Masturbation & Porn Bigger Priority Than Planet & Poverty for US Bishops

By Patricia Miller, Religion Dispatches:

US Conference of Catholic Bishops (logo)

In another sign of just how far the agendas of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Francis have diverged, it's worth noting that at their recently concluded fall plenary, the bishops signaled strongly about what's on their radar when the only formal pastoral statement they issued was about what they consider a pressing pastoral crisis—pornography.

The bishops couldn't be bothered to add either the environment or the plight of distressed peoples—whether they be refugees and immigrants or the poor—to their list of key priorities, despite the fact that they are a clear priority for Francis, and, therefore, the church. (Although they did work in some language about concern for the poor and immigrants.) And there was virtually no mention of growing economic inequality or the corrosive effects of unfettered capitalism. But pornography got a 22-page official pastoral statement.

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Religion and Conspiracy Theories


Do you find civilization falling apart and think that social norms are being undermined? Do you feel helpless and authoritarian with margins of low self-esteem? If your levels of study and scientific information have hit rock bottom and if you also show an interest in the paranormal and strange phenomena (1), do not despair, there is a solution: Get together a sect to disclose conspiracy theories.

According to H. Darwin and colleagues in the academic psychology department of the University of Northumbria in the UK(1), individuals who promote conspiracy theories embrace similar symptoms: high levels of anomie, autocracy, and low self-esteem and education; considerable interest in precognition and the supernatural; and, especially, the imminent end of the world.

The result of these findings suggest that belief in conspiracy theories is directly related to effects of schizotypal and paranoid ideation (3). The second concept refers to insane beliefs of persecution, while in the first the subject has unusual experiences such as hearing thoughts aloud in one's head or a feeling or sensation that one has developed magical powers. The truth is that these individuals lose contact with reality, the person bears false beliefs about what is happening and thus becomes a psychopath (2).

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Canadian Masquerade: "Personal Choice" of the Niqab

Marco de Rossi, Atheist Freethinkers,
Zunera Ishaq (allegedly), Muslim-Canadian voterJust to set things up for you, Zunera Ishaq is the fundamentalist Muslim woman who, after a two-year legal battle, obtained permission from the Federal Appeal Court to take the citizenship oath while wearing her niqab.
Ms. Ishaq maintains that her battle to wear the niqab while taking the oath is merely a personal choice. However, according to Ms. Tahir Gora of the Canadian Coalition of Progressive Muslim Organizations, Ms. Ishaq is motivated by political considerations. In fact, Zunera Ishaq works as a volunteer for an organization linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, whose military wing is considered to be a terrorist organization. Up until last October 16th, her Facebook profile mentioned that she is a member of Jamaat-eIslami and a supporter of this Pakistani political party.
Thus, she became a central figure in the 2015 federal election campaign.

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Australian Muslims being forced to assimilate, Islamic conference told

Radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir have accused the federal government of criminalising the Muslim community through its anti-terror laws.
According to SBS, Hizb Ut-Tarir says Muslims are not just being forced to obey the law - but also adopt Australian values.
The group, which supports an Islamic caliphate and sharia law, is banned in some countries but not in Australia.

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Saudi Arabia executes three Iranian drug traffickers

Under the kingdom's strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.
According to Tribune, Saudi Arabia on Sunday executed three Iranians convicted of drug trafficking, the interior ministry said, bringing to 145 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year.
The three convicts had attempted to "smuggle a large amount of hashish by sea" into Saudi Arabia, the ministry said in a statement published on the official SPA news agency.
They were executed in the eastern port city of Dammam, it said. Saudi executions are usually carried out by beheading with a sword.
According to AFP tallies, their cases bring to 145 the number of locals and foreigners executed in the conservative Islamic kingdom this year, compared with 87 in 2014.
Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom.
London-based Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia had the world's third-highest number of executions last year, far behind China and Iran, but ahead of Iraq and the United States.

Woman stoned to death in Afghanistan over accusation of adultery

(CNN)- The men surround the woman as she stands in a hole dug into the stony ground, only her head pokes above the surface. Then they begin to pick up rocks and hurl them at her again and again from close range.
Her agonized cries grow louder as the barrage of stones intensifies.
The barbaric killing took place in a Taliban-controlled village in central Afghanistan last week, according to the provincial governor. Video of it, apparently filmed on a cell phone, has circulated on social media.

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19-Year-old Gang Rape Victim to Receive 200 Lashes and 6 Months in Jail in Saudi Arabia

According to The Info Post, a Saudi Arabian woman must be accompanied by a male guardian — typically relative — at all times in public. The rape victim violated this law by meeting a friend to retrieve a picture.
A 19-year-old gang rape victim was sentenced to 200 lashes and to six months in jail for the crime of indecency and speaking to the press.
Saudi Arabia defended a controversial verdict sentencing a 19-year-old gang rape victim to 200 lashes and six months in jail. The Shi'ite Muslim woman had initially been sentenced to 90 lashes after being convicted of violating Saudi Arabia's rigid Islamic Sharia law on segregation of the sexes.

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Nonreligious children are more generous

By Warren Cornwall - AAAS
Religious doctrines typically urge the faithful to treat others with compassion and to put the greater good before selfish interests. But when it comes to generosity, nonreligious kids seem to be more giving, according to a new study of 1170 children from around the world.
Children from religious homes—particularly Muslims—also showed a greater inclination to judge someone's misdeeds as wrong and punish the perpetrators. The study, the first large-scale analysis of its kind, suggests that religion and moral behavior don't necessarily go hand-in-hand for children.
"Our findings support the notion that the secularization of moral discourse does not reduce human kindness. In fact it does just the opposite," says Jean Decety, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, in Illinois, and the study's lead author.

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