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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, April 17

Welcome back to Faithful Friday, faithful readers! This week we'll be looking at the intersection of religion and society as a whole, particularly in regards to how the law and morality comes into play. Is compelling a Christian baker who believes homosexuality is a sin to make a wedding cake for a gay couple religious discrimination? Or is giving the baker the ability to refuse a license to discriminate? How might you raise a moral robot? These questions and more are addressed in the following stories.

First up: Warren Richey at The Christian Science Monitor discusses the tangled issue that is religious discrimination law and whether "freedom of conscience" operates at an equivalent level of legal authority as "freedom from discrimination" or not. What's more, must one necessarily have to take precedence or is there a way to accommodate both?

Up north the Canadian Supreme Court has taken a decidedly different approach to the issue of prayer at government meetings to its southern neighbor. Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, has decided that religious prayer in such circumstances are perfectly legal and protected by the 1st Amendment, Canada's final court of appeal has decided precisely the opposite: prayer during meetings is a violation of the separation of church and state. What do you think?

In Hong Kong a new Buddhist monastery, the brainchild of China's richest man Sir Ka-shing Li, has opened up to the public. At a cost of £193 million the massive complex feature bulletproof VIP rooms and can accommodate up to 400 or 500 visitors a day, all the while watched over by 76 meter (249 foot) tall statue of the goddess Guanyin.

Most people around the world consider religion to be the foundation of their morality, which is a large part of why they make an effort to pass on their religious values to their children. But what if your child wasn't flesh and blood but a robot? How might that alter your approach? This piece from Brown University offers some thought on the subject.

Lastly, returning to the issue with which we opened The Guardian argues that the idea that religious freedom in the West is under attack is essentially baseless. Christians, they argue, have nothing to fear and recent challenges to businesses' freedom of conscience do not amount to real threats to religious freedom. Do you agree or disagree?

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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