1. Christian Nurses Who Won’t Perform Abortions Lose Lawsuit in European Court
2. Islamic scholar who said coronavirus was Allah’s punishment tests positive
3. Australian Pastor: The “Blood of Jesus” Will Protect My Church from Coronavirus
4. Homophobic hate group wants Trump to ‘Make the Family Great Again’ by rolling back LGBT+ rights
5. Teacher banned from schools after describing Islam as a 'vile religion'
Location: Clevedon, England
6. Ghana’s chief imam uses his coronavirus address to the nation to call gay people ‘demonic’. Yes, really
7. Muslim students less likely to be awarded top class degrees
Location: United Kingdom
8. What Name Comes to Mind When You Think of Atheism? Many Americans Say… “Satan”
9. This evangelical homophobe claims gay people want to destroy the ‘natural family’. Now she’s getting a divorce
10. 'Dead Sea Scrolls fragments' at Museum of the Bible are all fakes, study says
Location: Washington DC
1. Two Christian nurses working in Sweden, who refused to perform abortions and were fired as a result, have lost their lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights. The ECHR declined to take up their case, which means an earlier decision will stand. The argument made by the women that they were being persecuted because of their Christian faith — was also dismissed. On 10 April 2014 the Discrimination Ombudsman found no discrimination in the case and closed it. She noted that it was part of a midwife’s professional role to take part in abortions. The applicant, who had said that she would refuse to perform part of the work, was not in a comparable situation to those midwives who could perform all of their tasks. The judges said that interference “had a sufficient basis in Swedish law and… pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the health of women seeking an abortion“.
2. Prominent Iraqi Shia scholar, Hadi Al-Modarresi, has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, weeks after he claimed the deadly disease was undoubtedly “an act of Allah” against the Chinese for their treatment, mockery and disrespect towards Muslims and Islam. The 63-year-old cleric, who is one of the most prominent Shia leaders in Iraq and comes from a long line of active scholars, was quoted in February 2020 as saying: “It is obvious that the spread of this virus is an act of Allah. How do we know this? The spread of the coronavirus began in China, an ancient and vast country, the population of which makes up one seventh of humanity.
3. Margaret Court, the former Australian tennis star, has become far better known in recent years for her virulent anti-LGBT bigotry. She opposed marriage equality in the country before it became legal, and she has claimed LGBTQ people brainwash children. Court is now the pastor of Victory Life Centre, a Christian church in Perth. They have no plans to close services as a result of the coronavirus, and a message on her website shows just how far Court is willing to take her religious delusions. We are in agreement that this [COVID-19] will not come near our dwelling or our church family. We are praying daily for you, knowing that we are all protected by the Blood of Jesus.
4. The Commission on Unalienable Rights, supposedly based on “natural law”, was formed by the Trump administration in July, 2019, to undercut the US government’s existing human rights laws. The group is dominated by officials with anti-LGBT+ views, with seven of the ten members having expressed these views publicly, and when the commission was announced, anti-LGBT activist Brian Brown said it was an “extraordinary opening” to reverse LGBT+ equality. To help the US state department with its mission to redefine human rights laws, anti-LGBT Catholic hate group the Ruth Institute submitted a petition to the Commission on Unalienable Rights to “Make the Family Great Again”, at a meeting on February 21. It was signed by 8,000 people.
5. A primary school teacher has been banned for life from the profession after he told pupils "all Mexicans were criminals", a tribunal heard. Philip Turner, 52, was found to have made a series of inappropriate remarks during lessons at Mary Elton Primary School in Clevedon, Somerset. The disciplinary tribunal heard Turner told children that people of an ethnic minority should "leave the country" if they are unhappy with domestic policies, while he also posted anti-Islamic comments on Facebook. Turner was given a life ban after he was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct at the hearing in Coventry.
6. Sheikh Dr Osamanu Sharubutu addressed the country via a broadcast from his house, after Ghana’s president Akufo-Addo banned usual meeting at mosques, wedding and other gatherings. “This is a difficult moment for Ghana but in order to stay safe, it is advisable, all in the Muslim community goes according to what president Akufo-Addo said. He also, bizarrely, used his televised address to call on president Akufo-Addo not to allow any meetings of LGBT+ people – saying that it’s “demonic” and “shameful” for Muslim people to engage in gay sexual activities.
7. Students from Muslim families are less likely to be awarded top class degrees than students from other religions or beliefs, according to research examining UK higher education attainment for people of different faith backgrounds. The research, based on official statistics gathered from more than two million students attending British universities, found that just 65% of students identifying as Muslim gained firsts and upper second class degrees as undergraduates, compared with more than 76% of all other students. The attainment gap was particularly wide among those gaining first class honours: only 18% of Muslims were awarded the top classification – a lower proportion than in all other other religious groups and then the nearly 30% of students with no religion who gained firsts. Sikh and Hindu students were also less likely to be awarded first class degrees.
8. Who is the first person who comes to mind when you think of atheism? The Pew Research Center asked that question, along with similar ones concerning the major world religions, and they just released the responses. It won’t surprise you to learn that Buddhism prompted Buddha (55% of respondents said that) or that Catholicism led to the Pope (47%). 6% of Americans thought “Satan” when prompted with “atheism.” 51% of Americans couldn’t think of anyone, 10% said it was someone they knew personally (i.e. someone who’s not famous), 26% gave a smattering of random answers (i.e. people who aren’t famous enough), and 4% each said Richard Dawkins and Madalyn Murray O’Hair (who was murdered in 1995).
9. Elizabeth Johnson, known online as the ‘Activist Mommy’, has previously shown her fervour in promoting fundamentalist “biblical values” by protesting LGBT+ events, staging public burnings of LGBT-inclusive magazines, and claiming that LGBT+ groups are “sneaking into schools” to “rape the minds” of children. In a Facebook post, Johnson revealed that she had filed for divorce from the father of her 10 children because “he has been repeatedly unfaithful to me”, citing “adultery, pornography and sexual immorality which began 16 years ago” as well as “psychological and emotional abuse”.
10. When Steve Green paid millions of dollars from his family fortune for 16 fragments of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, it seemed the perfect addition to their new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. But now experts have confirmed what has long been suspected: the artefacts proudly displayed in the nation’s capital by the owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores are not part of one of the most significant archaeological finds of all time. They are worthless forgeries, probably made from old shoe leather. Confirmation of the hoax came in a report published online by a team of five art fraud investigators, after a two-day conference at the museum focusing on the comprehensive testing of the supposed scroll fragments was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.