Australian University Bans Satirical Piece on Islam from Student Paper, Citing Likelihood of Religious Violence

For a while now, the editors of Woroni, a student newspaper at Australian National University (ANU), have run a satirical series called “Advice from Religion.” The articles have so far made light of Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism, Judaism, and — finally — Islam.

Predictably enough, perhaps, the piece on Islam was the only one that caused immediate paroxysms of fear and cowardice, resulting in the university chancellor’s successful demands for a retraction and an apology.

The Woroni article, presented as an infographic, asked “How should I value women?” It answered with references to Aisha, the nine-year wife of the prophet Muhammad (PBJLOL) and to the 72 big-bosomed virgins who, according to the Koran, will be awaiting the male faithful after death. The Woroni editors observed that the Koranic passages read like “a rape fantasy.”

I was hoping it didn’t need to be said, but the normal give-and-take in an advanced democratic country (let’s say Australia rather than Saudi Arabia) calls for anyone who doesn’t like an editorial piece to respond in ways that contribute to the discussion, rather than shut the author up. If something sufficiently offends you, you may start a Facebook page or protest website, send requests for a rebuttal piece, fire off letters-to-the-editor, stage a demonstration, and so on. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas.

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New Legislation Will Allow Iowa’s Homeschooling Parents to Not Teach Their Children

This past week, the Iowa legislature passed House File 215, a bill that changes the way homeschooling is regulated. In short, it removes a good chunk of state oversight, leaving the education of homeschooled children completely in the hands of their parents — and Christian homeschooling families couldn’t be more thrilled (emphasis theirs):

HF 215 is truly a gift from God for homeschool families. [Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators] deserves a huge “THANK YOU” from the entire Iowa homeschool community for their awesome work spanning many years on [Independent Private Instruction].

So what are the big changes for homeschooling parents because of this bill?

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Even Though the Scenes Were Eventually Cut, Penn Jillette Tried to Get Atheist Donors on All-Star Celebrity Apprentice

After the All-Star Celebrity Apprentice finale aired last week, the conversation on this site was about how eventual winner Trace Adkins called runner-up Penn Jillette the “most ethical atheist I’ve ever met” and how that wasn’t really a compliment.

It turns out Penn tried really hard to get positive atheism on the air — multiple times — only to have his efforts squashed by the editing crew. It’s not that he’s mad or upset about that — most of what happens on any “reality” show gets cut and speaking about atheism positively might stir up a different kind of controversy than the kind the producers want to see — and Penn hasn’t spoken out about his behind-the-scenes efforts.

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A Catholic Website’s Sneaky Spin on the Atheist-Lit Case in Georgia

If you have to resort to making stuff up in order to “prove” that secular Americans are out to attack Christianity, your case is probably pretty weak.

Take this recent headline from Catholic Online:

That’s the website’s take on American Atheists president David Silverman offering non-theist literature to be placed in Georgia state park cabins. Silverman did so after Governor Nathan Deal said that the Gideon Bibles are fine and that “in fact, any group is free to donate literature.”

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One Christian Bigot’s Take on What Will Happen Now That the Boy Scouts of America Will Admit Gay Youth

In the wake of the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow gay members, we have basically seen reactions from three different groups of people:

1) You have the people (like me) who are disappointed that the BSA still bans gay scout leaders and atheists. The group took a nice baby step in the right direction, but they are still a bigoted organization as far as we’re concerned.

2) You have the people — relatively few of them, I would think — who are just proud that the BSA finally let in gay scouts. They’re less concerned about the other bans and are just celebrating what they consider a huge step forward.

3) You have the religious conservatives, who think the BSA has stained its reputation by caving in to the public outcry and gave up one of the best things it had going for it.

Regarding this last group… what exactly are they worried about?

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