Be Careful What You Wish For: UK to Crack Down on Street Preachers and Other People Deemed ‘Annoying’

Fifteen years ago, tired of yobs and hooligans and a perceived decline in civility, British prime minister Tony Blair and his New Labour cabinet cooked up a nasty little legal concoction. It’s called an ASBO. The acronym stands for Anti Social Behavior Order.

These civil orders were designed to be issued to people whose unpleasant behavior was not otherwise (easily) prosecutable under U.K. law. And as long as we’re talking about things like vandalism and public urination, no argument here.

But soon, British police and magistrates were handing out ASBOs for virtually every behavior that someone, somewhere, disliked, including public cursing, loitering, using (allegedly) racist language, and “being rude to members of the public.” The standard for issuing an ASBO was astonishingly low from the start: anyone thought to be causing “harassment, alarm or distress” could find himself on the wrong end of one.

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Can You Hate Religion but Love Jesus?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Can you hate religion but love Jesus?:

Incidentally, Jefferson Bethke‘s new book about why Jesus > Religion is now out and he spoke about his paradoxical views in the Washington Post yesterday.

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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New Idaho Billboard Promotes Humanist Wedding Celebrants (and Those Who Want to Become One)

The American Humanist Association just launched a new billboard in Moscow, Idaho encouraging people to become non-religious wedding officiants through the (AHA-affiliated) Humanist Institute’s Continuum for Humanist Education:

The billboard reads “Join Your Friends in Holy Matrimony.”

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Does Everyone Love Pope Francis? Not Quite: Conservative Catholics Feel ‘Thrown Under the Bus’

The other week, staunch Catholic Bridget Kurt took the Pope Francis prayer card down from her fridge and threw it in the trash.

“It seems he’s focusing on bringing back the left that’s fallen away, but what about the conservatives?” said Ms. Kurt, a hospice community educator. “Even when it was discouraging working in pro-life, you always felt like Mother Teresa was on your side and the popes were encouraging you. Now I feel kind of thrown under the bus.”

That’s from a piece in Sunday’s New York Times that describes conservative Catholics as feeling “abandoned and deeply unsettled.”

They despair that after 35 years in which the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, drew clear boundaries between right and wrong, Francis is muddying Catholic doctrine to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Wrote Catholic blogger Steve Skojec of recent papal pronouncements (including one that criticized proselytizing as “solemn nonsense”):

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Mark Driscoll Will Be Answering Questions On Twitter This Morning (UPDATED)

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll will doing a Q&A live on Twitter today morning, from 9:15a-9:45a (PST). Have a question for him? Tweet to @PastorMark and use the hashtag #AskPM. (Need ideas? You can find a few here.)

Remember, don’t be rude. We’re better than that. But tough questions are perfectly acceptable.

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