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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Celebrating Secular Invocations

The Central Florida Freethought Community put together this fantastic video showcasing the great secular invocations we’ve seen since Greece v. Galloway:



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Religious Statues in Spain Frequently Get Government Medals; a Secularist Wants To Put a Stop To That

From the You Can’t Make This Shit Up department, via the Wall Street Journal:

The latest winner of Spain’s Gold Medal of Police Merit never walked a beat or made an arrest. True, she never flinched in the face of danger. But that is because she can’t move. Reaching far outside its uniformed ranks, the Interior Ministry awarded this year’s medal to a life-size statue, Our Most Holy Mary of Love, “for sharing police values such as dedication, caring, solidarity and sacrifice.”



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