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March 2024

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Bad Religion
Featured Article

Bad Religion

“From the beginning, men used God to justify the unjustifiable.” – Salman Rushdie 

Mr. Rushdie speaks from experience. In 1988 his novel The Satanic Verses, an Indian soap opera with a mystical subplot, pissed off the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Supreme Leader of Iran, after reading Rushdie’s book, decided it was offensive to Islam. It wasn’t, but no one argues with a dude who’s got “Supreme Leader” in his job description. Instead of just returning the novel to his local bookstore, Khomeini issued a fatwa, i.e., an old-fashioned religious hit on Rushdie’s life. The author was forced to go into hiding for a decade until the heat died down.   

Ten years. Over a bad book review from a religious extremist. Was the world a nutty place in the ’80s or what? Unfortunately, same shit, different decade. Today ISIS, al-Qaeda and its offshoots (the Khorasan Group, al- Qaeda in Yemen, al-Nusra, Abdullah Azzam Brigades), all organizations with thousands of gun-toting, fanatical members, are actively attempting to destroy America. We are the enemy: tolerant, alcohol-guzzling freedom lovers who prefer women in bikinis over burkas.

At the moment it’s the Islamist extremists who are getting the most news coverage, especially since the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in France, but crazy is nondenominational. Sadly, there are plenty of other organizations, some right here on American soil, which are actively planning to end life as we know it. Here’s a top ten list: 


Started by Japanese World War II lieutenant and minister Yoshikazu Okada in the 1960s, Mahikari boasts over 300,000 members worldwide. The group believes that the “Light of God” is transmitted from the palm of a person’s hand and has devised an incomprehensible series of rituals and prayers to go along with this basic tenet. If you think that sounds harmless enough, they have also been investigated for ties to Aum Shinrikyo (perpetrators of the poison gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995), believe the Holocaust was justified and insist that Japanese military aggression during World War II was sanctioned by God. But the group’s main objective isn’t just to be weird; it’s to raise cash.

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