African Factions of Muslims and Christians Commit Horrific Atrocities; Father Bernard Tries To Stanch the Violence

Appalling violence between Muslims and Christians is front and center in this New Yorker article from John Lee Anderson, who reports from Bossemptele in the Central African Republic (CAR). According to Anderson, the factions long lived together in relative peace, but in 2012 things began to go very wrong. A Muslim rebel group called the Seleka began an incursion into Christian areas, and the Christians in turn started their own armed group, the Antibalaka, which quickly went from a defensive civilian army to a genocidal organization hellbent on eliminating Muslims from the country of 4.5 million people.

The Seleka kept up their atrocities: burning people alive, killing hospital patients, throwing bound prisoners off bridges to drown. Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, who spent months investigating the conflict, said, “Just think the four horsemen of the apocalypse and you’ll have the picture. People really hated them. That’s what got the Antibalaka going.” …

The [Antibalaka] fighters were emboldened by the belief, inspired by animist traditions, that they were protected by magic. They festooned themselves with wigs, costumes, and amulets to ward off attacks, and assembled an arsenal of bows with poison-tipped arrows, machetes, and a few hunting rifles. Dieudonné ["God-given," one of the founders of the Antibalaka movement] proudly recounted their exploits in early battles, seizing weapons and killing Seleka. When I pointed out that his men had killed entire families, he put on an obstinate look. “Yes, but the Seleka killed entire families,” he said. “They killed our people and left our parents to be eaten by dogs. We balanced things out. That’s vengeance, isn’t it?

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Air Force Medical Commander’s Pro-Christianity Article Removed From National Guard Newsletter, So Cue the Outrage

The Stinger is an Air Force-funded publication for members of the 180th Fighter Wing in the Ohio Air National Guard.

Which is why this essay by Colonel Florencio Marquinez of the Fighter Wing’s Medical Group about how important Jesus is to him seemed extremely out of place in the September issue (since revised):

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Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill Church

According to Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Religion News Service, Pastor Mark Driscoll has (finally) resigned from Mars Hill Church:

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After Approving Religious Veterans’ Monument, Alabama Officials Reject One Honoring Atheists in Foxholes

Atheist Amanda Scott (below) recently fought a battle to get the Mobile County Commission (in Alabama) to put up displays reading things like “In Reason We Trust.” It was in response to a vote to put “In God We Trust” on a plaque in the city’s Administration Building. Despite her efforts, the Commission denied those requests, saying only the Christian phrase would go up.

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The Satanic Temple Wants a Holiday Display in Florida’s Capitol After Getting Rejected Last Year

Last year the Florida State Capitol Building became home to a Nativity scene, a Festivus Pole, three signs from atheist groups, and an homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

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