You have the right to practice your own beliefs, so long as you harm no one. The Universal Life Church encourages you to realize your freedom by becoming an ordained minister, speaking your own truths about life. "We are All Children of the Same Universe"
Police in Ireland made headlines by launching an investigation into "anti-God" comments made by English comedian Stephen Fry. After appearing in a TV interview back in 2015, Fry was accused of violating a little-known blasphemy law on the books in Ireland. During the interview, Fry, an outspoken atheist, was asked about his opinion of God. He replied:
“The god who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish. We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him. What kind of god would do that?”
Irish police reportedly launched the investigation after someone filed a formal complaint alleging Fry had committed blasphemy. However, they quickly halted the investigation, explaining they could not find enough people outraged at the remarks to proceed.
What do you think of Fry’s comments? Do blasphemy laws serve a purpose?
A family court judge in Kentucky has declared that he will no longer hear adoption cases for gay couples. Judge W. Mitchell Nance is refusing to preside over cases where “homosexual parties” are seeking to adopt children. Nance, who holds strong Christian beliefs, insists that “under no circumstance” could a gay couple promote “the best interest of the child".
The announcement drew swift criticism from gay-rights advocates. The fact that a person is gay has no effect on their ability to raise a child, they say. “The bottom line is if this judge can’t fulfill his duties because of his personal biases, he should resign,” said Dan Canon, a prominent Louisville lawyer.
However, many Christian family groups are standing by Judge Nance. They're proud that he supports traditional family models and isn't compromising on his deeply-held beliefs.
What do you think of the judge's decision?
Authorities have shut down a group of Scientology medical facilities in Tennessee after it was discovered that patients were being held against their will. Police only found out about the remote facilities after one of the patients managed to call 911 and describe the location. The man explained he’d been imprisoned there for over 9 months and forced to take unknown medications.
Officers scoured the rural Tennessee wilderness and eventually stumbled upon a heavily-secured compound of cabins. Locked inside they found several “patients” who had apparently been trapped there for some time.
Police on the scene arrested three Scientologists on charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment. The investigation is still ongoing.
President Trump is expected to sign a new executive order on religious freedom tomorrow, and some rights groups are already voicing concerns over its contents. They point to a previously leaked draft of the order that would have granted broad legal protections for exercising religious beliefs – potentially allowing for discrimination against the LGBT community. For example, under the leaked order, business owners would have been free to deny services to LGBT individuals by claiming it was against their faith to do so.
While the contents of the new order are still in doubt, debate surrounding the limits of religious freedom rages on. Should it be legal to refuse business to someone because your faith conflicts with their sexual orientation/identity?
The Chinese government has issued a ban on Muslim baby names in an effort to "combat religious extremism." Per the new policy, parents are banned from giving their children traditional Islamic names such as Muhammad, Jihad, Mecca, and Saddam.
Published under the sinister title of “Naming Rules for Ethnic Minorities”, the full list includes over two dozen banned names. In addition, beards and veils have also been banned in public. Government officials are standing by their decision, promising punishments for those who disobey.
News of the anti-Muslim policies has shocked Islamic faith leaders and human rights advocates everywhere. While China has never been known as a champion of religious freedom, this latest policy represents a clear escalation in hostilities.
Read more in our latest blog: https://www.themonastery.org/blog/2017/05/the-last-muhammad-china-bans-muslim-baby-names/
themonastery.org As part of a crackdown on religious extremism, the Chinese government has declared that parents will no longer be allowed to give their children Muslim names. Names such as Mohammed, Jihad, Mecca, …
Virginia mom Annie Peguero says she feels deeply humiliated after church officials pressured her into leaving a church service early. Her crime? Breastfeeding in public. The officials were reportedly worried that male worshipers would “feel uncomfortable” if they saw a woman breastfeeding in the pews. They asked Peguero to go to a private room in the back of the church, but she resisted, saying she didn't want to miss the service.
After church officials pressed the issue, and with her public embarrassment building, Peguero picked up her daughter and walked out. She later released an emotional video explaining the ordeal, saying: "My rights as a mom have been violated.”
What do you think of the church's breastfeeding policy? We explore the topic in our latest blog: https://www.themonastery.org/blog/2017/04/mom-kicked-out-of-church-for-breastfeeding/
themonastery.org Annie Peguero attempted to soothe her baby daughter during a church service by doing what she always does when her child cries – breastfeed her. Peguero was stunned when church officials asked her …
A Christian student kicked out of a university for calling same-sex marriage “sinful” is taking his case to court. Felix Ngole was removed from a two-year program at Sheffield University after voicing his opinion in a debate on Facebook. Ngole was hoping to become a social worker, but university officials declared him unfit for the line of work because of his “traditional” beliefs.
A Christian legal group backing Ngole released a statement, saying: "The idea that someone could be expelled from a social work course for expressing a view in a Facebook post and then declared not fit to practice is very detrimental to free speech.”
The case will now be decided in court.
What do you think? Was the university right to expel Ngole?
While meeting with a group of migrants over the weekend, Pope Francis shocked bystanders by referring to refugee camps in Europe as “concentration camps.” Many groups took issue with the pontiff’s comparison, chief among them the American Jewish Committee (AJC). It immediately released a statement of disapproval:
“The Nazis and their allies erected and used concentration camps for slave labor and the extermination of millions of people during World War II. There is no comparison to the magnitude of that tragedy,” the group wrote. “We respectfully urge the Pope to reconsider his regrettable choice of words.”
However, other European leaders seem to agree with Pope Francis. After touring a particularly shocking refugee camp near Macedonia, Greece’s Interior Minister told reporters: “I do not hesitate to say that this is a modern-day Dachau.”
What do you think? Was the Pope wrong to call refugee camps concentration camps?
Today is April 20th, the unofficial holiday of marijuana-enthusiasts worldwide. Colloquially referred to as “420”, this annual event is celebrated in typical stoner fashion – pipes are passed, munchies are munched, and, we suspect, afternoon naps are taken. However, for the people of Denver, this year’s 420 celebrations will be marked by an entirely new experience: weed worship.
The International Church of Cannabis, a religious organization promoting self-improvement through cannabis consumption, plans to open to the public today. While some are excited to get involved, critics insist the church is in violation of the law. Nonetheless, supporters are confident that local authorities will allow church members to toke up in peace. Read the full story in our latest blog:
themonastery.org The International Church of Cannabis preaches the benefits of cannabis use, but some critics aren’t buying it. They refuse to recognize cannabis worship as a real religion, and insist the chu…
Over the weekend, a Sikh cab driver in New York was assaulted in what authorities are calling a possible hate crime. A disgruntled passenger reportedly referred to the cab driver as “Ali Baba” and threw a punch before stealing the turban off his head. The suspect has yet to be apprehended.
Because of their similar religious headgear, Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims by the ignorant masses. Unfortunately, in today’s tempestuous political climate, we frequently hear stories about Sikhs being targeted in attempted anti-Muslim crimes.
In reality, aside from the turban being a primary symbol of faith, Sikhism has little do with Islam. One of the world’s youngest major religions, Sikhism originated in northern India during the 15th century. It currently has over 25 million followers worldwide. Historically, the Sikhs actually endured persecution from Muslims for refusing to convert to Islam. Now, centuries later, this devout faith group continues to be tragically misunderstood.
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