Last week, the UK Supreme Court sided with the couple. The 1970 opinion was wrong, the court held. Scientology is indeed a religion. For one thing, Lord Toulson’s opinion explained, Scientology does hold a belief in a supreme deity, albeit an impersonal and abstract deity. Anyway, belief in a deity is not necessary.
— Center for Law and Religion
10 Things You Need to Know Myanmar’s Persecuted Muslim Minority
Burma has a Buddhist majority. Less than 9 percent of the population is Muslim but we are more than a million people. We are an ethnic people who practice Islam and speak the Rohingya language. Most of us live in the state of Rakhine, where my great grandparents and their great grandparents were born. In the last 18 months, Buddhist mobs have terrorized Muslims throughout Burma.
— Huffington Post
The Arrogance of Atheism?
A few weeks ago I found myself engaged in an all-too-familiar debate. She was frustrated that I was not subscribing to her idea that ‘everything happens for a reason,’ and that even tragedies are ‘meant to teach us something.’
— Big Think
On “Religious Symbols” and the Politics of Perception
On September 10, 2013, the government of Québec made international headlines with a controversial proposal, Bill 60, more commonly referred to as the “Charter of Values.” The Bill would see restrictions on the wearing of “religious symbols,” requiring the removal of hijabs, yarmulkes and turbans for those in positions of public authority (police, judges, etc.), as well as for most employees who work for and do business with the provincial government. Despite the relatively small percentage of people potentially affected by the Bill, its polemical nature has turned it into a lightening rod for broader debates over the perceived influence of “political Islam” in Euro-Western societies, as with similar cases in countries like Germany and France.
— Religion Bulletin
LSE apologises to students asked to cover Jesus and Muhammad T-shirts
The London School of Economics (LSE) has apologised to two students who were forced to cover up T-shirts depicting a cartoon of Jesus and the prophet Muhammad. Christian Moos and Abhishek Phadnis were representing the students’ union Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (ASH) at the university’s freshers fair in October, when they were told that displaying a depiction of Muhammad, prohibited under Islamic law, may constitute harassment of a religious group.
— The Guardian
Just a Thought: On women and Judaism
The difficulty of writing an article on the subject of women and Judaism is inherent in the title. Why would anyone ever conceive of writing such an article, as if women are in anyway distinct from Judaism? No one would ever write an article about men and Judaism, as men are obviously part of the package known as Judaism. Women, it would seem, are not. We find this distinction in the Torah itself. The Tenth Commandment is clearly addressing men alone with “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” In covenant ceremonies Israelite men are addressed by God while the women are included under the rubric of “You, your women.” The women are not “you,” they are “yours”; a big difference! (Shaye J.D. Cohen)
— The Jerusalem Post
Three ways we can live out our faith publicly
Sometimes we read things in the Bible that don’t jive with our experience, or seem to be confusing. We see the seeming tension between God’s sovereign will and our moral culpability or that the gospel call is to go to all, and yet not all will receive it (nor, it seems, can they). These are but two popular examples. But one place where the Bible shows no tension whatsoever is this: Being public about your faith.
— Blogging Theologically
A Baptist Joins Satanists & Hindus in 10 Commandments Challenge
The internet has been abuzz for over a week over the Church of Satan’s plan to build a monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol building in response to the 7-foot tall granite Ten Commandments monument that’s stood there since 2012. But as Joseph Laycock noted last week, the Satanists’ prank stands very little chance of success. A Hindu effort to erect a statue of Lord Hanuman — what some are referring to as the “monkey god” — may stand a better chance as it would be perceived by a court as representative of a legitimate religion.
— Religion Dispatches