Malaysian Court Rules That Non-Muslims Are Forbidden from Using the Word ‘Allah’

Malaysia isn’t considered a progressive country for a number of reasons. Last year, its Education Ministry issued guidelines to identifying gay or lesbian children so that their “symptoms” could be corrected (Example: Gays wear “V-neck and sleeveless clothes”).

The International Humanist and Ethical Union noted that Malaysia requires its citizens (over the age of 12) to carry ID cards that list their religion. And while officials would argue there’s religious freedom, two states in Malaysia passed laws prohibiting anyone from leaving Islam (though they theoretically can’t be enforced):

Amending the penal code is the exclusive prerogative of the federal government. Despite contradicting federal law, the state governments of Kelantan and Terengganu passed laws in 1993 and 2002, respectively, making apostasy a capital offense. Apostasy is defined as the conversion from Islam to another faith. No one has been convicted under these laws and, according to a 1993 statement by the Attorney General, the laws cannot be enforced absent a constitutional amendment.

Yesterday, one of the country’s Court of Appeals took the largest backward step yet:



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The Cause of the Republican Shutdown: Melanocytes

Mike Stanfill explains what’s really behind the GOP shutdown:

As if there’s a reason any more logical than that. [Read more...]

A ‘Worship’ Cross on Public Land is About to Become a Problem for Middleboro, Massachusetts

If you were to drive through Middleboro, Massachusetts, you would see this unusual structure on a median on Route 28:

The 12-foot by 7-foot Christian cross has been there for more than 50 years, and sits on public property, half of which is owned by the city, half of which is owned by the state, and all of which is illegal.

The proposed solution to this problem was that the state would sell its half of the property to Middleboro, and Middleboro would then sell all of the property to the local (private) Kiwanas Club. Which is a very roundabout way to keep promoting Christianity through the government.

Jeff Stevens had the good sense to speak out against that plan at a town meeting earlier this week:

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North Carolina Humanist Group Raises Money for Poor Women Affected by Republican Shutdown

You may have heard that the Republican Shutdown of the government halted funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). That’s a program that offers “food vouchers, nutrition education and health care referrals” to millions of poor women nationwide. While some states have found money to keep the program alive, WIC needs help.

In North Carolina, they’ve found funding to last them through October, but the Western North Carolina Humanists intend to keep the program going even longer with their new initiative:



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A Look at the Key Players in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court Case About Government Prayer

We’re a month away from the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case that could decide the fate of invocation prayers at government meetings.

While you can read a comprehensive overview of what the case is all about here, PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly recently ran an excellent segment on the case — interviewing some of the major players on both sides — and it’s now available online:

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