China Announces It Will Crack Down on “Religious Addicts” Trying To Enter the Party

It’s just not a real party until you throw out the religious addicts, amirite?

But seriously: For all its political and economic progress of the last 20 years, China is still dishearteningly uncomfortable with freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Every once in a while, Beijing’s bureaucracy experiences a revolutionary spasm that seems like a throwback to the Mao days. Take this:

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has barred religious believers from joining the Party, declaring that it will step up its implementation of a long-standing rule prohibiting  religious ‘addicts’ from entering China’s ruling party.

Reports said China’s latest move comes in the wake of the widely reported efforts of Chinese authorities to strengthen the Party’s ideological values and standing in Chinese universities and various media entities.

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Years After Their Bus Ad Alienated an Unexpected Group of People, Two Atheists Explain What They Learned

A few years ago, the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason launched an ad campaign on the side of local buses. It was a mashup of the faces of dozens of local atheists/agnostics made to look like an American flag, with the message “Millions of Americans are good without God.”

The billboard received the usual share of outrage from Christians who felt this was somehow an affront to their beliefs. (Not surprising. By now, we’ve just come to expect that.) But it also prompted backlash from the local African-American community.

For what reason?

Zach Moore, the chair of the Texas group, had no idea at the time. He just knew people were upset:

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Celebrating Darwin: Not Just for Scientists Anymore

On this day last year, a friend of mine was finally getting a kidney transplant after years on dialysis. Visiting him in the hospital was a very emotional experience — especially the part where he signed the paperwork to officially begin his campaign for U.S. Congress. James Woods, a blind atheist progressive from one of the most conservative districts in the country, decided 2014 was going to be a year of going big, brave, and honest.

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Meanwhile, at the Springfield Vatican…

Days without Vatican sex scandal

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Christian Missionary Disappointed That Africa Isn’t the Hellhole She Was Hoping For

If I asked you to imagine what Africa looks like, what would you say?

I suspect there are some people who would respond: “Poor. Lots of slums. Starving people everywhere.” But really, it’s an awful question to begin with. It depends where you are in Africa. In many parts of the continent, you feel no different from when you’re in any of the world’s great cities.

Now, if the only images of Africa you ever see are in commercials asking you to make a donation, I can understand the ignorance. But if you visited a major African city and discovered that your presumptions were completely wrong, wouldn’t you be thrilled? Wouldn’t you be thankful that people aren’t suffering?

Jessica Tidwell is currently on a missionary trip to Kenya and realized that Nairobi is nothing like she anticipated. It’s affluent, it’s busy, it’s… not all that different from the city she came from. Yet her reaction is one of disappointment:

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