India’s Ayodhya, a Holy City, Is ‘a Living Hell’ Due to Violent Crime by Hindu Priests and Their Followers

Ayodhya is one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities in India. It is the birthplace of Lord Rama, and the setting of the epic folk tale Ramayana.

It also happens to be the scene of persistent, brutal gun violence between various factions of holy men.



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God Remains Inexplicably Deaf to Rick Santorum’s Prayers (Again): ‘The Christmas Candle’ Bombs at the Box Office

Max Lucado is a Texas preacher and writer with 80 million books in print, including Just Like Jesus and When God Whispers Your Name.

Rick Santorum is the über-Catholic former Senator from Pennsylvania who, after losing his bid for re-election in 2006, made a failed presidential run, and then announced he would start a film company to make good old-fashioned, pro-Christian, family-friendly fare. He’s on record as calling Hollywood “the devil’s playground.”

Let’s see if these two were made for each other. (No, not that way.) Santorum produced a treacly Hallmark-meets-Dickens period movie, in theaters now, based on Lucado’s The Christmas Candle.

Here’s the trailer:

The critics have shown themselves somewhere between lukewarm and ice cold.

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We Raised More Than $3,000 for the Morton Grove Park District and They Rejected It

Back in October, I posted about how the American Legion Post 134 was financially boycotting the Morton Grove (Illinois) Park District because its Commissioner Dan Ashta wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at board meetings. Ashta’s sitting down for the Pledge cost the district $2,600 that the American Legion group had been giving them each year.

This was never about anyone being unpatriotic; this was always about the right to exercise our freedoms, whether that means sitting or standing for the Pledge.

I asked all of you to donate money to the Park District so we could make up for the lost money, at least for this year, and you all responded brilliantly, raising more than $3,000 in just a couple of weeks.

That money was raised by a lot of atheists (and Christian allies) who applauded Ashta for his brave stance.

On November 12, I sent the park district a check for all the money that I had received at that time (minus any fees taken by the fundraising website). I included a brief message explaining where the money was coming from. After not hearing back from the park district and not seeing the check clear from my bank account, I emailed them Sunday night inquiring about the donation.

This is what the district’s Executive Director Tracey Anderson told me Monday afternoon:

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Canadian Politician (Sort of) Apologizes for Offering Holiday Greetings to ‘Infidel Atheists’

Brian Pallister is the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, and you may recall his recent impromptu holiday greeting to blogger Natalie Pollock:

… I wanted to wish everyone a really really Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, all the holiday… all you infidel atheists out there, I want to wish you the very best, also. I don’t know what you celebrate during the holiday season — I myself celebrate the birth of Christ — but it’s your choice, and I respect your choice. If you wish to celebrate nothing and just get together with friends, that’s good, too. All the best.

I wrote the other day that it struck me as “sincere-though-somewhat-sarcastic.” Pallister would have been better off avoiding the word “infidel” and not suggesting that atheists “celebrate nothing” — but I didn’t sense any malice. (Though commenters on YouTube and other websites found reason to criticize him.)

Yesterday, Pallister half-heartedly apologized for his comments, though he was mostly upset that anyone took him out of context:

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Does It Make Sense to Be a Pro-Life Atheist?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Does it make sense to be a pro-life atheist?:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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