January 17, 2020

WHEN Harrison Mumia, above, President of the Atheists in Kenya Society, learned that a high-scoring student might have to stop attending school because his mother could not afford the fees for his secondary school education, his organisation came to the rescue. The response of Idriss Saidi Lutta mother was “God is real” when she learned that the money she needed for his school fees – around $525 – had been donated. To be fair, Lillian Ayabei wasn’t aware at first… Read more

January 17, 2020

TEN members of a Christian sect  known as The New Light of God were arrested this week after seven members of the Ngabé Buglé indigenous group – mostly children – were killed in a religious ritual by about ten lay preachers. They had been tortured, beaten with  Bibles and wooden cudgels, burned and hacked with machetes to make them ‘repent their sins.’ According to the Guardian, 14 members of the Ngabé Buglé – held captive by the preachers – were… Read more

January 16, 2020

IF pastor John Gray, who heads South Carolina’s Relentless Church has one talent it’s to get himself into all kinds of pickles. Gray, who is facing eviction from the church, is now being sued by former employee, Travis Hayes, who alleged in a lawsuit this week that Gray has refused to pay him thousands of dollars in wages earned before he resigned. Hayes, inset above, who resigned last December 5, claimed in the lawsuit filed in Greenville County that Relentless Church… Read more

January 15, 2020

AFTER a picture was posted on social media showing Kayla Kenney celebrating her 15th birthday with a ‘rainbow’ cake, faith-based Whitefield Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, decided that the photo demonstrated ‘a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs’ – and last week it expelled the girl. The girl’s mother, Kimberly Alford, above, who posted the picture on her Facebook page, then received an email from the private academy’s head, Bruce Jacobson, explaining that her daughter was… Read more

January 14, 2020

IN November I carried a piece about a friend – Cliff  James, above – who was just about to publish a book in which he wrote about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes, then Gloucester, who was jailed for 32 months for preying on young men.    James, author of Life As A Kite, subsequently informed me that he was to be featured in a BBC2 two-part documentary entitled Exposed: The… Read more

January 13, 2020

DOMINATING religious and secular media outlets today is the ‘shocking’ news that Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has co-authored a book in which he insists that priestly celibacy must be retained by the Catholic Church. Joshua J McElwee, writing for the National Catholic Reporter, says of the book – From the Depths of Our Hearts (Des profondeurs de nos cœurs): Although the volume is yet to be seen in full, it appears to signify something as yet unexperienced in the two… Read more

January 12, 2020

THE brouhaha in Brazil over Netflix’s The First Temptation of Christ took a new turn on Thursday when the Supreme Court has overturned a ruling the previous day against the streaming service. Netflix was ordered to remove the Christmas special that depicted Jesus as gay by judge in Rio de Janeiro who said in effect that he’d acted to unruffle the feathers of hordes of outraged Christians, more than 192,000 of whom have signed a petition demanding the film’s ban…. Read more

January 11, 2020

THE birth on January 11, 1850, of British atheist George William Foote – founder of the Freethinker – means a lot to me personally. When I was  just 16, growing up in South Africa, an atheist neighbour, the father of my best friend, gave me my first copy of the Freethinker, and I was so impressed that, whenever a new issue came out, it was handed to me by Colin McKenzie, who warned me that, by possessing copies, I was… Read more

January 11, 2020

CHICAGO-based Rev Clarence Smith has been indicted on charges alleging he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a federal programme intended to feed needy children. It’s alleged that Smith, of the New Life Impact Church, spent the money on a $142,000 Bentley luxury vehicle and other personal expenses, which may well have included fitness training that brought his weight down from 430 pounds  to under 220. It’s not the first time that Smith, 45, has been accused of financial… Read more

January 10, 2020

LAST  June, the forever-outraged Calvin Freiburger of LifeSiteNews had conniptions when American pop singer and LGBT rights advocate Taylor Swift released a video that depicted ‘those who hold a Christian view of homosexuality and a bilogical [sic] view of sex as angry, dim-witted rednecks.’ Freiburger complained that the video – “You need to calm down” – features: Caricatures of anti-LGBT protesters as screaming rednecks with cartoonish hair and tattered clothes, bearing signs such as ‘homosexuality is sin’ and a misspelled… Read more

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