Weekly News and Blog Roundup: Religious Institutions Get It (Almost) All Their Own Way
From paedophile priest cover-ups to textbook propaganda, it might seem that religious institutions have been getting it all their own way this week. Fortunately, you can always rely on Atheist Ireland to rack up a couple of points for the home side.
Our World – Beneath the Radar
It is unfortunately difficult to choose which of the many paedophile priest stories to include in a roundup of this week’s news. The Catholic Church’s selfish cover-ups have been reported across the globe, and recently one priest has come out to say that he would not necessarily refer sex crimes against children to police today if passed information confidentially.
Watch the BBC News documentary Our World, which follows a former priest and known sexual offender who has been protected by the church, here.
Also, read Christopher Hitchens’ article on the subject here.
Sign the Protest the Pope petition, urging Gordon Brown to formally disassociate himself with the Pope’s preachings prior to his upcoming UK visit, here.
Great News From Ireland!
On Wednesday we celebrated Saint Paddy’s ridding Ireland of snakes (Yes, that is what you were celebrating.) Now it appears that we may soon have cause to celebrate Ireland’s ridding of its hugely more venomous blasphemy law.
The Irish Justice Minister has proposed a referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Irish constitution. His decision can be credited, in no small way, to what he describes as “[Atheist Ireland’s] incredibly sophisticated campaign”. I’ll drink to that.
The Pledge Decision
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals has announced that the Pledge of Allegiance’s inclusion of the words “under God” is in fact constitutional. Take a minute to recover from the shock if you need it. The decision was ruled by a majority of 2-1, and leaned on arguments so fragile that they would surely have collapsed were they not reinforced by the fear of public outrage.
[Via Common Sense Atheism]
Libel Reform – Urgent Next Steps
Last week played host to the Big Libel Gig, in which several comedians and other prolific speakers joined forces to make a case for libel reform in the UK. All proceeds are to be donated to the Coalition for Libel Reform.
This coming Tuesday there will be a mass lobby at the House of Commons, where members of the public are invited to express their concerns over the UK libel laws to their MPs en masse. This will be the last chance to get commitment on the issue from politicians and policy makers before the election is called. Click here for further details.
[Via Richard Dawkins]
The Texas Textbook Hubbub
The Texas Board of Education (BoE) has opted out of the proposed national education standard so that Texan students can have no choice but to live up to their state’s stereotype.
The predominantly Christian Conservative BoE has a history of manipulating their textbooks’ material that would shock Winston Smith. This year, in order to correct the “liberal bias” they have voted to remove references to the Enlightenment and Thomas Jefferson! Even scarier is that because Texas buys so many textbooks, many publishers tailor their material to the needs of the Texan BoE, spreading the propaganda nationwide.
Watch the ABC Nightline news coverage here.
Gaza’s Male Hairdressers: Time to Cut and Run?
Q: What do you get when you cross a Gazan legal system with a nonsensical Islamic tradition?
A: A new policy making it illegal for a man to cut a woman’s hair.
The joke might be funnier of course, if this wasn’t the result of public protest, sometimes taking the form of bombing offending salons.
Read the BBC News coverage here.
Erie UFO not so Eerie
Ohio has been mesmerised by the skies this week, with people gathering around Lake Erie night after night to witness a unidentified light in the sky. The light has returned to its spot for eight consecutive nights and has been reported to change colour. UFO nuts are baffled. Patrick Kent is not.
Watch the MSNBC News coverage here.
[Via Discover Blogs]
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