Brunei has just passed a law which enforces Sharia, including death by stoning for same-sex relations and “rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder.”
Because, you know, the world has grown wicked and will be a better place if we chuck modernity and return to the “old ways.”
The United Nations has responded to the nation of Brunei, a sovereign state in southeast Asia, where officials are reportedly set to roll out a new penal code including death by stoning as punishment for same-sex acts.
Other offenses referenced in the revision of capital punishment regulations reportedly include “rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder.”
In case you want to sound just like Deepak Chopra, without the aggravation of making-up and road-testing your own crazy schtick, try here and here.
“Boko Haram” means “Western education is sin.” Because, you know, superstitions are undermined when people learn to think.
They may loathe each other’s beliefs, but the Pious of all stripes can agree that their Holy Men are special and shouldn’t pay the same taxes regular folk pay.
Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus may have different ideas about God, but they all agree on a tax break for clergy under attack by an atheist group that says it discriminates against the non-religious.
Interests diverse as conservative evangelicals, mainline Protestants and one group broad enough to embrace both the Southern Baptist Convention and The International Society for Krishna Consciousness filed legal briefs in recent days asking an appeals court to reverse a lower-court decision last year ending a 60-year-old “parsonage allowance” that allows churches to provide ministers with tax-exempt housing allowances in lieu of housing them in parsonages on church property.
This is a no-brainer: Tax breaks for clergy, and their churches, shift their portion of the cost of government to others, and should be discontinued. If a church can’t pay its own way, if it must exact compulsory support from its neighbors, then it should fail — and good riddance.
The tax privileges are all the more egregious when there is absolutely no educated, intellectually serious dispute about the falsity of the dominant faith narratives; when they are explicitly anti-intellectual in a country whose public policy favors public education; when their premises are inherently degrading and injurious; when they flirt with sedition. The religious tax privileges need to end.