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Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom in the West and other countries, including Freedom From Religion and separation of Church and State. (causes)

Members: 108
Latest Activity: Nov 9, 2014

Pan issue on Church and State

Discussion Forum


Started by Peter Hall. Last reply by Sheila Miller Jul 1, 2013. 7 Replies

What's fun about conspiracy theories is their faint whif of plausibility.  I thought I'd float one out there. Years ago the religious conservatives found common cause with corporate conservatives to…Continue

Church & State in the USA

Started by World Pantheism. Last reply by Martin Berka Feb 4, 2012. 22 Replies

Share your ideas, actions and first hand experiences here.

Symbols matter

Started by Peter Hall. Last reply by Frank Aug 24, 2011. 10 Replies

Justice Kennedy said that the notion of god is so fluid that 'In God We Trust' can mean almost anything and therefore does not have a specific religious purpose. But a conversation I had shows…Continue

What if people were honest about their religious beliefs?

Started by Peter Hall. Last reply by Martin Berka Jun 23, 2011. 5 Replies

Conservative Christian groups have thrown around the "We're a Christian Nation" thing for quite a while and it has led to a certain intimidation factor in social policy.  But are there as many real…Continue

Iran and other theocracies

Started by World Pantheism. Last reply by Walter Alan Mandell Aug 21, 2010. 7 Replies

While I agree with Obama not giving ammunition to Ahmedinajad, I think we should stand with the people of Iran, not just in wanting their votes to count, but also in hoping for freedom from…Continue

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Comment by Peter Hall on September 20, 2010 at 8:14pm
Steve, it's from the Onion. It's a joke. They're saying that Global Warming hysteria is almost as bad as biblical Armageddon.
Comment by Tor Myrvang on September 20, 2010 at 12:16am
Two ways to die: the new curriculum

Comment by Tor Myrvang on September 10, 2010 at 10:51pm
Afghan Protests Against Koran Burning Turn Violent

From the New York Times 10 September 2010

Image caption: People burned tires and blocked a highway in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, during a protest in reaction to a small American church’s plan to burn copies of the Koran.

KABUL, Afghanistan — A fringe Florida preacher may have suspended his Koran-burning, but word reached Afghanistan too late for 24-year-old Muhammed Daoud. He was shot to death during a protest outside a NATO base in western Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials.

Urged on by their religious leaders, Afghans in many locations around the country poured out of their mosques and took to the streets Friday morning, and in most cases the demonstrations remained peaceful. Two of them turned violent, however, in both cases outside NATO reconstruction bases, and a total of at least 12 persons were wounded, three of them critically, in addition to the one who was killed.

Some blamed the intensity of the reaction to the hostility to American and other foreign troops in Afghanistan; others on the seriousness with which Afghans take religion.

In most Muslim countries, the month of fasting for Ramadan is largely observed — with many individual exceptions, at least in private. In Afghanistan, it is universally observed, with no exceptions tolerated.

Friday was Id al-Fitr, the beginning of the three-day feast marking the end of Ramadan, the first time that has coincided with the 9/11 anniversary, which the Florida preacher, Terry Jones, had threatened to mark with his small church’s Koran burning.

It was not, said Hafizullah, a well-known religious scholar from Wardak Province, that Afghans were too ignorant to know that Mr. Jones had said he might not go ahead — but rather they were informed enough to see that he had not definitively backed down. (Like many Afghans, he uses only one name).

“Ninety percent of people have access to radios and they listen to the news very, very carefully,” Mr. Hafizullah said. Urged on by their mullahs, however, the protesters on Friday were determined to make a statement.

“If burning the Koran ever did happen,” he said, “every foreigner in this country, one hundred percent of them, will be in trouble. Every Muslim is responsible to show their reaction to that. It is the right thing to do.”

“This shows that the disaffection of the Afghans toward Americans is very, very strong,” said Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, a former Afghan prime minister. “It’s the result of all those killings of civilians they keep doing.”

It made little impression on many Afghans that among the first to criticize the Koran-burning plan was Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or that President Obama denounced the plan.

A statement from ISAF’s Regional Command East blamed the Florida action on “a small group of extremists in the United States who are planning offensive acts against Islam.”

Mr. Ahmadzai responded to the military’s statement, saying,

“We thank them for that, but if this goes ahead it will turn into very dangerous violence.” The two violent protests Friday took place far from major conflict zones.

In the city of Bala Buluk in Farah Province, a demonstration outside the base of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, staffed by American soldiers, ended in gunfire.

Nasir Sultan Zada, the emergency room doctor on duty at the Central Public Hospital there said four protesters were brought in suffering from gunshot wounds. One, Mr. Daoud, who was from the village of Shewan in Farah Province, was already dead, he said.

“We do not know who shot them,” Dr. Zada said. “Whether police shot them or coalition forces, it’s not clear.” Local police officials could not be contacted to explain what happened.

The second violent episode, in northern Afghanistan, began as a peaceful demonstration by thousands of people after morning prayers at local mosques in Faizabad, the capital of Badakshan Province, according to Afghan officials. Badakshan is one of the safest provinces in the country.

Several hundred of the demonstrators, some on foot and others crammed into automobiles, broke away and stormed toward the Airport Road, where the Provincial Reconstruction Base was located. Four policemen were wounded by stone throwers among the crowd, which overwhelmed defenders at the base’s outer wall, the Afghan officials said.

When the protesters tried to storm the inner wall, the defenders fired warning shots and then, when that failed, fired into the crowd, according to Aga Noor Kentooz, the provincial police chief in Faizabad. He said the shots were fired “by foreign forces” inside the base. The base is staffed by German soldiers and police.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force disputed the shooting reports.

“Reporting indicates no I.S.A.F. troops fired shots during any protests today,” said Maj. Sunset Belinsky, an I.S.A.F. spokeswoman. “Initial reporting does indicate Afghan forces fired shots, but I would have to defer to MoI/MoD for confirmation.” Officials from the Afghan Ministry of Interior and Defense could not be reached for comment.

The director of the Public Health Hospital in Faizabad, Abdul Mohmin Jalali, said five civilians were admitted there with gunshot wounds; one was treated and released, and three of the four who remained in the hospital were in critical condition.

The police commander said protesters outside the German base were angered because of reports that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had attended an award ceremony in Berlin for the Danish cartoonist whose caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad angered Muslims worldwide.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, there were numerous reports of antidesecration demonstrations in Nangarhar, Bamyan, Kunar and Kapisa Provinces, but they were small and mostly peaceful.

In Jalalabad, several hundred protesters blocked a major highway for an hour, until government officials persuaded them that the Koran burning was not going ahead, and they dispersed.
Comment by Bill Kilborn on September 10, 2010 at 11:24am
Sorry, hit the wrong key.

FYI, the "God hates F***" church in Kansas blames all US problems on God's retribution for tolerating gays. He pickets military funerals to say that God is causing this war and these deaths for that reason.

Comment by Bill Kilborn on September 10, 2010 at 11:22am
Jones is now saying he didn't way he would "cancel" the Koran burning, just "postpone" it. We haven't nearly heard the last of him.

FYI, the "church in Kansas that
Comment by Tor Myrvang on September 10, 2010 at 11:10am
Terry Jones won't be the last Qur'an burning publicity hound

The following is an extract from the UK newspaper 'The Guardian':

Terry Jones outplayed the US media with his plan to burn the Qur'an. But the media may not fall for a similar nutcase

Terry Jones, the swivel-eyed pastor who attracted worldwide notoriety for his threat to burn the Qur'an on the anniversary of September 11, may or may not have a deal. But let's hope he has burst the Qur'an-burning bubble for the rest of America.

Based on his bizarre press conference on Thursday, Jones thinks he struck an agreement to move the site of the Park 51 Muslim cultural centre and mosque away from its current location, which is not very close to the site of the World Trade Centre in New York City.

Latest reports suggest that no such thing was agreed but that won't matter to Jones. This way he gets to save face, extend his 15 minutes of fame a little longer, all without actually burning any Qur'ans. No doubt he'll rail against Muslim perfidy when the mosque doesn't move – but so what?

Jones's threats will be subject to the law of diminishing returns. Next time he threatens to do burn a Qur'an – and I fear there will be a next time – he'll be handled with much more caution by the US media, which has made itself look ridiculous in being outfoxed by the crackpot pastor of a miniscule church in the swamps of Florida.

The most significant news yesterday, prior to Jones's decision to scrap the burning, came from Fox News. The Baltimore Sun's TV critic David Zurawik asked the cable news network if it would show the Qur'an burning. Michael Clemente, senior vice president at Fox News, said it would not cover it, either live, in video or still photography, adding:

"He's one guy in the middle of the woods with 50 people in his congregation who's decided to try, I gather, to bring some attention to himself."

CNN also said it wouldn't show any images of the Qur'an being burned. Then the Associated Press set out some strict guidelines for its staff, stating in an internal memo: "Should the event happen on Saturday, the AP will not distribute images or audio that specifically show Qurans being burned, and will not provide detailed text descriptions of the burning."

Then NBC announced it would film the event but not show live coverage, and decide later on what footage it would use.

All in all, an outbreak of common sense.

By now, though, every crackpot and lunatic in America will have seen Jones's success and be ready to ape it. But their very craziness may be their undoing.

One such group that says it plans to burn some Qur'ans is the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas, easily the most hated church in America. For whatever insane doctrinal reasons, the tiny WBC protests outside funerals of US soldiers killed in battle, holding signs saying "God hates f***". They did the same thing at the funeral of former president Gerald Ford. Where ever one or two TV cameras are gathered together, so the WBC will be among them.

These days the WBC's antics get no coverage. In fact, in announcing it was to burn Qur'ans, the WBC said it had already burned some. No one cared. It says it also plans to burn an American flag at the same time (I'm not making this up). No one cares.

Qur'an burning may have stepped into that small set of things that are too crazy even for America.
Comment by Bill Kilborn on September 9, 2010 at 7:53pm
Now watch this nut case take the credit for getting the mosque moved. It will gain him more followers of the same ilk. I live near Gainesville and our local news shows that he's been under investigation for fraud in several instances, violating child labor laws in forcing the children of his sheep to work in his church "store" 12 hours a day for practically nothing, and has had the mortgage on the church called.

He's got at least a couple of very expensive homes, thanks to his gullible followers, and an excessive amount of money in the bank so he will just move on and gather another cult to support him.

If nuts like this didn't use religion for their power hungry ways they would find something else. Unfortunately they have always been around, always will be and have plenty of sheeple to follow them.
Comment by Tor Myrvang on September 9, 2010 at 6:05pm
Pastor Jones 'calls off the Quran burning'

The following video goes into some detail about the circumstances and the likely consequences of the supposed deal to alter plans for the NYC Islamic centre in return for not burning copies of the Quran

Comment by Marylou Doehrman on September 8, 2010 at 5:30pm
Or perhaps the media should stop perpetuating this idiot's 15 minutes of fame.
Comment by Tor Myrvang on September 8, 2010 at 5:12pm

It seems hard to believe that there is no legal way of stopping Terry Jones and his followers from committing an act which will certainly result in violent protests all over the Moslem world if it is carried out.

Perhaps existing laws could be stretched e.g. those intended to prevent incitement to racial violence, or counter-terrorism laws?

Perhaps measures could be taken by a re-inforced Gainesville Fire Department to prevent any fire being lit?

It seems crazy to endanger lives to protect an abstract principle, by displaying inertia.

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