Greek Bishops Acid Attacked By Priest During Cocaine Possession Hearing
A 37-year-old priest, Theofylaktos Kombos, has been arrested after attacking 10 people including seven bishops with acid. The Greek Orthodox priest was facing a punitive hearing for possessing 1.8 grams of cocaine in June, 2018 in the village of Alexandreia. Kombos accused the church of hypocrisy for charging him and attacked bishops, synod lawyers and security guards using two bottles of suspected sulfuric acid he purchased online. One witness told the local media that Kombos did not directly target any individual with the acid and was randomly flinging it like holy water. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis offered help to church officials shortly after the attack. He offered all possible medical assistance for the victims’ speedy recovery.
Fewer Americans See Religion as an Influence https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/4416942858392539
Location: United States of America
According to Pew Research from January 2021, America was at the top of the list of developed nations that believed that the pandemic had made their religious convictions stronger, when 3 in 10 adults reported a boost in their faith. However, six months later, the annual Values and Beliefs poll conducted by Gallup shows a significant decrease in religious influence on US society. Now, only 16 percent of Americans claim that the impact of religion is increasing in society. The last notable significant increase in Americans’ perception of religious influence on society came after the catastrophe of the 9/11 attacks. Disasters aside, religion is slowly decreasing its societal power in a slow yet steady trend in America. In April 2020, the same Gallup poll showed that 58 percent of adult Americans believe that religion is losing its influence, and that number is up to 82 percent this year. In 2020, for the first time in 80 years, the number of churchgoers plummeted below 50 percent, down to 47 percent.
Chinese Government Uses Economic Clout to Target Uyghurs Living Abroad
Recently, the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs (OSCAA) documented Beijing’s targeting of Uyghur Muslims living abroad. The report stated that more than 1,500 cases of deportations and initial detentions that Beijing orchestrated could “just be the tip of the iceberg.” More than 28 countries are found to be complicit at some point in the systematic surveillance, detention, and eventual deportation of Uyghurs living in these countries. The mechanism in which Beijing exerts pressure on countries hosting Uyghurs has been mainly through its economic diplomacy and financial stress. China offers infrastructure packages and other financial aids in exchange for the freedom to persecute Uyghurs living in other countries. The report calls stopping this transnational repression a moral imperative and is “crucial to maintaining state sovereignty and the integrity of international organizations like Interpol and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).”
Catholic Bishops threaten Biden with communion ban over stance on abortion
Location: United States of America
On June 17th, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) pushed ahead with a draft in a majority vote that would deny President Joe Biden the Holy Communion because of his stance on abortion laws. Approval of this new statement will authorize individual bishops to deny Catholic politicians who support abortion, the sacred rite of the Eucharist. This step has brought new life into the debate on the church's interference in politics. In response, the following day a group of 60 Catholic Democrats Congressional Representatives released a "statement of principles" urging the USCCB to stop "weaponizing" the Holy Eucharist. In 2015 Biden stated, regarding abortion, that he personally believes life begins at conception, but he is not prepared to impose a view that is borne out of his faith on other people.
Vatican intervenes to stop anti-homophobia law in Italy
On June 17th, the Vatican made an unprecedented intervention attempt, by writing a letter to the Italian government to change a proposed law that would criminalize homophobia due to concerns that it will infringe upon the Catholic church’s freedom of thought. The Vatican’s secretary of relations with states, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, delivered a letter to the government stating that parts of the legislation violates a treaty made in the 1920s that secured the freedoms and rights of the church. The intervention has started a fiery debate surrounding the law, which was designed to prevent violence and hate speech against LGBT people and disabled people. The law has also been challenged by other right-wing parties and Catholic groups as well as feminist groups, which argue that “gender identity,” a term used in the bill, had been “weaponized against women.”
South Africa's multiple husbands proposal sparks conservative outrage!
Location: South Africa
The South African government’s proposal to legalize polyandry has led to howls of protest from conservatives. In polyandry, the woman often initiates the relationships and has the power to remove a co-husband if he is found to be engaging in infidelity. Profesor Collis Machoko, a renowned academic on African societies and researcher of polyandry, has mentioned that Africans are “unwilling to accept true equality.” He added that African men do not know what to do with women they cannot control. Musa Mseleku, famous businessman and TV personality, who has four wives, is known for opposing polyandry. He mentioned that polyandry will “destroy African culture.” He continued by adding that the children of polyamorous relationships will have identity crises.
Florida Gov signs law requiring colleges to take surveys on beliefs
Location: Florida, United States of America
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently approved legislation ordering state colleges and universities to survey their students, faculty, and staff yearly regarding their beliefs. The goal of this survey is to ensure “viewpoint diversity” and “intellectual freedom.” The legislation does not specify for what purpose the survey results will be used. The survey will evaluate the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented. Furthermore, this state-mandated survey may determine whether faculty, staff, and students feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom. The law will take effect on July 1st. The survey will be conducted annually starting September 1st, 2022.
Malaysia seeks stricter sharia laws for "promoting LGBT lifestyle"
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
On June 22nd, a Malaysian government task force proposed amendments to sharia law that would enable action to be taken against social media users for mocking Islam and supporting the LGBT lifestyle. Malaysia, which has a 60% Muslim population; has a unique legal system wherein Muslim citizens are subjected to Islamic laws, alongside additional civil laws for the general citizenry. The changes to sharia criminal laws were proposed in response to social media posts honoring Pride Month in June 2021. The government task force, designated to address LGBT issues, will also identify limitations faced by executives in taking action and create guidelines for handling complaints. The proposal signifies the growing intolerance towards the LGBT community in Malaysia seen in recent years.
Polish atheists launch new campaign to stop homophobia!
An associate of Humanists International, the Kazimierz Łyszczyński Foundation, has recently started a billboard campaign to speak out against religiously motivated hate towards the LGBT community in Poland. The campaign, which began during Equality Month, took place in 22 Polish cities and is also supported by the Norwegian Humanist Association and Humanists International. 70% of LGBT youth in Poland contemplate suicide. 40% contemplate leaving Poland all together. In Poland, representatives of religious and political groups are known to spread extreme homophobia. The archbishop of Krakow, Marek Jedraszewski stated that the LGBT community is a “rainbow plague.”
PETITION to Twitter: Reinstate Atheist Twitter Accounts Suspended for Blasphemy
A new campaign has begun to bring Atheist Republic's leadership back to Twitter and to contest their incorrect suspensions. Atheist Republic's founder, Armin Navabi, current CEO Susanna McIntyre, and a longtime moderator Johanna Browne were all fully suspended from Twitter after being the target of mass-reporting campaigns by far-right Hindu nationalists. This harassment began in September 2020 due to blasphemy against the Hindu Goddess Kali as a deliberate protest against blasphemy laws. By maintaining these accounts' suspensions, Twitter is effectively enforcing blasphemy law, as none of the content listed in the suspensions violates any policies. Twitter is validating the attitudes of the homophobic religious fundamentalists who targeted our organization. We, the supporters of Atheist Republic, are seeking a full reinstatement of all accounts.
Sign HERE: https://www.change.org/p/reinstate-atheist-twitter-accounts-suspended-fo...