AAI & PATAS Coordinate Typhoon Relief Efforts


In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, the largest typhoon on record, barrelling through the Philippines, Atheist Alliance International and our Philippines affiliate, Philippines Atheists and Agnostics Society, have teamed up to provide disaster relief to the typhoon-stricken communities on the islands of Leyta and Cebu.

For more information on the program as well as donating, visit this page.

Christian Zealots within the Republican Party

 Christian Zealots within the Republican Party

 

WRITTEN BY R. CLEVENGER, AAI NEWS TEAM

 

The Christian zealots, who gained control of many government seats with the Tea Party push back in 2010, are taking stands and actively impeding progress toward acceptance and tolerance across the U.S. and replacing it with biblical-based intolerance.

 

In my home state of Pennsylvania, there is a bill that has been brought forth by Rep. Rick Saccone, a republican from Allegheny County, that would force every public school in the state to display “In God We Trust” upon a plaque or through the display of student artwork on school property. This is an obvious attempt to propagate their religious beliefs onto young, developing minds before they reach the age of reason. Just as churches target youth and those who are vulnerable and in need, the Republicans are misusing their offices to further their religious views.

 

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Saudi Blogger & Activist To be Tried for Apostasy

On 25 December 2013, a Saudi judge recommended that a liberal activist and blogger Raef Badawi be tried again in a higher court for apostasy - a charge that could carry the death penalty, rights campaigners say.

Raef Badawi was already convicted and sentenced in the ultra-conservative kingdom in July to seven years in jail and 600 lashes for setting up a "liberal" network and for allegedly insulting Islam.

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Quebeqois Support Proposed Secular Charter

47% of Quebecers "Completely Support" proposed Charter of Values, 21% Generally Supportive But Would Like Even Stronger Church-State Separation

Among other things, the proposed charter of values emphasizes the separation between religion and government in Quebec. For instance, public sector workers would not be permitted to wear overt religious symbols while at work under the proposed charter.

According to a report compiled by the government and released today by Bernard Drainville, the architect of the charter, 68 percent of Quebecers are mostly in favour of it (with 47 percent in complete support), while only 18 per cent were mostly against it.

Drainville explained that 47 per cent of Quebecers who participated in the consultation said they completely supported the charter, while 21 per cent said they were in favour of the charter, with modifications.

The most popular modification requested by 21 percent of those who "mostly" supported the proposed charter was to remove the crucifix from the national assembly. The second most popular modification was to revoke the rule of exemption.  These modifications would strengthen the value of church-state separation already enunciated in the charter.

Over 25,000 comments were received by the Parti Québécois on the charter via email and telephone.

Ben Baz Released from Prison

Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz, also known as "Ben Baz," has been released from prison in Kuwait where he was held (but never tried) on charges of blasphemy for over a year.

Albaz, a 27-year-old Egyptian atheist blogger, was arrested in early January 2013 by Kuwaiti authorities. While Albaz had been known for posting on his blog stories of the relationship between religion, the State and secularism.  The Constitution of Kuwait makes Islam the state religion, and considers Sharia a primary source of legislation. The Kuwaiti parliament passed a law in 2012 introducing the death penalty for Muslims who blaspheme against Islam, while non-Muslims who blaspheme faced ten years or more in prison. The law provides that any Muslim(!) citizen may file a complaint against an author if the citizen believes that the author has defamed Islam, the ruling family, or public morals.

A hearing on Albaz' case had been scheduled for last February 28, but it's unclear what was decided at the hearing or even whether the hearing actually occurred. After a year, Kuwaiti authorities have apparently let him out on his own recognizance - of course, long after he would have lost his job and probably his residence, and without any due process

Israel & Palestinian Territories Hit 6-Year High in Religious Hostilities

Religious hostilities are very high and rising within both Israel and the Palestinian territories. According to a 2014 Pew Research study, social hostilities involving religion (including mob or sectarian violence, religion-related terrorism or conflict, organized attempts to dominate public life with a particular perspective on religion, harassment over attire for religious reasons, and other religion-related intimidation or abuse) have reached 6-year highs in both areas.

Pew uses a tool called the Social Hostilities Index (SHI) to measure social hostilities by country.  The tool measures the presence and intensity of various measures of social hostility on a scale from 0 (no social hostilities) to 10 (all-out civil anarchy).  According to the report, Israel reached a high of 9.4 out of 10 on the Pew Social Hostilities Index in regards to religious violence in 2012.  The Palestinian Territories reached a high of 9.0 out of 10.  This is in comparison to the Middle East & North Africa, which rated at 5.7 out of 10 in 2012; and in comparison to the world, which rated at 2.9 on the Index.

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The Religious Right Subverts the Law to Impose Their View

WRITTEN BY R. CLEVENGER, AAI NEWS TEAM

The Alabama House committee, despite majority opposition, without any regard to the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, and with complete disregard of McCollum v. Board of Education, has passed a bill that would require public school teachers to open class every morning with a prayer.

The religiously biased politicians in this case have done an end-run to put enforced prayer into public schools in the guise of teaching congressional procedure. They are not invoking religious privilege or claiming discrimination for not being allowed to pray within the confines of the school grounds in this case, but rather are specifying a 15-minute period at the commencement of the first class of each day to study the formal procedures of the U.S. Congress, which must include a verbatim reading of a prayer from the beginning of the House or Senate meetings.

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'AIDS Pastor Had Sex With Churchgoers'

 

Parishioners at an Alabama church have filed a lawsuit against their pastor who is accused of having sex with congregation members while knowing he had AIDS.

The members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Montgomery hope to oust longtime pastor Juan McFarland.

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Primate Pride Day

 PRIMATE PRIDE DAY –

With great pleasure we celebrated the Primate Pride Day, as a latinoamerican initiative proposed by the web Sindioses since 2010. 24th of November was chosen as the date in which we remember the 154th anniversary of the official release of “On the Origin of the Species” and the 39th anniversary of the discovery of Lucy, the Australopithecus: two landmarks that not only changed our view of the world but gave way to a thought revolution that continues to our days, both admired and criticized.

The Asociación de Ateos y Agnósticos del Atlántico (and the Fundación Bacanería Planetaria) decided to organize an event this Saturday 23th with a divulgation conference showing the pride we feel about our evolutive origins, looking to share the facts with the general public and state our disagreement with the creacionist explanations that wish to belittle the scientific view, trying to put themselves at the same level.

Our celebration was a pleasant afternoon in which we reflected about our nature and place in society through the talks of Juan Torres Castellar (The evidence of evolution), Luis Felipe Zapata (Homosexuality: A evolutionist and psychobiologic view) and Jorge Senior (Science, Religion and Democracy), to whom we are grateful for sharing their knowledge with us. We also gave away some prizes and ate some bananas at coffee break!

See you again next year!

 

Top Religious Influence Stores of 2013

Religion continued to wield undue influence in world culture and politics, with a number of seismic shifts felt throughout 2013. Here are the top stories of 2013 noted by Atheist Alliance International:

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Alex Aan Released from Prison

Religious Prisoner Alexander Aan Released From Indonesian Prison

The Jakarta News reported on 31 January that atheist Alexander Aan had been released early from his prison sentence of 2-1/2 years for "inciting religious hostility" for posting on his personal Facebook page that "there is no god."

According to the article,  Aan was released "on license" (probation), which means that he is required to report regularly and frequently to Indonesian authorities for the foreseeable future. He also still remains liable for a Rp 100 million rupiah (US$8,190) fine imposed as part of his sentence.

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Faith Killing: The consequences of rejecting modern medicine and trusting in God for healing

WRITTEN BY JO STEPHANIE, AAI NEWS TEAM

In late November 2013 a woman from Kitwe, Zambia’s second largest city, died from pneumonia after allegedly following the advice of her pastor to stop taking her medication. Rather than advise the woman in question to continue taking her medication he recommended that she instead pray and fast. Faith healing was the solution he suggested, not medicine. The woman obliged and four days later she was dead.

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The Pell Tolls for Sex Abuse Compensation

The Pell tolls for church sex abuse compensation

The Atheist Foundation of Australia welcomes the news that George Pell has been promoted within the Catholic Church to the position of Prefect for the Economy of the Holy See. A main function of this role is management and reform of the Vatican's finances.

The news continues to flow from the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse of the systemic cover ups and stand-over tactics used by churches to prevent justice for the victims. It’s reasonable to anticipate that examples of abuse of this type are going to continue to become public and that the public outrage and compensation claims will continue to grow.

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Islamic Boko Harem Gunmen Kill 40 at Local School

WRITTEN BY CLEOSLICK EMILY, AAI NEWS TEAM

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members have attacked and killed dozens of students at the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, a town in the Nigerian state of Yobe. Yobe state Police Commissioner Sanusi A Rufai confirmed that twenty-nine male students were killed and twenty-four structures including the administration block, student hostel and staff quarters were burnt down.

 Boko Haram is a militant group known for attacking citizens, government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and police stations, and kidnapping Western tourists. Former Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf stated before his death his belief that the fact of a spherical Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected, along with Darwinian evolution. He also stated his belief that the fact of rain originating from water evaporated by the sun should never be taught in schools.

(Warning: Graphic photo included at end of article)

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I agree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

By: Sameen Qazi

A few days ago, social media went rife with people praising Ben Affleck. “Batman comes to the rescue” was the general sentiment tweeted by everyone and my friends happily posted the link to the clip from Bill Maher’s show. People were ecstatic that an American, a prominent actor at that, finally stood up for Islam on a highly rated TV show.

The clip did not just cause a sensation in Pakistan; it opened a debate online with prominent analysts like Reza Aslan and Fareed Zakaria taking up sides and expressing their opinions.

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Mohammed Asghar, a mentally ill person will be shot in a Pakistani jail for blasphemy

By: Lesley Roberts 

According to Daily Record, two weeks ago, one of the police officers responsible for protecting him in jail decided to impose his own summary justice.

Mohammad Asghar had been lying in his prison bed – in part of a Pakistani jail reserved for those sentenced to death for blasphemy – when a guard walked in and fired a bullet into his back. A second shot missed.

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