Christian Missionaries Are Doing God's Work

By Sarah BraaschI leaned over to one of my teammates. "Why are there so many fat, white people on the plane? We're going to Ethiopia. We're flying Ethiopian Airlines.""They're missionaries," she responded, completely uninterested."What?" I gasped. It had never occurred to me. I was not pleased.Everything became so obvious. The Texas drawls. The recitations of Bible verses. The prayers. The seasoned braggarts recounting their prior trips to the Horn of Africa. The newbies airing out their … [Read more...]

Theocratic Horror in Uganda

Back in January, I alluded briefly to the events in Uganda, where Christian abstinence-only programs have reversed the success of comprehensive sex ed and led to a rise in HIV infection rates. At the time, I mentioned Martin Ssempa, a pastor in the country's booming Pentecostal Christian movement, and his involvement in a campaign to criminalize homosexuality.But this news has taken an even more ominous turn. Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, but a bill currently being discussed in … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch: European Edition

While we Americans have been focusing on this week's elections, there was another important piece of the news from across the Atlantic you might have missed: the European Court of Human Rights has ruled against displaying crucifixes in state-run Italian schools.A panel of seven judges in Strasbourg said the display of Christian crosses, which is common but not mandatory in Italian schools, violated the principle of secular education and might be "disturbing" for children from other … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

Here are a few edifying, inspiring, or (alas) infuriating stories that are making the rounds this week:• First up, this truly outstanding piece from Wired on the anti-vaccination movement, An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All. This is what journalism is supposed to do: listen to the experts, survey the facts and adjudicate the truth, without the false-equivalency tactics that are the breath of life to kooks and advocates of pseudoscience. Here are a … [Read more...]

Take Action: Help Free Kareem Amer

Since I wrote about the Center for Inquiry's Blasphemy Day last week, this is a fitting followup. By participating in events like those, we demonstrate our commitment to defending the right of free speech. But we can also show that commitment in a more tangible way: by taking action on behalf of the prisoners of conscience around the world who've been imprisoned and punished for exercising that right.In this case, I'm speaking of Kareem Amer, an Egyptian blogger and law student who in 2007 was … [Read more...]

This Is Why There Is War in the Mideast

The Jewish magazine Moment ran an article in its latest issue asking rabbis from a variety of Jewish sects how Israel can promote peace with its Arab neighbors (HT: Pharyngula). Most of the rabbis express fairly bland, liberal views about the importance of peace and tolerance, which are fine in themselves, although few of them offer any concrete suggestions as to what Israel might do differently.However, one rabbi, Manis Friedman of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, was eager to make some … [Read more...]

Noble Africa

To those who are following the continuing genocide in Darfur, every day brings grim headlines:Fighting has prompted thousands of people in the southern part of Sudan's Darfur region to seek security and shelter at a refugee camp in the northern part of the war-torn area, according to the United Nations....An estimated 300,000 people in the western Sudanese region have been killed through combat, disease or malnutrition, according to the United Nations. An additional 2.7 million people have … [Read more...]

The Liberty to Blaspheme

Considering how often I've written about this topic in the past, I had some reluctance to return to it, fearing I wouldn't have anything new or unique to say this time around. But the right of free speech is once again under assault, and whenever that happens, I believe friends of liberty around the world have a moral duty to man the barricades and raise our voices against the barbarous fanatics who would take it away.So, here's the story in a nutshell (HT: Andrew Sullivan). Johann Hari, the … [Read more...]

No Holy Ground

The world's attention has been riveted these past few days by Israel's assault on Gaza, in an attempt to oust the Hamas-run government and put a stop to rocket attacks on southern Israel. Hundreds of Palestinians were reported killed in a wave of airstrikes, over a thousand wounded, and as of this writing, a ground invasion looms as a continuing possibility. Although the conflict began after a six-month ceasefire expired and Hamas refused to renew it, it's now Israel that's rejecting calls for a … [Read more...]

A Free Speech Outrage

Geert Wilders is a Dutch politician, an elected member of that country's Parliament, infamous for his right-wing views on immigration and social policy. In 2008, he released a short film, Fitna, which criticizes Islamic radicalism by interspersing video footage of terrorist attacks with quotes from the Quran and from prominent Islamic religious authorities praising the use of violence. The film can be viewed here - caution, contains some graphic images.Now there's some news that's incredible … [Read more...]


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