Religious Freedom Linked to Economic Growth, Finds Global Study

Religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth, according to a new study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University. The study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences.

As the world navigates away from years of poor economic performance, religious freedom may be an unrecognized asset to economic recovery and growth, according to this new study. The study examines and finds a positive relationship between religious freedom and ten of the twelve pillars of global competitiveness, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.

The study, however, goes beyond simple correlations by empirically testing and finding the tandem effects of government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion (as measured by the Pew Research Center) to be detrimental to economic growth while controlling for 23 other theoretical, economic, political, social, and demographic factors.

For more details please check RFBF.

 

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-- Some of the e-conomic platforms, like DHgate.com and dress factory, have become an indispensable part of global economic growth. --

Your religious beliefs have no place in an abortion clinic

New guidelines on who can perform abortions have got all the usual patronisng religious scaremongers out in force

Last week the Department of Health clarified guidelines on who can carry out terminations. The rules state that nurses and midwives only need a doctor’s approval to oversee the beginning of an abortion - they can perform the majority of a medical abortion themselves.  It should be stressed that any change is purely semantic, at best. Midwives were already allowed to prescribe the medicine that ends a pregnancy. Under our laws they are not trained to perform surgical abortions, although they can provide assistance as part of a clinical team. This has not changed.

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Claim Fred Phelps overcame gay hatred

There is a claim the man who led the ‘God Hates Fags’ Westboro Baptist Church had a change of heart about gay rights before he died, and that’s why he was thrown out of the church.

Fred Phelp’s grandson claims his grandfather was excommunicated when he spoke positively about Equality House, a house across the road from the church’s Kansas headquarters which was painted in rainbow colours as a symbol of love and equality.

“Fred W. Phelps, my grandfather, came out in support of the Equality House before he was voted out of Westboro Baptist Church,” Zach Phelps has posted on Equality House’s Facebook page, along with that of Aaron Jackson, the founder of the group which runs it, Planting Peace.

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Canada Disgracefully Denies Visas for Ugandan Gay Rights Activists Attending World Pride

This June, people from all over the world will descend on Toronto, Canada to celebrate World Pride—an event that comprises a week’s long celebration as well as a human right’s conference.

Probably one of the most talked-about countries at this year’s conference will be Uganda, which recently passed an incredibly demoralizing bill that will sentence gays to prison. Unfortunately, there won’t be anyone from Uganda to talk at the conference, because Canada refused to grant Ugandan activists visas over concerns that they will seek asylum.

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Pat Buchanan heaps praise on ‘anti-Obama’ Vladimir Putin for being ‘traditional Christian’

Former Nixon aide and longtime Republican standard-bearer Pat Buchanan published a column on Friday in which he heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin for being a “traditional Christian” leader who “rejects the moral relativism of the West.”

According to Right Wing Watch the Suicide of a Superpower author published the remarks at “Birther” and conspiracy hub World Net Daily.

The column lamented the degeneration of the European Union into a “soft managerial state” with no real military or economic might.

Symptomatic of the dangerous “cosmopolitanism” that Buchanan claimed is sapping the power from ideas like “home,” “race,” “blood group,” and “fatherland” is the triumph of Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst in the 2014 Eurovision contest.

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Chicago-area porn-hating Catholic priest arrested for exposing himself at a gas station

A Chicago-area Catholic priest,who has campaigned in his parish against Internet pornography, has been arrested for publicly exposing himself at a gas station, reports WREX13.

Monsignor Aaron R. Brodeski, 44, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of public indecency relating to an incident at a Road Ranger Gas Station, where witnesses say he exposed himself inside the gas station and then again in the parking lot.

According to Winnebego County Sheriff Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro, Brodeski’s actions were observed by adults but no children were present.

Employees at the gas station contacted authorities who were able to track Brodeski down after being provided with his license plate number.

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Leaving Islam for Atheism, and Finding a Much-Needed Place Among Peers

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Women talked about “coming out,” being open with their families, leaving “the closet” at a conference here this month. But the topic was not sexuality. Instead, the women, attending the third Women in Secularism conference were talking about being atheists. Some grew up Catholic, some Jewish, some Protestant — but nearly all described journeys of acknowledging atheism first to themselves, then to loved ones. Going public was a last, often painful, step.

Anyone leaving a close-knit belief-based community risks parental disappointment, rejection by friends and relatives, and charges of self-loathing. The process can be especially difficult and isolating for women who have grown up Muslim, who are sometimes accused of trying to assimilate into a Western culture that despises them.

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Law banning same-sex marriage struck down in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

Law banning same-sex marriage struck down in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

WRITTEN BY R. CLEVENGER, AAI NEWS TEAM

On Tuesday May 20, a U.S. District Judge struck down Pennsylvania’s law banning marriage equality. Until this point, Pennsylvania was the only state in the Northeast that did not support same-sex marriages.

www.hrc.org

In the ruling, Judge John Jones III wrote, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.” However, the struggle against this discrimination may not be over in Pennsylvania, as its conservative Governor Tom Corbett may or may not appeal the ruling. This is what recently happened in Idaho, where a district magistrate denied the governor’s motion to place same sex marriages on hold pending the governor’s appeal.

This ruling is yet another move in favor of marriage equality within the U.S. Just recently, Oregon became the 18th state with marriage equalitywhen a district judge ruled in favor of a challenge against the state’s ban, joining New Mexico and Hawaii in legalizing same sex unions, both of which only did so near the end of 2013. Federal and state judges in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah, and Arkansas have also ruled that the ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

It does seem that we are seeing the advocates of marriage equality finally getting onto solid footing, and perhaps the grasp religion has on our politics is finally slipping. However, it has been a long fight for equality and we still have many more victories ahead.

UPDATE: Governor Corbett says he will not appeal the Judge’s decision, stating “The case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal. Therefore, after review of the opinion and on the advice of my commonwealth legal team, I have decided not to appeal.”

I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT

Last month, Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth, published the results of a study that he and a team of pediatricians and political scientists had been working on for three years. They had followed a group of almost two thousand parents, all of whom had at least one child under the age of seventeen, to test a simple relationship: Could various pro-vaccination campaigns change parental attitudes toward vaccines? Each household received one of four messages: a leaflet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that there had been no evidence linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine and autism; a leaflet from the Vaccine Information Statement on the dangers of the diseases that the M.M.R. vaccine prevents; photographs of children who had suffered from the diseases; and a dramatic story from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an infant who almost died of measles. A control group did not receive any information at all. The goal was to test whether facts, science, emotions, or stories could make people change their minds.

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Ads on 20 Metro buses in the nation’s capital link Adolf Hitler with Islam, portraying “Islamic Jew-hatred.”

Washington -  Ads on 20 Metro buses in the nation’s capital link Adolf Hitler with Islam, portraying “Islamic Jew-hatred.”

The ads, placed by American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), show a photo of Hitler conversing with “his staunch ally” Haj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem during WWII. The ads are scheduled to run until mid-June according to AFP.

“Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran. Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop racism. End all aid to Islamic countries,” states the ad, in addition to a disclaimer from the Metro transit authority.

Metro says they cannot remove the ads based on a case from 2012 that states bus advertisements are included in free speech protected by the Constitution.

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Humanist Foundation Reaches Out to Religious Groups, Testing a Divide

Six months after starting a humanist charity in 2010, Dale McGowan unveiled a philanthropist’s version of a beta test. He already offered donors to his organization, the Foundation Beyond Belief, the opportunity to designate their gifts for groups that worked in fields like refugee aid and environmentalism. Then, in an contrarian brainstorm, he decided to try adding a category for progressive religious bodies.

He thought he had found the perfect test case with Quaker Peace and Social Witness, part of the British branch of the Society of Friends. Here was a nondogmatic denomination with a longstanding commitment to pacifism, racial equality and economic fairness. What, even for atheists, agnostics and freethinkers, was there not to like?

Well, Mr. McGowan soon enough found out. “No way am I going to give my money to groups that will use it to hit my kids over the head with a Bible,” wrote one member in an email as he cut off his financial support. A blogger on the site No Forbidden Q uestions put the objections somewhat more elegantly: “While I’m happy to hear when people move away from fundamentalism toward a more liberal understanding of religion, I think it would be best if people became (or stayed) atheist, and that’s the goal I want to support.”

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