Pope Francis reportedly denies the existence of hell. Vatican panics.

The Vatican communications department has been working overtime the past few weeks. First, its chief communications secretary, Dario Vigano, resigned under pressure after the Vatican admitted to doctoring a photo of a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to bolster Francis’s conservative credentials. Now, they’re scrambling to contextualize a remark attributed to Pope Francis by an Italian journalist at the newspaper La Repubblica that hell does not exist.

…Speaking to the newspaper’s founder, journalist and atheist Eugenio Scalfari, Francis was quoted as saying of those who die in a state of mortal sin: “They are not punished. Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and take their place among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. A hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists.”

If the Pope indeed said those words, the consequences would be catastrophic for the Catholic Church, which — according to its own catechism — “affirms the teaching of hell and its eternity,” including “eternal fire,” although it stresses that the “The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God.”

Pope Francis reportedly denies the existence of hell. Vatican panics. – Vox



68 Iowa faith leaders: We support woman’s right to an abortion

The constitutional right of women to make their own healthcare decisions is being attacked in the Iowa Legislature. With arguments based only in religious beliefs, it will create harm to Iowa women and a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions. It is creating a clear path for the government to intrude in the most personal rights and decisions of Iowa women. This is unconstitutional and it is wrong.

…We know that women do not want to be in the place to need an abortion. Life is not perfect and there are personal, often difficult, reasons that lead women to make a decision to end a pregnancy. The reasons are as varied as the women themselves. Unless we are invited into that conversation with a woman, it is not our business and it is not the business of the government.

…Every person has the right to their own personal and religious beliefs and to live their life how they determine is best for them. The government does not have the right to infringe on the freedoms or privacy of Iowa women based on those religious beliefs.

Every woman deserves to consult her values, faith, and doctor when making a decision about her body and her pregnancy. Any law that strips a woman of her faith and tries instead to legislate her values for her is immoral.

We stand with the women of Iowa and their constitutional right to make their own healthcare decisions. We ask the Iowa Legislature to do the same.

68 Iowa faith leaders: We support woman’s right to an abortion


India Supreme Court restores ‘love jihad’ marriage

Hadiya Jahan, who is in her 20s, was born into a Hindu family, but converted to Islam and married a Muslim man.

Her family alleged she was brainwashed as part of an anti-Hindu conspiracy, prompting a lower court to annul the marriage.

India’s top court has now set aside the ruling, restoring their marriage.

Marriages between Hindus and Muslims have long attracted censure in conservative Indian families, but the attachment of a deeper, sinister motive to them is a recent phenomenon.

…In November, a top court bench allowed Ms Jahan to leave her father’s custody and resume her studies.

India Supreme Court restores ‘love jihad’ marriage – BBC News


Myanmar bulldozes what is left of Rohingya Muslim villages

First, their villages were burned to the ground. Now, Myanmar’s government is using bulldozers to literally erase them from the earth — in a vast operation rights groups say is destroying crucial evidence of mass atrocities against the nation’s ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority.

…Myanmar’s armed forces are accused not just of burning Muslim villages with the help of Buddhist mobs, but of carrying out massacres, rapes and widespread looting. The latest crisis in Rakhine state began in August after Rohingya insurgents launched a series of unprecedented attacks on security posts.

Myanmar bulldozes what is left of Rohingya Muslim villages – ABC News

State sponsored evil. Cue the Israeli-like propaganda about racist facism being all about safety for its citizen in 3,2,1…

Ahed Tamimi’s trial gets under way behind closed doors

Ahed Tamimi, 17, was arrested in December after a video of her slapping and hitting two Israeli officials outside of her house in the village of Nabi Saleh went viral. Her mother, Nariman, was arrested soon after.

Court proceedings began on Tuesday at Israel’s Ofer detention centre, with only family members allowed into the hearing after the judge barred reporters despite a request for a public trial by Gaby Lasky, the lawyer of the Tamimis.

…Amit Gilutz, spokesperson for Israeli rights group B’Tselem, said all of the practices being used against Ahed and Nariman “are completely routine” for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

“The military courts themselves are one of the most injurious mechanisms of the occupation and are not designed to seek justice or truth, but to maintain the occupation,” Gilutz told Al Jazeera.

…Ahed has since become an icon for the 330 Palestinian children currently held in Israel’s prisons, and rights groups have demanded her immediate release.

“As an unarmed girl, Ahed posed no threat during the altercation with the two Israeli soldiers who were heavily armed and wearing protective clothing,” Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and Africa programme, said in a statement on Monday.

Mughrabi said Ahed had not done anything that could justify her continued detention and “the long, aggressive interrogation sessions she has been forced to endure”.

“Yet again, the Israeli authorities have responded to acts of defiance by a Palestinian child with measures that are entirely disproportionate to the incident in question,” she added.

…The village has also faced rising threats from settlers residing in Israel’s illegal Halamish settlement, located adjacent to the home of the Tamimi family.

Earlier this month, locals said Israeli settlers had snuck into Nabi Saleh in the middle of the night and sprayed graffiti around the village, including slogans such as “Death to Ahed Tamimi” and “There’s no place in this world for Ahed Tamimi”.

Ahed Tamimi’s trial gets under way behind closed doors | Palestine News | Al Jazeera

Not sure which is worse, being black in the US justice system or Palestinian in the Israeli court system. Either way, you’re pretty much fucked.

Military Trial Opens For 17-Year-Old

For many Palestinians, Tamimi is a symbol of resistance to a half-century military occupation that stands in the way of Palestinian independence and shows no sign of ending.

For many Israelis, Tamimi is a provocateur who goads soldiers on video and champions rock-throwing, influenced by relatives who have been involved in protests and attacks against Israelis.

Tamimi was arrested and indicted after a public outcry in Israel when a video of an altercation with the soldiers, posted by her mother, went viral.

…The altercation with soldiers happened shortly after Tamimi’s cousin was shot in the head with a rubber bullet during a demonstration as he climbed a wall of a complex that Israeli soldiers had commandeered, according to Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, who is a well-known leader of protests in his village.

Military prosecutors say Ahed Tamimi’s slapping, kicking and punching of soldiers was assault. Bassem Tamimi recently told NPR that his daughter’s confrontation is a natural reaction to a life of watching her relatives being arrested and killed.

…Human rights advocates, including Human Rights Watch, have criticized Ahed Tamimi’s pre-trial detention – now at more than 55 days. “Her case raises concern that Israel’s military justice system, which detains hundreds of Palestinian children every year, is incapable of respecting children’s rights,” the rights group stated.

Military Trial Opens For 17-Year-Old Palestinian Activist : The Two-Way : NPR

The United States isn’t perfect but at least awe aren’t Israel….