October 15, 2018

A religious ritual involving leather straps and two wooden boxes – one fixed to the head, the other to one arm – has always struck me as one of the most ridiculous of age-old Jewish customs. But according to new research, the whole kit and caboodle known as teffilins or phylacteries can improve the health of pious Jewish men. But what about women?  They aren’t permitted to wear them, thanks to the Torah’s prohibition of cross-dressing. The Torah says: A… Read more

October 15, 2018

Hardly a week goes by without the media reporting on Christians being ‘persecuted’ by nasty secular organisations or institutions. Latest of these reports concerns Bible study classes held at Evergreens, a Virginia-based retirement community, by an elderly couple – Kenneth and Liv Hauge – who were told in a notice issued earlier this year by the Community Realty Company that their classes: Caused, and continues to cause, serious and substantial disturbances with other residents in the community. The notice included allegations… Read more

October 14, 2018

When ‘international evangelist’ Christine Caine, above, published a book in 2016 with the cumbersome title of Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny, she put herself on the road to a lawsuit claiming that she had plagiarised an earlier motivational book written in 2015 by Colorado author and life coach Carey Scott. It’s now reported that Caine and her publishers have reached a settlement with Scott, who sued them in May. In Scott’s lawsuit filed in the… Read more

October 14, 2018

Posters – and a video – created by the Scottish government to combat hate crime are being interpreted as an attack on the religious. Among those accusing the government of generating hatred towards Scottish faith-heads include the Reverent David Robertson of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee. He said: It is an absolute contradiction – a poster that is supposed to be against hatred that then encourages hatred. I showed my congregation the poster and they couldn’t believe it. It’s… Read more

October 13, 2018

Eighty percent of Danes say religion is not important to them, yet their government – in a perverse move – has decided that public broadcaster Danish Radio must start emphasising the ‘foundational role of Christianity in Danish society.’ Has the government gone mad, wanting to ape – or even surpass –the torrents of religious programming pumped out by the BBC? The notion that Danes need more Christianity, according to this report, has oozed out of the Danish Ministry of Culture…. Read more

October 12, 2018

In July this year Liverpool Echo journalist Josh Parry exposed ‘gay cure’ programmes carried out at the Mountain of Miracles and Fire Ministries in the city.  While the exposé focused on a single church within the MFM network, which has 90 branches in the UK, it revealed that the organisation advertises similar “deliverance” therapies on its global and national websites. So one has to ask what on earth was Amazon thinking when it agreed to allow MFM to join its… Read more

October 12, 2018

Marks and Spencer stands accused of ‘facilitating medievalism’ for offering kiddie-sized hijabs in black and dark blue on its on-line store. The remark was made by Muslim politician and radio broadcaster Maajid Nawaz, founder of the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank focusing on counter-extremism. According to The Daily Post he tweeted: @marksandspencer facilitates medievalism by selling children’s hijabs in the school-wear category. It’s their right to choose profit over values. But it’s our right to shame them for doing so…. Read more

October 11, 2018

Some days it’s hard not to laugh out loud while trawling the Internet for stories of interest to Freethinker readers. Today was one – and concerns a fella called Zachary Burdick, above, who got himself arrested on a number of charges after he disrupted a Catholic Mass at on Tuesday at the Spirit of Life Church in Mandan. Around 75 people were attending the 9am Mass when Burdick walked in into the church and started to strip. Once naked, he… Read more

October 10, 2018

The UK’s Supreme Court has just ruled in favour of a pair of Northern Ireland bigots who, in 2014, refused to bake a ‘marriage equality cake’ for a gay couple. The BBC reports that the cost of the long-running case, involving evangelical Christian bakers Daniel and Amy McArthur, above, who own Ashers Bakery in Belfast, has so far totalled £450,000. The case was sparked by gay rights activist Gareth Lee. When Ashers refused to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex… Read more

October 10, 2018

Human Rights Watch has been keeping close tabs on the way people in Ghana who end up in ‘Prayer camps’ for real or perceived mental health conditions are being treated – and the result of their studies is horrifying. HRW says in this report that a year after the Ghanaian government pledged to enforce a ban on shackling, the practice is still continuing: Said Shantha Rau Barriga, HRW’s Disability Rights Director Hundreds of people with psychosocial disabilities are still shackled… Read more

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