New York Times: Catholic Hospitals’ Abortion Prohibition ‘Violates Medical Ethics and Existing Law’

Jerry Coyne put it this way: “New York Times officially opposes stupid rules of Catholic hospitals.”

He’s referencing a recent editorial entitled “When Bishops Direct Medical Care,” in which the editorial board takes on the case of Tamesha Means, on whose behalf the ACLU is filing suit against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the party they hold “ultimately responsible for the unnecessary trauma and harm” she suffered as a patient in a Michigan hospital.



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Pennsylvania Pastor Defrocked for Performing Son’s Same-Sex Wedding

The United Methodist Church proved once and for all this week that its values are completely out of line when they defrocked a pastor for performing his son’s wedding years ago.

Rev. Frank Schaefer came under fire earlier this year for officiating his son’s Massachusetts wedding back in 2007 (when same-sex marriages were already legal there). A not-so-kindhearted church member filed a complaint with the church in Pennsylvania, and last month a church jury suspended him for 30 days. He was told to use the time to reflect on whether he could “uphold the church’s Book of Discipline,” which doesn’t condone homosexuality or same-sex marriage. If he wasn’t up to the task, he’d have to resign.

The choice was clear for Schaefer; he said his belief in equal rights did not justify his resignation from his position. In exchange, he’s been defrocked, depriving him of any ecclesiastical status within the church.

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NY Authorities Reveal Cause of Death of Ex-Hoodlum Megachurch Minister Who Died Mysteriously in Hotel Room

The Reverend Zachery Tims was a troubled young man before he was

“miraculously saved, instantly delivered from drug addiction, and called into ministry,”

according to his megachurch, New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida.

When Tims was fourteen, the young hoodlum was convicted of attempted murder and went to juvie for two years. After finding God, though, he eventually came to be idolized by a congregation of more than 7,000 — and by a broadcast audience of millions via “the largest African-American religious network in the world.”



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Do Blogs Have a Future in the Atheist Movement?

So what is going on with blogs these days? If you’re like me, and you keep abreast of news and opinion on technology and media, you’ve already probably been told many, many times that the blog is dead, a medium that served its purpose in the twenty-aughts, but has now been rendered mostly irrelevant by Tweetbooksnaptumblegram.

Apparently Hemant is a little bit like me too (poor guy), and he pointed me to this post at Neiman Journalism Lab by blog pioneer Jason Kottke that, despite Kottke’s entrenchment in the form, prophesies its demise, and in its place are the ephemeral and the institutional:

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Pussy Riot Rockers, Convicted of ‘Religious Hatred,’ Are Released From Russian Prison

In February of last year, the Russian punk band Pussy Riot staged an impromptu performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Their actions were stopped by church security officials. By evening, they had turned it into a music video entitled “Punk Prayer — Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leader’s support for [Russian president Vladimir] Putin during his election campaign.

In Putin’s ever-more autocratic Russia, where nationalism mixes with increased religiosity, this was a provocation that couldn’t stand. In August of 2012, three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years behind bars for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” Yekaterina Samutsevich was released within months, but Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina had to wait until yesterday to walk free again (some sources are reporting that, although the pardon is official, the pair haven’t actually been let out of prison just yet).



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