Salman Rushdie, in Speech, Assails “New Age of Religious Mayhem”

Novelist Salman Rushdie picked up another major literary award (the PEN Pinter Prize) the other day and minced no words about the Islamist ideology that has literally threatened his life for the last quarter-century.

It’s pretty brave, if you ask me. The death threats are ongoing, and yet Rushdie appears in public and speaks out.

Rushdie voiced his fears that the language of “jihadi-cool” is seducing young British Muslims, many via Twitter and YouTube, into joining the “decapitating barbarianism” of Isil, the group also referred to as Islamic State or Isis. …

Rushdie defined “jihadi-cool” as “the deformed medievalist language of fanaticism, backed up by modern weaponry,” saying: “It’s hard not to conclude that this hate-filled religious rhetoric, pouring from the mouths of ruthless fanatics into the ears of angry young men, has become the most dangerous new weapon in the world today.”



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Mike Huckabee: If the GOP Gives Up Fighting Marriage Equality and Abortion Rights, I’ll Leave the Party

Mike Huckabee has terrible news for Republicans: If they accept the legal reality of marriage equality, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful will be done with them. Not just a little done, but completely done.

Huckabee was on the American Family Association’s radio broadcast this week discussing the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the same-sex marriage cases before them — leaving in place lower court rulings that declared those bans unconstitutional — when he made the comments in question:



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China Sentences Two Cult Members to Death After They Fatally Beat a “Possessed” Would-Be Convert

Back in May, five members of a strange Chinese cult called Eastern Lightning — a.k.a. the Church of the Almighty God — walked into a McDonald’s restaurant in Zhaoyuan and harassed one of the customers, trying to recruit her into the cult. When the woman, Wu Shuoyan, declined to hand over her phone number, the five decided that she deserved to die “because she’s a monster, she’s an evil spirit,” explained Zhang Lidong (55), an unemployed pharmaceutical salesman who led the attack.



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If This Iranian-Born Atheist Doesn’t Get Asylum in Scotland, He Could Be Killed Back Home

Ramin Forghani wears a lot of important hats. He’s the Vice Chair of the Scottish Secular Society, founder of the Iranian Atheists Association, and chairman of Ex-Muslims Scotland.

However, the 25-year-old Forghani (below) is only in Scotland temporarily, studying at the University of Strathclyde… and if he’s forced to go back to his home country of Iran after obtaining his masters degree, there’s no telling what will happen to the now-apostate:



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Pastor Jim Garlow Endorses Political Candidate at Church, Then Tells IRS, “Sue Me”

Last week, I posted about “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” an event where church pastors defy the law by endorsing political candidates from the pulpits of their tax-exempt churches. (The law basically says that non-profit groups, including churches, don’t have to pay taxes — in exchange, though, they can’t endorse or campaign against specific candidates.)

The IRS ignored pastors participating in this event for years due to (what they say were) bureaucratic reasons, but they recently settled a lawsuit brought about by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and promised they would prosecute pastors who violated the law.

So what does it look like when a pastor endorses a candidate? CNN’s Sara Grossman tells us:

On Sunday, pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in California stood before his congregation of more than 2,000 and told them he would be making an unusual announcement.

The pastor proceeded to warn his audience against voting for a candidate in the upcoming midterm elections who supports gay marriage and abortion, even if that candidate, Carl DeMaio, is a Republican.

Garlow told his followers he would be endorsing DeMaio’s rival, Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, representative for California’s 52nd District, to send a scathing message to Republican leadership that candidates who back abortion and gay rights are unacceptable to the party’s Christian base.

You can watch the video below. It was part of a sermon series called “Brave” (sure…) and featured an in-person message from Rick Santorum. The fun begins around the 53:00 mark:



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