Even the Devil’s “Spiritual Warfare” Could Not Derail My Family’s Third Adoption

I’ve written almost nothing for Friendly Atheist for the better part of three weeks. It wasn’t entirely by choice: Where I had traveled, in China, Internet access was spotty, and when connections were stable and speeds were decent, sites that Hemant and I frequently rely on for our coverage were blocked or hamstrung by the Chinese authorities — from Google to YouTube, and from the New York Times to Facebook.

Why was I in China? Because 15 months ago my wife and I became aware of a Chinese girl who needed a family. We’d adopted twice before, and this child’s special need — an eye defect — was identical to that of our first adoptive daughter, so the four of us felt well-qualified to welcome the little one into our family and deal with the issue.

In late March, after more than a year’s worth of paperwork and nail-biting, my wife and our two daughters traveled to meet our third daughter and sibling. Her name is Mei-Mei. She’s five. After she was born, Mei-Mei spent eight months in a hospital, and all her ensuing years in an orphanage. But she’s home with us now, and things are looking up.

[Read more...]

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.

[Read more...]

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.

[Read more...]

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.

[Read more...]

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.

[Read more...]