The State Department yesterday released its annual report on the status of religious freedom around the world. And the results are not particularly encouraging: The report concludes that the right to practice religion (or the lack thereof) freely, and without reprisal, is under threat around the globe.
In many cases, religious liberty is threatened by government actions.
“Restrictive policies included laws criminalizing religious activities and expression, prohibitions on conversion or proselytizing, blasphemy laws, and stringent registration requirements or discriminatory application of registration requirements for religious organizations,” the report explained.
It added, “When governments choose not to combat discrimination on the basis of religion and intolerance, it breeds an environment in which intolerant and violent groups are emboldened, even to the point of physically attacking individuals on the basis of their religious beliefs.”
The report documents the extensive consequences of such policies—and the rising influence of America’s Religious Right is easily discernible.
Case in point: it criticizes Russia for a recent official shift toward privileging the Russian Orthodox Church, and enshrining its doctrine on sexual orientation in law, even though the country’s constitution ostensibly includes protections for religious liberty. This shift effectively criminalizes the country’s LGBT community—and American activists deserve much of the credit. The World Congress of Families, a U.S.-based group that campaigns against LGBT rights, actively supported Russia’s anti-gay laws, as did Scott Lively, who called Russia his “greatest success” earlier this year.
The Religious Right’s global ambitions aren’t exactly news to anyone who follows the movement’s activities. Frustrated by a lack of success in the U.S., activists are beginning to look overseas for potential growth, which means that Russia isn’t an outlier. It’s merely a symptom of a growing global problem.
As Rob Boston reported on this blog last week, America’s Christian soldiers are also targeting Ukraine, pushing the same anti-LGBT agenda they’ve pushed in Russia—and Uganda, and elsewhere.
A woman and two of her young granddaughters were burned to death Sunday night in the eastern city of Gujranwala after a member of their Ahmadi minority sect was accused of posting a blasphemous picture to Facebook, the police said.
The mob of roughly 1,000 people began rampaging through an Ahmadi neighborhood after being alerted to the photograph, setting houses on fire and injuring at least eight other people, according to the police.
Ahmadis belong to a reform sect rooted in Islam, but under Pakistani law they are forbidden to identify themselves as Muslim. They come under frequent attack, and have often been targeted under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws.
Because sometimes your just left wondering whether to laugh or to cry at what people will post to the internet…
The Raw, Naked Truth About Homosexuality
In a moment I am going to speak very plainly and straightforward about homosexuality…
…Here’s the raw, naked truth: Homosexuality is actually a demon spirit. It is such a putrid smelling demon that other demons don’t even like to hang around it. A genuine prophet of God told me that the Lord allowed him to smell this demon spirit, and he got sick to his stomach. And yet as humans, many embrace this demon. Yes, you heard me right. Being gay is demonic.
To start with, why the emphasis on the “raw, naked truth” are you hiding inner feelings about homosexuality that we should know about Mr. Farias?
Secondly, “A genuine prophet of God told me…”
Really? Who is this marvelous modern day Prophet? Why don’t you name him or her? Shouldn’t you give proper credit to the earthly interpreter of this stunning revelation from God himself?
Gahh…seemingly it is no longer enough merely to claim that same sex attraction is evil and caused by demonic spirits. Farias attempts to up the ante by claiming that these “gay demons” are particularly nasty ones that even the other demons find repugnant.
This got me wondering about what types of discrimination the gay demons might face in hell:
Are gay demons allowed to marry each other?
Are they allowed to parent/adopt/raise little demonic offspring?
Does Satan mandate “corrective therapy” to try to turn them into straight demons?
Do the gay demons get bullied and heckled in demon school?
Are there large influential groups of straight demons dedicated to limiting/denying equal treatment under Satanic law for gay demons?
Sure most rational people would think that the nastier and smellier a demon was the more popular it would be amongst amongst its own kind (what with them being DEMONS! after all), but apparently this is not so. If Farias had not opened my eyes to the discrimination against LGBT demons I never even would have considered their woeful plight.
Besides all of which, if Farias’ revelation of blatant discrimination against gay demons is true then doesn’t it also have an upside for those of us with more earthly and corporeal forms?
It would mean that gay people are protected from multiple demonic infestation, none of this “I am Legion” stuff like the Bible talks about. If the other demons can’t stand to be around your gay demon then won’t it actually be protecting you from any other demonic influences? I’ll bet Farias never even thought of that one before he published his “gay demons are bad” hate screed!
An evangelical Christian group is trying to convert children as young as five at Portland apartment pools, public parks and dozens of other gathering spots this summer — a campaign that’s got hundreds of parents upset.
They’ve banded together in recent weeks to warn parents about the Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Club, buying a full-page ad in the local alternative weekly to highlight the group’s tactics.
“They pretend to be a mainstream Christian Bible study when in fact they’re a very old school fundamentalist sect,” said Kaye Schmitt, an organizer with Protect Portland Children, which takes issue with the group’s message and the way it’s delivering it.
“Parents should know that out-of-state evangelical fundamentalists are in the Portland area this week, trying to convert children as young as five-years-old, using misleading tactics,” said Stacey Jochimsen, another Protect Portland Children member.
Hatch wants special privilege for religious bigots to discriminate, and after the Hobby Lobby ruling all religious exemptions come into question.
“It is wrong to fire someone for who they are and who they love,” said Clifford Rosky, chairman of the Equality Utah board and a law professor at the University of Utah. “It’s now high time for our Legislature to act on values that all Utahns share and protect all Utahns.”
Hatch supported a federal nondiscrimination law, but hinged his vote on a strong religious exemption. That bill cleared the Senate, but the House has no plans to vote on it.
Hatch argues that Obama should have included a wider exemption in his executive order, similar to the one in the Senate bill.
“Respect for the free exercise of religion is essential to our character as a nation and has, until recently, enjoyed strong support from leaders of all political persuasions,” Hatch said. “In seeking to curtail unjust discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, we must ensure that legal protections do not trample upon basic religious liberties.”
His position echoed what the White House heard from dozens of religious leaders and educators, who sent letters asking for a beefed-up exemption.
The authors of “Creation Science Study” seem a little confused about…well, pretty much everything it would seem. This isn’t really Christian, it surely isn’t Creationist, and it certainly isn’t worthy of anyone’s study.
Repent Malaysia!God’s Wrath?
Did you know that God is punishing Malaysia still for their tolerance of prostitution, homosexuality, and heathenism? The first time God took down a Malaysian airline plane, the world watched in horror…
…Don’t cry for the families of the “victims” either. They need this example so that they might be brought closer to Jesus the Christ. If their family members died as Christians, they are in heaven as we speak. If they did not, then they’re burning in Hell…
…perhaps this is the example that Malaysia needs to finally break their dependence on heathen beliefs and lead them closer to Jesus…
From your friends,
Jim Solouki and Martin Baker.
Rick Santorum, God’s choice for president in 2016.
Considering that there is actually no such thing as “Creation Science” I suppose they had to find something to fill up their blog pages, right?
Unfortunately, based on their writings one must suppose that they never progressed to the New Testament chapters of the Bible and instead became hopelessly mired in the Old. There is nothing that even remotely resembles the Gospel of Jesus anywhere within their smug oozing of satisfaction (glee?) to what they see as the “others/outsiders/heathens” being smitten down by God.
The authors seem to believe that the only thing needed to establish their Christian bonafides is to mention the name of Jesus once or twice in every post (as an aside). You aren’t supposed to notice that those posts are otherwise filled with the worship of a wrathful and vindictive Old Testament style God who needlessly kills innocents in order to smite the “guilty.” A God which has also never heard of or agreed to the thing called the “New Covenant” that his Son promised mankind apparently.
Two men described as leaders of a Philadelphia mosque were accused of trying to cut off the hand of a suspected thief, whose wrist was sliced so deeply it required hospital treatment, police said on Friday.
The 46-year-old victim said two officials in the mosque accused him of stealing jars of money from the house of worship after morning prayers on Monday.
The officials, described in police reports as the mosque’s imam and amir, dragged the victim to the rear of the mosque, and attempted to chop off his hand with a machete, according to a police statement.
July 16, 2014-
There’s been a lot of ink spilled about the increasing political polarization in America , which is at historically high levels. There’s a lot of reasons for it, including changing demographics, women’s growing empowerment, the internet, the economy and cable news. But religion and religious belief plays an important role as well. There’s no way around it: America is quickly becoming two nations, one ruled over by fundamentalist Christians and their supporters and one that is becoming all the more secular over time, looking more and more like western Europe in its relative indifference to religion. And caught in between are a group of liberal Christians that are culturally aligned with secularists and are increasingly and dismayingly seeing the concept of “faith” aligned with a narrow and conservative political worldview.
That this polarization is happening is hard to deny, even if it’s harder to measure that political polarization. The number of Americans who cite “none” when asked about a religious identity is rising rapidly, up to nearly 20% from 15% in 2007, with a third of people under 30 identifying with no religious faith. Two-thirds of the “nones” say they believe in God, suggesting that this is more of a cultural drift towards secularism than some kind of crisis of faith across the country.
It’s much-needed, and has been for a very long time. I want to call the conversation “long overdue,” but that would be an absurd understatement, like saying a baby in the 403rd trimester is “a little late.”
What disturbs me, though, is the dire warnings of impending doom proceeding from Albert Mohler, editor of the aforementioned “God and the Gay Christian?” and author of its lead essay, and countless others like him. To hear them tell it, the truth of the gospel and everything that is right, noble, good, lovely, pure and otherwise awesome about the Christian faith will literally crumble to pieces before our eyes if we dare come to the collective conclusion that it’s OK for gay people to be gay.
Seems like a bit much to ascribe such weighty and apocalyptic consequences to a theological matter mentioned barely a handful of times in all of scripture, but that’s their prerogative.
For my part, I don’t think the sky is falling. Actually, though I do believe this dialogue is important, mainly because it will almost certainly lead to greater understanding and open-mindedness among the body of believers, I actually don’t think our opinion on the wrongness or rightness of same-sex behavior matters very much in the grand scheme of things. And here are three biblical reasons why.
My mother’s talk about sex was nonexistent, like in many fundamental Christian homes. Her only words were, “Don’t do it. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
1. There is power in your choice. You should have confidence in sex because you are choosing to partake, so it’s empowering, not shameful. If we consciously admit we’re going to have sex, we are more likely to take responsibility for this freedom by using birth control. By denying our sexuality, like I did, you may still end up in bed, but without protection. Today the spread of AIDS and STDs, let alone the consequences of pregnancy when you’re not ready to be a mother, is devastating. So carry a condom. Don’t depend on the man to have one. Enjoy your sexual freedom, but take responsibility for it. I never want you to have to choose between having an abortion, giving up a child for adoption, or quitting your college or career to raise an unplanned-for child.
2. Be willing to take risks and chances in many areas of your life, including sex. Go out and play, because consensual sex isn’t something that men take from you. It’s about the give and take. It doesn’t lessen you to give pleasure, or degrade you to have pleasure of your own. Any man who says differently thinks very poorly of women and is a selfish lover. Never compromise yourself, your vision of yourself, or your better judgment to make a man happy — in or out of the bedroom.