Read More Atheist Republic Nutjob Pastor Goes on a Literal Witch-Hunt
On February 13th, during the end of the service, the Global Vision Bible Church’s pastor, Rev. Greg Locke, began telling his church about the witches amongst them. He shared his “conversation with a demon” who disclosed to him the names of the six witches in his church. “We got the first and last names of six witches that are in our church,” Locke proclaimed. He explained that the demon who gave him the names of the witches was from an exorcism he performed on a new member. He then continued to recount his conversation with the demon, complete with grungy voice-switching. He warned the church members that if they did anything objectionable, he would expose the names. The Reverend assured his congregants that he was being truthful by swearing on the Bible. Locke is nationally infamous for his conservative, homophobic, and dangerously conspiratorial sermons.
Pakistani Hindu Teacher Sentenced to Life In Prison For Blasphemy
On February 8th, Nautan Lal, a Hindu college teacher in the Sindh province, southern Pakistan, received a life sentence for blasphemy. The court order also included a fine of 50,000 rupees or close to $300. He has been in jail for more than two years, since his arrest in September 2019, after his request for bail was denied twice. A video of a secondary-level student claiming that he saw the teacher commit blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad had gone viral. After watching the video, Jamaat-e-ahle Sunnat, a Muslim religious organization in Pakistan, and Mufti Abdul Karim, a local cleric, filed a report against him. Local Muslim groups pressured the court to impose life imprisonment for Lal. Lal’s cousin told Radio Free Europe that other than the one student’s claim, there was no other eyewitness account.
Christian “Revival” at High School Sparks Student Protest for Secularism
Location: West Virginia
On February 9th, more than one hundred students of West Virginia’s Huntington High School protested after many students were forced to attend a Christian revival assembly during school hours. The students were told that their participation in the assembly was compulsory. During the walk out, the students chanted “separate the church and state” and “my faith, my choice.” According to Jedd Flowers, a spokesperson for the Cabell County Schools, the Christian event was supposed to be voluntary, but a few teachers allegedly thought it was compulsory. Bethany Felinton, a parent of one of the students, said her Jewish son tried asking permission to leave, but was told he couldn’t go because the classrooms were locked. At the assembly the students were also told that those who do not follow the Bible would go to Hell. Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), sent a letter to Cabell County School District stating that it’s inappropriate and unconstitutional for the District to proselytize students during school hours on school property. The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia stated that these activities are a violation of students’ civil rights.
Mob Lynches “Mentally Disabled” Pakistani Man for Alleged Burning of Quran
On February 12th, Muhammad Mushtaq, a 41-year- old man, was killed by an angry mob in the Khanewal District of Pakistan. According to the Associated Press, Mian Mohammad Ramzan, the mosque custodian, told people that he saw Mushtaq burning a page of the Quran. Triggered by the accusation, people started to attack and assault Mushtaq. Mohammad Iqbal, a police officer, and two subordinates, tried taking custody of Mushtaq for the alleged blasphemous act, but the crowd began throwing stones at them as well. By the time the reinforcements arrived, Mushtaq was already dead. Munawar Hussain, a police official, said “The villagers armed with batons, axes, and iron rods killed him and hanged his body from a tree.” According to Munawar Gujjar, chief of Tulamba police station, Mushtaq has been mentally unstable for the last 15 years and, according to his family, often went missing from home. Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, said he is shocked by the incident and will work with the chief minister of the Punjab province to get a report on the case.
Arizona Priest Discovers He Messed Up Baptisms for 20+ Years!
In an evolving scandal, on February 1st, a Catholic priest, Rev. Andres Arango of Arizona, resigned after discovering that the baptisms he had administered for over 20 years were considered invalid. Arango has been using the phrase “we baptize you…” instead of “I baptize you…” during the baptism rites he performed. Katie Burke, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, explained that baptism is invalid because of this single incorrect word. According to the diocese, an invalid baptism also invalidates all ensuing sacraments, such as Confirmation and marriage. In June 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Vatican issued a doctrinal note prohibiting anyone “even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.” Arango’s mistakes were brought to the diocese’s attention after a layperson, who was aware of the doctrinal note, noticed the error in his performance of a baptism. Arango remains an ordained priest in good standing, and has vowed to help everyone affected by his mistake.
Pakistani Court Acquits Man Who “Honor-Killed” His Own Sister
Pakistani citizens expressed their shock and dismay on social media in reaction to the recent news that the killer of a beloved social media star may soon be released from prison. Muhammed Waseem, a Pakistani man, murdered his sister, Qandeel Baloch, in 2016, resulting in him being sentenced to life in prison. Qandeel was known as the “Kim Kardashian of Pakistan” as she lived by her own terms and stood against the patriarchal nature of Pakistan. Waseem said he murdered his sister because of her “intolerable behavior,” and the dishonor she brought to the family. Recently, Waseem’s parents appealed to Pakistan’s court for his release. Pakistan’s Islamic laws allow pardon for a convicted murderer if the victim’s family forgives the perpetrator. Women’s rights advocates and activists in Pakistan are distraught over the impending acquittal. In the same year of the murder, Pakistani lawmakers passed a law intended to close the loophole that allows perpetrators to bypass penalties. The court, however, pointed out that the “Anti-Honor Killing Laws” were passed months after Baloch’s murder and, therefore, can not be retroactively applied to her case. Waseem’s expected release date has not yet been made public.
Hard-line Hindu Gangs Harass Couples on Valentine’s Day
For years, hard-right Hindu gangs have become infamous in India for patrolling the streets and harassing and assaulting couples seen in public on Valentine’s Day, sometimes even forcing them to get married. This year was no exception. On February 14th, group members of Bajrang Dal were booked for allegedly harassing couples in public places. Sudhir Kumar Singh, a police officer from Agra’s police department, said a first information report (FIR) was filed against the members for harassment. According to local news, the group was against Valentine’s Day celebration and stopped couples from observing it. Avtar Singh Gill, a member of Bajrang Dal, said “This is a western culture which is flourishing in India, but it will not be allowed to flourish here.”Another member of Bajrang Dal claimed that Valentine’s Day is “forcibly imposed” on India by multinational companies. The group demanded that the Telangana state government declare February 14th as Amar Jawan Diwas (Our Soldier Day), referring to India’s 1971 victory against Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan war.
Indonesian Muslim Groups Demand That Holocaust Exhibition Be Closed
On January 27th, the exhibit, “Shoah: How is it Humanly Possible?” was launched at a Holocaust museum in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province. Since the opening, the exhibition has been causing an outcry from conservative Muslims and Islamic scholar groups. Sudarnoto Abdul Hakim, head of foreign relations and international cooperation of the country’s Indonesian Ulema Council, demanded that the exhibition and museum be closed. Many Muslims and religious groups fear that the museum is an initiation of the Indonesian government’s plan to strengthen and normalize diplomatic ties with Israel. The exhibit is hosted at Shaar HaShamayim, Indonesia’s lone synagogue. Yaakov Baruch, rabbi of the Shaar HaShamayim, said he built the museum to educate Indonesians on the dangers of antisemitism and hate crimes.
India’s First Blockchain Marriage
Recently, an Indian couple, got married through a blockchain wedding, marking the first digital wedding in India. The couple immortalized their vows using a smart contract on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain the same day of their civil marriage in court. Anoop Pakki, a “digital priest, ” officiated the couple’s digital wedding. Pakki minted the couple’s non-fungible token (NFT) that contained an image of the bride’s hands wearing her engagement and wedding rings and the text of their marital vows. The couple’s NFT was minted on the OpenSea platform, currently the largest NFT marketplace. The husband, Narasipuram said, “We read out the vows, and after receiving the blessings of our digital priest, I transferred the NFT to my wife’s digital wallet,” similar to the groom putting the ring on his bride. The groom stated that the wedding’s transaction is “a permanent, immutable and public record of our commitment to each other on the ETH blockchain.”
Amazing Success of Hindu Goddess NFT Launch!
Read More Atheist Republic Nutjob Pastor Goes on a Literal Witch-Hunt