About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.

Christian Conservatives Withhold $5 to $6 Million From Some of the World’s Poorest Kids Because of Gay Marriage

New insight into the World Vision debacle that occurred a year ago this week suggests that conservative Christians were so peeved over the charity organization’s decision to no longer consider gay people unhirable, that thousands of the poorest children in the world lost more than five million dollars in donations. That amount could be almost twice as high as previously thought, writes Patheos blogger Ben Corey.

World Vision is a Christian charity that matches Western sponsors and third-world children. The organization says it does not promote Christianity outright as part of its core mission, but concedes that Christian principles are often transferred through the relationships that its workers build with poor communities abroad.

Last year’s fiasco left all parties disenfranchised, because after an outcry by conservative Christian members, World Vision caved, reneging on its promise within days by deciding to keep discriminating against gay applicants. So everyone lost — but none lost more than the children whom this was all supposed to be about.



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Germany’s IRS Says Soccer Player Luca Toni Owes $1.85 Million In Back Taxes Because He’s a Catholic

An Italian soccer player who starred on the world-renowned German Bayern Munich team for three seasons owes $1.85 million in back taxes, German authorities allege — because he was baptized a Catholic.

Hellas Verona star Luca Toni could be forced to pay €1.7m [$1.85 million] to the German Catholic Church for failing to pay a religious tax.

According to Sport Mediaset, Toni will go to trial in Munich for the outstanding sum accrued while he was playing for Bayern from 2007 to 2010.

The Kirchensteuer [church tax] rule finances religions via taxes in Germany, which in Bavaria is eight per cent of [people's] income.



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Self-Described U.S. Patriot Tries To Stir Up Animosity Against Muslims With Homemade Bombs Left In Park

Eighteen years after Christian terrorist Eric Rudolph exploded a fatal homemade bomb in a park in Atlanta, Georgia, Michael Conrade Sibley, a Marietta resident, decided it was time to try it again.

A man who described himself as a “patriot” confessed to placing homemade bombs in a Georgia park to help people realize “that this type of activity could happen anywhere,” according to court documents obtained by TPM on Tuesday.

Michael Conrade Sibley, a resident of Marietta, Ga. was charged last week in a federal court in Atlanta with attempting to damage federal property.

Documents filed in the case said Sibley built improvised explosive devices and left two of them in a backpack on Nov. 4 at the Vickery Creek Park in Georgia.



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When Phil Robertson Fantasized About the Rape and Murder of an Atheist Family, What Part Did He Leave Out?

Because atheists apparently have no basis for separating right from wrong, Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson told a gleeful little tale about them at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast last Friday.

Hemant wrote about it here.



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“Thousands of Ministers” Whose Faith Has Worn Thin Feel Trapped In Their Jobs, Says Christian Writer

Especially for a blog called the High Calling, this is quite the admission.

There are thousands of ministers out there who no longer wish to be ministers. They no longer want to work in churches. … But they don’t know how to leave. They don’t have anywhere to go. They don’t know what to do. …

Some ministers become disillusioned with the business side of the church. Seminary was all theology and ideology. Then you arrive in the church of our culture and discover that the congregation is really looking for an entrepreneur, someone who can grow the congregation like a thriving business. …

[S]ome just lose faith altogether. Something about the message wears thin, and one day what used to sustain you is now just a bunch of words. Some wear out. Some burn out. Some get depressed for this reason or that. Really, anything that prevents you from being a gung-ho cheerleader for the cause on Sunday mornings is a problem.



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