Moroccan Atheist in Hiding, Pursued for ‘Shaking Faith’

Imad Eddin Habib of Morocco is no shrinking violet. At 22, he is a very outspoken and active atheist who seems to delight in ruffling feathers by the mere mention of his nonbelief. On Facebook, he posted a smiling photo of himself holding a sign that reads:

In my country people are jailed and harassed for being atheist.
This photo may cost my life, or my freedom.
But I insist to tell you:
I AM PROUD TO BE AN ATHEIST!

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Tomorrow, Atheists Will Protest for Free Expression: We Have to Make Them Care

Tomorrow, a coalition of atheist and secularist groups will hold (mostly) coordinated protests on behalf of the jailed atheist bloggers in Bangladesh. My employer, the Center for Inquiry, is among those leading the effort. I’m writing so that I can convince you to attend one, if you’re near enough to do so, and to share the fact of the protests with everyone in your social networks. Why? Because, yeah, it’s about the bloggers, but it’s not just about the bloggers.

Atheists in the U.S., in Canada, in Western Europe — we are by no means everyone’s favorite ideological/”religious” minority. But we, for the most part, enjoy the same liberties and freedoms that everyone else does in our respective countries. Folks might complain about us, write pointed op-eds, rail against our evil secularist incursion into government, or troll us with angry comments and blog posts (oh wait, that last one we do to each other), but we’re okay. We’re still at it. We’re, for the most part, safe.

The fellas in Bangladesh, they do what we do, they think similarly to the way we think, and they’re in jail because of it. More who are like them have been threatened with arrest. A newspaper editor who has been an opponent of the government’s was arrested, and they cited his reprinting of quotes from the bloggers as one of his crimes.

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Bill from Louie Gohmert is Literally the Opposite of Church-State Separation

Perhaps the most shamelessly dopey Member of Congress, Republican Louie Gohmert of Texas, doesn’t think it’s bad enough that the U.S. Capitol has been (ab)used several times over history as a stand-in for a Christian church. No, he’d actually like to see the government honor the fact. Like, as though we should be proud of it!

Here’s the summary for Gohmert’s HR 1586:

To direct the Architect of the Capitol to acquire and place a historical plaque to be permanently displayed in National Statuary Hall recognizing the seven decades of Christian church services being held in the Capitol from 1800 to 1868, which included attendees James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.

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Andrew Sullivan on ‘High-Minded Nonsense’ of Liberals on Tsarnaev Brothers

There has been a swirl of debate around what might or might not have been the motivations behind the Boston bombing attacks allegedly carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers, but one voice has stood out to me in this discussion: that of Andrew Sullivan‘s.

Sullivan began by confronting the garment-rending of Glenn Greenwald, accusing him of “left-liberal self-parody.”

[T]o dismiss the overwhelming evidence that this was also religiously motivated — a trail that now includes a rant against his own imam for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. because he was not a Muslim — is to be blind to an almost text-book case of Jihadist radicalization

To state today that we really still have no idea what motivated him and that rushing toward the word Jihadist is some form of Islamophobia seems completely bizarre to me.

When will some understand how dangerous religious fundamentalism truly is? And when will they grasp that a religion that does not entirely eschew violence (like the Gospels or Buddhism) will likely produce violence when its extremist loners seek meaning in a bewildering multicultural modern world? This was an act of Jihad.

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Chinese Government Wants to ‘Liberate’ People from Superstition… Should We Be Worried?

Reuters has a fascinating article about the efforts of Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, to weed out superstition in order to achieve and maintain state stability.

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