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US Soldier tormented for “Muslim” name: News Roundup

In the news this week: a US Soldier is tormented for "Muslim sounding name," Haredi-secular relations in Israel are tense, and other news stories.

Hosan is not a Muslim – she's a Catholic. But her name sounded Islamic to fellow U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and they would taunt her, calling her "Sgt. Hussein" and asking what God she prayed to.

So before deploying to Afghanistan last year for her second war tour, she legally changed her name – to Naida Christian Nova.

This did not solve her problems. Instead, matters escalated.  Huffington Post

Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein dropped a bomb in the realm of Haredi-secular relations on Wednesday, when he instructed government ministers in a sharply-worded statement to immediately stop the exclusion of women in the areas under their authority.

At the end of several meetings in his office, Weinstein adopted the recommendations of a report by the team led by Sarit Dana, outgoing deputy attorney general in charge of civil affairs, that boldly calls for an end to discrimination in every area of public policy.

Weinstein explicitly ordered Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Yael German and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to eliminate the exclusion of women from the public sphere.  Jewish Daily Forward

When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.  CNN

Controversy over whether or not prayer would be a part of an Arkansas elementary school's graduation may have led school officials to simply cancel the district's sixth-grade ceremonies altogether.

The Riverside School District in Lake City has canceled this year's sixth-grade graduation ceremonies at East and West Elementary schools after an anonymous complaint was made, according to local ABC affiliate KAIT.

However, no one seems happy with the decision.  Huffington Post

And updating a story from the fall of 2012, a Texas court judge ruled today that the signs displayed by high school cheerleaders quoting biblical verses were "constitutionally permissible," and that the Kountze High School cheerleaders could continue to display them at the school's football games.

In his ruling, State District Judge Steve Thomas said that no law "prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events.

"The evidence in this case confirms that religion messages expressed on run-through banners have not created, and will not create, an establishment of religion in the Kountze community."  ABC News

US Christian soldier with “Muslim” name harassed, considered suicide

What happens when someone who isn’t a Muslim gets harassed over their Muslim name?

Yesterday, the AP reported about a US Army sergeant who, because of her name, was harassed by fellow soldiers who thought she was Muslim. She filed complaints with her superiors but said, "Any time I would say something about it I was treated like I didn't know what I was talking about or that I'm an idiot or that I was a Muslim sympathizer.”

The Army won’t comment on the case and the Army’s lawyers won’t comment on the case. Take a few minutes to read the story on The Huffington Post and leave us your comments below.

 

Muslims and Christians sharing a church in England: News Roundup

In the news this week: Christians and Muslims share a space to pray, Muslim leaders say anti-Muslim reaction to bombing neutral, and other stories.

 

The familiar sounds of Christian hymns have been replaced with Islamic prayer in the chapel this Friday lunchtime and the church priest with the imam from the neighbouring mosque.

Muslims from the Syed Shah Mustafa Jame Masjid mosque next door share this church with Christian worshippers up to five times a day.

Church leaders believe this may be the only place in the country where Christian and Muslim worshippers pray side by side. BBC

It looked like the backlash was starting even before the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were identified as Muslim.

Hours after the explosions, a Bangladeshi man told police he was dubbed an "Arab" and beaten in New York. A veiled Muslim woman in a city near Boston said she was struck in the shoulder and called a terrorist. When the public learned days later that the FBI was pursuing two Muslim men of Chechen descent, American Muslims feared the worst.

But the worst didn't happen.

Muslim civil rights leaders say the anti-Islam reaction has been more muted this time than after other attacks since Sept. 11, which had sparked outbursts of vandalism, harassment and violence.  Huffington Post

Research shows that people around the world have more religious restrictions now than in 2006 and therefore have less religious freedom than in previous years, according to Pew Research.

In a recent Tedx presentation, Brian Grim, a leading expert on global religion and religious freedom, provides an overview of the freedom of the world’s populations to practice religion.

He explains that since 2006, Pew Research analyzed two overarching categories that correlate with loss or gain of religious freedoms: the number of government restrictions on religion and the number of religiously motivated social hostilities. A higher number of restrictions and social hostilities leads to a loss of religious freedoms. Deseret News

Take a midafternoon trip through the most sketchy and monomaniacal corners of the cybersphere, and you will discover that Jews have been blamed for everything from the Holocaust and Sept. 11 to Newtown and climate change. Faced with such frantic spewing, one looks back with a kind of nostalgia to the granddaddy of anti-Semitic tropes: the blood libel, the age-old charge that Jews kill Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, in particular the baking of Passover matzoh.

The blood libel has had a long life, from its invention in Norwich, England, in 1144 to the pogroms it spurred centuries later in Poland and Russia. While matzoh is rarely a fixation among anti-Semites these days, the notion that Jews kill outsiders for their own nefarious purposes is alive and well, often with Muslim victims substituted for Christian ones. In 2009 the Swedish social democratic newspaper Aftonbladet ran a story alleging, without evidence, that Israelis were harvesting the organs of Palestinians for use on the black market. In the Arab world, Israel has been charged with murdering Palestinian children; in the most pointed versions of the accusation, such murders are seen as a perverse source of enjoyment for the Jews. At Davos in 2009, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan denounced Israel’s rulers as “murderers of children” and added that “Israeli barbarity is far beyond any usual cruelty.”

Recent times have even seen serious academics wonder whether the blood libel, so serious a source of pain to Jews, might contain a grain of truth. The very thought is nauseating and repugnant.  Tablet

Nigerian authorities pleaded for peace over the Easter holiday: News Roundup

In the news this week, Nigeria attacks leave more than 50 dead, Obama Easter Service Pastor, Luis León, criticized for remarks against religious right, and other stories. 

Attacks on villages surrounding a central Nigerian city at the heart of unrest between Christians and Muslims have killed more than 50 people this week, officials said Saturday, as authorities pleaded for peace over the Easter holiday.

The attacks around Jos, a city in Nigeria's fertile central belt, come as a string of unsolved killings continue to plague the region that has seen thousands killed in massacres in recent years. While a combined police and military presence still patrols Jos and other parts of Plateau state, many of the villages attacked sit in remote, rural corners of the area that sometimes have only a single police officer on duty.

The most recent killings happened Friday night in the Barkin Ladi area, said Lt. Jude Akpa, a military spokesman. Attackers raided a village called Bokkos and killed nine people, fleeing before soldiers arrived, Akpa said. Emmanuel Lohman, a government official there, said gunmen armed with assault rifles struck a village called Ratas and opened fire in the night while many there were sleeping. The Huffington Post

Under attack by some conservatives for speaking out against the "captains of the religious right" in his Easter sermon, the Rev. Luis León, pastor of the Episcopal church the Obama family attended for the holiday, told The Huffington Post on Monday that he stands by his words.

"It's in there. People will do what they want with it," said Leon, referring to the sermon in which he said it drives him "crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back … for blacks to be back in the back of the bus … for women to be back in the kitchen … for immigrants to be back on their side of the border."

The words, spoken as he instructed congregants to follow the advice of Jesus telling Mary Magdalene not to cling to him after he returned to life after death, came as Leon said Christians need to remember that "God address us in the now." In the sermon, he linked the story to what he described as conservatives grasping onto outdated views on race, gender roles and immigration. The Huffington Post

American Christians have a persecution complex. Whenever a public figure criticizes the Christian movement or offers believers in other faiths an equal voice in society, you can bet Christians will start howling. Claims about American persecution of Christians are a form of low comedy in a country where two-thirds of citizens claim to be Christians, where financial gifts to Christian churches are tax deductible, where Christian pastors can opt out of social security, and where no one is restricted from worshipping however, whenever, and wherever they wish.

But for many Christians, the “war on religion” is no laughing matter.

Let’s be clear: protecting religious freedom is a serious concern, and believers should speak up whenever they feel the free practice of any faith—not just their own—is threatened. But what is happening in America is not “persecution.” Using such a label is an insult to the faithful languishing in other parts of the world where persecution actually exists—places like the Middle East. Religion News Service

Torches flickered outside the church. Little girls wore their sparkly Easter best. Children bearing lanterns filed out through the heavy gilt doors, as worshipers carried an icon of Jesus and a cross covered with carnations.

But the Good Friday procession at St. Kyrillos Church here in Syria’s capital did not follow the route it had taken for generations. No drums or trumpets announced its presence. The marchers made a tight circle inside the iron-gated courtyard, then headed back into the church, a hedge against the mortar shells like the one that hit a hospital across the street recently. At pauses in their singing, gunfire rattled, not more than a few blocks away.

Easter weekend is usually the year’s most festive for Syria’s Christians, but this year, it is infused with grave uncertainty. Christians here say they primarily fear the general chaos enveloping the country as the war enters its third year. But like members of Syria’s other religious minorities, many Christians also fear what they see as the rise of extremists among the mainly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The New York Times

Chinese government aims to eradicate all unofficial Protestant churches: News Roundup

In the news this week, China cracks down on House Churches, Myanmar’s Ethnic Minorities Grow Pessimistic About Peace, and other stories.

ChinaAid reported in February the Chinese government's plan to eradicate all unofficial Protestant churches across the country. Now, that plan appears to have been set in motion.

"The ruling Chinese Communist Party's ideological agency in Jiaozhou city called on township Party committees and neighborhood panels to investigate fully all unofficial venues of worship on their territory," according to a report from Radio Free Asia.

Pastor Zhan Gang, who leads the local Protestant Chinese House Church Alliance in Jiaozhou, said all of the houses in his district already have been investigated. That could signal the start of a broader, country-wide campaign, as pastors in Shenzhen and Guangzhou provinces report similar directives issued in their areas. Christianity Today

Ethnic conflicts have been described as Myanmar’s original sin, a legacy of hatred and mistrust that fueled more than six decades of intermittent civil war.

But the ferocity of deadly rioting between Buddhists and Muslims last week has further underlined how ethnic and religious fissures in Myanmar pose serious impediments to democratic change in the country.

“How can you have peace and democracy when one-third of the country hates you?” asked Tom Kramer, a researcher with the Transnational Institute, an organization based in the Netherlands that is seeking to promote reconciliation between the majority ethnic Burman, who make up two-thirds of Myanmar’s population, and minorities. The violence last week, he said, was a “reminder of how deeply rooted ethnic and religious divisions are in the society.” The New York Times

While popes have for centuries washed the feet of the faithful on the day before Good Friday, never before had a pontiff washed the feet of a woman. That one of the female inmates at the prison in Rome was also a Serbian Muslim was also a break with tradition.

“There is no better way to show his service for the smallest, for the least fortunate,” said Gaetano Greco, a local chaplain. 

Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates aged 14 to 21, among them the two women, the second of whom was an Italian Catholic. Mr Greco said he hoped the ritual would be “a positive sign in their lives”. The Telegraph

A group of rabbis, reverends and priests has a message for President Barack Obama: stop the drone war.

In a video produced by the Brave New Foundation, a group that uses video and social media to protest against drones, Jewish and Christian leaders describe the practice as "assassination by remote control," which violates religious principles.

“From a New Testament point of view, drones are completely appalling,” the Rev. Paul F. M. Zahl, the retired Episcopal rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, told CNN. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

The video criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences.  The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions. CNN

 

Papal Potential: What Will Be Pope Francis’ Legacy?

Below is the beginning of an article that Tanenbaum's CEO, Joyce Dubensky, just authored for the Huffington Post.  You can find the full article here.

The world is watching as the Catholic Church embarks on a new era with its 266th leader, Pope Francis. Much is being written about this man as he steps onto the world stage. Stories detail how he has lived his faith as a servant of the poor. Others examine his traditional views on contemporary debates, including the role of women in the church and equality for men and women who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender. Some articles assess the importance of the church having leadership from the Global South, focus on his conduct during the Argentine "Dirty War," and even describe why he assumed the name Francis, in recognition of the saint known for his dedication to the poor, to peace and to all living things.

In setting his agenda, the new pope has already talked about peace, optimism and the poor. This is a powerful vision, but the specifics of this agenda will only emerge over time. When we look back on the tenure of this new pope, I hope we will see that this vision included being a powerful global advocate and a voice for ending religious prejudice, hatred and violence…

 

New Pope expresses his views: News Roundup

In the news this week, the new pope discusses his views from tango, to art, to gay marriage, Obama pushes expedited timetable on immigration reform in meeting with faith leaders, and other stories. 

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio surprised the world on Wednesday when he ended a run of nearly 1,300 years of European popes and greeted St. Peter's Square for the first time as Pope Francis.

This article provides a selection of the 76-year-old Jesuit's opinions on topics ranging from unmarried mothers,gay marriageglobalization and his own interests and life experience. Yahoo! News

President Barack Obama emphasized the need to get immigration reform accomplished this year in a meeting with a diverse group of faith leaders at the White House on Friday.

Religious leaders that attended the meeting said the president spent more than an hour with them, and after making a few remarks at the top of the meeting he let each group discuss their priorities and problems with comprehensive immigration reform. During the discussion, these faith leaders said, Obama made it clear that he wanted to see a bill on immigration reform in the next 60 days.

“I really sensed that this is a high priority for him,” Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a Christian social justice group, told CNN. “We are all looking at something being introduced this month and then the bill passing in May or June. We are all hoping that kind of time frame could work.” CNN

There is an advertising war being fought here — not over soda or car brands but over the true meaning of the word “jihad.” Backing a continuing effort that has featured billboards on the sides of Chicago buses, the local chapter of a national Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has been promoting a nonviolent meaning of the word — “to struggle” — that applies to everyday life.

Supporters say jihad is a spiritual concept that has been misused by extremists and inaccurately linked to terrorism, and they are determined to reclaim that definition with the ad campaign, called My Jihad.

“My jihad is to stay fit despite my busy schedule,” says a woman in a head scarf lifting weights in an ad that started running on buses in December. “What’s yours?” The New York Times

The number of Americans who claim to have no religious affiliation is the highest it has ever been since data on the subject started being collected in the 1930s, new research has found.

Sociologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University analyzed results from the General Social Survey and found that the number of people who do not consider themselves part of an organized religion has jumped dramatically in recent years.

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, the number of "nones" — those who said they were religiously unaffiliated — hovered around 5 percent, Claude Fischer, one of the researchers with UC Berkeley, told The Huffington Post. That number had risen to only 8 percent by 1990. The Huffington Post

Pastors unite nationally to fight crime: News Roundup

In the news this week, pastors across the country unite to fight black-on-black crime, Texas religious electives call for more inclusion, Church spokesman critical of 'Dirty Dozen' list of papal candidates, and other stories.

Before families in Miami’s black communities bury loved ones killed by violent shootings, they call a pastor. The pastors console grief-stricken mothers and fathers. And on the day of the funeral, usually a Saturday, they look into the tear-streaked faces of mourners and deliver a eulogy that touches on the value of life. The victims’ names and ages change, but the somber process is almost formulaic.

“I’m tired of burying our children. I do an average of two funerals a Saturday,” said the Rev. Billy Strange of Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City. “When I get a break, I thank God. Sixty or 70 percent of the funerals I do are homicides.” The Miami Herald

It may be a little late for the holiday of Purim, but on Tuesday, in Eastland, Tex., Gay Hart will be baking hamantaschen — the traditional doughy, triangle-shaped pastries accented with dollops of prune, Nutella or some other delectable paste — for the mostly Protestant students in her class on the Bible at Eastland High School. Her curriculum also includes latke recipes for Hanukkah, “challah-days” and the Hebrew melody “Hava Nagila.”

Mrs. Hart, a Baptist, offers such tidbits of Jewish folk culture to help make her class, offered at a public school, welcoming to people of all beliefs. But according to a new study by Mark A. Chancey of Southern Methodist University, such efforts are not enough to make her class pass constitutional muster.

Dr. Chancey asserts that Mrs. Hart’s class, while offering what he calls a “sympathetic appreciation” of differing points of view, is taught from an evangelical Christian perspective and probably runs afoul of the Constitution. The New York Times

A Roman Catholic Church spokesman is criticizing a list that calls Canada's Marc Cardinal Ouellet and 11 other papal candidates the ''Dirty Dozen.''

Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre, a church spokesman in Quebec City and a former press attache to Ouellet, says none of the cardinals deserves such negative recognition.

The U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests put Ouellet on the list because it said he refused to meet with sex-abuse victims. Ouellet recently told the CBC he met with victims during a visit to Ireland. Yahoo News

Sixteen Amish men and women who have lived rural, self-sufficient lives surrounded by extended family and with little outside contact are facing regimented routines in a federal prison system where almost half of inmates are behind bars for drug offenses and modern conveniences, such as television, will be a constant temptation.

Prison rules will allow the 10 men convicted in beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish in eastern Ohio to keep their religiously important beards, but they must wear standard prison khaki or green work uniforms instead of the dark outfits they favor. Jumper dresses will be an option for the six Amish women, who will be barred from wearing their typical long, dark dresses and bonnets.

It's unclear where the Amish will serve their sentences, but some of the nearest options include men's prisons in Elkton, a 90-minute drive southeast of Cleveland, and in Loretto, Pa., and women's prisons in Lexington, Ky., and Alderson, W.Va. Some of the initial prison assignments include locations in Texas and Louisiana, according to a letter circulating among defense attorneys, and other assignments could come any day. The Huffington Post

 

U.N. told discrimination against atheists occurs worldwide: News Roundup

In the news this week, U.N. told atheists face discrimination around the globe, Pope gives final Sunday blessing before resigning, and other stories.

Atheists, humanists and freethinkers face widespread discrimination around the world with expression of their views criminalized and subject in some countries to capital punishment, the United Nations was told on Monday.

In a document for consideration by the world body's Human Rights Council, a global organization linking people who reject religion said atheism was banned by law in a number of states where people were forced to officially adopt a faith.

"Extensive discrimination by governments against atheists, humanists and the non-religious occurs worldwide," declared the grouping, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) which has some 120 member bodies in 45 countries.

In Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan "atheists can face the death penalty on the grounds of their belief" although this was in violation of U.N. human rights accords, the IHEU said. Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI bestowed his final Sunday blessing of his pontificate on a cheering crowd in St. Peter's Square, explaining that his waning years and energy made him better suited to the life of private prayer he soon will spend in a secluded monastery than as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

On Thursday evening, the 85-year-old German-born theologian will become the first pope to have resigned from the papacy in 600 years.

Sunday's noon appearance from his studio window overlooking the vast square was his next-to-last appointment with the public of his nearly eight-year papacy. Tens of thousands of faithful and other admirers have already asked the Vatican for a seat in the square for his last general audience Wednesday. NPR

When a would-be assassin disguised as a postman shot at — and just missed — the head of Lars Hedegaard, an anti-Islam polemicist and former newspaper editor, this month, a cloud of suspicion immediately fell on Denmark’s Muslim minority.

Politicians and pundits united in condemning what they saw as an attempt to stifle free speech in a country that, in 2006, faced violent rage across the Muslim world over a newspaper’s cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Since then, the newspaper that first printed the images, Jyllands-Posten, has been the target of several terrorist plots.

However, as Mr. Hedegaard’s own opinions, a stew of anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war, came into focus, Denmark’s unity in the face of violence began to dissolve into familiar squabbles over immigration, hate speech and the causes of extremism.

But then something unusual happened. Muslim groups in the country, which were often criticized during the cartoon furor for not speaking out against violence and even deliberately fanning the flames, raised their voices to condemn the attack on Mr. Hedegaard and support his right to express his views, no matter how odious. The New York Times

An advertisement in Athens intertwines a swastika with a Jewish star.  Hungarian politicians declare Jews a national security risk. A gunman executes three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in France.

Such recent instances of anti-Semitism reflect a growing wave of hatred toward Jews across Europe, one documented by civil rights groups and concerning to those who fear that, nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, it has again become socially acceptable to vilify Jews.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., convened a hearing on Wednesday (Feb. 27) on this rise in anti-Semitism, calling it a threat not only to Jews, but to other religious minorities and the ideal of tolerance in general.

“Unparalleled since the dark ages of the Second World War, Jewish communities on a global scale are facing verbal harassment, and sometimes violent attacks against synagogues, Jewish cultural sites, cemeteries and individuals,” said Smith, chairman of a House panel on global human rights, part of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Religion News Service

Four Missionaries may face Libya death penalty after arrest in Benghazi: News Roundup

In the news this week, four missionaries arrested in Benghazi may face Libya death penalty, Pope electors are sizing up their peers, and other stories.

Four foreign missionaries were arrested in Benghazi, Libya, last week on charges of printing and distributing materials that promote Christianity. One is an American citizen.
The Associated Press, which broke the news, reports that Benghazi police claim to have "found 45,000 books in [the missionaries'] possession and that another 25,000 have already been distributed."

"They were arrested on Tuesday at a publishing house where they were printing thousands of books that called for conversion to Christianity," Hussein Bin Hmeid, spokesman for Libya's Preventative Security, toldReuters. "Proselytizing is forbidden in Libya. We are a 100 percent Muslim country and this kind of action affects our national security." Christianity Today

There is no formal nominating process for choosing the man to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, and campaigning for oneself is counterproductive. But the cardinals who will file into the Sistine Chapel next month to elect a new leader of the Roman Catholic Church have been quietly sizing up potential candidates for years.

They were impressed when the young soon-to-be-cardinal of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle, told bishops gathered for a momentous synod in Rome last October that the church should listen more and admit its mistakes. They took note a year ago when Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York delivered a winning address on evangelization to the College of Cardinals, the day before the pope gave him the red hat of a cardinal. The New York Times

A U.N. committee has accused U.S. legal authorities of failing to fully pursue cases of child sex abuse in religious groups, an issue especially troubling the Roman Catholic Church.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child wrote this month that it was “deeply concerned” to find widespread sexual abuse by clerics and staff of religious institutions and “a lack of measures … to properly investigate cases and prosecute them”.

Britain’s National Secular Society, which drew attention on Monday to the little-noticed report, said it hoped the Catholic pope to be elected next month would open Church files to help prosecute as yet undiscovered cases of clerical sexual abuse. Reuters

Employees at a Motor Vehicle Commission office in New Jersey called the police on Feb. 2, when a man claiming to be a "Pastafarian" — a follower of a parody religion called the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" — refused to take a pasta strainer off his head for a new license photo.

Aaron Williams, 25, told employees at the South Brunswick motor vehicle office that “his pasta strainer was a religious head covering and it was his right to wear it for his license photo,” according to a South Brunswick Police Department report newly obtained by The Smoking Gun.
 
Per The Smoking Gun, officers were eventually able to convince Williams to remove the strainer for his picture and reported that Williams was calm and cooperative throughout the incident. The tongue-in-cheek Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was founded, in part, to protest the teaching of creationism in schools, according to CBS New York. The Huffington Post