International Blasphemy Rights Day 2012

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
September 28, 2012

International Blasphemy Rights Day (IBRD)—September 30—is almost here, and that’s a good thing because freedom of expression can definitely use a rallying point. From many governments, there has been a stronger push to prohibit “offensive” speech about religion than we have witnessed in years.

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“Elder Pastitsios” Arrest Rekindles Debate on Blasphemy Laws in Greece

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 28, 2012

The following post comes to us from CFI supporter Simon, who grew up in Greece and has been following a new case of persecution for blasphemy -- a case which has been largely ignored by the English-speaking media.  

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On Friday September 21 in the village of Psahna in the Evia Prefecture of Greece, the Police Electronic Crimes Unit arrested* a 27 year old male atheist Greek citizen on charges of malicious blasphemy and offense of religion. His name has not been made available publicly due to to the country's privacy laws.

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Atheist Giving More Compassion-Driven than Giving By the Religious

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
September 27, 2012

Don't know how I missed this before, but a study appearing in the July 2012 issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that atheists are more motivated by compassion than givers with strong religious beliefs. This was not a study of whether atheists give more or less than churchgoers -- that's a whole other controversy -- but rather a study of why religious and nonreligious givers give.

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The Morning Heresy 9/27/12: Fragile, Easily Bruised Feelings

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 27, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The big story remains the issue of blasphemy and the fate of free expression. 

Al Jazeera has a TV piece on the relentless calls from Muslim nations to criminalize blasphemy. 

At Friendly Atheist, I highlight President Obama's speech to the UN yesterday, and laud his unabashed defense of free speech and opposition to blasphemy laws. 

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“The Master”  (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
September 26, 2012

Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in the title role, is a stunning, must-see movie.

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The Morning Heresy 9/26/12: Homegrown Blasphemy Laws

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 26, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Did you catch the president's address to the UN yesterday? You should. In it, he came down hard on the side of free expression and against using hurt religious feelings as an excuse for violence. Here's the complete text. Lauren Markoe at RNS rounds up some of the bigger points.

A survey from a state-run pollster says that 80% of Russians want a new law that inflicts harsher penalties for blasphemy. Take this with a heavy grain of salt.

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The Morning Heresy 9/25/12: A Useful Gift to Dictators

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 25, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

International Blasphemy Rights Day is very close (this Sunday) and it could not come at a more relevant time. The B-word is perhaps the prime topic of global debate this very moment. 

President Obama is speaking to the UN as I type, and according to prepared text, he will address the violent protests in the Muslim world:

The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded. ... Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations. ... There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan. 

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Who Would Jesus Endorse—Pulpit Freedom Sunday

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
September 24, 2012

On October 7, 2012, hundreds of clergy will intentionally defy the law by engaging in actions they might describe as coordinated civil disobedience. I view it as an unjustifiable defiance of the law and a constitutionally unsound attempt to get the government to subsidize political endorsements by clergy.

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The Zanzibari Cat

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
September 24, 2012

Reflections of a feline-loving traveler in East Africa.

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The Morning Heresy 9/24/12: Rah-Rah for Jesus

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 24, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Faith-healers in the UK duping people into thinking they've been "cured" of HIV. 

County judge says Texas high school cheerleaders can go ahead and rah-rah for Jesus.

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