Church Couple in Wisconsin Is Convicted of Spanking Kids, Including Babies, With Wooden Dowels

Spare the rod, spoil the child? That’s the credo that members of a church in Wisconsin live by. The courts, however, call it child abuse. A couple who spanked their young children on their bare bottoms with wooden dowels in keeping with the teachings of the church they belonged to were convicted Friday night of [Read More...]

Muslim Father Kills His ‘Possessed’ Three-Year-Old Son After Prayer Brings No Relief

Syracuse resident Marcell Washington was a follower of Islam. So when, back in November 2011, he started feeling uneasy about hearing strange whispers — some, perhaps, emanating from his three-year-old son, Ameen — he asked a religious elder what he should do.

The man told him to take Ameen (below) to a mosque, where Washington should read the Qur’an and pray.

Later that day, this transpired:

Marcell Washington put his 3-year-old son into a cold shower and demanded to know if the young boy worshiped only God. When Ameen said “no,” Washington forced open the boy’s eyes so water could fill them. “I did this because I wanted to kill the Shatan that I believed was in my son,” Washington explained later. “I thought by killing a portion of Ameen, it would kill the Shatan in him.”

The boy’s frantic struggle convinced his father even more that “Shatan,” or the devil, remained in him. The exorcism continued. Washington held his son’s face under water for about 10 minutes.

[Read more...]

Yes, There Are Pro-Life Atheists Out There. Here’s Why I’m One of Them

This is a guest post written by Kristine Kruszelnicki. Kristine is the President of Pro-Life Humanists.

There was a time when the lines seemed clearer and the slogans said everything. Pro-lifers were Jesus-loving Pope-followers with a passion for sticking rosaries on ovaries, and atheists were quick to respond with “Keep your theology off my biology!”

But then lines began to blur. Atheist and civil libertarian journalist Nat Hentoff said that “Being without theology isn’t the slightest hindrance to being pro-life.” Atheist philosophy professor Don Marquis declared abortion is “immoral” because it denies developing fetuses “a future like ours.” The host of CFI’s Point of Inquiry, Robert M. Price, author of books like Jesus is Dead and The Case Against the Case for Christ, called abortion “second-degree murder” on one of his podcasts.

Well, at least we still have the “Four Horsemen” safely in our ranks, right? Not quite. Even our beloved Christopher Hitchens considered “the occupant of the womb as a candidate member of society.” He also argued that “the unborn entity has a right on its side” and identified himself as involved with the pro-life movement.

What the heck are we atheists supposed to do with all our “Keep your rosaries…” stickers now?

Sorry, Virginia, there really are pro-life atheists.

[Read more...]

United Methodist Bishop Says That Pastors Who Perform Same-Sex Marriage Ceremonies Should Not Be Punished

The United Methodist Church is not ready to embrace same-sex unions. But a few of its members are. And while they’ve been quietly defying church law for years in order to grant LGBT people the respect, rights, and love they deserve, the story of one pastor who risked his career to celebrate his son’s marriage is finally making bigger waves.

This case began back in 2012, when Rev. Thomas Ogletree, a former dean of the Yale Divinity School and a renowned author on Christian ethics, presided over his son’s wedding to another man.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="263"]Rev. Thomas Ogletree[/caption]

Upon reading the wedding announcement in the New York Times, some Methodist clergy, led by Long Island-based Rev. Randall C. Paige, filed a complaint against Ogletree, resulting in what would have been a church-based case against him.

Ogletree would have faced a UMC canonical trial Monday to determine his fate — which could have been as severe as a defrocking from the church, the punishment faced by Rev. Frank Schaefer in December when he, too, officiated his son’s same-sex wedding. Methodist practice tends to cling especially tightly to the church law saying that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching,” and apparently participating in a same-sex union is equally detestable by association.

But instead of going forth with a punishment, Bishop Martin McLee announced at a news conference that the charges against Ogletree would be dropped.

[Read more...]

In Oregon, Students Are Skipping Math Class to Learn About the Bible

There’s a law in Oregon — it’s been around for decades — that allows public school students to skip classes for up to two hours a week (or five if they’re in high school) in order to get “instruction in religion.”

PREP4Kids is one of those indoctrination programs. They even provide a shuttle to take kids, in one case, from Banks Elementary School to Banks Community United Methodist Church… because who needs to learn about math or reading when you can learn about Jesus and Genesis?

[Read more...]