Atheist Republic News Summary : Brunei's LGBT Stoning Laws

1. Phillip Blair, of Torch of Christ Ministries, began preaching on a Sydney train. The passengers fired back, telling Mr. Blair to keep his opinion to himself. A man told him to shut up and commuters cheered.

2. Chick-fil-A, a restaurant chain and has a history of donating to anti-LGBT causes, was denied two potentially lucrative airport contracts. The latest rejection comes from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, which comes a week after it was turned down by San Antonio International Airport for a proposed location. Just last week, ThinkProgress reported that the company gave $1.65 million in 2017 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a group that demands “sexual purity” from its employees.

3. Christopher Watts, a Colorado man currently serving a life sentence in jail for murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters, has found God. In an interview, he wants to make it clear that he is a good Christian now, who plans to read the Bible cover to cover. Watts said he never read the Bible before entering prison, but has now read it cover to cover. 

4. Many in the Brunei's LGBT community considered fleeing in 2013 when it said it would adopt strict Islamic laws, including death by stoning for gay sex. Some stayed on hoping it would never come to pass. A young gay man in Brunei spoke to CNN over the phone and said "It's really scary. But, it was worse than I thought, because of the stoning. It made me feel that if that comes to reality, I might as well just leave." Activists and governments around the world are now urging Brunei to reverse its decision but the prime minister's office released a statement in defense of its new laws.

5. Catholic priests in northern Poland have burned books they consider to be sacrilegious, including ones from the Harry Potter boy wizard series. The pictures of the burning were published on Facebook with a post that says "We obey the Word." Another passage, from Deuteronomy, says: "Burn the images of their gods. Don't desire the silver or the gold that is on them and take it for yourself, or you will be trapped by it. That is detestable to the Lord your God."

6. The principal of White Hall High School in Arkansas, Mark Jelks, shared an anti-Muslim image on Facebook. The post said "Kick Islam out of America" with a silhouette of a man kicking a star and crescent. Jelks said by phone Friday morning that the post was “a big misunderstanding … A huge misunderstanding.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for the state to investigate the matter.

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7. Former detainees of Chechnya's homophobic purge have revealed what happened to them to Human Rights Watch. One remembers a torture named the "carousel" where security officials put you face down on the floor and beat you with pipes. There is also the homemade electric chair, endless beating, and locked in a cage without food. 

8. Pastor Christopher Cox, a 41-year old pastor of Traverse City-area church is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a 19-year old man. The survivor said that Cox reached out to him on Facebook with the promise of giving him crystal meth. According to police, Cox gave the young man GHB, which is also known as the “date rape drug.” Weeks later, another survivor, came out and made similar claims against Cox. Muskegon police arrested him.

9. FOX News host Laura Ingraham and Dr. Paul Nathanson, a gender relations professor, mused about how transgender people are not trying to rewrite gender, but are apparently trying to create a new species of human altogether. Nathanson told Ingraham that trans and non- binary movements have sprung up because “feminists challenge the notion of gender” and this has evolved into the development of feminist ideology.

In response, Ingraham said: “Their goal ultimately is the destruction or elimination of the traditional family, though, is it not? That’s what we really want to get at here. That’s really what’s going on.”

10. Following protests against same-sex relationship education, people who identify as LGBT say they have "never felt more vulnerable" in Birmingham. Some Muslim parents have been protesting since January against the No Outsiders programme at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock. Some members of the LGBT community were critical of the protests" policing. 

Birmingham LGBT said it had recorded a rise in hate crime. For several weeks, parents, mostly of Muslim faith, have been calling on the school to scrap the programme that teaches children about same sex couples through story books.

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