Pakistani Teenager Falsely Accused of Blasphemy is Safe, but Two Others Are Killed for Dancing in the Rain

Last summer, Rimsha Masih, a young teenager who is the daughter of a Pakistani Christian couple, was arrested and jailed on charges of blasphemy. Her accuser was a mullah, Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti (a.k.a. Khalid Jadoon) who said he’d caught the girl with charred pages from the Koran.

Something was fishy about the case from the get-go. For one thing, Rimsha (pictured below, left) was widely reported to be of limited mental capacity (some sources say she has Down Syndrome); even if she had really done what Chishti (right) accused her of, her culpability was in question. Also, Chishti is a known agitator against Christians,

… even appearing on a popular national television show to complain that the noise made by Christian worshippers had disturbed Muslim residents.

Which is an observation lacking in the self-awareness department if you’ve ever heard the racket a muezzin blares from atop his minaret five times a day.

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The Bible (Miniseries) Gets Resurrected‎

After huge ratings and impressive DVD sales, “The Bible” miniseries that aired on the History Channel will get a second life:

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John Xu Appointed Acting Director for Centre for Inquiry in Toronto

I don’t usually post about various leadership changes within our movement, but this one was particularly interesting because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Chinese person’s name on the masthead for any national atheist group, at least in North America. (If I’m wrong, please correct me.) John Xu, who began volunteering at CFI in [Read More…]

Secret Vatican Rentboy Ring Turns Out to be Part of a Pedophile’s Revenge Plot

This story has all the drama of a Vatican soap opera, and it’s moving at a breakneck pace. Don’t blink, or you might miss it.

First, the media got wind that Don Patrizio Poggi, a former parish priest once convicted of abusing young teen boys, had filed an explosive complaint with the Italian police. He alleged that a former police officer had been recruiting underage boys living in poverty to sexually service Catholic clergymen in Rome.

According to Poggi, the ex-Carabinieri “pimp” would approach youths at saunas, gyms, gay bars and discotheques. Most of the boys were Eastern European immigrants in need of cash. The unnamed pimp would lure the boys with offers of modelling and acting jobs, opportunities that invariably fell through. Instead, the boys were paid €150-€500 ($195-$650 USD) to engage in a variety of sex acts with Catholic priests, both retired and active.

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In Mississippi, a New Law Will Allow Religious Proselytizing in Public Schools

Today, the “Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act of 2013” goes into effect.

The law makes student-led, administration-supported proselytizing perfectly legal in the state’s public schools. The state’s House passed it on a 109-6 vote, while the Senate supported it 50-1 (the lone “Nay” vote was cast by the aptly-named Democrat Deborah Jeanne Dawkins). Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed it into law in March:

What does the law say? While much of it just reinforces laws that are already in place (e.g. Students can pray without punishment, Students can form after-school religious clubs), it also allows for Christians to push their faith onto other students in ways we’ve often fought against:

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