Leader of Amish Beard-Cutting Gang, Free From Hate Crime Charge, Receives Reduced Sentence

Without a doubt, the best religion story of 2011/2012 happened when a gang of Amish vigilantes illegally entered the homes of various brethren whom they accused of doctrinal impurity and forcibly cut the victims’ beards. It didn’t hurt the news value (or the comedy quotient) that the gang leader was a man named Samuel Mullet.

Mullet eventually received an eye-popping, frankly ridiculous prison sentence of 15 years, mostly because the prosecutors presented his admittedly inexcusable behavior as a hate crime.

A curious wrinkle in the case unfolded when Mullet and his co-convicts (all the others received sentences from one to seven years) were sent to different prisons; their lawyers argued unsuccessfully that this constituted cruel and unusual punishment,

… placing an overly harsh burden on their relatives, who, because of their religion, cannot travel by plane and have to hire drivers for car travel. For instance, for Mullet’s wife to visit him and three sons convicted in the case, she’d have to travel to Oklahoma, Louisiana and two prisons 160 miles apart in Minnesota.

The other day, the ringleader was back in court:

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Tonight, a Guest Speaker at a Christian College Will Argue “Against Critical Thinking”

We sometimes joke on this site about how pastors should let teenagers proofread their church signs before certain unintended messages get spread around the Internet.

You’d think a Christian school would have an easier time of doing that… but tonight, Ontario-based Augustine College will be hosting a public lecture called “Against Critical Thinking”:

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Ken Ham Defends His Theme Park’s Discriminatory Hiring Practices by Posting Support Letters from Children

Creationist Ken Ham still doesn’t understand why the state of Kentucky rescinded potential tax breaks from his Ark Encounter theme park.

The short explanation is that the park — a for-profit business — was discriminating in its hiring. You can’t do that if you want the subsidies.

But that hasn’t stopped Ham from filing a lawsuit against the state.

Today, Ham defended his position by posting letters from children urging Governor Steve Beshear to allow proselytizing and discriminatory hiring because… Jesus.

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Document Shows Egyptian Atheist Received Prison Sentence for Denying Miracles and Supporting LGBT Rights

In 2013, 20-year-old Sherif Gaber was arrested for starting a Facebook group about religion. His own post on the subject explained his deconversion:

I started to see the contradictions between the Quran and scientific facts, and day by day for 2 years after searching and reading I knew the truth. Then I became an atheist and hid it for a few months. Then I admit it despite knowing that I might get killed any moment…

Even though I’m not afraid to say I’m an atheist to everyone who asks about my religion… To die for the truth is much much better to live in a lie!

Last month, we learned that the now-22-year-old Suez Canal University student was outed by his classmates, who told the school President, who in turn “filed a legal complaint against the student to the local prosecution on the grounds of contempt of religion.”

He was sentenced to one year in jail for his “crime”:

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Pat Robertson Advises Parents to Skip Their Gay Child’s Wedding

What the hashtag for problems that only Christians seem to have? Because this “ethical dilemma,” with a parent debating whether or not to attend the wedding of her child because it’s a same-sex ceremony, just doesn’t exist in my world:

Good thing we have Pat Robertson to set us straight:

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