Atheist Republic News Summary: New Study Examines Anti-Atheist Discriminat… Hadmin Atheist Republic

Read More Atheist Republic New Study Examines Anti-Atheist Discrimination in the Workplace
Location: USA
On March 4th, authors Kimberly Rios, Leah Halper, and Christopher Scheitle published an article titled, “Explaining anti-atheist discrimination in the workplace: The role of intergroup threat” in a journal by the American Psychological Association (APA). This study claims that people are more biased against atheists expressing their lack of belief versus theists expressing their beliefs, particularly in the workplace environment. Rios referred to atheists as “one of the most disliked groups in the United States,” as atheists are viewed less warmly in the US versus Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In the study’s conclusion, Rios and her team explained that the result of the three studies refers to atheists as being members of an “outgroup.” They stated that such discrimination might have something to do with the fact that Christians, Jews, and Muslims “fall under the broader umbrella of ‘religious,’ whereas atheists are a separate category altogether.”

Indian “God-Men” Arrested for Eating Human Flesh & Grave Robbing
Location: Tamil Nadu, India
On July 24th, a group of Saamidyas, or so-called “God-men”, were alleged to have eaten human flesh during an annual festival in the Sakthi Pothi Sudalai Madasamy Temple. A video of the festival shows a human head being skewered by a sword, with one of the Saamidya eating something. Fourteen individuals were questioned regarding the incident. Only eight people were arrested concerning the consumption of human flesh and alleged grave robbing. The arrest happened after the village administrator filed a complaint to the local authorities. Local authorities expressed that they’re planning to file charges under Section 297 of the Indian Penal Code and for breaching social distancing protocols. The Saamidyas claimed that they know nothing about any human remains, adding that they can’t recall if they were eating anything since they were in a trance the whole time. 

Jehovah’s Witnesses Jailed as Extremists for Practicing Their Religion
Location: Russia
On July 29th, three Jehovah’s Witnesses were sentenced to six years in prison in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia. They were charged with organizing schemes related to extremism. Two of them are father and son, Vilen (age 68) and Arsen (age 37) Avanesov. Arsen Avanesov received an additional charge for collecting donations to pay for a room that serves as their make-shift church. Arsen was charged with “financing extremist activities.” Both international and Russian-based human rights watchdogs, including religious organizations, are appalled by the Russian government’s actions. The former ambassador of the UK to Russia, Sir Andrew Wood, describes Russia’s extremist labels as having “no credible definition.”

International Criminal Court Charges Iranian National for 1988 Massacre
Location: Iran
On June 22nd, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in Sweden began the trial for an Iranian national. The unnamed defendant is suspected of playing a vital role in the series of political killings in 1988. The trial is slated to begin on August 10th. Many news agencies refer to the Iranian national as 60-year old Hamid Nouri. In the late 1980s, Nouri was the assistant to a deputy prosecutor in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, where many prisoners were subjected to torture and inhumane treatment. Nouri affirms that he is innocent of all the charges. In an interview with a local news agency in Sweden, Nouri’s lawyer, Lars Hultgren, insisted that Nouri is innocent, claiming that “they have taken the wrong guy.” Hultgren added that Nouri was in Sweden at that time to visit his family. The Office of the Prosecutor confirmed that Nouri’s charges were for his time as the assistant to the deputy prosecutor.

Biden to Nominate First Muslim Religious Freedom Ambassador
Location: USA
On July 30th, the Biden administration announced its intent to fill the leadership roles in the religious affairs committee. According to the White House, the positions will be under the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom within the U.S. Department of State. Rashad Hussain, an Indian-American Muslim, will be the first Muslim to hold the Ambassador-at-Large role in the U.S. International Religious Affairs Commission if the Senate approves his appointment. Hussain is a Hafiz (a person who memorized the Quran), and has held similar positions during the Obama administration. In 2010, he was the special envoy representing the U.S. to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. 

Catholic Church Misused Funds Intended for Residential School Survivors
Location: Canada
In 2005, the churches that ran and managed the residential schools on behalf of the Canadian government were poised to pay reparations to the indigenous survivors of the institutions. The Catholic Church remained elusive in fulfilling its legal and moral obligation. The Church decided that it would be administratively more manageable to respond to the court’s demand for reparations by creating a corporate entity. A total of 47 different Catholic churches came together to make the Corporate Catholic Defendants. The purpose was to handle the delivery of $29 million in cash reparations, $25 million in “in-kind” services, and another $25 million in cash from fundraisers to the organizations working with residential school survivors. A 53-page summary from the court records was prepared by Anne McConville and Alexander Gay, both Federal lawyers. The summary insisted that the Catholic church “has breached its obligations in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.” The Catholic Church purposely used the money for the residential school survivors to spend beyond their intended allocation. A total of $5 million were spent on legal and administrative fees, with a separate $8 million deducted for legal fees even before the 2005 ruling.

China & Tibet Fight to Control the Dalai Lama’s Next Reincarnation
Location: Tibet
On July 6th, the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, turned 86. As the Dalai Lama grows older, the political pressure surrounding his succession has mounted. He will either name a successor or leave the world behind, especially Tibet, more vulnerable to China’s aggression. The fight for the next Dalai Lama has expanded far beyond the spiritual boundaries of Buddhism. It has evolved from a mere religious tradition to a global geopolitical struggle, with powerful nations competing for control over the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. The US and India have been working together, creating a surveillance network around Tenzin Gyatso. In 2020, the US updated its policies on Tibet, announcing that Tibet can select the next Dalai Lama without interference from other nations. Beijing vehemently opposed this move from the US.

“GodTribe”: New Digital Platform to Protect Men from Being called Racist
Location: USA
On July 22nd, in an episode of TruNews, a far-right news program, Pastor Rick Wiles announced his plans of producing a new social media platform. He calls his new platform “GodTribe,” describing it as a “social media educational, digital platform.” The goal of the latest social media platform is to provide a safe refuge for young men, protecting them from being labeled as “feminine” and from being criticized as racists. Wiles said that in his time, people did not have to ask what their gender is, “it’s very obvious… okay?” Aside from his anti-LGBTQ tirade, he also mentioned “Antichrist forces” that have been undermining American society, calling GodTribe the “antidote.”

Christian Designer Who Won’t Make Same-Sex Wedding Websites Loses Case
Location: USA
On July 26th, the U.S. Court of Appeals held the lower court’s decision to deny a web designer’s petition to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado. The owner of a web designing business, Lorie Smith, contested the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) by filing suit, alleging that it is her right to deny LGBTQ+ couples service to design a wedding website for them. She stated that she is “willing to work with all people regardless of sexual orientation,” but she adds that her religious beliefs compel her to exclude anything to do with same-sex weddings. Denver’s Court of Appeals rejected Smith’s request for a pre-enforcement ruling allowing her to provide services that hinge on a client’s identity as she prepares to broaden her business by offering websites detailing nuptial celebrations. Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm exclusive to cases of religious freedom, argues that Smith’s Christian beliefs would be violated if her business is forced to comply with existing anti-discrimination laws.

10 years of Atheist Republic on Facebook & Twitter! 

On July 19th and July 20th, Atheist Republic celebrated ten years on Facebook and Twitter, respectively. Since then, our page and community have grown to become the biggest international community of atheists and non-believers in the world! With nearly 2.5 million members on Facebook and over 133,000 followers on Twitter, Atheist Republic is the largest atheist-centered account on both platforms. Our community now includes over 150 local groups (called “consulates”) across 72 countries, helping atheists to find like-minded individuals in their area. Here’s to ten more years of providing a community for atheists to express their non-belief, fighting for global secularism, & promoting free expression!