- Drag Queen Nuns Disinvited from Baseball Event After Catholic Backlash
Location: United States
The baseball field is no stranger to curveballs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers just threw one that's ignited a heated debate. Buckling under pressure from Catholic and conservative groups, the Dodgers abruptly disinvited the colorful drag queen charitable organization known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from their upcoming annual LGBT Pride Night. The Sisters, infamous for their satire of the Catholic Church, yet applauded for their vast community service, were initially lauded as honorees. Critics like Senator Marco Rubio and Catholic League President Bill Donohue spurred the Dodgers' stunning about-face with accusations of “anti-Catholic bigotry.” However, the LGBT community has reacted in response with LA LGBT Center and ACLU of Southern California threatening to boycott the pride event unless the Dodgers re-invite the Sisters back to the lineup.
- 6 Ex-Muslim Christians Face Death Penalty for Conversion in Libya
According to human rights activists, six Libyans were arrested in March for converting to Christianity and engaging in proselytization. The detained individuals, including members of the Amazigh minority group, were accused of violating laws that are increasingly used to suppress human rights organizations and civil societies. The Libyan Christians were charged under Article 207 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the dissemination of views that challenge fundamental constitutional principles or the social order. The Internal Security Agency (ISA) claimed that the arrests were aimed at dismantling an organized group seeking to persuade people to abandon Islam. The ISA shared videos of confessions online, prompting families to be informed of their loved ones' detention. Activists have raised concerns about the targeting of civil society members and international organizations using Article 207. The situation has led many human rights activists to leave Libya, while those who remain work covertly for their safety.
- Islamic Leader Claims Mossad Used Prostitute to Kill Historic Imam
In a startling assertion, radical Iraqi Shia leader, Qais Al-Khazali, publically charged that the "Israeli-Jewish intelligence agency" utilized a woman, Qatam, to orchestrate the assassination of Imam Ali, the first Shia Imam, in the 7th century. Al-Khazali alleged, "It is either through money or through women. Right? In this case, it was a woman. There is no doubt that she worked for the Israeli Mossad back then, and through her, they recruited [Imam Ali's killer]." He also accused the Jews of being responsible for the deaths of Imam Ali's sons, Hussein ibn Ali and Hasan ibn Ali. Further, he provocatively stated that "The Umayyads were mere collaborators with the Jews," insinuating that the Jews collaborated with the Umayyad dynasty and used women to carry out the assassinations.
- The Doomsday Cult Mother Convicted of Triple Murder
Location: United States
In a chilling verdict that brings closure to a gruesome saga steeped in doomsday prophecies and deadly fanaticism, a mother from Idaho, Lori Vallow Daybell, has been convicted for the shocking murders of her two children and her husband's previous wife.
Daybell, a seemingly ordinary woman, underwent a disturbing transformation following her "instant connection" with Chad Daybell, an author of Mormon-based doomsday fiction, after they met in 2018. Their bond deepened as they started a religious podcast together and led rituals, even claiming they had been married in past lives.
Daybell's beliefs spiraled into darkness when she started branding her own children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, as "zombies" – individuals allegedly possessed by evil spirits. In 2019, her then-husband, Charles Vallow, alerted authorities about Lori's alarming claims of being a "goddess" tasked with precipitating the biblical apocalypse. His concerns fell on deaf ears, leading to his murder in July 2019 at the hands of Lori's brother, Alex Cox. In a horrifying twist, Tylee and JJ mysteriously disappeared just a month after Charles' death. Their whereabouts remained an mystery until June 2020, when their remains were discovered in Chad's backyard.
The unexpected death of Chad's wife in October 2019 added another layer of morbidity to the saga, with Chad marrying Lori only two weeks later. Her death was later ruled a murder. Lori was found guilty on all counts related to the disappearance and murder of her children on May 13th and awaits sentencing. Now known as the "doomsday mom", Lori also awaits trial for her alleged involvement in the murder of her fourth husband in Arizona.
- Tragic Attack on Tunisian Synagogue: 3 Dead, 10 Injured
In a chilling assault that has stunned Tunisia and the world, the annual Jewish pilgrimage at the historic Ghriba Synagogue in Djerba was tragically disrupted on May 9th. An armed onslaught by Wissam Khazri, a national guardsman, claimed five lives, including his colleague, two civilians and three servicemen, and left dozens injured in its wake. The drama unfolded rapidly, with Khazri neutralized by security forces within a mere two minutes of his arrival at the complex. The motive behind this heart-wrenching assault remains a mystery, as Tunisian authorities piece together the events leading up to the attack. Tunisian President Kais Saied convened an interfaith gathering after the attack, standing in solidarity with the Jewish community and vowing to ensure their safety. With investigations unfolding rapidly, four suspects have already been apprehended. The repercussions of this attack reverberate not only within Tunisia's tourism industry, but also its vibrant Jewish community, leaving a nation in shock and a world watching closely.
- New Report Reveals the Declining Role of Religion in American Society
Location: United States
A new report by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that fewer Americans consider religion important in their lives compared to a decade ago, indicating significant changes in the religious landscape of the United States. The study, titled "Religion and Congregations in a Time of Social and Political Upheaval," surveyed 6,600 adults across all 50 states. The findings reveal that only 16% of Americans now view religion as the most important thing in their lives, down from 20% in 2013. Additionally, only 36% of Americans see religion as one of many important aspects of their life, compared to 43% a decade ago. Meanwhile, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans has grown from 16% in 2006 to 27%. However, Christianity remains the dominant religious affiliation, with Christians of color accounting for 25% of the population. The report also highlights the increasing involvement of churches in political and social issues, with a majority of churchgoers believing that congregations should provide perspectives on pressing social issues.
- Iran's Hijab Rule: No Veil, No Vehicle
Iran has introduced a new rule requiring female drivers and passengers to wear hijabs while inside vehicles or face impoundment, despite widespread opposition to the country's mandatory hijab laws. The state-owned Fars News Agency released a video explaining the new directive, which is in line with Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code and new directives from the Interior Ministry and the Judiciary. According to the video, if a female passenger or driver is caught violating the rule for the first time, a warning will be sent to the vehicle's owner. Repeat offenses will result in a 15-day impoundment of the vehicle, and subsequent offenses will lead to indefinite impoundment. The strict enforcement of hijab laws has had a negative impact on Iran's economy, leading to the closure of thousands of businesses and unemployment for many Iranians.
- Clergy Sexual Abuse: French Catholic Church's New Digital ID Strategy
The Catholic Church in France has introduced digital ID cards with QR codes for members of the clergy to address the issue of sexual abuse within the institution. The French Bishop's Conference announced the implementation of these cards, which are the size of a bank card and contain background information about the holder. By scanning the QR code, anyone can access information about a clergy member, including their status for performing sermons or hearing confessions. Green indicates no restrictions, orange indicates some limitations, and red signifies the revocation of clerical status. The move comes in response to a 2021 report by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (CIASE) and criticism from victims who highlighted the problem of gyrovagues—suspended priests who continue to perform religious duties. Previously, clergy members used paper documents called "celebret" to certify their profession, but the French Catholic Church opted for digital IDs due to concerns about forgery and difficulty in updating the old system. While some victims' groups are skeptical of the effectiveness of the ID cards, the Church sees it as one of several measures to combat sexual abuse, alongside training priests and supporting victims.
- How Important Is Religion to Urban Indians? New Survey Offers Answers
According to a recent survey by Ipsos, 8 out of 10 urban Indians believe in God and embrace different faiths. The survey, titled "Global Religion 2023; Religious Beliefs Around the World," was conducted in 26 countries, including India, and involved interviews with over 19,000 adults aged 18 and above. In India, 86% of urban respondents believe that religious practices are crucial for leading a moral life, and 83% feel that religion helps them overcome life's challenges. Furthermore, 8 out of 10 urban Indians think that religious individuals are happier, and 86% believe that religion defines their identity. However, 73% of surveyed Indians feel that religion does more harm than good, surpassing the global average of 47%. Despite the rise of religiously unaffiliated individuals in countries like the United States, 99% of Indians identified with a religion, with only 1% being unaffiliated. Unfortunately, the survey also highlighted that 73% of urban Indians lose respect for those who do not believe in a religion or God.
- Reading Letters From Our Haters!
The Atheist Republic news team recently reviewed an amusing batch of hate mail that had arrived at their doorstep! The news team, Armin & Susanna, found themselves confronted with a tapestry of bizarre claims and questionable arguments. From references to giants and underwater caves to peculiar connections between pizza parties and the existence of God, the hatemail takes many twists and turns. Given the new "evidence" for God encountered in this hatemail, it might just mean the end of Atheist Republic! Make sure to tune in to discover how truly bizzare this hate mail is!