The Week in Review: May 8 thru 14

A Buddhist Monk in Bangladesh Was Killed in His Monastery

from AP

A 75-year-old Buddhist monk has been killed in a monastery in southeastern Bangladesh, police said Saturday.

The body of Maung Shue U. Chak was found Saturday morning by his daughter-in-law when she went to give him some food, local police official Abul Khayer said. His throat had been slit overnight.

While no one immediately claimed responsibility for the killing, it follows a slew of murders in recent years of members of religious minority groups, foreigners, atheist bloggers and secular publishers in Bangladesh by suspected Islamist radicals. The killings have come amid growing concern that religious extremism is gaining ground in the Muslim-majority nation of 160 million.

Since the start of 2015, at least 15 people have been killed in such attacks, creating a climate of fear that has prompted some Bangladeshis to go into hiding, and others to seek asylum in the United States and Europe.

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A Pennsylvania Judge Threatens to Sentence a Man to 5-10 Years in Prison Unless He Does a Book Report on Ben Carson’s “God” Book

by Karen Kane at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Youri Whindleton grew up in the roughest part of a rough town and stood out for being unlike many of the kids he knew in McKeesport.

He finished high school in 2012 with a clean juvenile record, an honors cord to wear on graduation day and a full scholarship to play football at a small college in West Virginia.

Then he blew it all.

He quit college. He returned to McKeesport, where he started using drugs, dealing heroin and carrying a gun. He was busted and convicted.

Wednesday, he was in court for sentencing, facing five to 10 years. Instead, Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani gave him a sentence in a category of its own: a book report on “You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.” by neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson.

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Women Who Won an Election for Iran’s Parliament Is Stopped from Taking Her Seat by Iran’s Judiciary

by Thomas Erdbrink at The New York Times

Minoo Khaleghi easily won a seat in the Iranian Parliament in February, part of a wave of independents and reformists who now have the numbers to wrest authority from the hard-liners. On Wednesday, however, a powerful state committee demonstrated that the conservative forces would not relinquish power without a fight.

Citing “evidence” that had emerged against her, the Dispute Settlement Committee of Branches, a part of Iran’s generally conservative judiciary, ruled that Ms. Khaleghi could not be sworn in as a new member of Parliament, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported. The evidence, it turned out, consisted of photographs of Ms. Khaleghi, “leaked” on social media last week, showing her in public in Europe and in China without the obligatory Islamic head scarf. Hard-liners immediately accused her of “betraying the nation.”

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A Priest Who Was Removed for Sexually Molesting a Teenager Was Put in Charge of a Teen Pregnancy Center

by Niraj Warikoo at the Detroit Free Press

A Catholic priest removed from churches in metro Detroit after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenager is now the development director of a new Catholic center in Eastpointe he cofounded that counsels pregnant teenagers, prompting calls for him to step down.

The Rev. Kenneth Kaucheck, 69, was banned from public ministry by the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2009 after church officials determined he had sexual misconduct in the 1970s with a 16-year-old girl he was counseling as a priest.

Kaucheck is now a director at the Gianna House Pregnancy and Parenting Residence, next to St. Veronica Catholic Church in Eastpointe. Opened last year in a former convent, the center takes in teenagers and young women who are pregnant, assisting them and any children they might later have.

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A Christian Counseling Center Almost Drove a Mentally Ill Man to Commit Suicide by Replacing His Medication with Prayer

by Lee Rood at the Des Moines Register

Alex Jacobsen felt anxious and mentally exhausted. Sweat flushed his face.

The thin 26-year-old hadn’t slept well for days. He wanted to rest and get away from the handful of other participants in the faith-based treatment program.

Jacobsen tried to relax on a couch on the third floor of the Dream Center in downtown Spencer. But the feelings of agitation and hopelessness persisted. He got up and wandered into a hallway, where he spotted a box cutter sitting on a cart.

At first, Jacobsen drew the blade across his neck, careful not to break the skin. But then, he told The Des Moines Register during an interview last month, he began to press harder — slicing his neck and throat again and again.

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A Professor at a Seventh Day Adventist College Claims He Was Fired for Inviting an Atheist to Speak on Campus

by Jesse Duarte at the St. Helena Star

Pacific Union College, a small Seventh-day Adventist school, is in the midst of a debate about academic freedom after a controversial psychology professor said he was going to be fired.

About 60 PUC students marched through the Angwin campus on May 4 in defense of the professor. Heather Knight, college president, met with the demonstrators outside her office, led them in prayer, and agreed to hold a town hall meeting the next day that was attended by about 250 students.

The march came a week after psychology professor Aubyn Fulton wrote on his Facebook page that he would be fired at the end of the spring quarter for having invited a well-known Seventh-day Adventist pastor-turned-atheist to speak to psychology students last fall.

Knight cancelled the invitation once she heard about it four days before Ryan Bell’s scheduled appearance.

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