Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring

It’s very strange, but lately I find myself paying less attention to atheist white men on Islam, and more to ex-Muslims like Heina, Maryam, Tauriq, Taslima, and Marwa (have you noticed how deep the talent pool is here at FtB?), and those are leading me to other ex-Muslim authors like Kunwar Khuldune Shahid and the other writers at Ex-Muslim blogs, and I’m finding my view of Islam is become a lot messier and more complicated. I’m simultaneously less sympathetic to the religion and more interested in the people.

I consider increasing complexity to be a good thing. Diminishing the influence of the uninformed is also a good thing.

Actually, when it involves the Catholic church, it’s never good news

We have a major Catholic sex abuse case going on in Minnesota, and it’s slowly coming to an end. Right now, it’s like a game of “good news, bad news,” though.

Bad news:

Those claims were bolstered by an MPR News investigation last fall that showed top church officials continued to protect priests accused of abuse. One priest, the Rev. Clarence Vavra, had privately admitted to sexually abusing a child on an Indian reservation in South Dakota in the 1970s. MPR News found him living half a block from a school. In another case, Harry Walsh, a former priest who was accused of abusing two children, had been hired by Wright County to teach sex ed to at-risk teenagers.

Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Archbishop Harry Flynn did not notify police or the public about the allegations against Vavra and Walsh and kept other clerics in ministry despite allegations of sexual misconduct, according to documents obtained by MPR News. Flynn and Nienstedt also gave special monthly payments to priests who had admitted to sexually assaulting children.

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Ben Affleck, you are not helping

This is a guest post by Sadaf Ali (@SadafEXMNA) of Ex-Muslims of North America.

Shortly after the Reza Aslan segment from CNN made its rounds on all of our newsfeeds, the scuffle between Ben Affleck and Sam Harris was soon the next big thing to share. My colleagues and co-founders, Sarah Haider and Muhammad Syed brought their perspective to the table with regards to Aslan’s apologism, as shared on Hemant Mehta’s blog on Patheos.

I have a personal appeal to Ben Affleck, after his participation on Bill Maher’s show, because it is attitudes like his that have historically made little to no room for ex-Muslims, secular, reformists, liberal or progressive Muslims to own a dialogue that is supposed to be ours to discuss.

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I am like Solomon

Perhaps you’ve heard about the disgraceful spectacle of extraordinarily dogmatic Jewish men refusing to be seated on an airplane next to a woman. It’s a revolting exhibition of religiously-sanctioned bigotry, but there you have it…people are allowed to be bigots. We don’t usually make special accommodations for bigoted ideas, though.

But I have a solution. A simple solution.

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How awful can a Christian church get?

I’m not a personal fan of Sunday Assembly — that’s fine if it floats your boat (it doesn’t mine), but the whole idea of aping a church bugs me a little bit. Is this the best we can aspire to? Developing our own hokey rituals?

But at least it’s not the worst model. The day movement atheists start promoting services patterned on Heath Mooneyham’s Ignite church of Joplin, Missouri is the day I become a Catholic. Wait, no, I retract that — there’s too much danger it could actually happen.

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Math & evolution…banned!

Don’t give American creationists ideas — this would be their ideal world. ISIS has set their rules for education.

In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Books cannot include any reference to evolution. And teachers must say that the laws of physics and chemistry “are due to Allah’s rules and laws.”

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