Saudi Court Imposes Death Penalty on Apostate Who Ripped Up Qur’an

From the land of Raif Badawi comes more evidence — as if we needed it — of the dangers of renouncing/denouncing religion.

An Islamic court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to death for renouncing his Muslim faith, the English-language daily Saudi Gazette reported on Tuesday. The man, in his 20s, posted an online video ripping up a copy of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, and hitting it with a shoe, the newspaper reported.

In Arab culture, the shoe is seen as dirty because it touches the ground and covers the lowest part of the body. Hitting someone or something with a shoe shows that the target is considered as low as dirt.

The Saudi Gazette did not identify the condemned man, but quoted a sheikh at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Abdullah Al-Enizi, as saying

“Cursing the Prophet and the Qur’an is a form of conversion that must be dealt with accordingly through the courts.”



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Idaho Republican, Ignorant of Anatomy, Wonders if a Swallowed Camera Could Be Used in Remote Gynecological Exam

There’s a reason I cringe when politicians — usually Republicans — profess their ignorance about science. Like when Scott Walker can’t answer a basic question about accepting evolution or Bobby Jindal thinks teaching Creationism in public schools should be allowed.

Some people don’t seem to think these questions are relevant unless the politicians directly affect policy in these areas — but that’s foolish. Their responses speak more broadly to how they make their decisions: Do they defer to experts in the field or listen to an ignorant base?

Idaho State Rep. Vito Barbieri (below) is someone who’s no expert in science and he has decision-making power… which makes him especially dangerous.

Here’s him showing off his ignorance, during a hearing on a bill that “would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine”:

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American Family Association Creates “Bigotry Map” Featuring Dozens of Atheist, Humanist, and Pro-LGBT-Rights Groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center is famous for their listing of “hate groups,” ones that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

So if you say nasty, untrue things about black people (like the KKK) or LGBT individuals (like the Illinois Family Institute), you’re on the list.

Evangelical churches aren’t on the list just because they think, for example, that homosexuality is a sin. “Loving the sinner while hating the sin,” even if you don’t buy it, isn’t the same as saying there’s something psychologically wrong with gay people.

The American Family Association has long argued that the list is unfair to certain Christian groups, so they’ve now created their own version of a hate group list.

The AFA Bigotry Map identifies “groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith.”

Who’s on the list?

Basically every atheist and pro-LGBT-rights group out there, including local and college groups.

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The AP Says Rep. Aaron Schock, a Conservative Baptist, Used Donor Funds For Massages and Katy Perry Tickets

Life is good for GOP Boy Wonder Aaron Schock. Or at least it was until his financial ethics came under sustained fire.

First, in 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics said Schock probably violated campaign-financing rules (the House Ethics committee still considers that affair an active query). Now, Associated Press reporters Jack Gillum and Stephen Braun have done some sleuthing of their own, and it doesn’t look good for the 33-year-old Congressman from Illinois.

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, a rising Republican star already facing an ethics inquiry, has spent taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors, the Associated Press has found. There also have been other expensive travel and entertainment charges, including for a massage company and music concerts.

The reporters employed pretty clever ways to gain insights into Schock’s spending:

The AP tracked Schock’s reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman’s penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account. The AP extracted location data associated with each image, then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock’s office and campaign records.

Asked for comment, Schock responded in an email on Monday that he travels frequently throughout his Peoria-area district “to stay connected with my constituents” and also travels to raise money for his campaign committee and congressional colleagues. … Schock’s high-flying lifestyle, combined with questions about expenses decorating his office after the TV show “Downton Abbey” [here, with pictures!] add to awkward perceptions on top of allegations he illegally solicited donations in 2012.



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Icelandic Atheist Group Will Register All Citizens as Members Unless They Opt Out… Just Like the National Church

The Icelandic atheist group Vantrú has decided that everyone in the country will soon be automatically counted as members of their group:



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