Atheist Republic News Summary: South Africa Registers First Satanic Church

1. South Africa registers first Official Satanic Church
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

2. Odisha priest chops off man’s head inside temple to appease gods, ward off coronavirus
Location: Odisha, India

3. 'Cannabis burned during worship' by ancient Israelites - study
Location: Tel Arad, Israel

4. USCIRF Condemns Arrest of Ahmadi Muslim on Blasphemy Charges in Pakistan
Location: USA & Pakistan

5. Christian rock singer Jon Steingard reveals he ‘no longer believes in God’
Location: Canada

6. 4 Dalits Killed in 4 Days, Activists Say Upper Castes in TN Using Lockdown as Opportunity for Assaults
Location: Tamil Nadu, India

7. Death of Algerian girl, 10, in 'faith healing' ceremony sparks outcry
Location: Eastern Algeria

8. Principal of Kanpur’s Medical College Rants Against Muslim Patients in Video, Action Demanded
Location: Uttar Pradesh, India

9. Senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis rule Berland committed sexual violations
Location: Israel

10. Iran's chief rabbi says Zionists 'do not represent Judaism'
Location: Tehran, Iran

Video descriptions:

1. The First Satanic Church in South Africa has now been officially registered. The co-founder of the Satanic church says the registration has been a 4-year process. The church’s mission reportedly is to educate the public on common misconceptions about Satanic practises. On social media, many South Africans expressed shock and fear, while several others celebrated, claiming it was a win for freedom of worship.

2. An elderly priest in Odisha allegedly performed ‘human sacrifice’ to appease the gods and end the coronavirus pandemic. The accused priest, Sansari Ojha (72), is the priest of Bandha Maa Budha Brahmani Dei Temple. He later surrendered to the police soon after committing the crime. During interrogation, the priest said that he committed the murder after receiving ‘orders from the goddess’ in his dream and that the human sacrifice would dispel the coronavirus. Police also said that the priest seems mentally unstable.

3. An archaeological study has found that ancient Israelites burned cannabis as part of their religious rituals. Well-preserved cannabis was found in a 2,700-year-old temple in Tel Arad. Researchers concluded that cannabis may have been burned in order to induce a high among worshippers.This is the first evidence of psychotropic drugs being used in early Jewish worship, Israeli media reported.

4. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned the arrest of Ramzan Bibi, a 55-year-old Ahmadi Muslim woman in Cheleki, Pakistan, on blasphemy charges. On April 30, a written complaint submitted to the police alleged that Ms. Bibi made blasphemous remarks during a personal dispute over the return of her charitable donation to a local mosque. She was charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, an offence that carries the death penalty.

5. Jon Steingard, the frontman of Christian rock group Hawk Nelson, has revealed that “he no longer believes in God”, through an Instagram post on May 20th. He stated “After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life — I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.” He added, “I still find myself wanting to soften that statement by wording it differently or less specifically, but it wouldn’t be as true.” Despite the mass wave of criticism, Steingard was also met with many supportive comments across social media.

6. Since the first nationwide lockdown began on March 25, there have been at least 30 major incidents of caste-based violence in the state of Tamil Nadu, according to the Madurai-based NGO Evidence. In May, 4 Dalits, or “untouchables,” were killed within the span of 4 days. A Kathir, executive director of Evidence, claims that victims are not even able to report to the proper authorities due to COVID19 lockdown restrictions. Dalits are facing particular discrimination during the pandemic due to the casteist belief that they are inherently unhygienic people.

7. A 10 year old girl who was abused during a ruqya (faith healing) in her family’s home, died from the blows and burns to which she was subjected. It is currently unknown why the girl was subjected to the ruqya, which is a practice often performed with the intention of driving out demons, providing protection from “the evil eye,” as well as treating physical illnesses. A 28 year old man, allegedly responsible for the faith healing session, has been arrested in connection with her death.

8. Dr. Arti Lalchandani, the Principal of Kanpur’s well known Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Medical College was recently caught on camera in the midst of an anti-muslim bigoted tirade. In this rant, she suggests that the Muslim patients are terrorists, and should kept in solitary confinement in jails instead of hospital wards. After the video circulated online, there have been calls for her removal as the principal of one of Uttar Pradesh’s largest medical colleges, and an investigative probe into her actions.

9. Despite Rabbi Eliezer Berland being convicted by Israel’s criminal courts in 2016 of indecent assault against two women, he has continued to receive honors and support from the ultra-othrodox community. That is, until recently when 3 highly respected rabbinical judges from the ultra-Orthodox community determined through a special court that the public should disavow the rabbi, and concluded that he did indeed commit the acts of sexual assault. Previously, Berland’s supporters denied the allegations and said the conviction in Israel’s state courts was not religiously significant.

10. Rabbi Yehuda Gerami, The Chief Rabbi of Tehran, sent a message in Hebrew to the "Zionists, first and foremost to Prime Minister Netanyahu" while appearing on Iranian state television during Quds Day on May 22nd. "Know that you Zionists do not represent Judaism and do not represent the Jewish people. You represent only the idea of a political movement whose ideas and values contradict the ideas and values of our sacred teachings and the Jewish religion," he stated. Leaders in the community have long been stressing the difference between Judaism and Zionism in order to prevent the persecution of Iranian Jews.

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