Russia's 'Gay Propaganda' Law Takes Effect in Crimea

Authorities have canceled a Pride march and are planning more serious measures to eradicate the 'experimental practice of sodomy' in Crimea, which recently voted to become part of Russia.

 LGBT people in Crimea are now subject to Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law.

Authorities in the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in February, canceled this year’s Pride parade in accordance with the newly effective legislation, which bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” to minors.

The march was scheduled to take place April 22-23 in Sevastapol, a port city that is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, reports the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights.

Vitaly Milonov, a Russian politician who coauthored the “gay propaganda” law for the city of St. Petersburg, upon which Russia’s law was based, is calling for more drastic measures that will “eradicate the experimental practice of sodomy” in Crimea, including the creation of a “morality police,” censorship of social media, and the closure of LGBT clubs and organizations.

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8 Best Countries to be an Atheist

(Alternet.org)

A lot of non-believer writers and activists focus, rightly, on the continuing lack of acceptance in many societies and nations of those who profess no belief in religion. Keeping an eye on what’s not working is the first step toward making improvements. Still, in many places around the world, this is an unprecedented era for non-believers of freedom and social acceptance. In the spirit of celebrating the amount of progress secularism has made around the world, here’s a list of eight of the best countries in which to be a non-believer. 

1) Czech Republic. Many former communist nations saw their populations eagerly run back to the forbidden religions as soon as they were free to do so, demonstrating that the least effective way to spread atheism around is by mandate. The Czech Republic hasn’t seen any such return to religion, however; [3] only 21% of its citizens consider religion an important part of their daily lives. They seem to be hanging on to secularism for roughly the same reason that they do pretty well in international sports competitions. Unlike most Eastern European nations, the Czech Republic [4] rates high on the United Nation’s Human Development Report. It hasn't been riddled by the corruption and authoritarian attitudes that dominate other former communist nations, such as Russia. A mountain of evidence [5] demonstrates that stable, egalitarian economies correlate strongly with higher rates of atheism. It seems that the government’s demonstration of faith in its people and commitment to their well-being has gone a long way towards keeping the citizens from rekindling religious faith, whereas in places like Russia, where citizens are more desperate, looking to God for answers perhaps becomes more appealing.

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Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster, with 'Pastafarian' followers, allowed to register as religion in Poland

'Pastafarians' in Poland unfurled a banner with the words ‘Do not fear the Monster!’ as a Warsaw court upheld their right to register as a religion. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is considered to be an atheistic caricature of orthodox religions.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 4:12 PM
 

Poles Celebrate Religious Recognition of FSM

Pastafarians Pawel Ziemba, left, and Joanna Lewandowicz, right, pose with a knitted image of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Pastafarians in Poland are rejoicing over a new ruling that lets their church apply to register as a religion.

Shouts of “pasta” filled the air outside a Warsaw court Tuesday as Judge Wlodzimierz Kowalczyk overturned a previous ruling that had banned the noodle worshippers from being recognized as an official faith community.

The judgment was based on a technicality, Polskie Radio reports. Kowalczyk said the group hadn’t been given a required two-month extension for submitting outstanding documents.

Despite the close call, the Pastafarians were happy about the win.

“Yesterday was filled with signs indicating the Monster’s goodwill,” the Polish group wrote, according to a translation obtained by Patheos. “The Monster’s followers spread out a banner on the stairs of the Court bearing the uplifting words “Do not fear the Monster!” and — following a tradition sanctified over centuries — repaired to a nearby restaurant for a bowl of spaghetti and a small beer.”

The Catholic Church in Poland has spoken out against the Pastafarians, claiming the movement is anti-Catholic provocation.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster started in the United States in 2005 as part of the backlash against the Kansas State Board of Education's decision to teach intelligent design in public schools.

Pastafarians say they believe the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster and take Friday as their religious holiday. Practioners insist their religious beliefs are genuine, although many consider the movement to be a caricature of orthodox religion.

Pastafarian prayers end with the word “R’amen,” a reference to both Japanese noodles and to the Christian “Amen.”

TOMASZ GZELL/EPA

Pastafarians in Poland are rejoicing over a new ruling that lets their church apply to register as a religion.

Shouts of “pasta” filled the air outside a Warsaw court Tuesday as Judge Wlodzimierz Kowalczyk overturned a previous ruling that had banned the noodle worshippers from being recognized as an official faith community.

The judgment was based on a technicality, Polskie Radio reports. Kowalczyk said the group hadn’t been given a required two-month extension for submitting outstanding documents.

Despite the close call, the Pastafarians were happy about the win.

“Yesterday was filled with signs indicating the Monster’s goodwill,” the Polish group wrote, according to a translation obtained by Patheos. “The Monster’s followers spread out a banner on the stairs of the Court bearing the uplifting words “Do not fear the Monster!” and — following a tradition sanctified over centuries — repaired to a nearby restaurant for a bowl of spaghetti and a small beer.”

The Catholic Church in Poland has spoken out against the Pastafarians, claiming the movement is anti-Catholic provocation.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster started in the United States in 2005 as part of the backlash against the Kansas State Board of Education's decision to teach intelligent design in public schools.

Pastafarians say they believe the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster and take Friday as their religious holiday. Practioners insist their religious beliefs are genuine, although many consider the movement to be a caricature of orthodox religion.

Pastafarian prayers end with the word “R’amen,” a reference to both Japanese noodles and to the Christian “Amen.”

In January, Pastafarian ‘minister’ Christopher Shaeffer was sworn into Pomfret, N.Y.’s Town Board while wearing a colander on his head.

 

US Government Promoting Islam in Czech Republic

More recently, Muslims in the Czech Republic have tried to ban a book they say is Islamophobic, and have filed a ten-page criminal complaint against its formerly-Muslim author.

The Czech government has approved a new project aimed at promoting Islam in public elementary and secondary schools across the country.

The project—Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren—is being spearheaded by a Muslim advocacy group and is being financed by American taxpayers through a grant from the US Embassy in Prague. (The US State Department is also promoting Islam in other European countries.)

The group says the Czech Ministry of Education has authorized it to organize lectures and seminars aimed at "teaching Czech schoolchildren about Islamic beliefs and practices" and at "fighting stereotypes and prejudices about Muslims."

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An atheism association is founded . . . in Turkey

The locals of the association were opened in Istanbul's Kadıköy district. Agos Photo

The locals of the association were opened in Istanbul's Kadıköy district.

The first Atheism Association has been officially founded in Turkey, becoming a legal address in an effort to stand up for the rights of atheists in the country, daily Radikal has reported.

“No atheists will be alone anymore, either on the streets or in courts,” the association said via its official Twitter account.

It also invited “everyone who wants to meet or be a member” to its office, located in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district.

In an interview with daily Agos last month, the founders of the Initiative of Atheism Association, Tolga İnci and Ahmet Balyemez, said they thought there should be a place to provide legal support to people facing problems as atheists.

“Even saying ‘I am an atheist’ has begun to mean an insult to Islam in Turkey. The prime minister’s remarks that ‘every atheist is a terrorist’ are being taken as normal,” they said in the interview. “We need to say ‘we are here’ as atheists ... We are not related to any ideology. We want to approach atheism scientifically, not ideologically.”