Tuesday, 3 September 2013

North Carolina becomes 7th state to ban Muslim Sharia law

North Carolina has become the seventh state to prohibit state judges from considering Islamic law in family cases, joining what critics say is a national anti-Muslim campaign.
Deseret News

"Philomena": Venice Review

Stephen Frears is in full possession of his filmmaking talent in Philomena, one of his most pulled-together dramas in years. The true story of a poor Irish woman who, fifty years after being forced to give her 3-year-old son up for adoption, searches for him with a worldly British journalist, is touching, witty and always absorbing.
Though well-received by critics in Venice, its chance of winning a major prize could be down-sized by its similarity to PeterMullan’s The Magdalene Sisters, which took home the Golden Lion in 2002. 
When she is a young girl, Philomena Lee (Sophie Kennedy Clark) meets a good-looking boy at a fair. She is completely in the dark about where babies come from, and this innocent seduction results in pregnancy. It also lands her in an institute for “fallen women” run by nuns of the Sacred Heart, where she gives birth under horrible circumstances (“Pain is her penance.”) Forced to spend years working in the sweat-shop laundry to pay off their “debt” to the order, she and the other girls are allowed to see their children one hour a day, until Mother Superior finds a buyer for the tykes. The heart-breaking scene of Philomena helplessly screaming as her little Anthony is taken away by a rich American couple in a big car is filmed like a scene from a Nazi film, which is how the hatchet-faced nuns appear.
Philomena, a devout Catholic, even blunts Martin’s atheistic outrage at the Church and chooses to forgive the inhuman treatment she received, showing how anti-inflammatory the film’s final message is. But even so, it pulls no punches in describing the devastating effects of punishment for sexual pleasure. While old Sister Hildegarde rabidly goes on about punishing “the carnal incontinence of girls,” Frears draws a sobering parallel with the AIDS crisis and the similarly cruel reaction of conservative America. Whose fault is sex? The film asks.
HolliwoodReporter

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Ray Comfort: Humanism is to Blame for Miley Cyrus’ Twerking

On his daily online show today, Ray Comfort explained how Miley Cyrus‘ provocative dance at the MTV Video Music Awards was the result of her godlessness.
Patheos

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Sensible careers are all well and good – but I want the adventure of a religious life

OPENING AVAILABLE FOR challenging and unfashionable work. Salary – non-competitive, non-negotiable. Flexibility required. Availability for weekend and night duty essential. Location variable. Contract – until death…’
It doesn’t exactly leap off the page, does it? So why do people continue to enter religious life?

Data Protection Commissioner contacts maternity hospital over abortion data leak

THE DATA PROTECTION Commissioner has contacted the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street over a potential data breach after a story in the Irish Times last week revealed details of a woman’s abortion at the hospital.
Last week, the Times reported that doctors at the hospital had carried out the country’s first termination under the provisions of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 – a claim that the Department of Health has refuted.
Last week obstetrician at the hospital Dr Peter Boylan said that it is “absolutely unacceptable for patient details to be splashed around the front pages of the newspaper”.
theJournal

Freedom From Religion Foundation, National Atheist Group, To Expand Headquarters After Huge Growth

After seeing their paid membership ranks increase 130 percent in six years, organizers of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a national group of atheists and agnostics based in Madison, Wis., said Monday that they are set to begin a large-scale expansion of their headquarters.
Huffington Post

Measles Outbreak Traces To Vaccine-Refusing Megachurch

A measles outbreak in Texas traces to a congregation of a megachurch whose leader, Kenneth Copeland, reportedly has warned followers away from vaccines, advocating for faith healing and pushing the debunked notion that vaccines cause autism. One of Copeland’s churches, Eagle Mountain International Church in North Texas, is the epicenter of the outbreak, which now has hit at least 20 people.
Forbes

Pastafarian wins one for the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Texas Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/pastafarian-recognized-texas-id-article-1.1436608#ixzz2dAJbkzcd

Preaching religious tolerance, a Texas “Pastafarian” persuaded Department of Public Safety workers in Lubbock to let him wear a ceremonial pasta strainer like a hat for his driver’s license photo.
nydailynews

Richard Dawkins attacks Muslim bigots, not just Christian ones. If only his enemies were as brave

But let me try to be fair. Dawkins has also tweeted against all Muslims — not just sexist god-botherers at University College London. I accept that generalising about Muslims can incite racism. It is all very well atheists saying that religion is not the same as race, because you are free to decide what god if any you believe in, but cannot choose your ethnicity. But try telling that to the persecuted Christians, Shia and Sunni of the Middle East.
Spectator

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Mexican priest says that homophoby is the true illness, not homosexuality

Raúl Vera López, very active in the defense of human rights in Mexico, said that gays are not ill, but homophobic people are.
queerblog

Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar shot dead

Activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was in the forefront of a campaign to persuade Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, was shot dead here this morning by unknown assailants. 
Times of India

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader arrested in Cairo

EGYPT’S MILITARY-BACKED rulers are pressing on in their crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood with the arrest early today of the group’s spiritual leader who had been in hiding near the huge sit-in in support of the country’s ousted Islamist president, which security forces violently dispersed a week ago, leaving hundreds dead.
The Journal

Monday, 19 August 2013

British Pentecostals urge HIV patients to give up medicines and rely on faith

When you think of pastors giving people bad advice about AIDS, you think of Catholics in Africa. When you think of pastors telling patients that God, and not Western medicine, can heal them, you think of either Christian Scientists or wacko American fundamentalists.
But some Pentecostal preachers are advising their AIDS-afflicted patients to give up their antivirals—in England!

Major disconnect between Irish students and Catholic Church, a random poll has found

A new poll has found that just 37.5 per cent of students who responded “state that they believe in God”, while 66 per cent “don’t believe that religion makes the world a better place”. Asked whether abortion should be allowed in Ireland, 83.5 per cent responded that it should.
Irish Times

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Story of late-term abortion doctors in USA set for Irish film festival

A DOCUMENTARY WHICH follows the work of the only four doctors in the USA who perform late-term abortions is to have its Irish premiere next month.
The film’s title, After Tiller, refers to Dr George Tiller, the former medical director of Women’s Health Care Services who was murdered in 2009 by an anti-abortion activist.

Atheist, Dead On Morgue Slab, Wakes After Meeting Jesus In Heaven!

After spending a life traveling and seeking the pleasures of the world, Ian McCormack found himself in a perilous situation. Ian had been stung by five box jelly fish. One of these deadly creatures can kill a person in a matter of minutes! Ian’s mother, far away in New Zealand, received a vision from God, telling her that her son was dying and that she needed to pray for him. At the same time Ian was granted a vision that his mother was praying for him! Despite this holy intervention, Ian’s soul left his body while in the hospital. Like the story of Mickey Robinson, that we brought to you last week, Ian was given a glimpse of hell before he was granted access to paradise. Ian’s account of meeting Jesus is absolutely astounding! His account of Heaven is awe inspiring! His account of waking in the morgue, getting stabbed by the coroner is actually a little funny!
Jesus Loves you

Are atheists mentally ill?

Thanks to a couple of surveys, it’s being put about in certain circles that atheists have higher IQs than believers. That may or may not be the case, but one problem with this argument is that, if you accept "average group differences in IQ”, you get into all sorts of sinister debates whichbien pensant atheist Lefties might find less to their liking.
Let’s see who is living more intelligently.
And guess what: it’s the believers. A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.In 2004, scholars at UCLA revealed that college students involved in religious activities are likely to have better mental health. In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live. In the same year researchers at Duke University in America discovered that religious people have stronger immune systems than the irreligious. They also established that churchgoers have lower blood pressure.

20 percent of Irish college students are atheist, only 37 percent are Catholic

A student survey has uncovered some very interesting statistics regarding Irish students and their changing attitudes towards religion.
The survey has revealed that the views of 78.7% students have been negatively affected with regard to how they perceive the Catholic Church after the recent scandals were uncovered.Shockingly, while less than 60% of respondents considered themselves Catholic; the second group to top the scale were Atheists at 20%.
Irish Central

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Hundreds of Irish women are being abandoned to a living hell by State

THE most dangerous period for women in an abusive relationship is when they leave their partners. So why are hundreds of women who make the decision to seek help being turned away from refuges?

Olympic Committee Confirms It Will Punish Athletes Who Support LGBT Rights In Russia

The International Olympic Committee has confirmed a fear that has overcome the LGBT and sports communities this month: a provision in the IOC charter that calls for the punishment of athletes who make political or religious displays will be enforced during the 2014 Winter Olympics. 
When asked if the IOC planned to create a "safe space" of sorts for LGBT and allied athletes, journalists, contractors and other foreigners visiting Russia for the Olympics, officials told Gay Star News, "Regarding your suggestions, the IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration."
Instinct

Icelanders troll anti-gay Christian evangelist Franklin Graham

Disgusted that anti-gay Christian evangelist Franklin Graham is holding a festival in Reykjavík next month, Icelanders are trolling Graham by reserving tickets for the event they never intend to use, in the hopes that Graham will appear before an empty arena.
Examiner.com

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

People Worship Weeping Tree In California, Tears Are Actually Insect Excrement

A growing number of Catholics in Fresno, California believe that a tree outside St. John’s Cathedral is weeping God’s tears.
“When you say ‘glory be to God in Jesus’ name’ the tree starts throwing out more water,” parishioner Maria Ybarra told KGPE-TV.
As news spread, more and more people gathered under the tree to pray.
Fresno arborist Jon Reelhorn told KGPE-TV that there’s a scientific explanation for the falling liquid… the excrement of insects known as aphides or tree lice. 

Students rate 'looking good' as more important than religion

Looking good is more important than religion to Irish college students, according to a recent survey.
The Student Marketing Network poll, conducted among 1,146 third-level students across the country over the last two weeks, students said that they regard 'looking good' (fifth) as being more important than 'religious beliefs' (sixth), with 'friends and family' topping the list of importance.
It also found that 57.8% claim to be Catholic, compared to 84.16% of the general population (Census 2011).
Irish Examiner

Bigoted Christian Extremists Get Lost At Sea For Months After Leaving US In Protest Of Homosexuality

When the Gastonguay family sailed away from America in May, they believed they were leaving behind a government that supports taxes, abortion, and homosexuality. You see, they’re the kind of Christians who feel persecuted because the government won’t adhere to Biblical law that supposedly outlaws gays and bans a woman’s right to choose. They are also convinced that government controls the churches because being gay and choosing to have an abortion aren’t illegal. So they left the United States in protest and set course for the island of Kiribati, which is between Hawaii and Australia. The family took “a leap of faith” and believed God would answer their prayers to take them to a land where they can practice their extreme and hateful religious beliefs. Well, God responded and it was epic.
The Gastonguay family swiftly got lost at sea and remained that way for 91 days. During that period of time, their vessel was battered again and again by squalls and storms. The only food they had left consisted of honey and juice.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, analysis concludes

A new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades has concluded that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers.

A piece of University of Rochester analysis, led by Professor Miron Zuckerman, found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity” in 53 out of 63 studies.
Independent

Marine Corps labels nonreligious Marines “at risk”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has teamed up with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to change a US Marine Corps policy that calls a "lack or loss of spiritual faith" a risk indicator. 
Freedom from Religion

Islamic Clerics Say Women Posting Photos on Facebook is Unacceptable

Two prominent Islamic helplines based in Luknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, are asking young callers to stay away from social networking sites.The helplines are answered by Islamic clerics who help and guide people in understanding what is right and acceptable according to Islam.According to a report on IBN Live, the clerics have especially asked women to refrain from creating profiles on popular networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, calling it un-Islamic.

Zanzibar acid attack: Hate preacher under armed guard in hospital after police hunt him down

Sheikh Ponda is wanted for inciting violence on the island of Zanzibar, where Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, were horrifically attacked five days ago.
He was wounded as he tried to escape officers in Morogoro, 200 miles west of Dar es Salaam.
Mirror

Tenn. judge changes infant's name from 'Messiah'

 A judge in Tennessee changed a 7-month-old boy's name to Martin from Messiah, saying the religious name was earned by one person and "that one person is Jesus Christ."
News Yahoo

Friday, 9 August 2013

Romania is building three churches a week

Romania is in the middle of a church-building boom, with some 10 new places of worship completed every month, and one vast cathedral slowly taking shape. But some Romanians take issue with the expense, in one of Europe's poorest countries - and particularly the use of funds from the public purse.
BBC

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Late change could allow Mater opt out of providing abortions

A late change to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act could enable the Mater hospital to opt out of providing abortions under the legislation.
The draft legislation stated that no institution could refuse to provide a termination – but this was removed before the final Bill was published. At the time, Government sources explained the move by saying it was felt that the provision was unnecessary as it was “highly unlikely” an institution could refuse to provide termination.
“We see absolutely no indication or room for an institution to have a conscientious objection,” Minister for Health James Reilly said at the time the legislation was published.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Are you too clever to be a mother? Maternal urge decreases by a QUARTER for every 15 extra IQ points

Historian Lucy Worsley caused a furore when she remarked last year that she had been 'educated out of the natural reproductive function'.
Now it seems she might have had a point, after a new study has revealed a clear correlation between intelligence and childlessness - with cleverer women more likely to choose not to have a family.
The study, which was conducted by Satoshi Kanazawa, a researcher at the London School of Economics, found that a woman's urge to have children decreases by a quarter for every 15 extra IQ points.

Daily Mail

Washington, D.C. Passes Law to Allow Atheists To Officiate Wedding Ceremonies

It used to be that the only people who could officiate your wedding ceremony in Washington, D.C. were representatives of religious groups
Humanist and Secular Celebrants did not count, so atheists were pretty much left in the dark. They could fake it and get a religious person to solemnize their vows… or they could just have a court wedding.
Back in February, D.C. City Council member (and candidate for MayorTommy Wells tried to change that when he introduced a bill that would create “one-day officiant permit[s]” that didn’t require a religious organization to sponsor you.
Today, Mayor Vincent Gray signed that bill, the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act Of 2013, into law.

Mater board priest says hospital can’t carry out abortions

The Mater hospital in Dublin “cannot comply” with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act and cannot carry out abortions, a member of its board of governors has said.The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital is one of 25 “appropriate institutions” named in the Act where abortions may be carried out to save the life of a pregnant woman.
Irish Times

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The “anti-God” party

In a local radio interview this morning, Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson said the Democratic Party is “anti-God” and that Christians should leave it.
Salon

Monday, 5 August 2013

Swiss to launch national anthem competition in 2014

Switzerland considers its national anthem too old-fashioned, so a new one will be chosen through a competition.
The priority is to have a new text, but contestants will also be free to compose a new tune, project leader Lukas Niederberger told BBC News.The current text dates back to 1841 and includes references to God, prayer, mountains and sunshine.
BBC

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Netherlands, in the 50s a Bishop ordered: "Castrate those abused boys"

According to the historian Mart van Lieburg, in the 50s a Dutch Bishop ordered the castration of underage boys to heal them from their homosexual behaviour, but also if they reported abuses suffered from ecclesiasticals. According to another historian, Marnix Koolhaas, seven pastors ordered this.
At the origin of the study, a service on the newspaper Nrc Handelsblad of last 20th March about the life of Henk Heithuis that in 1956, underage, was punished with castration because he reported to the police he suffered sexual abuses from a religious man.
retelabuso

Pat Robertson On Transgender Community: 'I Don't Think There's Any Sin Associated With That'

Pat Robertson has said a lot of shocking things, but his latest comment about the transgender community might be the most surprising yet.
The 83-year-old televangelist sat down on Sunday for the "Bring It Online" advice portion of his Christian Broadcasting Network show, "The 700 Club." A viewer named David wrote in asking how he should refer to two transgender femaleswho work in his office and have legally changed their genders. Instead of criticizing the trans individuals, Robertson approached the situation in a seemingly level-headed manner.
"I think there are men who are in a woman's body," he said. "It's very rare. But it's true -- or women that are in men's bodies -- and that they want a sex change. That is a very permanent thing, believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated and when you have shot up with various kinds of hormones. It's a radical procedure. I don't think there's any sin associated with that. I don't condemn somebody for doing that."

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Pope Criminalizes the Reporting of Sex Crimes

Few eyebrows were raised last week when Pope Francis brought the Vatican’s legal system up to date by criminalizing leaks of official information and formalizing laws against sex crimes. But now that the laws have been made public, a closer look revealed that the pope has made it illegal to report sex crimes against children.
According to the new laws, revealing or receiving confidential Vatican information is now punishable by up to two years in prison, while newly defined sex crimes against children carry a sentence of up to twelve years. Because all sex crimes are kept confidential, there is no longer a legal way for Vatican officials to report sex crimes.
Newslo

No clergy to be prosecuted after three-year probe

NOT a single Catholic bishop or priest will be prosecuted for covering up the scandal of clerical sex abuse over several decades at the end of a three-year Garda investigation.
The enormous and time-consuming investigation involved a team of 12 to 14 detectives who interviewed more than 800 witnesses over three years.
The probe was launched in 2009 after the Murphy report on clerical abuse in the Dublin archdiocese revealed how the Catholic priests and bishops colluded with state authorities and gardai to shield paedophile priests.
Detectives were unable to build a case against surviving clergy for secretly moving paedophiles from parish to parish during the Eighties and Nineties because covering up for child abusers was not a specific offence at the time.

Greek monks defy eviction with Molotov cocktails

Monks refusing to obey an eviction order hurled Molotov cocktails at bailiffs who were trying to bulldoze their way into a monastic sanctuary in Mount Athos, northern Greece on Monday morning.

The monks say they have been barricaded inside the administrative offices for their monasteries in the city of Karyes, the capital of Mount Athos, for 12 days.

Al Qaeda group kidnaps Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio in Syria: activists

Al Qaeda-linked fighters in the rebel-held eastern Syrian city of Raqqa on Monday abducted a prominent Italian Jesuit priest who championed the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, activists said.
Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant kidnapped Father Paolo Dall’Oglio while he was walking in the city, which had fallen under the control of militant Islamist brigades, the sources in Raqqa province told Reuters.

Texas pastor shoots nephew dead at church on Sunday

A Texas pastor is being accused of murder for allegedly fatally shooting his nephew on Sunday.
Juanita Jones told KJAS that her brother, 34-year-old Curtis Jones, was on the way to another church when someone signaled for him to pull into the Belgrade Baptist Church parking lot. Curtis Jones was reportedly shot at least three times through the passenger side window.
RawStory

Iranians commemorate martyrdom anniversary of first Imam of Shia Muslims

Imam Ali (PBUH), whom Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) declared as “Amir al-Mo’menin” (The Leader of the Faithful) was martyred on the twenty-first day of Ramadan over thirteen centuries ago. 
presstv

Student’s home-schooling highlights debate over Va. religious exemption law

Josh Powell wanted to go to school so badly that he pleaded with local officials to let him enroll. He didn’t know exactly what students were learning at Buckingham County High School, in rural central Virginia, but he had the sense that he was missing something fundamental.By the time he was 16, he had never written an essay. He didn’t know South Africa was a country. He couldn’t solve basic algebra problems.“There were all these things that are part of this common collective of knowledge that 99 percent of people have that I didn’t have,” Powell said.
Washington Post

Monday, 29 July 2013

Council of State meets to discuss abortion Bill

The meeting of the Council of State convened by President Michael D Higgins to discuss the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is underway in Áras an Uachtaráin.
IrishTimes

38 killed as coach carrying pilgrims crashes in southern Italy

RESCUE SERVICES IN southern Italy say at least 38 people were killed after a coach carrying pilgrims, including some children, plunged off a motorway flyover.
Another 11 people were injured, they added, in what is already one of the worst coach accidents in Europe in recent years.

Pope: Who am I to judge gay people?

POPE FRANCIS, FRESH from a trip to Brazil, said today he did not judge homosexuals but condemned the gay lobby as a “serious problem”.
He also said women should be given a bigger role in the Church, but refused to consider their ordination, saying the “door is closed” on the issue.

Finland: Interior Minister compares abortion to butchery

Finland's Interior Minister, and Christian Democratic Party leader, Päivi Räsänen has made a forceful attack on Finnish abortion legislation. Speaking at a Lutheran Church event, Räsänen said that animals are better protected than are human foetuses.

Kuwait: Men should be allowed sex slaves and female prisoners could do the job

A Kuwaiti woman who once ran for parliament has called for sex slavery to be legalised - and suggested that non-Muslim prisoners from war-torn countries would make suitable concubines.
DailyMail

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Secret Vatican accounts: "money hidden in Switzerland"

Secret accounts in Ubs bank in Lugano, used to hide money from the Vatican.
Deposits managed from Mons Nunzio Scarano, but named to Apsa, Patrimonial Administration of Apostolic Site.
This is the chapter opened from the police about the financial activities of High Priest sentenced two days ago for corruption and fraud, together with the secret services officer Giovanni Maria Zito and the broker Giovanni Carenzio. He is accused to have given a 400 million bribe to the 007 to make him get back 20 million of euro from Switzerland to Italy.
Corriere

Agnostic Gilmore got legal advice on swearing religious oath

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who is agnostic, sought and received legal advice on swearing a religious oath when he attends the Council of State meeting on proposed abortion legislation on Monday.
The Constitution requires Council of State members at their first meeting to say: “In the presence of Almighty God I do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfil my duties.”
The Atheist Ireland organisation has written to Mr Gilmore describing the oath as one “that a conscientious agnostic cannot honestly make”
Mr Gilmore’s spokesman said the wording of the oath was set out in the Constitution and could not be changed without a referendum.

Column: Why it’s time to get rid of Ireland’s blasphemy laws

Blasphemy laws have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and have no place in a modern democracy like Ireland, writes Michael Nugent.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Pakistan has a new hero: Burka Avenger to fight for girl's education

Pakistan's first animated TV series offers a positive role model to counter Taliban opposition to girl's education.
DnaIndia

Abortion law: what comes next?

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill has passed through the Oireachtas, but the scope of the legislation is likely to be challenged

Muslim Brotherhood offices attacked in Libyan cities

Protesters attacked offices of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and the headquarters of a liberal coalition today after demonstrations sparked by assassinations in the eastern city of Benghazi turned violent, witnesses said.
Hundreds took to the streets overnight to denounce the killing of a prominent political activist and critic of the Brotherhood, Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, who was shot dead yesterdyay after leaving a mosque following Friday prayers.

Column: Bringing disabilities into the abortion debate is exploitative and confusing

Using disabilities as a pawn in the abortion debate – and misrepresenting the relevant facts – insults those living with disabilities and women experiencing crisis pregnancies, writes Rosaleen McDonagh.

Explainer: What is the Council of State and why is it discussing the abortion bill?

The Council of State is a little-used and largely unknown body but it takes centre stage as it discusses the abortion bill next week. TheJournal.ie explains what it’s all about

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore seems likely to swear religious oath to god he does not believe in

In response to a letter from Atheist Ireland, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has told today’s Irish Times through a spokesman that he “respected the Constitution and would comply with his constitutional obligations” after receiving legal advice on the religious oath for Council of State members.
This ambiguous statement seems to imply that he will swear the required religious oath when the Council meets this Monday to discuss the proposed abortion legislation.

Presence of pregnant women in public is ‘disgraceful,’ says Turkish lawyer

Turkish lawyer and Sufi thinker Ömer Tuğrul İnançer has sparked a public outcry after telling state television station TRT 1 that it was immoral for pregnant women with huge bellies to reveal themselves in public.
“Announcing pregnancy with a flourish of trumpets is against our civility. [They] should not wander on the streets with such bellies. First of all, it is not aesthetic,” İnançer said. “After seven or eight months of pregnancy, future mothers go out their husbands by car to get some fresh air. And they go out in the evening hours. But now, they are all on television. It’s disgraceful. It is not realism, it is immorality.”
Hurriyet Daily

Friday, 26 July 2013

USA: Boy who shot parents after Bible verse argument gets up to 5 years in state juvenile facility

A former Hardaway High student who shot his parents in April because they insisted he finish his chores was sentenced Thursday to up to five years in a state juvenile facility.The boy shot his stepmother, Kristi Lynn Askevich and his father Randal Stanley Askevich on April 12 at their Columbus home. Kennon ruled the offense a designated felony, as it would have been a felony were the offender an adult.
Ledger Enquirer

Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2013/07/25/2598981/15-year-old-boy-sentenced-to-5.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2013/07/25/2598981/15-year-old-boy-sentenced-to-5.html#storylink=cpy
The boy shot his stepmother, Kristi Lynn Askevich and his father Randal Stanley Askevich on April 12 at their Columbus home. Kennon ruled the offense a designated felony, as it would have been a felony were the offender an adult.

Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2013/07/25/2598981/15-year-old-boy-sentenced-to-5.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Religion to Disappear By 2041 Claims New Study

Author and noted biopsychologist Nigel Barber has completed a new study that shows Atheism is most prevalent in developed countries, and, according to his projections, religion will completely disappear by 2041. His findings are discussed in his new book “Why Atheism Will Replace Religion.” A new study that clarifies his earlier research will be published in August. His findings focus on studying trends within countries around the world and the fact that “Atheists are heavily concentrated in economically developed countries”
Guardian

Putin: Church ‘natural partner’ for Kremlin

President Vladimir Putin hailed the Russian Orthodox Church as a “natural partner” of the Kremlin in a two-hour film aired on national television, extolling the church’s resurgence after its repression under Soviet rule.
Hurriyet Daily News

Religious orders will be pursued for compensation costs, Quinn claims

The Government has vowed to pursue religious orders for half the €1.46bn cost of compensating their victims.
The congregations which were responsible for horrific child abuse in schools, orphanages, borstals and other institutions will now be under deepening pressure to stump up the €250m shortfall.
Four orders have already indicated they are willing to consider transferring more school buildings and other educational infrastructure on top of what has been offered.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said some properties will be used in the public and voluntary sectors and others sold with the proceeds used to pay for support services for survivors.
“The Government is obviously disappointed that the congregations have not agreed to a 50:50 share of the very considerable cost for redress,” Mr Quinn said.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Atheist Daughter of a Notable Christian Apologist Shares Her Story

The heart of the segment involved correspondent Samantha Bee interviewing Matt Slick, founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM).
Rachael is Matt Slick’s daughter. She’s not a Christian. This is her story.

Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets

In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering "indulgences" to followers of Pope Francis' tweets.
The church's granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.
The remissions got a bad name in the Middle Ages because unscrupulous churchmen sold them for large sums of money. But now indulgences are being applied to the 21st century.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Nuns say they will contribute nothing to Magdalene Laundry survivors’ compensation

The four orders of nuns that ran the notorious Magdalene Laundries in Ireland have said they have no intention of contributing anything towards the compensation fund set up by the Irish Government.
The Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters told the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter that they will leave it to the taxpayer to pick up the bill and will pay nothing towards the compensation fund which could total €58 million.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Has Catholic hierarchy lost touch with its flock?

IS holding the line on abortion the primary article of faith in the Catholic Church today? Is this really the most important element of the faith, and all that the religion claims to represent in providing a moral benchmark for life? 
The manner in which the hierarchy conducted themselves throughout the last six months would suggest this to be the case. How can you truly be a Catholic, they seem to ask, unless you follow the Church’s fundamental teachings on abortion? 
What is not known is how many of the depleted flock, both religious and the lay element, see their faith in those basic terms. 
IrishExaminer

Sex trade violence law change urged

Former prostitutes have called on the Government to make violence against men and women in the sex trade a hate crime.

Two Dublin women who escaped the sex industry want the law changed to protect the estimated 800 prostitutes across the country and penalise those who buy sex.

The Catholic unionists

DUP First Minister Peter Robinson has said he wants more Catholics to support the union. He speaks from a position of unionist self-interest. He knows demographic shifts will create a Catholic majority population in Northern Ireland in the next generation or so. If Catholic equals nationalist then the union is in trouble.
But many nationalists – and quite a number of unionists – dismiss the notion of Catholic unionists. “They are like unicorns,” is an often-repeated line. “They don’t exist.”
But though they are small in number, they are not mythical creatures, and they could have a role in determining the constitutional future of Northern Ireland.

Healy Eames using rarely-used mechanism to make Seanad vote on opposing abortion bill

SENATOR FIDELMA HEALY-EAMES has tabled an amendment to be heard today on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 opposition to the principles of the Bill.
The Reasoned Amendment to the Motion for the second stage involves “a little-used mechanism” which means the amendment will be voted on first, she said.
Healy Eames noted that senators Feargal Quinn and Mary Anne O’Brien had agreed to second the Amendment, adding that she believed “it is important to continue to oppose the flawed grounds on which the Bill is based”.

Holocaust survivors received €950m settlement from Swiss banks

HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS AND victims’ heirs have received €950 million from a Swiss fund set up after a scandal over dormant accounts of Jews killed in World War II, a magazine said today.
TheJournal

The Seanad will spend most of this week debating the abortion legislation

THE SEANAD WILL spend almost all of this week debating the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill following its passage through the Dáil last week.
The bill is scheduled for debate today, tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday with Friday set aside for several others pieces of legislation include the new Oireachtas inquiries bill in what is a busy week for senators.

Church of England to Launch Anti-Homophobia Campaign

The Church of England has announced it will embark on an anti-homophobia school campaign. Oddly enough, it does so while still affirming its opposition to same-sex marriage. Somehow, they don’t seem to see the irony.
Care2

900+ Seconds of Hope: Malala Yousafzai's Address at the UN Youth Assembly

We sit in a conference room at the UN on the day before Malala Yousafzai's birthday -- hundreds of youth leaders from around the world, between the ages of 18 and 25 attending an orientation session to prepare us for July 12.
Malala stands wearing an old shawl of Benazir Bhutto's. She glows in pink, amidst the darker colors of the UN members around her. I cannot imagine how tired she must be -- at 16 years of age, shuffled around the world to meet people who are drawn to her, not only because they honor her, but also because their egos want a piece of the symbol she has become.
Her words resonate because, like Ban Ki Moon she has lived the value of education, not just "studied it in a textbook." Malala has been called one of the most courageous girls in the world. And when you hear her speak and simultaneously reflect on her remarkable story, which is only continuing to evolve, it becomes clear that this title is fitting. Malala's courage is a global gift; already it has inspired millions of people around the world to stand up for the importance of education, and during the UN Youth Assembly it inspires hundreds of young people in the audience to stand together to clap for something I believe we will all raise our hands for again and again into the future.
Huffington Post

Thursday, 11 July 2013

UN demands detailed answers from Vatican on protecting rights of children

The UN is now demanding that the Vatican faces up to its obligations as a State, by making it accountable for its commitments as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The UN Committee will question the Vatican at a hearing next January, and it has first asked the Vatican to respond in writing to the questions by November.
Atheist Ireland

Society would benefit from a better understanding of what is and isn’t science

Just a year ago, the fanfare over the new Giant’s Causeway visitor centre was overshadowed by a row over the inclusion of a creationist explanation, and the National Trust’s decision to work with the evangelical Caleb Foundation. The trust’s rather weak defence that it respected debate raises some interesting questions about the public understanding of science.
IrishTimes

Indian court orders Facebook and Google to remove 'anti-religious' content

Social websites including Google and Facebook have been ordered by an Indian court to remove all 'anti-religious' and 'anti-social' content within six weeks.
On Saturday a Delhi Court ordered 22 social networking sites, including Yahoo and Microsoft, to wipe the objectionable and defamatory contents and file compliance reports by February 6, 2012.
Additional Civil Judge Mukesh Kumar passed the order on a suit filed by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi seeking to restrain the websites from circulating objectionable and defamatory contents.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School

A group of Arizona politicians — all Republicans, of course — have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:
I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.
Patheos

Northern Ireland's health minister Edwin Poots uses £40k of public funds to fight same-sex adoption

An Executive minister's £40,000 legal bill for fighting the extension of adoption rights to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland has been condemned as "a blatant waste of taxpayers' money".
Belfast Telegraph

Pedophile Priest Uses a Ticket to Heaven to Manipulate His Victim

Belfast priest James Martin Donaghy has been convicted of sexual assault — a total of seventeen offenses against three boys, though he has since admitted to the existence of other victims. These were boys he found and groomed through his work as a parish priest.
Patheos

Vatican to be pressed for confidential records on clerical child sex abuse

The Vatican is to face tough questioning by a United Nations committee over the Catholic church's record in tackling child sexual abuse by its clergy around the world.
The committee has been lobbied by international victims' groups as well as the UK-based National Secular Society. Keith Porteous Wood, the society's director who gave evidence in Geneva, told the Guardian: "Pope Francis will be judged on his ability to clean up child abuse and the Vatican bank's money laundering and tax evasion. He cannot rely on regulators' patience lasting much longer on either."
Guardian

Atheism: Why the UK is losing its religion

 The times they are a-changing, and if the world wars of the 20th century began to erode religious faith in the west, then the proliferation of the world wide web has only exacerbated that process. “Religions have depended on the relative isolation and ignorance of their flocks, forever, and this is all breaking down,” asserts Daniel C. Dennett, the co-director of Tufts’ Centre for Cognitive Studies.
Planet Ivy

Catalonia plans to ban the burka

The Catalan Government has announced that it will control the wearing of burkas and other face-coverings such as helmets and masks in public spaces "for reasons of public safety".
Secularism

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

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Youth Defence website hacked


THE WEBSITE OF anti-abortion campaign group Youth Defence has been hacked.
The group’s website YouthDefence.ie has been replaced by a 2,456 word piece which say it is “blowing the lid” on the background of the group. “Youth Defence is not what you think it is,” the text reads.
The page describes the site as a “hate-filled truth-distorting website”.
theJournal

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A new exposé of Mother Teresa shows that she—and the Vatican—were even worse than we thought

First Christopher Hitchens took her down, then we learned that her faith wasn’t as strong as we thought, and now a new study from the Université de Montréal is poised to completely destroy what shreds are left of Mother Teresa’s reputation.
The criticisms of Agnes Gonxha, as she was christened, have been growing for a long time. I wasn’t aware of them until I read Christopher Hitchens’s cleverly titled book, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, which I found deeply disturbing.
In its “criticism” section of her biography, Wikipedia summarizes the growing opprobrium related to her extreme love of suffering (that is, the suffering of her “patients”), her refusal to provide adequate medical care, her association with (and financial support from) shady characters, and her treatment of her nuns.
Now a paper is about to appear (it’s not online yet) that is apparently peer-reviewed, and that expands the list of Mother Teresa’s malfeasances.
WhyEvolutionIsTrue

Israel’s religious students must serve time in army

Israel’s cabinet has approved a draft law to abolish wholesale exemptions from military duty granted to Jewish seminary students, stoking ultra-Orthodox anger over the break with tradition.
Most Israeli men and women are called up for military service for up to three years when they turn 18, but ultra-Orthodox men studying in seminaries, religious women and Arab citizens of Israel have been exempted since the Jewish state was formed in 1948.
Under the proposed law, only 1,800 of those students, designated “outstanding biblical scholars”, would get an exemption, out of the estimated 8,000 who become eligible for the draft every year.
Scotsman

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Monday, 8 July 2013

Welby calls for Church to join the sexual ‘revolution’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned the Church of England that it had to face up to a “revolution” in attitudes to homosexuality.
The Most Rev Justin Welby insisted that it was now “absurd and impossible” to ignore an “overwhelming” change in social attitudes.
He is understood to have approached Stonewall, which led the campaign in favour of gay marriage, to invite it into church schools to teach up to a million children about homosexuality.
Telegraph

Poland’s first test-tube baby becomes a voluntary apostate

In Poland the first Polish test-tube baby, Ms Agnieszka Ziolkowska, has performed an official act of apostasy (to be stricken from the list of Catholics in Poland you have to do it very formally). The Church demands a witness to this act, and her witness was Professor Tomasz Polak, a theologian, former priest who left the priesthood in March 2007 and even changed his name. Ms. Ziolkowska decided to go for formal apostasy after Polish bishops condemned in vitro fertilization.
WhyEvolutionIsTrue

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