Bangladeshi Atheist Bloggers Indicted; Could Face Up to 14 Years in Prison

A court in Dhaka, Bangladesh has formally indicted four atheist bloggers for their “inflammatory” writing against Islam:

Metropolitan Sessions Court Judge Zahurul Haque said he had accepted the charges filed by police in two separate cases, the first to be tried under Bangladesh’s recently amended Information and Communication Technology Act.

The accused — Moshiur Rahman Biplob, Subrata Odhikary Shuvo, Russel Parvez and Asif Mohiuddin — are currently free on bail after spending up to three months in jail.

Asif Mohiuddin, whom I interviewed here, is one of the four bloggers who could now face 7-14 years in prison along with a hefty fine of approximately $125,000. Mohiuddin nearly died in an assassination attempt last year:

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S.E. Cupp Explains How She Can Be a Conservative Atheist

In a semi-advertisement for tomorrow’s (re-)premiere of “Crossfire” on CNN, conservative commentator (and frequent self-loathing atheist) S.E. Cupp created a video explaining why she’s an atheist and how she can be conservative at the same time:

Most of the video is just fine — she became an atheist around the age of 16, she has a Masters degree in Religious Studies, she didn’t become an atheist because of some traumatic event in her life.

But a few of the other comments are just plain weird.

Cupp says she, like believers, “agree[s] with pretty much all of the Ten Commandments.” Really? Including the first four?! What about coveting? Isn’t that the driver of capitalism?

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Scottish National Church Is Livid Over Proposal To Ask Parents If Kids Should Worship in Public Schools

I hate online stores that begin sending you a barrage of promotional e-mails as soon as you place an order. They’re “opt-out” merchants, telling you belatedly — in tiny type — that you must choose not to receive their ads (to their credit, this is usually a quick and painless process, but by the time I do it, they’ve already put a bad taste in my mouth).

Like most consumers, I much prefer the opt-in approach. Some merchants and brands are of enough interest to me that I like receiving their newsletters and special offers, and I’ll actively sign up. I would prefer that decision to be mine from the get-go, obviously, and I’ll wager that you feel the same way.

The same thing goes for religion, times ten. It’s unwise to assume that I or my kids are dying to be anointed with religious snake oil, so please don’t sign us up unbidden for anything related to your phantasmagorical beliefs.

In short, don’t be like Scotland.

If you have children in a Scottish school, it is assumed that you want them automatically enrolled in religious instruction as well as in actual worship. To say “No thanks,” you have to fill out paperwork to permanently excuse your tykes from the Jesus-y goodness that is so kindly proffered.

Why doesn’t the assumption run the other way — with the default being that no child ought to be subjected to state-sponsored religious indoctrination unless parents explicitly sign their offspring up for it?

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Christian Pastor Explains How He Denies Evolution Because He Doesn’t Want to Base His Life on ‘Myths’ and ‘Magic’

Here’s some advice for pastors: If you don’t know much about science, don’t write an article explaining why the foundation of science is wrong, exposing your ignorance for the world to see.

That’s what Pastor John Martens of The Connection church in Maple Ridge, British Columbia did with his opinion piece for a local newspaper:

… I just see the whole idea that one form of life (dog, donkey, dinosaur) changing into another form as impossible, even if you give it millions and millions of years.

That is just too fantastical for me. It smacks of medieval sorcery. No one ever tells me how these animals change, just that they did. Magically. Although I love myths, magic and science fiction — for entertainment — I don’t want to base my life on such things.

… says the man who needs no explanation for Jesus’ miracles or a virgin birth.

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Bill Nye’s Upcoming Appearance on Dancing with the Stars

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses Bill Nye’s upcoming appearance on “Dancing with the Stars”:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more…]