Buddhist monks behaving badly

Some Buddhist monks in Thailand, where Buddhism is the majority religion, clearly seem to think that evangelical Christians in the US with their fancy mega-churches that provide them with luxury homes, cars, and private jets should not have all the fun. They too have decided to get on that gravy train and are living the high life from money they get from their followers.


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Woman defies the Saudi dress code

Women in Saudi Arabia have to endure what is probably the most strict dress code in the world, requiring them to wear loose-fitting, full-length robes in public plus, if they are Muslim, a headscarf. But a young model who goes by the name ‘Khulood’ decided to defy that code and had herself filmed as she walked around a historic fort in Ushayqir wearing a short skirt and a crop top. The video has been circulating on Twitter and needlessly to say has all the religious conservatives all of a doo-dah at the sacrilegious sight of women’s skin.
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A miracle? No, an act of human courage and solidarity

Many of you would have heard or read about the incredible rescue of people who had been caught in a rip tide off the coast of Florida. Two young boys Noah and Stephen Ursrey were initially caught up by the tide and when other people became aware of their distress and tried to help them, they too got caught in the strong tide so that in the end 10 people were in danger of drowning. There was no lifeguard on duty.
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Sam Harris digs himself deeper

Ben Norton writes that Sam Harris, the self-styled ‘centrist liberal’, moves further and further into the warm embrace of the xenophobes.

In language eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric of the fascist far right, New Atheist pundit Sam Harris has called for reducing the number of Muslims in society, warning on the January episode of his popular podcast, “You can’t have too many Muslims in your culture if you want it to remain enlightened.”
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Hobby Lobby and the stolen Iraq artifacts

The crafts company Hobby Lobby has been fined $3 million and asked to return over 5,000 stolen artifacts to Iraq. The name of the company may be familiar to some because they were behind a victorious lawsuit that went all the way to the US Supreme Court because they argued that the religious beliefs of the owners of the company should allow them to not provide contraceptive coverage in the employees’ health insurance policies. Yes, the family that owns the company consists of religious zealots.
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Hindu chauvinist vigilantism in India

Teesta Setulvadi writes about the Hindu vigilante mobs who are unleashing violence against mostly Muslims and but also Christians as part of their goal of trying to create a Hindu state in what is still an officially secular country. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has a history of Hindu chauvinism and remained silent about these atrocious acts until a sudden spate of public protests forced him to issue a somewhat grudging condemnation of the latest killing of a young Muslim man by so-called cow-protection vigilantes for the ‘crime’ of allegedly carrying some beef. Cows are considered sacred by Hindus.
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South African court bars schools from promoting any one religion

Last month I wrote about a legal challenge brought by a of South African secularist group OGOD (Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie that translates as Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy) challenging the practice of many public schools that promoted Christianity, thus subverting the neutral official religious instruction policy as outlined in the government’s National Policy on Religion and Education. They took aim at six schools that were accused of promoting Christianity and suppressing the teaching of evolution.
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What is it with the Ten Commandments?

Yesterday, a 6,000 pound monument to the Ten Commandments was installed on the grounds of the Arkansas state capital building. Then that very night, someone drove into the monument and destroyed it. The driver has been arrested and it is not clear what his motives were. Maybe he was trying to emulate Moses who also smashed up the tablets on which the commandments were written (Exodus 32:19). Not many people recall that bit of the story.
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