Beverly Hills Hotel’s Sultan of Brunei Imposing Drastic Rules

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) announced it is pulling its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards, co-chaired by Jay and Mavis Leno, from the Beverly Hills Hotel because the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is imposing a Taliban-like Brunei penal code, set to go into effect in three stages beginning on May 1, that includes the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the public flogging of women who have abortions.

Instead of holding its annual event at the hotel on May 5, FMF has joined with gay and lesbian groups in protesting this gross violation of human rights and will hold a rally at noon on May 5 across from the hotel, in the park on Sunset Boulevard, urging the Sultan to rescind the new penal code which has been condemned by human rights groups and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. FMF will hold the Global Awards event on the evening of May 5 at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, Los Angeles.

“We cannot hold a human rights and women’s rights event at a hotel whose owner would institute a penal code that fundamentally violates women’s rights and human rights,” said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal.

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Supreme Court Disaster: In a 5-4 Ruling, Justices Approve of Christian Prayers in Greece, New York

The conservatives on the court, along with Justice Anthony Kennedy voted to keep the prayers while the reliably liberal justices offered a dissent.

One silver lining in all of this is that the conservatives did not say that this means Christian prayers are okay everywhere. Their ruling appears to be limited in scope only to the town of Greece:

The conservative majority offered varying interpretations of when such “ceremonial” prayers would be permissible. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, focused on the specifics of the Greece case and did not offer a broad expansion of legislative prayer.

It’s still early and organizations involved with the case will be chiming in soon, but here are some key excerpts from the decision.

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Religion declines in well-run, trusting societies

John Lennon was a dreamer. But he was not the only one.

In his famous song, Imagine, Lennon was not alone in being convinced institutional religions – and nations – are the key causes of war and impediments to universal peace.

But was Lennon’s refrain accurate? Evolutionary psychologists, including at the University of B.C., have probed just these questions through innovative experiments with subjects from Canada to Africa, Europe to South Asia.

They are concluding Lennon may have been half right – that humans can build fair and peaceful societies in which there is “no religion,” or at least in which spirituality shifts to a more private realm.

But UBC’s Ara Norenzayan and a team of researchers are finding the path to peace and cooperation definitely does not lie in imagining “there’s no countries.” Instead, they place high value on stable national governments that citizens can actually trust.

In his new book, Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict (Princeton University Press), Norenzayan describes how Western Europe and Scandinavia have created strong and fair societies – in which the vast majority are not actively involved in religion.

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Man In Bloody Jesus Crucifixion Display Ordered Down By Florida Police, Citing Threat To Public Safety

Drivers passing a busy intersection in Lehigh Acres, Fla., were surprised to see a gruesome Good Friday crucifixion display on public property, featuring a live Jesus with bloody wounds, reports Fox News 4.

"When Jesus was crucified, he was done so right on edge of down where everyone would come by," explained an organizer of the display, which featured Lathan Gareiss as Jesus, according to Wink News.

Not everyone wanted to see the bloody exhibition. Deputies arrived on the scene afterreceiving complaints about the realistic tableau, which caused traffic and "near accidents," according to one of the organizers.

video: http://videos.rawstory.com/video/Florida-cops-order-bloody-Jesus-

A spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff's office told Fox 4 that "the display was creating a public safety hazard because of traffic danger." Deputies for the sheriff ordered the man playing Jesus to come down off the cross, a decision which angered some supporters.

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A Sikh don’t give up his ceremonial dagger to join jury in California courtroom

'I'd rather be arrested than compromise my beliefs': Sikh called for jury service refuses to take off ceremonial dagger to comply with courtroom rules on weapons

 

A Sikh says he is being prevented from carrying out jury service because a California court has refused to allow him to carry a 6in dagger. 

Gursant Singh is due to appear for jury duty on April 29 but because Sutter County Court bans weapons he will not be allowed to bring his 'kirpan' - a small knife that Sikhs must carry at all times. 

The rule means Singh must choose between going against his religion or breaking the law, which could lead to him being fined or imprisoned.

In previous cases when Sikhs have attended the court house, they have left their kirpan with security guards, but Singh said he would rather be arrested than compromise his beliefs. 

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