Imprisonment for Blasphemy and Religious Dissent Around the World Detailed in New Report

Human Rights Without Frontiers International, a Brussels-based nonprofit, has released a rather comprehensive report on those who have been imprisoned for religious dissent around the world, and the countries who imprison them. Of particular note to this audience is the report’s acknowledgment of the nonreligious.

This year, a specific section has been created for prisoners whose freedom of expression related to religious issues was violated on the basis of laws against blasphemy, defamation of religion or the Prophet and similar issues: Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Turkey.

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Jennifer Michael Hecht and Ron Reagan Talk Atheism in Politics on ‘Hardball’

Jennifer Michael Hecht, one of my absolute favorite writers, recently appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball, along with fellow atheist Ron Reagan, to talk about her article in Politico Magazine about atheism as “the last taboo” in American politics. Though it’s a brief segment, they took a serious look at the “poison pill” problem we all presume atheists would face in political contests, particularly in regard to the presidency.

Michael Smerconish was the guest host, and it was encouraging to hear him so eager to, as he put it, “test the hypothesis” that an avowed atheist would be effectively barred from high office in the current political climate. As Hecht says in the segment, the culture is just crawling its way out of the religious tensions associated with the Cold War (“godless communism” vs. American Judeo-Christianity) and 9/11, and that the time really has come for nonbelieving politicians to make themselves known. [Read more...]

What Do You Think Happened to This Young Mormon After He Came Out of the Closet?

Jamison Manwaring got to the point where he couldn’t keep lying about who he is. Back in March, he finally announced that he is attracted to men, using a medium that could hardly be more public: a video he posted to YouTube.



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Seminary-Educated Southern Baptist Speaks Out Against Faith

Christian Nightmares has a fascinating interview with Larry Pate, a gay, former Southern Baptist preacher who now speaks out against the faith.

What caused him to change his mind? Seminary.



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Walking Away from the Holy Mountain

This is a guest post written by James Mulholland. He is the author of several Christian books and just published Leaving Your Religion: A Practical Guide To Becoming Non-Religious. His blog of the same name can be read here

There are not five easy steps for leaving your religion. There is nothing easy about it. When you’re raised in a religious culture, it’s all you know. If it was a healthy community, it deeply satisfied. Walking away is painful. I went through all the stages of grief — denial, negotiation, anger and depression — before accepting my disbelief. For most people, leaving is a journey of a thousand steps.

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