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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A Journalist Writes About the ‘Fight to Save Children from Faith-Healing Homicide’

Over the past few years, we’ve heard some horror stories of “faith-healing” practitioners who have allowed their children to die from curable diseases or medical problems because, instead of taking the kids to a doctor, they prayed instead.

15-month-old Ava Worthington died that way.

16-year-old Neil Beagley died that way.

8-month-old Alayna May Wyland died that way.

9-hour-old David Hickman died that way.

There’s another bond all of those children share besides their preventable deaths: their parents were all members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon. Making matters worse, the laws in Oregon allowed some of them to get away with their crimes because state laws gave these parents “religious exemptions” for their crimes until only recently.

Journalist Cameron Stauth wanted to find out what was really happening inside the church walls so he went to Oregon and found somebody willing to talk. Written as a novel, though it’s entirely non-fictional, his new book explores the badly-misnamed “faith-healing” movement and why the members of that church were so taken in by it. It’s called In the Name of God: The True Story of the Fight to Save Children from Faith-Healing Homicide (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013).

In the excerpt below, published with permission of St. Martin’s Press, Stauth writes about his first meeting with a church insider:

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Atheist Billboards Go Up in Connecticut

In anticipation of Secular Assembly for the North East (SANE), the first statewide conference for atheists in Connecticut, the newly-formed Connecticut Coalition of Reason has put up two billboards announcing their presence:

One of the billboards is in Hartford; the other’s in New Haven.

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Christian Apologist Josh McDowell Is Clearly Running Out of Ways to Keep His Brand of Faith Alive

There’s no doubt Christians are threatened by atheists. We challenge their views, our demographics are growing, we just make more sense… but I don’t think some Christians really understand what they’re fighting against.

Famed apologist Josh McDowell made news a couple of years ago when he warned Christians that the Internet was coming after their children:

“The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not,” said McDowell…

It’s not like we’re kidnapping them and forcing them to stop believing against their will. We’re only popping the Faith Bubble and asking the questions they’re not used to hearing in church.

The truth is, if Christianity did a better job of equipping children to deal with challenges to their faith, the Internet wouldn’t be a problem. But there’s really no defense against anti-gay bigotry and anti-science beliefs and anti-women stances.

Over the weekend, McDowell spoke at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics and doubled-down on his wacky ideas.

He’s still blaming the Internet for somehow harming children of Christian parents:

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We Don’t All Fit Inside, Oprah

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