- Iranian Regime Tries to Link Massacre at Religious Shrine to Protestors
According to Iran’s state-run media, on October 26th, an attacker open-fired on worshipers at the Shah Cheragh Shrine in Shiraz. More than 40 victims were injured, while 15 were confirmed dead. According to Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, the recent riots related to Masha Amini’s death empowered ISIS to carry out the attack. Many in Iran, already familiar with the regime’s brutal practice, are not buying Khamenei and Raisi’s claims. According to Iran International, many anti-regime critics took to social media to declare their suspicions. One of the most considerable disparities was a poster released by the Iranian regime, saying “condolences to the people who died,” posted three minutes after the 20-minute-long attack started. The alleged ISIS post claiming the attack also contains errors in the date, and the spelling follows Persian-writing rules, not Arabic standards. The Iranian regime only took one hour after the attack to declare that the attacker was ISIS.
- Poll Reveals 45% of Americans Think the US Should be a Christian Nation
A Pew Research poll published on October 27th revealed that 45% of Americans believe the US should be a “Christian nation.” The research shows that 60% of Americans believe that the founders intended the USA to be a Christian nation. 33% believe that it is a Christian nation right now. More than half of the respondents who want or already believe we have a Christian nation say the federal government should not declare it so nor advocate for Christian values. 39% think the separation of church and state should be enforced. Christians Against Christian Nationalism, launched in July 2019, stated, “Christian Nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the state and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology.” Christian Nationalists, though a minority, hold extreme views, such as imposing Biblical mandates and a total abortion ban no matter the circumstances.
- Hindu Activists Angry Over Museum Selling Toys of Hindu Gods
A Hindu organization, Universal Society of Hinduism, has stated concerns about Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), a museum in Salem, Massachusetts selling plush toys portraying three Hindu deities in an "insensitive" way. "Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesh, and Lord Hanuman were greatly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely on the floor, bathrooms, cars, etc." said Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism. After protests from the organization, on October 18th, PEM removed the toys featuring the deities. PEM should learn more about religious and cultural sensitivity, Zed suggested. The toys were manufactured by a company based in New Jersey and founded by an Indian-American family. Avani Modi Sarkar, co-founder of the multicultural toy business Modi Toys, said in a statement that these were made with the intention to spark curiosity in Hindu culture and heritage.
- UK Government Drops Plan To Officially Define Islamophobia
Recently, the UK government quietly abandoned plans to create an official definition of Islamophobia. Three years ago, amid mounting pressures to take action on the rise of hate crimes against Muslims and the scandals allegedly exposing "Islamophobia" in the Conservative Party, a decision was taken to define the term officially. In 2018, the All-Party Parliamentary Group defined the term as a "type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness." Labour, Liberal Democrats, and other opposition parties accepted this definition, but the Conservative Party rejected it. But Michael Gove, the current Communities secretary, reportedly opposed the definition, stating it "would be very difficult to get a precise definition" of Islamophobia. He added, "There are dangers if a university or another organization which should be the home of free debate uses a definition like that to police what people can say in order to penalize them for it." While the abandonment of the plan received criticism from various British Muslim organizations, some MPs from both Labour and Conservative Parties and some ex-Muslim individuals and organizations supported the move.
- Texas Pastor Calls for Imposing Christian Nationalist Values on Society
Texas Megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, a supporter of Christian Nationalism, called out to conservative Christians to "impose their values on society." In a recent interview with Tim Clinton, the host of Real America'sVoice, Robert Jeffress, said that loving their country and voting in elections is all good for Christians, but they must put God above everything else. He also said, "the Left doesn't mind at all imposing their values on our country through the election process. They don't mind forcing their pro-abortion, pro-transgender, pro-open borders policy upon our nation. But they object when conservative Christians try to impose their values on society at large. It's complete hypocrisy." When the pastor was asked about the issues that Christians and pastors face before the midterm elections, he stated that it is almost the same things that even atheists are worried about, such as inflation, high-interest rates, crime, and border control. Jeffress had previously denied any allegations of him being a "Christian Nationalist."
- Christian Fascist Cult to be Investigated for Japanese Ex-PM Assassination
Recently, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered an investigation into a South Korean religious organization known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, more commonly known as the Unification Church or "Moonies," amidst a growing scandal between his party and the church. The Unification Church is notorious for its bizarre teachings, abusive practices, and mass weddings. PM Kishida instructed his Education and Culture Minister Keiko Nagaoka to probe the ties between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the church. This decision came after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, the suspect of the killing, said he assassinated Abe over his apparent ties with the church. According to Yamagami, the church defrauded his mother into donating around 100 million yen or $672,000 US Dollars. Tetsuya targeted Shinzo Abe because of his perceived sympathies to the Moonies, and his grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, helped the Unification Church expand in Japan in the 1950s. An internal survey of the Liberal Democratic Party discovered that almost half of their legislators had some connections with the church. Prime Minister Kishida pledged to remove the party's ties to the church. The Unification Church, which has around 100,000 active members in Japan, could lose its tax-exempt status, depending on the result of the investigation and a court ruling.
- Canadians are Quickly Losing Their Religion, Census Data Shows
According to the 2021 Census of Population released by Statistics Canada, roughly 35% of the total sample chose "No religion and secular" when asked about religious perspective. The decennial census creates a telling perspective on the religious landscape in Canada. In the last census taken in 2011, 23.9% selected no religion, and the 2021's census showed an increase of more than 50% from 2001's 16.5%. More than 50% of the British Columbia population declared that they do not hold any religious affiliation, making B.C the most non-religious province in Canada. Ian Bushfield, executive director of the British Columbia Humanist Association, called the result monumental.
- Model Amber Rose Reveals Her Ideal Man is an Atheist
Famous American model Amber Rose recently posted on Instagram that her ideal man is "definitely an atheist but also a feminist." In an Instagram story, Amber Rose said, "Why is it so hard to find an intelligent, sexy, rich, successful, tattooed gentleman that also has kids but is not an abusive narcissist." The first part of the post seemed relatable, but the second part raised most people's eyebrows. "And he's definitely an atheist but also a feminist….. I'm not asking for much," her post continued. Her statement sparked a debate on social media about atheists and dating. A lot of people expressed their disappointment online. Some even mentioned that her lack of faith is causing her relationship problems. After all the criticism, Amber Rose doubled down on her statement stating, "I said what I said." This isn't the first time Amber Rose was embroiled in controversy over atheism; she has previously stated that she doesn't believe in God and even commented that Jesus dying on the cross for humanity's sins is "manipulative."
- Tokyo To Begin Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages!
Recently, Japan made history by issuing certificates to same-sex couples, becoming the first municipality in a country where same-sex marriage is not considered legal. The certificate is given to individuals who are of age 18 and above. It does not provide the same legal rights as the institution of marriage. However, it still allows same-sex couples to be treated as married couples for public services such as healthcare, social security, and housing. Even though the certification has limitations in various aspects like adoption, visas, and inheritance, many LGBTQ+ couples and activists welcomed the move. According to a poll conducted by the public broadcaster NHK, 57% of Japanese people support same-sex marriage. Many acknowledge that the certificate system is only the beginning of gaining gay rights in Japan. Taiwan remains the first and only country in the region to recognize same-sex marriages officially.
- Armin Navabi Published in Queer Majority!
Atheist Republic’s founder Armin Navabi recently published a new article, titled Iran’s Theocrats Worst Nightmare is Coming True, in the online magazine Queer Majority! Navabi’s article dissects the uprising in Iran, particularly examining narratives that the Islamic Republic has traditionally used to subvert unity amongst civilians, and why those narratives are no longer successful today. Make sure to check out this insightful read here!