Read More Atheist Republic The WORST Take on Russia/Ukraine? Famed Televangelist Predicts ‘End Times’
On February 28th, Pat Robertson, a well-known American televangelist announced that Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, is invading Ukraine because he was “compelled by God.” Robertson came out of retirement to make this announcement during a “special appearance” of The 700 Club, a regular program on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Robertson began by reading Ezekiel 38:1-6 followed by enumerating specific countries on the map, supposedly the actual direction of Putin’s campaign. He stated “He [Putin] went into Ukraine, but that wasn’t his goal …His goal was to move against Israel, ultimately.” He added “Putin and Turkish President Erdoğan’s troops will one day work together to make up a tremendous Biblical army in the latter days.” This is not the first time Robertson made such futile predictions. In 1982, he predicted a devastating tsunami to hit the Northern US in 2006 and claimed that an asteroid would destroy Earth in 2020. Alongside Robertson, another evangelist, Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship, also used the invasion of Ukraine to fuel his Bible-driven conspiracy theory.
Iranian Ambassador to UK Fired For Allowing Unveiled Women at Embassy Event
Recently, Mohsen Baharvand, Tehran’s ambassador to London, hosted an event celebrating the 43rd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An attendee of the London event secretly took video footage that showed several women not wearing a headscarf at this government event, an act that is illegal back in Iran where compulsory hijab is enforced. This video quickly caused outrage in pro-regime Iranian social media circles. After state-controlled media picked up the video, a Basij student union wrote to the current Iranian foreign minister to reprimand “those responsible for this breach of their revolutionary principles.” Baharvand was later sacked from his position for breaking the norms and not enforcing women to wear the Hijab. Fars News, a news agency directly controlled by the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said the event is not in check with “the values of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.” They called Baharvand’s event an insult.
Couple Opens Lawsuit After They were Denied Adoption For Being Jewish
On January 19th, Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram, a couple from Tennessee, sued the Department of Children’s Services after Holston United Methodist Home for Children refused to facilitate their adoption because of their Jewish faith. The Times of Israel stated that when representatives of the adoption agency visited the couple’s house, they did not “conceal the mezuzah on their door.” Later in an email, they were notified that it was against agency policy to place a child in a non-Christian home. Elizabeth said “It was very hurtful that the agency seemed to think that a child would be better off in state custody than with a loving family like us.” The adoption agency insisted that discriminating against this couple on the basis of religion protected by their right to religious freedom, despite being funded by taxpayer money. The lawsuit is the first to challenge Tennessee’s backward adoption law passed in 2020, which allows religious state-funded adoption agencies to discriminate on religion and sexual orientation.
Egypt Proposes Law That Would Ban Journalists From Talking About Religion
On February 20th, Tarek Radwan, head of the Human Rights Committee of the Egyptian Parliament, proposed a law which bans “non-specialist” journalists from discussing religion. The proposal is a response to journalist Ibrahim Issa’s recent controverisal statements that dismissed the Islamic story of Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to heaven as “delusional.” Egypt’s Prosecutor General also investigated Issa for possible blasphemy charges. The proposed law intends to avoid “chaos in the society” by limiting or stopping the discussion of religion and religious topics in broadcast media. Radwan’s proposed law is an addition to the legislative gymnastics performed by Egypt’s conservative Islamic regime to advance its agenda of restricting freedom of speech. In 2021, 31 United Nations (UN) members signed a joint declaration condemning Egypt’s “restrictions on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, the constrained space for civil society and political opposition.”
New Studies Show Iranian Men Are Moving Away From “Honor-Culture” Attitudes
Two studies recently published by Al-Zahra University in Tehran and Ferdowsi University of Mashad showed that Iranian men, especially in the younger generations, increasingly support women’s rights and oppose violence against women. The study from Al-Zahra University was conducted on 400 male students enrolled in the academic year of 2020-2022, and revealed that most participants “had a negative attitude towards violence against women.” The authors of the paper showed that the perceived qualities of significant others, traditional attitude towards women, perceived rewards, and traditional marital role expectations have the most significant impact on the attitude towards violence against women. In the qualitative study from Ferdowsi University, several participants openly “attacked the strictly religious and traditional laws constraining free, consent-based relationships between men and women,” IranWire, reported. Other responses ridiculed notions of traditional masculinity such as honor and “protective jealousy,” calling them “backward traits.”
Pandemic Lockdowns Lead to Rise in Female Genital Mutilation in Somaliland
In Somaliland, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cases increased during the pandemic lockdown. Safia Ibrahim, a “cutter” who performs the barbaric act of genital mutilation, has taken advantage of the lockdown. Knowing that girls will likely be home, Ibrahim has been going door-to-door during the pandemic, asking parents, “Have your daughters been cut?” In January 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement affirming the harm caused by FGM and its lack of medical benefits. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in 2021, due to the pandemic, “2 million more cases of FGM that could have otherwise been averted will occur over the next decade.” UNFPA estimated that “98% of women and girls, aged 15-49, have undergone some form of FGM” across Somalia and Somaliland. Edna Adan Ismail, Somaliland’s former first lady, gave a fiery speech during the February 6th International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. In contrast, Abdirizak Hussein Ali Albani, the Minister of the Religious Affairs of Somaliland, supports a milder version of FGM.
France Bans Two Palestine Solidarity Groups
On February 24th, Gerald Darmanin, France’s Minister of the Interior tweeted that he would disband two Palestinian advocacy groups, Collectif Palestine Vaincra (Palestine Will Win) and Comité Palestine Action (Palestine Action Committee). The decision was made after Emmanuel Macron, the French president, ordered Darmanin to dismantle the groups for allegedly promoting hatred against Israel. Darmanin said thatCollectif Palestine Viancra was accused of being connected to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group outlawed in Israel. Comité Palestine Action (Palestine Action Committee) claims that they aim towards “the realization of the national rights of the Palestinian people.” The French government accused them of allegedly “relaying statements from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine and Hezbollah and reporting on their actions.” Tom Martin, a spokesman for Collectif Palestine Vaincra, condemned Darmanin’s decision and stated “We condemn this announcement in the strongest terms and are preparing a legal and political response.”
St. Patricks Day Parade Bans LGBT People From Marching
Location: Staten Island, New York
This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Staten Island is opposing participation of the LGBTQ community. The application form states, in all caps, that “THIS PARADE IS NOT TO BE USED FOR AND WILL NOT ALLOW POLITICAL OR SEXUAL IDENTIFICATION AGENDAS TO BE PROMOTED.” The application form also states that groups that “do not stand, in any way, in opposition to, or contradict, the Teachings and Tenets of the Catholic Church” are the only ones allowed to join the parade. St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day corresponding with the death anniversary of St. Patrick, a Catholic missionary and bishop who became recognized as the patron saint of Ireland. This day is celebrated with religious services and feasts in Ireland. However, Irish immigrants in America turned it “into a largely secular holiday of revelry and celebration of things Irish.” Every year, the LGBTQ community & its supporters struggle for approval in participating in the parade in Staten Island. A similar ban was lifted from Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but Staten Island remained obstinate. The outright discrimination has caused politicians, such as New York City mayor Eric Adams, to boycott the parade.
Seth Andrews Banned From Facebook!
Seth Andrews, the creator and host of The Thinking Atheist podcast and online community, has been falsely accused by Facebook (Meta) of misinformation and hate-speech. He had been critiquing problematic posts by religious fundamentalists and people pushing anti-science claims. Initially, his account was banned for a post that satirized COVID misinformation and also correctly pointing out that humans are animals, which Facebook interpreted as dehumanizing. Recently, he shared a post from “The Friendly Atheist” Hemant Mehta that condemned a Texas pastor who held to biblical law and claimed that “homosexuals deserve to be executed.” Facebook decided to ban Seth’s account for 30 days for “hate speech,” despite this being a clear instance of opposing bigotry. At first, Facebook decided to lift the ban after Seth appealed, but within a few days, his account was restricted and banned again, for the same post! You can help Seth Andrews get his account back by going to social media and making a respectful post drawing attention to the issue and tagging Facebook’s parent company Meta.
Read More Atheist Republic The WORST Take on Russia/Ukraine? Famed Televangelist Predicts ‘End Times’