations Are Gobbling Up Healthcare Facilities

Catholic hospitals and healthcare corporations are becoming "health care ministries."

MORE: http://www.alternet.org/biblical-medicine-how-religious-corporations-are-gobbling-health-care-facilities-and-what-means-you?akid=10486.275909.WirxUG&rd=1&src=newsletter845794&t=5

10 arrested so far in British soldier's killing as Muslims fear backlash

London (CNN) -- As concerns about rising Islamophobia in Britain grew amid anti-Muslim protests and attacks targeting mosques, authorities made a 10th arrest in last week's knifing death of a British soldier.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/27/world/europe/uk-mosque-fire/index.html

Protesters against same-sex marriage fill central Paris plaza

If pending legislation in New Zealand and Uruguay is enacted as expected this year, the worldwide total of countries with legalized same-sex marriage will rise to 14.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/26/world/europe/france-anti-gay-marriage/index.html

Sales stir up a modern-day fuss over fragments from Dead Sea Scrolls

For years, fragments from the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls have been sold quietly to evangelical Christian collectors and institutions in the United States — even though Israel regards those sales as illegal.

MORE: http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/28/18563095-sales-stir-up-a-modern-day-fuss-over-fragments-from-dead-sea-scrolls

Australian University Bans Satirical Piece on Islam from Student Paper, Citing Likelihood of Religious Violence

The Islam article was the only one in the series that caused immediate paroxysms of fear and cowardice, resulting in the university chancellor's successful demands for a retraction and an apology.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/27/australian-university-bans-satirical-piece-on-islam-from-student-paper-citing-likelihood-of-religious-violence

Saved from Islamists, Timbuktu's manuscripts face new threat

"It would be the ultimate irony if all of these had survived the evacuation but had been destroyed because we don't have the resources to archival box them and insert humidity traps for the period they are in exile," said Diakité, who has now started a campaign to raise the estimated $7 million it will cost to rescue the manuscripts.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/world/africa/timbuktu-manuscripts/index.html

Rockets strike Beirut suburb as sectarian strife flares in Lebanon, Syria

Charbel acknowledged the dangerous potential in Lebanon's rising tensions.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/26/world/meast/lebanon-violence/index.html

Dozens killed in wave of Baghdad bombings

Baghdad (CNN) -- At least 51 people have been killed and more than 160 others were wounded in a wave of violence in Iraq...
MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/27/world/meast/iraq-violence/index.html

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Bombings, shooting leave at least 10 dead in Iraq

Iraq at crossroads as bombs explode

Iraq violence kills 8, wounds dozens

Sunday, May 26, 2013

HUMANIST CRISIS RESPONSE: Supporting relief efforts after massive tornado in Oklahoma

Donations will be forwarded continuously during the emergency period. FBB retains no portion of donations. All donations to and through Foundation Beyond Belief are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Please visit the crisis response page on the Foundation Beyond Belief site to contribute a donation to help in this terrible tragedy here: http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/node/1780

Wolf Blitzer Asks Atheist Tornado Survivor If She 'Thanks The Lord' (VIDEO)

Blitzer would be well-advised not to assume that every interview subject believes in God.

MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/wolf-blitzer-atheist-tornado-survivor_n_3316312.html?ir=Media

See also...

This Oklahoma atheist isn't thanking the Lord

Beck: 'Forces of spiritual darkness' at CNN plotted Blitzer's atheist gaffe

Atheists Give $10,000 to Oklahoma Tornado Victim Rebecca Vitsmun After CNN Appearance

Actually... Tees for the Rebecca Vitsmun Recovery Fund

Don’t Pray for Oklahoma

Thanking the Lord for deliverance just doesn't make any sense. Any God powerful and attentive enough to save survivors' lives should also be powerful and attentive enough to stop the catastrophe in the first place. It's insulting, futile, and distracting from the reality of natural disasters to inject your god into a calamity like Oklahoma's.

MORE: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/05/prayers_for_oklahoma_wolf_blitzer_and_other_journalists_should_leave_god.single.html

Video: Pat Robertson Blames Tornado Victims For Not Praying

Robertson said the tornadoes may not have happened if enough victims had prayed: "If enough people were praying He would've intervened, you could pray, Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms."

MORE: http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/video-pat-robertson-blames-tornado-victims-not-praying

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Pastor's tornado tweets stir up a theological debate

The Other I.R.S. Scandal

Last October (and years before that, too), on "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," more than 1,500 pastors endorsed a candidate for President during church in complete violation of the law. They did it openly and proudly, people documented them doing it, the material was sent to the I.R.S. ... and nothing happened.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/16/the-other-irs-scandal/

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The Partisan Preacher's Complaint: Franklin Graham Has No Grounds To Whine About IRS

Vatican corrects Pope: Atheists are still going to hell

After Pope Francis told the world even atheists can go to heaven, the Vatican issued a correction: Atheists are still going to hell.

MORE: http://www.examiner.com/article/vatican-corrects-pope-atheists-are-still-going-to-hell


Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

Pope Francis: God redeemed everyone, 'not just Catholics'

Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics

A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live

Thoughts of Faith and God Decrease Tolerance for Ambiguity

New research finds exposure to Christian ideas--or even standing in the shadow of a cathedral--nudges people in the direction of black-and-white thinking.

MORE: http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/christian-concepts-decrease-tolerance-for-ambiguity-57884/

Understanding Why God-References Are a Big Deal

There are many reasons why church-state separation is a big deal (indeed, the fact that a valid constitutional claim is being raised should, in itself, qualify the matter as a legitimate "big deal"), but there is a psychological component to such issues that sometimes gets overlooked amid all the legal analysis. This component, which I call "crisis-induced devotion" (or "CID"), illustrates why governmental religiosity, while sometimes appearing benign and unimportant, is always at least potentially dangerous.

MORE: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201305/understanding-why-god-references-are-big-deal

Understanding Why God-References Are a Big Deal

There are many reasons why church-state separation is a big deal (indeed, the fact that a valid constitutional claim is being raised should, in itself, qualify the matter as a legitimate "big deal"), but there is a psychological component to such issues that sometimes gets overlooked amid all the legal analysis. This component, which I call "crisis-induced devotion" (or "CID"), illustrates why governmental religiosity, while sometimes appearing benign and unimportant, is always at least potentially dangerous.

MORE: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201305/understanding-why-god-references-are-big-deal

Outrageous Attacks on Supporters of Church-State Separation: Death Threats, Murdered Pets, and Vandalized Property

The religious right often wages campaigns of harassment, intimidation and outright violence against First Amendment plaintiffs.

MORE: http://www.alternet.org/belief/outrageous-attacks-supporters-church-state-separation-death-threats-murdered-pets-and?akid=10456.1080027.HtuAII&rd=1&src=newsletter842428&t=6&paging=off

See also...

The Constitution Is Under Attack as the Right Tries to Establish A State Religion

Secretary of State John Kerry: Freedom to 'Not Believe' is a 'Birthright of Every Human Being'

Kerry is saying that we support universal religious freedom, which includes the right to be an atheist, something many countries in the world are afraid of doing.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/20/secretary-of-state-john-kerry-freedom-to-not-believe-is-a-birthright-of-every-human-being/

Humanists find ways to say ‘I do’ without God

With the rise of the "nones" -- the 20 percent of Americans without a religious affiliation -- more couples are looking for wedding celebrants who don't mind skipping God's blessing of the ceremony altogether.

MORE: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/05/17/humanists-find-ways-to-say-i-do-without-god/

The Religious Affiliation of U.S. Immigrants: Majority Christian, Rising Share of Other Faiths

While Christians continue to make up a majority of legal immigrants to the U.S., the estimated share of new legal permanent residents who are Christian declined from 68% in 1992 to 61% in 2012. Over the same period, the estimated share of green card recipients who belong to religious minorities rose from approximately one-in-five (19%) to one-in-four (25%). This includes growing shares of Muslims (5% in 1992, 10% in 2012) and Hindus (3% in 1992, 7% in 2012). The share of Buddhists, however, is slightly smaller (7% in 1992, 6% in 2012), while the portion of legal immigrants who are religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular) has remained relatively stable, at about 14% per year.

MORE: http://www.pewforum.org/Geography/The-Religious-Affiliation-of-US-Immigrants.aspx

A distressing map of religious freedom around the world

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has issued a report highlighting those it calls the worst violators of religious freedom in the world. Among them are many Asian and Middle Eastern governments, although some Western European countries are also included.

MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/03/a-distressing-map-of-religious-freedom-around-the-world/

Mayoral Candidate Says She's Endorsed by Jesus

Arizona atheist state lawmaker opens session with prayer, upon which two days later, a Republican Christian lawmaker insists upon a "do-over" prayer asking for repentance

However, the response to Smith's insistence the prayer be "done over"the Christian way was met with a half-hearted response. Only about half the House joined in the "do-over" prayer, and the issue ignited some in the House, including a traditional Navajo member, to call out Smith as being flat out wrong for criticizing Mendez' prayer.

MORE: http://www.goddiscussion.com/110077/arizona-atheist-state-lawmaker-opens-session-with-prayer-upon-which-two-days-later-a-republican-christian-lawmaker-insists-upon-a-do-over-prayer-asking-for-repentance/

See also...

Arizona House non-prayer sparks Christian re-do

Atheist State Lawmaker Quotes Carl Sagan Instead of Doing Prayer Before House Session

Text of atheist prayer given in Arizona House

Just Like A Prayer?: Arizona State Rep. Isn't Satisfied With Non-Theistic Invocation

Arizona lawmaker: I'm an atheist

Arizona Humanists: Thank State Rep. Juan Mendez For Coming Out As An Atheist!

Arizona House OKs religious-protection measure

Supporters of a bill that would change the state's religious-protection law say it would strengthen Arizonans' ability to defend their "practice or observance of religion."

But critics of the legislation, particularly in the gay and transgender community, say it's so broadly worded that it could have dangerous implications, particularly in providing a legal defense for those who ignore state law or city ordinances meant to protect groups such as same-sex couples and transgender individuals from discrimination.

MORE: http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20130510arizona-house-oks-religious-protection-measure.html

Court to rule on government prayer

The case of Town of Greece v. Galloway (docket 12-696) was one of five newly granted cases, all of which will be heard and decided in the Term starting next October. No current member of the Court was serving when the Court last ruled on government prayers in the case of Marsh v. Chambers, in 1983.

MORE: http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/05/court-to-rule-on-government-prayer/

Paying For Praying?: N.J. Governor Seeks To Award Taxpayer Millions To Seminaries

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and some of his political allies are attempting to funnel millions in taxpayer dollars to two sectarian institutions that train members of the clergy -- and they'd prefer to keep citizens in the dark about the details.

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/paying-for-praying-nj-governor-seeks-to-award-taxpayer-millions-to

Even More Awful Details About the Public School That Allowed Students to Skip Class to Pray

50 students prayed together (with an adult coach) for more than six hours, causing them to miss their classes. Four faculty members were also part of the prayer group. Superintendent Dewey Moye said he wouldn’t punish anybody over the incident.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/15/even-more-awful-details-about-the-public-school-that-allowed-students-to-skip-class-to-pray/

Humanists Demand an End to Teacher-led Prayer Sessions at Missouri High School

The American Humanist Association's legal center sent a letter to school officials in Fayette, Missouri, demanding they take steps to end weekly morning prayer sessions held by a teacher at Fayette High School (FHS).

"Students are encouraged to attend these sessions by an announcement made by the principal over the school's intercom system," the letter states. "These public school prayer sessions are clearly unconstitutional."

MORE: http://www.americanhumanist.org/news/details/2013-05-humanists-demand-an-end-to-teacher-led-prayer-sessio?utm_content=buffer27293&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

See also...

The Young Women Who Are Speaking Out Against the Mandatory Christian Assembly at Their Public High School

Rockingham Co. school board votes against having public prayer

EDEN, N.C. -- The Rockingham County school board has voted against opening its public meetings with a prayer in a 7-3 vote on Monday night.

The Greensboro News & Record reported that the vote ended a month of heated discussions. Board member Leonard Pryor resigned May 1 over the issue.

MORE: http://myfox8.com/2013/05/14/rockingham-co-school-board-votes-against-having-public-prayer/

See also...

After One Brave Member Resigned in Protest, School Board Votes Against Public Prayers at Meetings


Group wants atheist books placed with Bibles in Georgia state parks

A national atheist group said it plans to donate enough books on its views to be placed in all Georgia state park cabins after the state's governor said Bibles should remain at the vacation properties despite an atheist's recent complaint.

MORE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/21/us-usa-georgia-bible-idUSBRE94K12520130521

See also...

Bad Deal: Ga. Governor Says Return Bibles To State Park Rooms -- And Other Scriptures Too!

Atheist Group Sends Books to Georgia State Parks to Place Next to Gideon Bibles Inside Cabins

High School Principal Encourages Christian Teachers to Teach Creationism and Proselytize to Students

Hibbard and other speakers told the teachers present that it was perfectly acceptable under Kentucky law to teach biblical creationism in addition to evolution in science classes, and he suggested future meetings with biology teachers to craft curriculum.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/16/high-school-principal-encourages-christian-teachers-to-teach-creationism-and-proselytize-to-students/

Creationism controversy in Springboro

SPRINGBORO, Ohio (WDTN) - Emotions ran high at Springboro's Board of Education meeting Thursday night as the board discussed the controversial topic of teaching creationism in the schools.

MORE: http://www.wdtn.com/dpp/news/local/warren/creationism-vs-contracts-in-springboro?hpt=us_bn9#.UaGaUZz4KhK

Creationism and revisionist history threaten to invade our classrooms

We have to stop state legislators from sneaking creationist and revisionist textbooks into public schools.

MORE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/20/creationism-textbooks-louisiana-schools

See also...

Creationism Corralled: Eight States Reject Creationist Measures

Atheists Victorious Again: Public School That Invited Christian Rapper B-SHOC to Perform Settles Lawsuit

Even in South Carolina, they’ve caved in. Students in that district won’t have to put up with teachers and administrators who would rather give a sermon than educate the children.

We have the ACLU and Jonathan Anderson to thank for that.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/01/14/atheists-victorious-again-public-school-that-invited-christian-rapper-b-shoc-to-perform-settles-lawsuit/

Ten Commandments Plaques Pulled From School Walls In Muldrow, Oklahoma

Hoping to avoid a costly legal drama, a public high school in Muldrow, Okla., late last week pulled down all the Ten Commandments plaques that had been posted on classroom walls.

MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/ten-commandments-oklahoma-muldrow_n_3279658.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Commandments Kerfuffle: Brave Oklahoma Student Fights For Equality At Public School

After Seeing Painting of Hindu Deity, Virginia County Officials Decide to Hang Ten Commandments in Government Building

"Christianity is our heritage. I think the least we can do is stand for it and I plan to," Eggers said.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/15/after-seeing-painting-of-hindu-deity-virginia-county-officials-decide-to-hang-ten-commandments-in-government-building/

See also...

Theater Of The Absurd: Va. Preacher Sees Hindu-Themed Painting, Demands Commandments Display

Controversial crosses on city water tower removed

Roberts man cries foul, crosses replaced with flags.

MORE: http://www.localnews8.com/news/controversial-crosses-on-city-water-tower-removed/-/308662/20246292/-/a7jtg2/-/index.html

Victory In South Carolina!: Senate Votes Down Religious School Subsidy Scheme

New York real estate tycoon Howard Rich and a phalanx of out-of-state interests poured millions into South Carolina with the sole purpose of electing pro-voucher legislators and spreading pro-voucher propaganda.

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/victory-in-south-carolina-senate-votes-down-religious-school-subsidy-scheme

Family Research Council Misrepresents Our Military

After adopting military cast-off and anti-Muslim crusader retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, the Family Research Council is taking special interest in publishing their own special spin on military policy. They recently published a list of offenses against Christianity and their own FRC. But, not surprisingly, they got some facts wrong. Unlike their own list which has no references at all and expects a simple faith-based acceptance of their claims, you’ll find below short references to confirm the stories for yourself.

MORE: http://militaryatheists.org/news/2013/05/family-research-council-misrepresents-our-military/

See also...

Court-Martialed For Being Christian?: Don't Believe It

Gay Leaders, Atheists, Excluded From New Boy Scout Plan

"The Boy Scouts of America still supports an untenable, unreasonable and unnecessary discriminatory policy by excluding gay leaders and staff members," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "If the Boy Scouts are truly a values-based organization, bigotry can't be part of the program."

Speckhardt added, "In addition to ending all anti-gay policies, the Boy Scouts should also open their doors to those without a religious affiliation. Their national policy of discrimination against humanists and atheists, like the anti-gay policy, needlessly shuts out millions of Americans."

MORE: http://www.americanhumanist.org/news/details/2013-05-gay-leaders-atheists-excluded-from-new-boy-scout-pla-2

See also...

Good Boy Scouts don't need God

Most Americans support lifting ban on gay Boy Scouts

Carolina Blues

Last month, North Carolina legislators, in one of the more explicit threats to church-state separation in recent memory, proposed HJR 494, which asserted that the U.S. Constitution doesn't apply to them.

That was just the beginning. Since then, the North Carolina legislature has introduced a plethora of bills that jeopardize religious freedom for all North Carolinians.

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/legislative/carolina-blues

See also...

Abortion Bill Gets Initial Approval

Mississippi Could Soon Jail Women for Stillbirths, Miscarriages

The state's manslaughter laws weren't supposed to apply to women who lose pregnancies. Prosecutors don't seem to care.

MORE: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/buckhalter-mississippi-stillbirth-manslaughter

Will the Catholic Bishops Decide How You Die?

From a consumer standpoint, one problem with putting religion rather than science in charge of healthcare is that patients may not know they are being denied the full range of medically appropriate options. They may have no idea when institutional rules prevent doctors and nurses from honoring end-of-life wishes or discussing services that are available in secular settings, services like contraception, abortion, tubal ligation, vasectomy, fertility treatment, or death with dignity.

MORE: http://new.exchristian.net/2013/05/will-catholic-bishops-decide-how-you-die.html#.UZzr1Fc1pxs.facebook

Some business owners resist providing employees with contraceptive coverage

CHICAGO -- Religiously devout business owners are waging a broad rebellion against providing their employees with contraceptive coverage, bringing dozens of lawsuits that seem certain to land the issue before the Supreme Court.

MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/some-business-owners-resist-providing-employees-with-contraceptive-coverage/2013/05/22/e3556778-bf25-11e2-9b09-1638acc3942e_story.html

US 'faith healers' charged over second baby's death

A Philadelphia couple said to reject medicine in favour of faith healing have been charged with the murder of their infant son.


The couple are members of the First Century Gospel Church, which shuns measures such as toothpaste and seatbelts, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported.

MORE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22633937

Christian Brothers religious order reaches deal with more than 400 child sex abuse victims

The Christian Brothers have agreed to pay more than $16 million to people who were molested as children by members of the U.S. religious order.

MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/christian-brothers-religious-order-reaches-deal-with-more-than-400-child-sex-abuse-victims/2013/05/23/b5cc0de2-c3ea-11e2-9642-a56177f1cdf7_story.html

Catholic priest gets life for having sex with boy

The church paid the family of the victim more than a million dollars to settle a civil suit.

MORE: http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/catholic-priest-gets-life-for-having-sex-with-boy/article_931631ec-bf2b-11e2-8d93-001a4bcf6878.html

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How religions change their mind

Once upon a time, animal sacrifice was an important part of Hindu life, Catholic priests weren't celibate and visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad were part of Islamic art. And soon some churches in the UK may be marrying gay couples. How do religions manage to change their mind?

MORE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22250412

Jupiter, Venus, Mercury to form cluster

Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are expected to form a bright cluster in the sky.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2013/05/25/cnni-mann-intv-kern-fmr-astronomer-planetary-dance.cnn.html

UFO sightings in Canada in 2012 doubled previous record

In 2012, there were 1,981 sightings, nearly doubling the previous annual record of 1,004 sightings recorded in 2008. There were record numbers of UFOs reported in every province last year except for Saskatchewan and P.E.I.

MORE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2013/05/15/ns-ufo-sightings-double.html

Canadians turning away from organized religion

Observers noted that among the survey's most striking findings is that one in four Canadians, or 7.8 million people, reported they had no religious affiliation at all. That was up sharply from 16.5 percent from the 2001 census, and 12 percent in 1991.

MORE: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/05/15/canadians-turning-away-from-organized-religion/

Statistics show massive loss of interest in Catholicism in England and Wales

The statistics show that the peak of Catholic baptisms and marriages was in the mid-1960s and now the number of Catholic baptisms is less than half and the number of Catholic marriages is less than a quarter compared with the peak. Most of the figures in the study go back as far as 1913, giving an overarching view of the state of the Catholic Church in England and Wales over a century.

MORE: http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2013/05/statistics-show-massive-loss-of-interest-in-catholicism-in-england-and-wales

Godless Funerals on Rise in Ireland

Irish funeral directors estimate that 10 percent of the nearly 30,000 funerals conducted annually are nonreligious. Government data show that about 30 percent of the 21,000 weddings annually are outside any church, up from 5 percent two decades ago.

MORE: http://www.skepticmoney.com/godless-funerals-on-rise-in-ireland/

Ill woman at center of abortion debate in El Salvador

The life of the woman, known only as "Beatriz," is in danger if the pregnancy goes full term, but abortion is illegal in El Salvador with no exceptions, women's rights groups say.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/23/world/americas/el-salvador-abortion/index.html?hpt=wo_c2

Brazilian judicial council orders notaries to recognize same-sex marriage

Brazilian neighbors Uruguay and Argentina are the only other two countries in Latin America that have laws allowing same-sex couples to marry.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/15/world/americas/brazil-same-sex-marriage/index.html

UK's House of Commons approves same-sex marriage

The Church of England is among the religious bodies opposed to the new legislation.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/21/world/europe/uk-same-sex-marriage/index.html

France gay marriage: Hollande signs bill into law

France's president has signed into law a controversial bill making the country the ninth in Europe, and 14th globally, to legalise gay marriage.

MORE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22579093

Right-wing historian shoots himself in Notre Dame cathedral 'in protest at gay marriage'

Dominique Venner, who had recently been campaigning against gay marriage in France, is said to have calmly walked past the crowds milling around the 850-year-old Cathedral, one of the most popular tourist sites in the world, before taking out a Herstal automatic pistol.

The 78-year-old put the gun in his mouth and fired before collapsing on to the altar, according to French media reports.

MORE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2328502/Dominique-Venner-Right-wing-historian-shoots-Notre-Dame-cathedral-protest-gay-marriage.html

Crowd Led by Priests Attacks Gay Rights Marchers in Georgia

The attack comes amid an increase in antigay talk in Russia and Georgia, whose Orthodox churches are gaining political influence.

MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/18/world/europe/gay-rights-rally-is-attacked-in-georgia.html?_r=3&

See also...

Russia moves closer to jail terms for offending religion

Infant sacrificed on bonfire, accused of being the Antichrist

Four people were arrested in Chile last month after they burned a baby girl to death in a gruesome Christian ritual. The mother was apparently a willing participant. What was the baby's crime? Apparently, she was the Antichrist.

MORE: http://www.examiner.com/article/infant-sacrificed-on-bonfire-accused-of-being-the-antichrist

It's 2013, And They're Burning 'Witches'

Belief in black magic persists in Papua New Guinea, where communities are warping under the pressure of the mining boom's unfulfilled expectations. Women are blamed, accused of sorcery and branded as witches -- with horrific consequences.

MORE: http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/its-2013-and-theyre-burning-witches/558/

Women regularly tortured in Nepal for witchcraft

Every month in Nepal, at least four women are accused of witchcraft and then beaten and tortured, Al Jazeera reports.  The women are attacked by members of their own communities.

MORE: http://www.goddiscussion.com/109783/women-regularly-tortured-in-nepal-for-witchcraft/

'We are killed, we are hunted': Albino activist fights witchcraft murders

Dozens of albinos have been mutilated and slaughtered in the country in recent years, because of rumors being spread that their body parts can bring wealth and good luck.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/17/world/africa/josephat-torner-albinism-tanzania/index.html

Muslim Imam Claims Women Who Don’t Wear Hijabs are "Asking to be Raped", Arrested for Trying to Rape Woman

You have to give Imam Shahid Mehdi credit. Unlike a lot of other Muslim clergy who say that women who don’t wear hijabs or burkas or who leave the house deserve to be raped, but then don't follow up on it, Shahid Mehdi stayed true to his belief that Islamic morality justifies sex crimes by trying to commit a sex crime.

MORE: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/muslim-imam-claims-women-who-dont-wear-hijabs-are-asking-to-be-raped-arrested-for-trying-to-rape-woman/

An Australian woman is gang raped and jailed for having illicit sex under Sharia law

Gali was raped by three of her colleagues.


Gali found herself charged with a crime: sex outside of wedlock. She was found guilty and spent eight months in a UAE prison as punishment for her "crime".

MORE: http://www.atheistrepublic.com/news/australian-woman-gang-raped-and-jailed-having-illicit-sex-under-sharia-law

Amina Tyler, Tunisia's 'topless jihad' activist, caught and under arrest

In March, Tyler posted pictures of her topless body with the phrase "my body is my own" scrawled on it, and she went into hiding after receiving death threats. Her family took her to stay with relatives outside the capital before she escaped and hid with friends.

A month later, Tyler had been trying to leave Tunisia, her former lawyer said after a video surfaced in which the woman recounted being drugged and given virginity tests by relatives.

MORE: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/21/Amina-Tyler-Tunisia-s-topless-jihad-activist-under-arrest.html

Sudanese centre says incidents of apostasy, atheism increasing in country

The chairman of the Islamic Centre for Preaching and Comparative Studies, Ammar Saleh, said that cases of apostasy and atheism are on the rise in the country and accused authorities of negligence in addressing this issue.

MORE: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46577&utm_source=feedly

Turkish-Armenian blogger sentenced to Turkish prison for blasphemy

According to Turkey's semi-official Anatolian Agency, Nisanyan received a one year and 45-day jail sentence for "openly denigrating the religious values held by a certain portion of the population."

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/23/world/meast/turkey-blasphemy-sentence/index.html

Saudi religious police boss condemns Twitter users

Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said anyone using social media sites - and especially Twitter - "has lost this world and his afterlife".

MORE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22543252

US State Department Points to Human Rights Problems in Indonesia

The report said that minority religious groups such as Ahmadis, Shiites, other non-Sunni Muslims and Christians were occasionally victims of societal discrimination and violence.

MORE: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/us-state-department-points-to-human-rights-problems-in-indonesia/?utm_source=feedly

Report: Islamist militants claim 2 deadly attacks in Niger

Islamic extremists with links to al Qaeda carved out a large portion of northern Mali last year, taking advantage of a chaotic situation after a military coup in March 2012. France took military action this year after the militants began to push into the southern portion of the country.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/23/world/africa/niger-attacks/index.html

Living in the eye of Myanmar's sectarian storm

A wave of sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims resulted in the deaths of at least 43 people and displaced thousands more, according to the Myanmar government.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/22/world/asia/myanmar-religious-violence/index.html

7 Afghan police officers killed in blast

The incident took place during the spring offensive of the Taliban, the militant anti-government movement.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/21/world/asia/afghanistan-violence/index.html

See also...

At least 7 killed in Kabul violence

Top politico killed in northern Afghan attack

Bombs kill 9, wound 70 in Afghanistan

6 Americans among those killed in Kabul bombing

3 coalition troops killed in Afghan bombing

Dozen slain in Baghdad brothel

This comes amid an uptick of violence across Iraq, most prominently Sunni-Shiite sectarian strife. But religious extremists from both persuasions who have targeted the prostitution business over the last decade have claimed many lives.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/22/world/meast/iraq-violence/index.html

See also...

Bombings in Iraq kill 19 people as worries over sectarian violence grow

In Iraq, 4 soldiers slain

Shiites targeted in Iraq in another day of sectarian strife

Baghdad, Anbar province racked by violence

Sectarian violence erupts anew in Iraq

Bombings kill dozens of Sunnis in Iraq

6 dead in Baghdad attacks; 5 killed in Kirkuk suicide blast

12 car bombs in Baghdad and Kirkuk leave 29 dead, more than 120 hurt

'War' With Ultra-Orthodox Over Western Wall? Bring It On

Shocking Attacks at Kotel Galvanize Jews Around Pluralism.

MORE: http://forward.com/articles/176932/war-with-ultra-orthodox-over-western-wall-bring-i/?p=all#ixzz2UMXSBrhO

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What is Natural Selection?

Meet Mr. and Mrs. None

Betchan and Hale are part of a rapidly growing movement known as the 'nones.' We're not talking about Catholic sisters in black robes, but Americans who claim no religious affiliation, be they atheists such as Betchan and Hale, agnostics or those who describe themselves as 'spiritual but not religious.'

MORE: http://gazette.com/meet-mr.-and-mrs.-none/article/1500527

Atheists: Let your conscience be your god

What divides us is not so much our religious differences in this diverse country, but the degree of commitment we have to equal freedom of conscience for all people. Whether religious or secular, our universal goal should be to treat all our fellow human beings with respect and dignity.

MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/05/07/atheists-let-your-conscience-be-your-god/

Dawkins to moderate Religious Child Abuse Panel

At the American Humanist Association conference in San Diego, on Saturday June 1 at 9am, Richard Dawkins will moderate a panel entitled “Religious Fundamentalism & The Abuse of Children.” (Register here: http://ahacon13.eventbrite.com)  This has long been an area of primary concern for Richard Dawkins.

MORE: http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/5/8/dawkins-to-moderate-religious-child-abuse-panel#

Church Electioneering and the IRS: Another Example of Tax Agency Failure

For some years now, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been urging the IRS to crack down on tax-exempt religious organizations that engage in blatant partisan electioneering. These are clear violations of the law, and yet the IRS seems to have done nothing to penalize scofflaws.

When I say clear violations of the law, I mean clear. I'm talking about religious organizations using their tax-exempt personnel and resources to intervene in elections. I'm talking about pastors standing up and telling their congregants which candidates to vote for or against, endorsing candidates in church bulletins or taking other actions that step way over the line.

MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barry-w-lynn/church-electioneering-and_b_3267250.html#es_share_ended

Congressional Committee Addresses Religious Privilege in New Taxation Report

In one section, the committee highlighted comments and suggestions they received in regards to charitable and tax-exempt organizations, and it appears they took the advice (PDF) of the Secular Coalition for America.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/10/congressional-committee-addresses-religious-privilege-in-new-taxation-report/?utm_source=feedly

See also...

Tax Reform: Religious Privileging Issues Included in Joint Committee on Taxation Report

An Open Letter to Barack Obama: Are You My President, Too?

As the Commander in Chief of our country's armed forces, you are in the position of command authority over those many men and women in uniform fighting for... something. I say it this way, because I have a difficult time believing that our military is fighting for the American way, the ideals of true liberty and justice for all that you and I were promised as children. Over half a century ago it was determined that the leadership of public schools could not lawfully abridge the freedom of America's children by requiring them to take part in daily prayers, yet today that same concern for the constitutionally assured freedom of religion of children is not afforded to soldiers. While some argue that the ceremonial deism we see in our military is encompassing of all people, I challenge that notion, along with tens of thousands of others. After all, what is the difference between compulsory prayer in a public school and compulsory prayer in public defense? While the tarnished history of our military in respecting the religious freedom of its members is nothing to be scoffed at, it would hardly be noteworthy if it were simply that: history. But when the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has more than 33,000 clients from every branch of service, our military is in need of reform.

MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/blake-page/an-open-letter-to-barack-_2_b_3205379.html

Atheist Community of Austin Now Owns Its Own Building

You could pretty much count on one hand (with fingers missing) the number of local atheist groups that have their own building.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/06/atheist-community-of-austin-now-owns-its-own-building/

Atheists Adopt-a-Highway… Just Outside the Creation Museum

The Tri-State Freethinkers (covering parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana) recently adopted a highway.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/06/atheists-adopt-a-highway-just-outside-the-creation-museum/

Man Who Wrote Unconstitutional School Prayer: 'I Couldn't Care Less About the... Minority. The Majority Rules'

So there you have it. In Bradley's view, whatever the majority wants, the majority gets. Forget about civil rights for black people, sorry gay people, go home Jews. You’re all in the minority and your needs and wants and beliefs have no business in Bradley’s world.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/08/man-who-wrote-unconstitutional-school-prayer-i-couldnt-care-less-about-the-minority-the-majority-rules/

Forcing Faith: Military Leader Affirms Commitment To Proselytizing -- Despite The Rules

Rear Adm. William Lee's insistence in imposing his faith on subordinates is exactly what activists like Americans United and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been complaining about for years. They show not only how high up proselytizing goes, but also the attitude of defiance that comes with the issue.

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/forcing-faith-military-leader-affirms-commitment-to-proselytizing-despite

"Don’t know much about history" -- The Pennsylvania House

If you were to read HR 306, which I do not recommend for those valuing truth or sanity, you will see that it begins with 17 "Whereas" provisions in an attempt to invent a secular purpose.  I won't go through them all -- it is mind-numbing enough to read legislation, let alone ignorant legislation.  It is sufficient to highlight a few of the more egregious examples.

MORE: http://ffrf.org/news/blog/item/17692-%E2%80%9Cdon%E2%80%99t-know-much-about-history-%E2%80%93-the-pennsylvania-house%E2%80%9D

Elementary school's 'blessing of the fleet' canceled for violating First Amendment

SOUTH BRISTOL, Maine -- South Bristol Elementary School eighth-graders will launch their handmade skiffs next month without the traditional "blessing of the fleet" after a letter from Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State informed the school that student involvement with the historic maritime ceremony violated the First Amendment.

MORE: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/05/13/news/midcoast/elementary-schools-blessing-of-the-fleet-canceled-for-violating-first-amendment/

Vouchers Vanquished!: La. High Court Strikes Down Jindal Scheme To Fund Religious Schools

For a change, there's good news from the state of Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher plan has been struck down!

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/vouchers-vanquished-la-high-court-strikes-down-jindal-scheme-to-fund

Texas judge rules for cheerleaders in Bible banner suit

But Thomas Brandt, the school district's attorney, argued that Judge Thomas also granted a school district motion in his ruling that says the district can permit the banners under the establishment clause but is not required to do so. Brandt said the motion also says banners are the speech of the school, not private speech, so the school has a right to have editorial control over banners.

MORE: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/05/08/texas-judge-rules-for-cheerleaders-in-bible-banner-suit/

Uproar In Muldrow, Oklahoma, After Classroom Ten Commandments Displays Prompt Lawsuit Threat

"It's Christianity under attack," Muldrow First Baptist Church Pastor John Moore inveighed. "It was promised in the scripture [that this would happen]."

MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/12/muldrow-ten-commandments_n_3262518.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

See also...

Commandments Kerfuffle: Brave Oklahoma Student Fights For Equality At Public School

'Merry Christmas' In May?: Texas Legislators Reaffirm Right To Use Holiday Greeting

Texas legislators appear to have too much time on their hands. Members of the House of Representatives just passed legislation protecting everyone's right to say "Merry Christmas."

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/merry-christmas-in-may-texas-legislators-reaffirm-right-to-use-holiday

Senate OKs student prayer

Raleigh, N.C. -- The state Senate voted unanimously Thursday to reaffirm the right of students to pray in public schools.


Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, questioned why a provision was deleted from the bill that would have spelled out there could be no official prayer in schools.

MORE: http://www.wral.com/senate-oks-student-prayer-limits-petting-zoo-liability/12430393/

See also...

Carolina Confusion: N.C. Senate Passes Bad Bill 'Clarifying' Religion-In-School Rules

U.S. Supreme Court: No decision yet on Greece prayer case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday postponed deciding whether to review a prayer case involving the town of Greece.

MORE: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20130513/NEWS01/305130030/U-S-Supreme-Court-Greece-prayer?nclick_check=1

Vote Fraud: Coercive Prayer Is Wrong Even If Students Vote For It

Allowing student-led prayers on a majority-rules basis is a fantastic way to create division and hatred, and no school should ever be in the business of fostering those things.

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/vote-fraud-coercive-prayer-is-wrong-even-if-students-vote-for-it

'Choice' Charade: Religious School Leaders Want Your Money But Not Your Oversight

So, just to be clear here: In some states that have choice plans, some Catholic schools still suffer from under-enrollment. Why is this so? Perhaps because even some Catholic parents don't want to send their children to those schools. It seems that what the church wants here is not "choice" but a taxpayer-funded bailout of a school system that even many of its members no longer wish to patronize.

MORE: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/choice-charade-religious-school-leaders-want-your-money-but-not-your

Congressman Jerrold Nadler's Speech at the Secular Summit & Lobby Day

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) spoke at the Secular Summit & Lobby Day sponsored by the Secular Coalition for America, and video of his speech is now online (as is Sen. Tom Harkin‘s address from last week).

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/13/congressman-jerrold-nadlers-speech-at-the-secular-summit-lobby-day/

Secular Coalition for Rhode Island Successfully Urges Gov. to Sign National Day of Reason Proclamation

The Humanists of RI and The Secular Coalition for RI are pleased to announce pursuant to their request, that on April 30, 2013 Governor Lincoln D. Chafee issued a State of Rhode Island Gubernatoral Proclamation officially declaring May 2 the Day of Reason in Rhode Island. In doing this, Governor Chafee helps raise awareness thoroughout the State of Rhode Island of the importance of Reason as a guiding prinicipal of our secular demoracy.

MORE: http://secular.org/news/secular-coalition-rhode-island-successfully-urges-gov-sign-national-day-reason-proclamation

North Miami Mayoral Candidate Says She is Endorsed by Jesus Christ

Campaign posters for Anna L. Pierre tout that she was endorsed by Jesus Christ.

MORE: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/13/north-miami-mayoral-candidate-says-she-is-endorsed-by-jesus-christ/

Naked women cause traffic jam on Providence Road

When police stopped to question the women, they said "the Lord told them to get naked and walk down the street," Farley said.

MORE: http://www.wcnc.com/news/crime/Naked-women-cause-traffic-jam-on-Providence-Road-207122741.html

Man says he found Jesus - in a local newspaper

NORWALK, CT (WFSB) - A Norwalk man skimming through a local newspaper said he found an image of Jesus Christ in a blob of ink.

MORE: http://www.wfsb.com/story/22244792/man-says-he-found-jesus-in-a-local-newspaper?hpt=us_bn7

How did a male-only yeshiva get $10.6 million in public funds?

Now a top New Jersey Democrat says she is concerned about public dollars going to a college with admission standards she says resemble a "religious test." Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said students who want to go to the college must speak Hebrew, know the sacred texts and agree not to date within the first six months of schooling.


Bryan Fischer says Obama is going to take away your guns for being Evangelical

Bryan Fischer is having a meltdown over at the American Family Association. On his show posted today by Right Wing Watch, Fischer made claims, repeating Tony Perkins of the American Family Association's undocumented claim that Obama plans to take guns away from evangelical fundamentalist Christians of the type Fischer represents.  He also said Christians have been branded as "domestic terrorists" by the government.

MORE: http://www.goddiscussion.com/109501/bryan-fischer-says-obama-is-going-to-take-away-your-guns-for-being-evangelical/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GodDiscussion+%28God+Discussion%29

See also...

Rick Santorum in speech to NRA: 2nd Amendment rights are "God given" and speaks of American exceptionalism


Anti-Gay Activists' Biggest Fear in Fight Over Boy Scouts...

On May 22-24, the Boy Scouts of America will gather for their board meeting, in which they will vote whether to change or completely eliminate the ban on gay scouts and leaders. Just a few weeks ago, the Boy Scouts proposed dropping the ban on gay scouts, but retaining it for gay adult leaders. In this time leading up to the vote, many groups are rallying and organizing their followers, including some of the leading anti-gay activists.

MORE: http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/guest_bloggers/7095/anti_gay_activists__biggest_fear_in_fight_over_boy_scouts_/

Cardinal Dolan: Gay Catholics With 'Dirty Hands' At Mass Should Be Arrested For Trespassing

Last month, Cardinal Timothy Dolan compared gay Catholics to people with "dirty hands," suggesting that anybody who engages in same-sex sexual acts is unwelcome at Church.

MORE: http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/05/06/1968561/cardinal-dolan-gay-catholics-with-dirty-hands-at-mass-should-be-arrested-for-trespassing/?mobile=nc

Minnesota to legalize gay marriage

Minnesota senators approved a gay marriage bill on Monday, meaning the Midwestern state will soon be the 12th in the union to allow same-sex couples to wed.

MORE: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/minnesota-legalizes-gay-marriage-212923538.html

See also...

Minnesota governor expected to sign same-sex marriage bill


Delaware becomes 11th state with gay marriage

Delaware joins neighboring Maryland and the nearby District of Columbia as jurisdictions that have approved gay marriage. Last week, Rhode Island became the 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, with independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee signing the bill an hour after its final passage.

MORE: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/07/delaware-gay-marriage/2142703/

Gender-Neutral Restrooms Become the Law

Philadelphia passes sweeping LGBT-friendly legislation that includes gender-neutral toilets.

MORE: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/LGBT-Gender-Neutral-Restrooms-206932591.html

Utah Republican Senator cites Doc Gosnell, floats abortion proposal that includes 'life at conception'

The resolution includes the point of view that fertilized eggs deserve the same legal protections as fully born persons. As well, the common requirement that later term abortions frequently require a referral to clinics that perform such procedures be considered as interstate commerce.

MORE: http://www.goddiscussion.com/109520/utah-republican-senator-cites-doc-gosnell-floats-abortion-proposal-that-includes-life-at-conception/

Traditional Mormon Sexual Purity Lesson Contributed to Captivity, Elizabeth Smart Tells University Audience

Elizabeth Smart, continuing her elegant and courageous adult self-realization, tells an audience at a Johns Hopkins University event on human trafficking that a very traditional Mormon culture object lesson on sexual purity contributed decisively to the paralysis that kept her a captive.

MORE: http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/7101/traditional_mormon_sexual_purity_lesson_contributed_to_captivity__elizabeth_smart_tells_university_audience/

Abuse watchdogs say bishops' 'failings' hurt their credibility

The latest scandal has shaken Newark, N.J., where Archbishop John Myers failed to stop a priest from ministering with children in several parishes even though he had assured prosecutors that he would enforce a lifetime ban on the priest's access to children following a molestation case.


In separate interviews, both Nojadera and Notzon said they were referring to several specific cases:

*the trial and conviction of Monsignor William Lynn in Philadelphia last summer for shielding abusive priests;

*the conviction of Kansas City, Mo., Bishop Robert Finn last September for failing to report a suspected abuser to police;

*the release earlier this year of records from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that showed the extent to which retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and a top aide covered up for abusers in the priesthood.

MORE: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/05/09/church-child-safety-officials-voice-concern-over-lapses-by-bishops/

Clergy and Their Views on Origins: A Survey

Overall, while a slight majority of the pastors surveyed fall under the label of Young Earth Creationism (54%), sizeable portions of clergy accept Progressive Creation (15%) and Theistic Evolution (18%).

MORE: http://biologos.org/news/apr-2013/clergy-and-their-views-on-human-origins-a-survey

See also...

Christians Divided on Morality, Legalization of Marijuana Use

Eugenie Scott to Retire From U.S. Center That Fights Antievolution Forces

Sean Carroll, vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, calls Scott "a national hero of science education. The entire scientific community, legions of teachers, and millions of students owe her a great debt for her dedication and passionate advocacy. She has established a remarkable legacy at NCSE."

MORE: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/05/eugenie-scott-to-retire-from-us-.html

Ancient Mayan pyramid destroyed for road fill

(CNN) -- A Mayan pyramid that has stood for 2,300 years in Belize has been reduced to rubble, apparently to make fill for roads.


Former Anglican archbishop accused of abuse cover-up

Waddington, once dean of Manchester Cathedral, is accused in the Times of grooming and abusing Eli Ward, who was an 11-year-old choir boy when he first met the clergyman in 1984.

Ward, now 40, told the newspaper the abuse lasted through his teenage years and he was only now starting to come to terms with it.

Claims of abuse at the hands of Waddington have also been made by pupils at a residential school in Queensland, Australia, where he was headmaster from 1961 to 1970, according to the Times.


African roots of the human family tree

Advanced DNA testing combined with recently unearthed discoveries are bolstering the belief that if you look back far enough, all living human beings are the descendents of a small, innovative and ambitious set of people on the African continent.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/world/africa/african-roots-dna/index.html

Brazil allows same-sex unions to get marriage status

BRASILIA, Brazil - Brazilian notary publics must register same-sex civil unions as marriages if the couple requests it, the country's National Council of Justice said Tuesday.

MORE: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57584482/brazil-allows-same-sex-unions-to-get-marriage-status/

Transsexual wins right to marry in landmark Hong Kong case

(CNN) -- A transsexual woman has won on appeal the right to marry her boyfriend, a decision poised to rewrite Hong Kong's marriage law.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/13/world/asia/hong-kong-transsexual/index.html

Zambian men arrested over alleged homosexual acts

(CNN) -- Zambian police rearrested two men this week on charges of engaging in homosexual acts "against the order of nature," a rights group said.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/09/world/africa/zambia-gay-arrest/index.html?hpt=iaf_c2

Africa, Asia see boom in Catholic priests as numbers fall in Europe; nuns down 10 pct

The Vatican on Monday released statistics on the state of the Catholic Church in the world, showing a 39.5 percent increase in the number of priests in Africa and a 32 percent hike in Asia from 2001 to 2011. The number of priests in Europe fell by 9 percent, while remaining stable in the Americas.

MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/africa-asia-see-boom-in-catholic-priests-as-numbers-fall-in-europe-nuns-down-10-pct/2013/05/13/65407b14-bbd0-11e2-b537-ab47f0325f7c_story.html

Christian churches back Jews facing anti-Semitism in Hungary

When Hungarian radical right-wingers rallied against a Jewish conference in Budapest in early May, a well-known Protestant pastor hid behind the stage while his wife stepped up to the podium to denounce Jews and Israel.

MORE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/14/us-hungary-jews-interfaith-idUSBRE94D08C20130514

Nigerian president declares emergency in 3 states during 'rebellion'

Such violence over the years has been blamed on Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege." According to Human Rights Watch, the group has killed more than 2,800 people in an escalating campaign to impose strict Islamic law on largely Muslim northern Nigeria.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/world/africa/nigeria-violence/index.html?hpt=iaf_c1

See also...

Scores of police officers killed in central Nigeria

Suicide bomber targets Qatari delegation in Somalia, 8 dead

The radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing, and said six soldiers were killed and nine wounded.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/05/world/africa/somalia-violence/index.html

'Shredded bodies' in 'horrific' Benghazi blast

Most of the attacks in Benghazi have been blamed on extremist Islamist groups that have established a foothold in eastern Libya, according to Western intelligence officials who have spoken to CNN.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/13/world/africa/libya-benghazi-blast/index.html?hpt=iaf_c2

Video: Syrian rebel cuts out soldier's heart, eats it

"I swear to God we will eat your hearts out, you soldiers of Bashar. You dogs. God is greater!" the man says. "Heroes of Baba Amr ... we will take out their hearts to eat them."

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/world/meast/syria-eaten-heart/index.html?hpt=wo_c2

Despite violence, Pakistanis vote in landmark election

Since April, the Taliban in Pakistan have killed dozens in attacks on the three main political parties. Many urban voters and parties regard resurgent fundamentalism as one of country's biggest threats.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/11/world/asia/pakistan-election/index.html

See also...

In Pakistan, more election violence

18 dead in blast at Pakistani political rally

Bangladesh Islamists battle police; 4 dead

Police: Gunmen fire into Baghdad liquor stores, killing 12

Zayouna is a mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhood, but has been considered a hot zone for Sunni insurgents.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/world/meast/iraq-violence/index.html?hpt=imi_c2

See also...

6 dead in another day of Iraq violence

Blasts rip Baghdad, Mosul

Islam Expert Warns Christians May Completely Disappear From Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt

The mass exodus of millions of Christians from one part of the Islamic world to another as the result of persecution by Muslims has reached epidemic proportions, says a Middle East and Islam expert. In fact, Christians may completely disappear from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt, warns the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

MORE: http://wwrn.org/articles/39785/

Muslim Brotherhood Stokes Anti-Israel Sentiment: 'Israel Is Our Enemy'

"As Muslims, we will stay as one, generation after generation, and our goal will remain the liberation of Jerusalem," the Brotherhood's website quoted Beltagy as telling the gathering. "We must mobilize all resources to remember the real enemy and the seriousness of the situation, so we'll be ready to confront the injustice and the monstrosity."


Israel Orders Ultra-Orthodox To End Discrimination Against Women

Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein dropped a bomb in the realm of Haredi-secular relations on Wednesday, when he instructed government ministers in a sharply-worded statement to immediately stop the exclusion of women in the areas under their authority.

MORE: http://forward.com/articles/176185/israel-orders-ultra-orthodox-to-end-discrimination/#ixzz2SiLOL3Wd

Hawking boycott of conference in Israel sparks controversy

His change of heart this week appears to be the result of pressure from Palestinian academics to abide by a boycott set up in protest over Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/09/world/meast/israel-hawking-boycott-controversy/index.html

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Belief in biblical end-times stifling climate change action in U.S.: study

Research by David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado uncovered that belief in the biblical end-times was a motivating factor behind resistance to curbing climate change.

“[T]he fact that such an overwhelming percentage of Republican citizens profess a belief in the Second Coming (76 percent in 2006, according to our sample) suggests that governmental attempts to curb greenhouse emissions would encounter stiff resistance even if every Democrat in the country wanted to curb them,” Barker and Bearce wrote in their study, which will be published in the June issue of Political Science Quarterly.

MORE: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/01/belief-in-end-times-stifling-climate-change-action-in-u-s-study/

See also...

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss double down on disbelief

Starting in 2003, the scientists began teaming up in public talks in which they lay out their arguments in the form of a conversation. Filmmaker Gus Holwerda picks up this evolution as the pair take their skeptical show on the road, tangling with religious leaders, talk-show hosts and several thousand years of cultural inertia. The result is the feature-length film The Unbelievers, which had its world premiere in Toronto at the Hot Docs festival on Monday night.

MORE: http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/richard-dawkins-and-lawrence-krauss-double-down-on-disbelief/article11624891/?service=mobile

See also...

New film examines science vs. religion