Buddhist Monk Chops Off Own Head to Please Buddha
Location: Nong Bua Lamphu, Thailand
On April 15th, a 68-year-old monk, Thammakorn Wangpreecha, sacrificed himself as an offering to Buddha in the hope of being reincarnated as a 'higher spiritual being.' His deceased body was found at the Wat Phu Hin temple in Nong Bua Lamphu province in north-eastern Thailand. Wangpreecha used a makeshift guillotine next to a Buddhist God statue to behead himself. The monk's nephew, Booncherd Boonrod, discovered the body. According to Booncherd, a slab of marble had been inscribed with his uncle's plans. Over 300 local devotees arrived at the temple to prepare the monk's body for a rite. His body was laid inside a coffin and his head placed in a jar. Later, his remains were taken to the forest by his followers and family members for cremation.
New study links Evangelical Christianity to Phallic Insecurity
According to research published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, phallic insecurity tends to be greater in regions of the United States with a higher proportion of evangelical Christians. The findings imply that America’s evangelical subculture preserves insecurities about penis size. Researchers compared the frequency of Google searches for “male enhancement” and similar phrases to evangelical Protestants in each state. Their research concluded that as the proportion of evangelicals in a state expanded, the recurrence of Google searches for these “enhancement” terms went higher in number. The outcomes of the research suggest that a subculture promoting unattainable, phallocentric masculinity permeates the entire evangelical community.
Iranian TV censors UK Football match to hide female referee in shorts
Iranian state-run TV broadcasting channels censored the Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United on April 11th over a hundred times. The reason behind the censorship was the presence of a female referee in shorts. Every time the referee would come to the camera view during the game, the channel cut away from the game to scenes from London's backstreets. In April 2018, during coverage of a match between Barcelona and AS Roma, the latter's badge was blurred out due to the portrayal of "a female wolf having its tits suckled on by Rome's mythical twin founders Romulus and Remus."
Pakistan police file ‘blasphemy’ case against feminist marchers
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
Pakistani police registered a blasphemy case against organizers of the feminist Women’s Freedom March in Islamabad. This march is held annually to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th. Organizers of the march condemned the allegations as “baseless and false.” Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws mandate the death penalty for the offense of offending Islam’s Prophet and carry a life sentence for insulting Islam’s holy book, the Quran. In Lahore, a court rejected a similar petition for lack of evidence. The court stated that the demonstrators’ right to protest is protected under lawful protections for free speech. Allegations of blasphemy appeared to be revolving around doctored videos and images. Organizers of the march compared the original and doctored videos and proved the latter was intentionally made to appear as if the demonstrators were insulting Islam.
Parents let child die because “God Makes No Mistakes”
Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals declared a ruling that allowed a couple, who let their newborn child die due to negligence, to regain custody of their three other children. This decision is the latest update in a years-long saga involving a Christian couple whose child, Abigail Piland, died in 2017 after her medical needs were neglected by her parents. The parents belong to two pentecostal christian groups called Free Saints Assembly and Faith Tech Ministries. A medical examiner later attributed the death to jaundice-related problems that were treatable. The Pilands were charged with involuntary manslaughter, which meant they faced up to 15 years behind bars if convicted. In 2018, the couple had another baby with the same health issues as Abigail. That baby girl, along with her brothers, is in the custody of her maternal grandparents. On April 15th, the Michigan Court of Appeals filed a new trial for the couple because, previously, a jury wasn’t allowed to consider the role of religious beliefs when the couple skipped care for the child. The court stated that, under state law, parents could not be found negligent solely for “legitimately practicing” their religious beliefs. Eugene Volokh, a law professor, said that this decision is legally correct even though ethically unsound. The latest court hearing lends the couple a chance of regaining custody of their three other children.
French Minister calls for security at mosques after attack
On April 11th, members of the local Muslim community in the western city of Rennes discovered graffiti insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad on a mosque and Muslim cultural center. The graffiti references restarting the Crusades and a call for Catholicism to be made the state religion. France’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, has ordered more comprehensive security for Muslim sites of worship after vandals defaced the walls of the mosque days before the start of Ramadan. Darmanin said, “Freedom of worship in France is a fundamental freedom.” The door of a mosque was destroyed by arsonists on the night of April 15th in the western city of Nantes. President of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, Abdallah Zekri, criticized what he called an anti-Islam climate.
Pakistan PM calls for West to criminalize blasphemy against Islam
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
On April 19th, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for Muslim-majority countries to lobby Western governments to criminalize the insulting of Islam’s prophet. Khan mentioned that a boycott on trading would help in stopping western governments from allowing blasphemy. The far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) group held days of violent protests the previous week as they continued their agitations on perceived “blasphemy” by French President Emmanuel Macron. Khan condemned the TLP’s violent demonstrations, which caused the death of at least four police officers and wounded more than 800 people. TLP activists attacked a police station in Lahore and abducted several police officers. Early on April 19th, the 11 abducted police officers were released by the TLP, as negotiations between the group and the government began. Pakistan’s government identified TLP as a “terrorist” organization and mentioned that they would be delisted as a political party.
Indian woman slits 6-month-old daughter’s throat as ‘sacrifice’
Location: Telangana, India
Bharathi, a 32-year-old woman, killed her newborn daughter to overcome the influence of 'Sarpadosham'. 'Sarpadosham' is a tenet of Vedic astrology that is believed to curse the affected person's life. The gruesome incident took place in Telangana's Suryapet district in India. On April 15th, Bharathi killed her child by slitting her throat with a knife and later confessed the crime to a relative. The relative rushed to Bharathi's house and found the infant girl's blood-soaked body with a photo of a god nearby. Inquiries revealed that about five years ago, somebody had told Bharathi that she had 'Sarpadosham,' which negatively impacted her life. She constantly went through various videos on YouTube to learn how to overcome the perceived curse. Bharathi claimed that she saved her family members' lives by "sacrificing" the child. The police have charged her with murder under the Indian Penal Code.
Court rules Quebec can bar government workers from wearing hijab
The Quebec Superior Court has upheld the province's law that bans some public sector workers from wearing religious symbols at their jobs. However, Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard ruled that specific law provisions are unconstitutional as they pertain to English school boards. The ruling would allow for teachers within English-speaking school districts to wear religious symbols while at work. Bill 21, adopted in June 2019, prohibits public sector workers, including judges, police officers, and teachers, from using symbols such as hijabs, kippas, or turbans at work. The law disproportionately affects women — particularly Muslim women who wear hijabs. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said he is happy with the court's choice to uphold the province's right to legislate to protect secularism.
Blasphemous Art as NFTs
This week, the Atheist Republic team discussed their recently launched NFT gallery on OpenSea. An NFT is a digital contract that can not be undone, and that is permanently stored within the blockchain. This technology makes it easier for people to buy and sell digital product, such as art! This is a fun new for you to own your favorite Atheist Republic blasphemous arts.
Do you like our blasphemous art? You can now buy it on our NFT gallery on Opensea here: https://opensea.io/collection/blasphemous-art