Read More Atheist Republic Pastor Calls to Turn Small Town into Christian Theocracy
The Guardian recently published an article detailing their lengthy investigation into an ultra-conservative evangelical church in Moscow, Idaho. According to the report, the Church’s leadership has openly announced their desire to establish a theocracy. Douglas Wilson, the controversial lead pastor of Christ Church, intends to “make Moscow a Christian town through faithful and robust covenant renewal.” The Guardian report claims that the Church gains power by criticising public officials over public health mandates, accumulating land and businesses, and building institutions in parallel to the local secular government. Despite Christ Church’s activities being limited to Moscow, Idaho, its umbrella organization is slowly seeping its way to mainstream politics. Wilson also drops dangerous messages in his blogs and online ministries; often comparing lawful public health ordinances to enslavement and saying “we are not yet in a hot civil war, with shooting and all…But we are in a cold war/civil war.”
Muslim NBA Player Enes Kanter Calls Out China on Uyghur Genocide
During the game against the Charlotte Hornets on October 25th, the Boston Celtic’s player, Enes Kanter, blasted Nike over its use of Chinese labor, specifically Uyghur slave labor. Kanter is one of the most promient Muslim NBA players in the league. He wore personalized shoes with the phrases “Made with slave labor,” “Modern-day slaves,” “No more excuses,” and “Hypocrite Nike” painted visibly on the sides. In a Twitter video, he addressed Nike directly, highlighting that the company has been very keen to talk about racial injustices in the US but has remained silent with China’s treatment of their Muslim minority ethnic groups such as the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Tajiks. Nike has not released any official statement in response to Kanter’s video. On the other hand, China banned all broadcasts of any Boston Celtics games while keeping other NBA broadcasts available.
Pakistani Minister Claims Cricket Win is “Victory for Islam”
On October 25th, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the interior minister of Pakistan, made a bizarre claim in a video posted on Twitter after Pakistan had won a cricket match against India. In the video, he is seen to claim that “Pakistan’s triumph against India is a victory of Islam,” and that “All Muslims throughout the world are rejoicing.” Many were quick to criticize the minister’s response over a sports victory. The minister’s statement has caused added tension and animosity towards the Hindu minority in Pakistan. This statement quickly went viral and caused a significant storm on Twitter. Many were pick to point out that they didn’t realize that India’s many cricket wins over Pakistan were in fact “victories for Hinduism” all along.
Rally Protesting Against Anti-Hindu Violence Results in Vandalized Mosque
In late October, shops, homes, and mosques were attacked during a rally in the small Indian state of Tripura. The incident happened during a protest held by Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a right-wing Hindu-nationalist organization, that was supposed to be a response to the egregious violence committed against Hindus in neighboring Bangladesh during the Durga Puja festival earlier that month. The scenes in Tripura are shockingly similar to the violence in Bangladesh that the mob was protesting against. According to the police inspector-general, the damaged shops and houses reportedly belong to families from the local Muslim minority community. Online coverage of the protests and violence in Tripura is trending on Twitter with the hashtag #TripuraMuslimsUnderAttack. Shekhar Datta, a loca journalist, claimed that specific individuals wanted to use the recent events in Bangladesh as an excuse to attack Muslim minorities in India.
Indian Gym Trainer Shot By In-Laws Over Interfaith Marriage
On October 30th, a 26-year-old Hindu gym trainer, Deva Chand, was shot in the head in Model Town, a neighborhood in Northwest Delhi. Chand was shot by his brother-in-law, Shahnawaz (21), and Hrithik (20), both of whom are Muslim. Shahnawaz confessed to the shooting and explained that he was “upset and angry” at his sister’s marriage to someone with a different religion. Both suspects were charged with attempted murder. The couple has known each other since they were teenagers and were married this past July, against their families’ approval. The victim’s family also insisted on proceeding with the charges. “I know he was upset, but I never expected this would happen,” Deva’s wife explained. She insisted that her brother should be punished for what he did, “Do what can be done. They mean nothing to me. I just want my husband to be okay.”According to the most recent reports, Deva is still in critical condition but is undergoing treatment.
Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn Fires Teacher For Being Gay
On October 13th, the Diocese of Brooklyn fired Matthew LaBanca from his position as the music director of the Corpus Christi Church parish in Queens, New York, where he had worked for 16 years. LaBanca is a life-long Catholic, and he had recently married his partner on August 1st. After his wedding, LaBanca learned that a group of church leaders discussed ways to qualify his roles as a minister within the church, even though his roles “did not involve religious education or preaching.” Matthew was ostensibly fired because he “did not comply with church teachings,” a requirement for being a minister. Federal and New York state laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. However, religious institutions are allowed various exemptions to the laws, specifically in regards to who can fulfill the role of minster. A $20,000 severance package was offered to LaBanca in exchange for signing a confidentiality agreement that would prohibit him from publicly addressing his dismissal. LaBanca denied the offer and instead chose to publicize his termination in hopes of raising awareness about these legal loopholes that allow discrimination to continue in the name of faith.
New Study Reveals Most Americans Support Separation of Church & State
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in March 2021 showed that most adult Americans support the separation of church and state. 69% of the respondents agreed that the federal government should never declare any state religion. At the same time, 67% agreed that the US Constitution was written by humans and reflected their vision, not necessarily God’s vision. The study demonstrates that 58% of Republicans agree that the federal government should not favor a state religion. 80% of Democrats agree with the same statement. On the other hand, 26% of Republicans and 6% of Democrats prefer having a state religion. The March 2021 study also recognized White Evangelical Christians to be the most supportive of the integration of church and state.
Coffee Shop on Church Grounds Deemed “Blasphemy!”
Location: Phibsborough, Ireland
On October 21st, in an episode of the radio show Liveline, an upset caller complained about a “blasphemous” mobile coffee shop set up on local church grounds. According to the show, the coffee shop trailer was set up inside the railings of the St. Peter’s Church in Phibsborough, Ireland. The show’s host, Joe Duffy, also read an email addressed to the St. Peter’s Church from an upset parishioner. “The scriptures are clear in this matter,” the email stated, adding,”‘Do not turn my father’s house into a marketplace.'” Another upset caller agreed, saying, “… it’s sacrilege to the typical Catholic, you don’t have to be a theologian to know it.” She added, “It is pure blasphemy… it’s as simple as that.” The owner of the coffee shop also responded, adding that the parish invited him and that his shop helps finance the church’s maintenance.
Afghanistan’s (Actual) Last Jew Flees Country
Zebulon Simentov was internationally known for years as only the remaining Jewish person in Afghanistan. After refusing to leave the country for decades, he was forced to leave in late September. The Associated Press (AP) reported that Simentov’s famed claim as the last Jew in Afghanistan might not have been what it seemed. 83-year-old Tova Moradi, Simentov’s distant cousin, was technically the last Jew in Afghanistan. AP reported that Moradi left Afghanistan in the third week of October, weeks after Simentov’s departure. Moradi has an interesting background; she married a Muslim man at age 16 after running away from her family, but never converted, and continued to observe Jewish practice. IsraAid, a non-governmental humanitarian organization based in Israel, helped Moradi and her descendants escape from Afghanistan.
Fundraising Success Against Hindutva!
The Atheist Republic team recently celebrated a significant milestone: the fundraiser for our legal expenses for our fight against censorship in India was successfully completed! The team recently talked about what that means for the organization, how the recent developments in the Delhi High Court will likely cause our legal expenses to rise again, and discussed what we could use any extra donations for if all other costs are covered. Given that the actions taken against us in India are done to prohibit our access to atheist communities in the country, we have decided that any additional funding that we receive will go towards reaching back into India by running Google ads in the Indian market. Hindu-nationalists want outspoken atheists to be silenced, but we want to hit back! Consider contributing to our fundraiser to help us begin this campaign: https://gofund.me/aa646789
Read More Atheist Republic Pastor Calls to Turn Small Town into Christian Theocracy