Brian Pellot: On Freedom

Bike lanes * Saint Barbie * So long: October’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — November 2, 2015
Churches attack bike lanes for "burdening" their religious freedom as Saint Barbie leads a plastic revolution in Argentina. Savor every word of this last ever recap as I say “so long” to On Freedom.
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Kardashian pope * Kim Davis * Beef party : September’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — October 2, 2015
Celebrity Pope Francis photobombed selfies on his U.S. album launch tour. Conservative “It Girl” Kim Davis sat in jail and won awards for not doing her job. And India threw a “beef party” to celebrate religious tolerance and protest new meat bans.

8 ‘blasphemous’ books banned for offending believers

By Brian Pellot — September 29, 2015
The Bible and Fifty Shades of Grey share more than a few raunchy sex scenes. On Banned Books Week and International Blasphemy Rights Day, these eight titles are still too hot to handle.

Why Thailand’s demigod king and military junta are cracking down on ‘blasphemy’

By Brian Pellot — September 24, 2015
Thailand’s lèse majesté laws shield a deified king from criticism, an outdated monarchy from reform and a military junta from accountability.

‘We’re All Mexicans’ and ‘Je Suis Juif’ are terrible, nonsensical rallying calls

By Brian Pellot — September 11, 2015
“Black Lives Matter” works. “We’re All Mexicans” does not. Expressing solidarity and support shouldn’t require us to falsely claim identities that have already been claimed.

Fake church * ISIS onesies * Albino hope: August’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — September 1, 2015
HBO’s John Oliver trolls predatory televangelists by launching his own tax-exempt church. Spain arrests a man for selling ISIS shirts and baby onesies. And a U.S. charity is offering new limbs to albino children dismembered for black magic in Tanzania. Read on.

‘Megareverend’ John Oliver trolls televangelists with new tax-exempt church

By Brian Pellot — August 17, 2015
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver launched Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption to highlight the IRS’s hands-off approach to America’s top televangelists and their sometimes "seedy" prosperity gospel schemes.

Most non-religious Americans condone polyamory, new survey finds

By Brian Pellot — August 14, 2015
If most non-religious Americans think having multiple sexual partners is morally acceptable and more Americans are identifying as non-religious…you do the math.

Do ISIS’s atrocities against Christians, Yazidis and Shias really amount to genocide?

By Brian Pellot — August 6, 2015
Religious freedom advocates are calling for President Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to label ISIS’s actions against religious and ethnic minorities “genocide.” Does the label fit? 13 experts weigh in.

Marijuana ministries * Chicken blood * Chocolate snakes: July’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — July 31, 2015
Cannabis churches are billowing out across America. Chicken huggers are suing to keep ritual bird blood off Brooklyn’s sidewalks. And a South African prophet is being prosecuted for turning congregants into snakes and snakes into chocolate.

Let Cecil the lion’s death shine light on Zimbabwe’s human rights abuses

By Brian Pellot — July 29, 2015
The Internet melted when news broke that a Minnesota dentist had killed Zimbabwe’s most beloved big cat. Allow me to steal Cecil’s spotlight for a moment with five facts about the country’s egregious human rights record.

Told ya so! The UAE’s new ‘anti-discrimination’ law is already being abused to censor critics

By Brian Pellot — July 28, 2015
Last week’s royal decree, which leaders touted as a shield against religious hatred and discrimination, is already being used as a sword to suppress government critics.

‘Free speech’ or criminal front? Armslist, Ashley Madison and Silk Road blur legal and moral lines

By Brian Pellot — July 24, 2015
Are websites that facilitate the exchange of guns, drugs and sex "free speech forums," as many claim, or something far more sinister?
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