A self-confessed atheist, Niko Alm first applied for the license three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons. Mr Alm said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism. After receiving his application the Austrian authorities had required him to obtain a doctor's certificate that he was "psychologically fit" to drive. Mr Alm's pastafarian-style application for a driving licence was a response to the Austrian recognition of confessional headgear in official photographs. The licence took three years to come through and, according to Mr Alm, he was asked to submit to a medical interview to check on his mental fitness to drive but - straining credulity — his efforts have finally paid off.
Tag Archives | Freedom Of Religion
A group that has already criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his involvement with a Christian prayer rally scheduled for Reliant Stadium next month went a step further Wednesday and filed a federal lawsuit in Houston to stop him from promoting it. The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims Perry's association with the "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a National in Crisis" breaches the separation of church and state. The complaint, filed in the Southern District on behalf of five named individuals who live in Houston, notes the plaintiffs are "nonbelievers who support the free exercise of religion, but strongly oppose the governmental establishment and endorsement of religion ...." The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Perry's official involvement. A Perry spokesman said he won't back away from the event.
Upon closer inspection, there are quite a few atheists in foxholes. Faithless soldiers are coming out of the closet and rallying for the appointment of a humanistic military chaplain, as Christian evangelical pressures within the armed forces mount. The New York Times writes:
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Strange as it sounds, groups representing atheists and secular humanists are pushing for the appointment of one of their own to the chaplaincy, hoping to give voice to what they say is a large — and largely underground — population of nonbelievers in the military.
An atheist group at Fort Bragg called Military Atheists and Secular Humanists, or MASH, has asked the Army to appoint an atheist lay leader at the base. A new MASH chapter at Fort Campbell, Ky., is planning to do the same as are atheists at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.
Defense Department statistics show that about 9,400 of the nation’s 1.4 million active-duty military personnel identify themselves as atheists or agnostics.
The New York Times reports:
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The authorities stepped up a three-week campaign against an underground Christian church on Sunday, detaining hundreds of congregants in their homes and taking at least 36 others into custody after they tried to hold Easter services in a public square, church members and officials said.
The church, Shouwang, an evangelical Protestant congregation that was evicted from its rented quarters this month, has been at loggerheads with the government since announcing plans to gather outdoors rather than disband or return to worshiping in private homes. The authorities have repeatedly stymied Shouwang’s efforts to lease or buy space for its 1,000-member congregation, one of the largest and most prominent so-called house churches in the capital.
The Chinese Communist Party tightly manages religious activity, requiring the faithful to join state-run churches, mosques or Buddhist temples. Until the most recent crackdown on Shouwang and a handful of other unregistered churches, such congregations had enjoyed relatively wide latitude from the authorities.
It’s a violation of freedom of religion, obviously. (Jewish and Muslim prisoners were blocked from receiving their holy books.) But beyond that, isn’t it a damaging and cruel form of punishment to prevent inmates from reading books, newspapers, magazines, letters, and other printed material of any kind for years upon years? The Christian Science Monitor reports on rehabilitation, South Carolina-style:
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The US Justice Department is asking a federal judge in South Carolina to allow it to intervene in a lawsuit against a sheriff who allegedly forbids prisoners in his jail from receiving books, magazines, or printed materials other than copies of the King James version of the Bible.
Berkeley County Sheriff H. Wayne DeWitt denies that restrictions imposed at the county lockup in Moncks Corner, S.C., rise to the level of a constitutional violation or violate US law.
A Jewish prisoner seeking a Torah said he was told by jail officials that the prison only provides Bibles.
Religious discrimination and sexual harassment are, sadly, nothing new to the workplace. When your boss tells you “to attend the prayer meetings or find another position,” getting transferred may be the best opportunity. Unless your personal medical information is leaked to your new co-workers. Courthouse News Service reports:
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A BNSF Railway worker claims he was demoted because he declined to join his supervisor in prayer meetings at work. James Dunkin claims his boss proselytized on the job, handed out booklets that contained “instructions for raising ‘masculine sons and feminine daughters,’” and says that when he objected to the coerced prayers, the boss told him that “he needed to attend the prayer meetings or find another position.”
To top it off, Dunkin says that the offensive boss, Jeff Kirby, once “stood in his office with his door open and pants down” staring at him suggestively.
In his federal complaint in Kansas City, Kan., Dunkin says that after BNSF transferred him unfairly, he was tormented by his new co-workers because the company had leaked personal medical information about him.