Read More Atheist Republic “Blasphemous” Lesbian Nun Movie Protested by Catholics
Protesters showed up to the screening of the film Benedetta on Sept. 26th, at the 59th New York Film Festival premiere of the film. The film reveals the life of a 17th-century Tuscanny nun, Benedetta Carlini, who claimed to have visions of Christ and had sexual relations with another nun. Armed with megaphones, banners, and placards, members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property branded Benedetta as a “blasphemous lesbian movie.” Christian Blauvelt, Managing Editor of IndieWire, said that the protestors are upset about the film’s portrayal of nuns and Catholicism. The New York Film Festival calls the film a “delirious, erotic, and violent melodrama, told with a boundless spirit for scandal, and unabashedly courts blasphemy as it unfolds its tale of religious hypocrisy.”
Italian Catholic Priest Stole Church Money & Hosted Orgies
The Italian “pusher priest,” Father Francesco Spagnesi, was recently arrested on September 14th. Spagnesi is currently under house arrest pending investigation of the plethora of drug-related offenses with which he has been charged. Speaking through his attorneys, Spagnesi expressed remorse for his actions, claiming “the cocaine vortex has swallowed me.” Aside from the drug-trafficking charges, the police are also investigating Spagnesi for not disclosing to his partners that he is HIV-positive. The priest claimed that he is taking antiretroviral medications and has been using protection during intercourse. Spagnesi hosted regular drug-fueled sex orgies, and at least 15 witnesses refuted his claims. According to police, at least 20 regular attendees of the priest’s ‘parties’ tested positive for HIV. He and his accomplice allegedly used a gay dating app to invite participants to their parties. Suspicions began when Spagnesi withdrew about $117,000 from the parish’s bank account, which prompted the bishop of the Diocese of Prato to remove his access from the parish’s finances.
Taliban Official Announces Executions & Cutting of Hands Will Return
During an interview with the Associated Press on September 22nd, a Taliban founder Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, announced that the Taliban would reinstate executions and amputations of hands. Turabi rebuffs the criticisms against the Taliban’s previous implementations of Sharia law, which included executions in stadiums and public squares. He told AP, “Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments.” He added, “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam, and we will make our laws on the Quran.” During the Taliban’s previous administration, Turabi was the Justice Minister and the head of the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. He is now in charge of Afghanistan’s prisons and the inmates within. Turabi insisted that amputation is an effective deterrent against crimes.
Scientology Linked Orgs Declared Threat to the Security of Russia
On September 24th, the Prosecutor General of Russia declared that Scientology linked organizations, such as the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises International and Church of Spiritual Technology, are threats to the “security of the Russian Federation.” The announcement will be ratified by the Ministry of Justice, leading to these organizations becoming labeled as an “undesirable” foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO). Under the newly expanded laws, if organizations become categorized as “undesirable,” this means any “NGOs that provide services or transfer money to NGOs that have the status of an undesirable” will also become undesirable, making them virtually untouchable. It is possible that this action is a prequel to the total ban of Scientology from Russia.
Influential Egyptian Author Supports Removal of Religion from ID cards
Egypt’s former Culture Minister, Gaber Asfour, has voiced his support in removing the religious identity section from the country’s national identification cards. Responding to a question on a public opinion program, Asfour stated, “We are not in the time of the Taliban.” Asfour, a professor at Cairo University since 1966, is considered an influential author in Egypt. The 77-year-old has published multiple books criticizing religious fanaticism. In a recent interview, he continued to urge Egyptians to “look outside.” He cited, as an example, that international forms of identification like passports do not specify if you are a Muslim Egyptian or a Christian Egyptian, adding, “no one abroad (will) ask you.” The debate began when photos of a national ID and a passport with no section for religion were circulated online.
New Taliban Order: No Shaving, Trimming of Beards
The Taliban ordered all barbers in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan to stop cutting hairs, trimming, or shaving off beards on September 27th. The Taliban claims that their new order is in line with Sharia law. Despite promises of an inclusive government and better living conditions, the Taliban’s new order is reminiscent of their hardline enforcement of Sharia Law during their last reign. Businessmen, especially those who own barbershops, are imploring the Taliban to reconsider. The new order severely affects their businesses as very few clients are showing up because they are scared of being penalized.
Atheist “Sunday Assembly” Face Challenges Amidst Pandemic
Location: United Kingdom & United States
In 2013, two British comedians “wanted to do something that was like church but totally secular.” That year, the first “Sunday Assembly,” took place and eventually expanded to about 70 independent congregations across the United Kingdom and United States. Since the pandemic hit, more than half have gone dormant or completely closed. Many leaders of Sunday Assemblies interviewed by Religion News Service spoke of the difficulty of organizing a secular community; they needed to raise money, set up events, look for a venue for the events, organize groups, and do other administrative tasks. All of these tasks became more difficult when the pandemic began. Ben Zeller, a professor of religion at Lake Forest College in Chicago, said that new religious groups face the same challenge as the Sunday Assembly. Zeller further explained that it is easier for religious people to start because of the sense of urgency built into their group. “It’s easier to organize if you think your founder is the messiah,” Zeller said.
American Pastor Claims Jesus Will Return Faster if People Donate More
In one of the episodes of a 4-day “Victorython,” an annual fundraising event, Pastor Jesse Duplantis claimed that Jesus had not returned yet, because people were not donating enough. “Jesus hasn’t come because people are not giving the way God told them to give,” he said. In the same segment, Duplantis also emphasized his status as a multi-millionaire and owner of a jet, adding “They say, ‘do you own a jet?’ Yes! You can have it the day after the Rapture!” The ring-wing Evangelical pastor is not a stranger to controversy. The 72-year old preacher from New Orleans has been known to dupe his followers into financing his lavish lifestyle. In 2018, he made national headlines for asking his followers to donate for his $54 million private jet that will let him “get this gospel preached to the world.”
First Gay Pastor Installed at the First Baptist Church of Madison, WI
Location: Madison, WI
On September 19th, the First Baptist Church of Madison, Wisconsin, announced the welcoming of its first openly gay pastor. Reverend Tim Schaefer expressed his joy during his installation service, calling it “incredibly moving.” Schaefer served at the Church in Madison for ten months before his formal introduction. The church’s website voices support for progressive policies, notably citing their support of the Civil Rights movement and accepting Japanese congregants during World War II. Rev. Tim Schaefer’s father, Rev. Frank Schaefer, was present and provided a sermon for the installation. Rev. Frank Schaefer was temporarily deposed from the United Methodist Church for performing same-sex marriages, including marrying his son.
Campaign for Atheist Iranian Prisoner, Oct 3rd declared “International Soheil Day”
Atheist Republic, alongside over 130 individuals and organizations is declaring October 3rd International Soheil Day! Soheil Arabi is an Iranian blogger who was sentenced to death in 2013 on charges of insulting the Prophet Mohammad in his postings on Facebook. The success of previous public pressure was demonstrated in the commutation of his death sentence in 2015. Soheil has recently been sentenced to an additional 2 years imprisonment for ‘spreading propaganda with the intention of disturbing public opinion,’ because of his outspoken advocacy for atheism and prisoner rights. You can join by sharing your messages and images of solidarity on social media and using the hashtags #FreeSoheil and #SoheilArabi, as well as sending a message to your local Iranian embassy.
Read More Atheist Republic “Blasphemous” Lesbian Nun Movie Protested by Catholics