A liberal Saudi blogger who was sentenced to endure 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" has been temporarily reprieved from his 50 weekly lashings after a board of doctors ruled his body is incapable of taking any more lashings in the near future.
After sentencing 31-year-old Raif Badawi, who operated the a blog called "Free Saudi Liberals," to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashings and fining him about $266,060 for "insulting Islam" in his writings, the Saudi government has received international pressure for doling out such extreme punishments to someone who simply wrote on his own views and opinions.
The sentence of 1,000 lashes by a cane was arranged for Badawi, a father of three, so that he receives them in increments of 50 every Friday during the course of 20 weeks. But after receiving his first set of 50 lashes on Jan. 9 in the city of Jiddah, Badawi had not been subjected to the punishment in the two following weeks. more >>
A former Contemporary Christian country singer, who disappeared for years from the Nashville music scene since 2005, has resurfaced as a gay and HIV-positive folk singer.
As HIVPlus Mag reports, singer-songwriter and pastor's son Byron Rice was a mainstay in the Nashville Contemporary Christian music scene for about a decade under the name "Byron Keith." He toured all over the world and released eight albums featuring songs that explained his personal relationship with God, such as his 1997 debut title track "Here Inside My Heart."
After getting married, having kids and going through a divorce, Rice went on a hiatus from the music scene in 2005. After about seven years off from touring, the singer returned to the music scene as an openly-gay and HIV-positive folk singer, using the name Byron Rice. more >>
A federal court in Illinois has ordered a community college to allow two activists to distribute anti-homosexuality leaflets on its campus, after the school maintained that the individuals could not distribute such materials that were deemed "inconsistent with the philosophy, goals and mission of the college."
Last January, Wayne Lela and John McCartney sent an application to Waubonsee Community College seeking permission to pass out leaflets on its campus promoting their Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment, a group organized by Lela that advocates that homosexuality is immoral. After submitting the required details about the leaflets to the administration, the administration sent them back a letter denying their request later that month.
Although Lela and McCartney had been previously granted permission in 2003 and 2005 to pass out the promotional items for the organization on the WCC campus, the school's letter of denial in January of 2014 stated that group's message conflicted with the message of the school and that school could not allow them to hand out their leaflets on its campus. more >>
The leader of Pakistani politico-religious party Jamaat-e Islami is claiming that the Western "extremist standpoint" on the freedom of news organizations to publish "blasphemous caricatures" of Islam's prophet Muhammad will ultimately lead to World War III.
In addressing the thousands in attendance at a Friday protest over the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which publicized cartoons portraying Muhammad, the influential chief of the Jamaat-e Islami party, Sirajul Haq, demanded that the United Nations make laws designed to prevent the media and others from mocking religious personalities.
Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said on Sunday that the cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are "childish" compared to the way the newspaper has mocked and offended Christians.
"The cartoons of prophet Muhammad are childish caricatures compared to what this publication allows itself in mocking the feelings of Christians," Kirill said in a sermon.
"Today, in saying 'no' to terrorism, killings, violence, we also say 'no' to the inexplicable drive by a certain group of people to deride religious feelings." more >>
While appearing at a hunting and outdoors trade show in Las Vegas on Thursday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin declined to comment on current hot-button political issues but sent the clear message to Republican leadership in Congress that they need to go on the "offensive" with the new majority they have in both houses.
After promoting her outdoor-themed reality show "Amazing America" at the SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show), the 50-year-old former vice presidential candidate told The Blaze that Republicans in Congress need to start acting like they actually have the majority and urged GOP Congress members to stop playing "defense."
"I'm not going to talk politics except to say the GOP had better go on offense," Palin asserted. "Man, they are not going to win a game on defense. Being in the majority there in D.C. — we're blowing it if we just bend our back." more >>