Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Black Atheist is Running for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma

Of the many atheists running for higher office this year, most are seeking positions in state legislatures. There’s one (Jamie Raskin, who doesn’t even like the A-word) who has a chance at a seat in the U.S. House, but that’s about it.

In Oklahoma, however, there’s an independent candidate on the ballot to become U.S. Senator, and he’s openly atheist.
Incumbent James Lankford holds the seat that’s considered among the safest in the nation for Republicans, even with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

But Sean Braddy is challenging him, anyway.

While his lack of religious faith isn’t evident on his campaign website, he wasn’t hiding it in 2013 when The Oklahoman ran an article on local atheists:

Sean Braddy, 41, of Norman, said he grew up in church but decided when his son was born in 1982 that he was completely done with religion.

“I wanted him to be able to think for himself and not be controlled,” Braddy said.

Braddy, who is black, said he grew up in the 1970s and saw the Ku Klux Klan and other white opponents of desegregation do many un-Christian-like things — all in the name of religion.

See more at: www.patheos.com

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect bans women from going to college

© Keith Bedford / Reuters

According to a document, obtained by 'The Independent,' conservative Jewish Rabbis are banning women from obtaining college degrees because “It is very dangerous.”

The decree warns: 

“It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah." 

“We will be very strict about this. No girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree. It is dangerous. Girls who will not abide will be forced to leave our school. Also, we will not give any jobs or teaching position in the school to girls who’ve been to college or have a degree.
“We have to keep our school safe and we can’t allow any secular influences in our holy environment. It is against the base upon which our Mosed was built.”

This is taking place in the same community (the Satmar sect), by the way, where women and girls are told that they can’t drive (Satmar was founded in 1905 by Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, in city of Satu More, Transylvania/Romania).

israel is a highly developed country, where women and men have equal rights in law. The majority of the population is democratic. But some religious organizations want to have their own 'laws.' They often oppress women and LGBT people

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The non-religious are now America’s largest religious voting bloc


More American voters than ever say they are not religious, making the religiously unaffiliated the nation’s biggest voting bloc by faith for the first time in a presidential election year. This marks a dramatic shift from just eight years ago, when the non-religious were roundly outnumbered by Catholics, white mainline Protestants and white evangelical Protestants.

These numbers come from a new Pew Research Center survey, which finds that “religious ‘nones,’ who have been growing rapidly as a share of the U.S. population, now constitute one-fifth of all registered voters and more than a quarter of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters.” That represents a 50 percent increase in the proportion of non-religious voters compared with eight years ago, when they made up just 14 percent of the overall electorate.

“In 2008, religious ‘nones’ were outnumbered or at parity with white mainline Protestants and white Catholics,” the survey’s lead researcher, Greg Smith, said in an interview. “Today, ‘nones’ outnumber both of those groups.”

The growth of the non-religious — about 54 percent of whom are Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with 23 percent at least leaning Republican — could provide a political counterweight to white evangelical Protestants, a historically powerful voting bloc for Republicans. In 2016, 35 percent of Republican voters identify as white evangelicals, while 28 percent of Democratic voters say they have no religion at all.

But while the religiously unaffiliated are making up a larger share of American voters, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that will translate into actual votes. 

Exit polls of people who actually cast votes — as opposed to preelection polls of registered voters — have traditionally shown that the unaffiliated underperform at the ballot box relative to their raw numbers.

For instance, in the 2012 election, the unaffiliated made up 18 percent of registered voters in preelection polls but only 12 percent of the people who actually voted, as measured in post-election exit polls. Some of this difference may be due to the different ways the two polls ask religious-affiliation questions, but Pew’s researchers say that the underperformance of the non-religious is a very real phenomenon.

“While the group is growing rapidly in the general public, its growth has been much less dramatic in the electorate,” Pew’s Smith said. “It could be the ‘nones’ are not connected, almost by definition, to religious institutions, which can play an important role in spurring turnout and interest in politics.”

Smith also points out that the unaffiliated tend to be younger than the religious and that young people tend to vote less than older people.

Still, the Pew study finds other evidence that religion may be becoming a less potent force at the ballot box. In 2008, for instance, 72 percent of voters said it was important for a president to have strong religious beliefs. That number is down to 62 percent today.

Similarly, Americans see religious institutions as playing a smaller role in the public sphere. In 2008, 75 percent said that churches and other houses of worship contributed a great deal to solving social problems. Today, that number has fallen to 58 percent.

By Christopher Ingraham | 14 July 2016
The Washington Post

Imagine If All Atheists Left America (2009):

Friday, August 19, 2016

Anti-gay pastor, who believes, floods are God's 'punishment,' flees flooded home

Image via YOU TUBE

Tony Perkins, a pastor from Louisiana, who believes, natural disasters are sent by God to punish LGBTIQ people, has fled his flooded home in Louisiana.

A year ago, Perkins said, that natural disasters are sent by God as punishment for abortion and gay marriage.

US pastor has revealed that he was forced to escape his property in a canoe with his family.

"This is a flood of near-biblical proportions," he said in an interview with the Family Research Council.

"We had to escape from our home Saturday by canoe. We had about 10 feet of water at the end of our driveway. Our house flooded, a few of our cars flooded."

In 2015, he interviewed extreme Messianic Jewish pastor Jonathan Cahn who told him that Hurricane Joaquin, which devastated Hawaii last year, was a "sign of God's wrath."

During the interview, Mr Cahn stated that the storm was a sign God was angry about the legalisation of gay marriage and abortion and the relationship between the United Nations and Israel.

He's quoted as agreeing, adding "God is trying to send us a message."

The Red Cross has called the Louisiana floods the worst natural disasters in the US since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Thirteen people have died in catastrophic floods across the US state and tens of thousands of people were stranded in their homes and vehicles.

Tony Perkins ran for US senate in 2002 and has campaigned against LGBT rights. Image via YOU TUBE

"The fact that so many people in Louisiana have been forced out of their own homes this week is heartbreaking," she said in a statement about her contribution.

"I encourage those who can to help out and send your love and prayers their way during this devastating time."

Source: www.bbc.com

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Burkinis are now banned in Cannes

The southern French city of Cannes has banned burkinis on its beaches, and says it will fine women wearing the full body swimsuits if they refuse to change or leave the shoreline.

Mayor David Lisnard, who called the burkini "the uniform of extremist Islamism, not of the Muslim religion," cited public order concerns in light of the July terrorist attack in nearby Nice, which left 80 people dead, and a subsequent attack on a Catholic church in northwest France, in a municipal ordinance forbidding swimwear that doesn't respect "good morals and secularism."

This could be bad news for some wealthy Arab Muslims, who descend on the city in the summer months to escape the heat in places like Dubai and Kuwait.

"Beachwear manifesting religious affiliation in an ostentatious way, while France and its religious sites are currently the target of terrorist attacks, could create the risk of disturbances to public order," says the ordinance, which will be in effect through August — peak vacation season in southern France.

Other religious symbols, like the kippah and the cross, won't be affected by the ban, the mayor told local media. Neither will the hijab, which some Muslim women wear to cover their hair. The ban could also include saris worn by Indian women, however, because the long cloth could make it difficult for rescuers in case of an emergency, Lisnard told the Nice-Matin newspaper.

Before a fine of 38 euros ($42) is imposed, women wearing burkinis will be given the chance to either change or leave the beach. Since the rule came into effect on July 28 in the city — home to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival — no one's been apprehended.

This is yet another restriction on how Muslim women dress in France, home to about 5 million Muslims. The country was the first in Europe to ban burqas, which cover the length of the body, and niqabs, full veils for the face, in 2010.

A Marseilles waterpark, which arranged a burkini-only day earlier this week, cancelled the event in response to criticism from politicians, who said it contradicted France's secular values.

"I simply forbid a uniform that is the symbol of Islamic extremism," said Lisnard, according to the BBC. "We live in a common public space, there are rules to follow. "

The ban will be challenged in court by the Human Rights League, as well as the Collective Action Against Islamophobia in France, which expressed "deep concern about this new violation of the most elementary principles of law," and called Lisnard's argument "shocking."

One of several religious groups outraged by the ban, France's Southern Muslim federation also condemned "the illegal and abusive use of such procedures for the purpose of unique stigmatization and exclusion.


Source: www.vice.com

WATCH: Christian protestor laugh at gay man grieving over his dead husband

Image via VINE

In Alabama Roy Moore was speaking after being suspended for defying the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. He will go on trial in September. 

"A few hundred feet away from Moore’s speech to crowds with many holding signs like ‘homosexuality destroy families’ and ‘sodomy ruins nations’, there was an alternative press conference organized by the Human Rights Campaign.

Among the people speaking there were people like Dr Paul Hard, who has been involved in a legal fight for his husband who died five years ago to be recognized as his husband.

And when he began to speak about his partner’s death, a man in the crowd laughed," reports GAYSTARNEWS

John Archibald, a columnist who was there at the conference, asked: ‘How can any man, no matter his position on Roy Moore or any issue, stand before another and mock his pain?

‘How can one stand under the banner of God and laugh at another man’s death?

‘How — in the name of God — can one deride genuine grief?’

He added: ‘Christians cannot let these people define their religion. All they have is volume. As a substitute for moral authority.’ 

According to scientific research, homophobia is a mental illness. Homophobic people are really sick. And religion is also sick. No wonder that homophobia and religion are soulmates. 

Russia's antimonopoly agency bans Hieronymus Bosch

Russia's antimonopoly agency has found that Artplay company violated the advertising law when promoting “Bosch. Visions Alive,” the watchdog reports in a press-release a few days ago.

RELATED: Michelangelo's 'David' is 'dressed' now in St. Petersburg by Russian fundamentalists

A concerned Russian citizen has turned to AA with a complaint about an advertisement containing a reproduction of Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” 

Upon reviewing the case materials, the agency (AA) concluded that on the whole the images of people in the advertisement were 'indecent' or 'immoral' and thus contravened the federal advertising law of Russia.

According to RAPSINEWS, Russia's antimonopoly agency issued an order to rectify the violation addressed to Artplay, which was found to be the organizer and advertiser of the exhibition. The antimonopoly agency is also working on materials needed to initiate an administrative case against the company, which may face a fine amounting from 100,000 to 500,000 rubles.

According to the advertising law, no profanities, indecent or abusive images, comparisons and expressions relating to gender, race, ethnicity, profession, social status, age, language, official state or religious symbols, as well as national and UNESCO heritage objects are allowed in advertisements, whereas advertisers should be responsible for respective violations.

In reality, the only reason to ban was the great similarity between the Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin and a face on the painting of Bosch.

Hieronymus Bosch was always one of the most remarkable and original painters of all time. And irresistible is the art of the death agony of feudalism today highly topical for Russia.

The true art is not immoral. The true art is immortal. 

Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights

By David Chutlashvili | 13 August 2016