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Irish stew. Papal hide the pickle.

Irish PM condemns Vatican interference in sex abuse cases. Enda Kenny, the new Taoiseach of Ireland, has scathingly criticized the Vatican, citing the Cloyne Report and a recently-leaked Vatican letter intended to prevent sex abuse cases from going public, despite their public policy of reporting all abuse claims to the authorities. (Similar claims of the Vatican not reporting recent child abuse cases have also been made in the US.) Ireland's Minister for Justice has cited an extensive list of The Church's failures to comply with their policies, and is supporting legislation to make it a crime not to report child abuse claims. The Vatican's envoy was asked to report to Parliament and explain The Church's position on this matter quickly, with the implied threat that they might be forced to testify. Today, the Church, citing "surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions" has recalled their envoy. "(This) should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) Government."
posted by markkraft on Jul 25, 2011 - 297 comments

Rick Perry's Army of God

"If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn’t be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take 'dominion' over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the 'Seven Mountains' of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an 'army of God' to commandeer civilian government. In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual." Previously. Via.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 14, 2011 - 136 comments

When the King Saved God

"A culture that does not possess this common store of image and allegory will be a perilously thin one. To seek restlessly to update it or make it “relevant” is to miss the point, like yearning for a hip-hop Shakespeare." -Christopher Hitchens stands up for the King James Bible
posted by beisny on Jul 14, 2011 - 70 comments

Debate in Toronto over presence of religion (and sexism?) in public schools

Debate in Toronto over presence of religion (and sexism?) in public schools Toronto's Valley Park Middle School exposes flaws of religious accommodation? A photo from the Toronto Star of Muslim Middle school student's praying during school sets off Canadian news journalists and religous groups. [more inside]
posted by devonia on Jul 11, 2011 - 121 comments

WARNING: Please check in with a heterosexual “accountability buddy” before reading this article

How I Went Undercover at Bachmann's Clinic: Truth Wins Out (or TWO) activist John Becker took a hidden camera with him to five therapy sessions at a Christian counseling center run by Marcus Bachmann. Meanwhile, QUEERTY debates whether making fun of Mr. Bachmann's own decidedly "gay-sounding" voice (and theoretical repressed-gay tendencies) is fair game, or whether it counts as homophobic bullying.
posted by hermitosis on Jul 11, 2011 - 137 comments

"Freedom is a good thing"

Sam and Bethany Torode published a book in 2002 called Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Conception, a book that captured the growing movement among conservative Protestant Christians toward the use of natural family planning. In 2006, the Torodes' announced their perspective had changed slightly (Archive.org capture of full statement). In 2009, the Torodes divorced. Bethany is now writing candidly about her life as a single mother with 4 children on her blog, In Full Bloom. Sam recently published a novel called The Dirty Parts of the Bible.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Jul 10, 2011 - 130 comments

What is the title of this post?

92 years young, the delightful Raymond Smullyan is a mathematician, logician, magician, concert pianist, and Taoist philosopher - who also pioneered retrograde chess problems.
posted by Trurl on Jun 26, 2011 - 22 comments

Grape Fields to The Game

The Madness of Cesar Chavez
posted by telstar on Jun 18, 2011 - 44 comments

The Victims

Going Straight: My Ex-Gay Friend Also: Living the Good Lie: Therapists Who Help People Stay in the Closet. (Both links NYT, via)
posted by zarq on Jun 17, 2011 - 90 comments

Progressive Press

Religion Dispatches: progressive, LGBT-and-atheist friendly, interfaith, non-academic journalism on faith and religious culture. Also of note: Good magazine has limited print distribution but a rich website.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jun 16, 2011 - 10 comments

"God is just what happens when humanity is connected"

The Internet Is My ReligionJim Gilliam gives a moving ten-minute speech at the Personal Democracy Forum on surviving cancer, faith, activism, interconnectedness and the internet. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jun 8, 2011 - 11 comments

The Ghost of Gulliver's Kingdom

Kamikuishiki was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom, a mixed up theme park with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001. The park was finally purchased in 2002 in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished, leaving behind photos (new and old), and memories.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 6, 2011 - 4 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

The ladder of no opportunity.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on or close to Golgotha, has a very interesting administrative structure, formalised in an 1852 Ottoman Status Quo edict. Illustrative of the bureaucratic strictures on management of the church is this ladder, immovably stuck on an upstairs window. But wait, did somebody move it? via
posted by wilful on Jun 1, 2011 - 56 comments

Zenobia's Choice

Baptizing Dead Quakers. One woman's perspective on a family struggle over genealogy, proxy baptism, and discerning the best interests of those long gone.
posted by Apropos of Something on Jun 1, 2011 - 316 comments

It's all in the brain.

Religious Experiences Shrink Part of the Brain. Scientific American analyses a study which links life-changing religious experiences, like being born again, with atrophy in the hippocampus. The study, “Religious factors and hippocampal atrophy in late life,” by Amy Owen and colleagues at Duke University, 'is a surprising result, given that many prior studies have shown religion to have potentially beneficial effects on brain function, anxiety, and depression.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jun 1, 2011 - 76 comments

The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

Phallic Symbols at Denver International Airport. Many of the paintings and sculptures at DIA contain hidden images of paganism... On previous videos I have pointed out that this is actually the figure of a naked woman, and the crotch is formed by a bird form. But right opposite the woman is a penguin...
posted by KokuRyu on May 31, 2011 - 114 comments

The man in the middle, Or, The Truth About the Muslim Plot Against Pea Soup

A bridge builder, a student of how societies hold together; an advocate of dialogue. Standing against polarized and simplistic styles of thought. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is Canada's best known and most widely read contemporary thinker. In books like Sources of the Self and A Secular Age, he has attempted to define the unique character of the modern age. He maps the fault-lines in our modern identity, and points to both the pitfalls and the promise of our condition. Learn about his life, history, upbringing, and... ideas. Now available, CBC IDEAS in five one-hour parts: the malaise of modernity (this special program has the same title as the 1991 Massey Lecture of the same name, but is not the same [MP3's, get them now, they will go away, and then you can only stream them]). One, Two, Three, Four, Five. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on May 20, 2011 - 4 comments

Final Films

Armageddon, final Orbit [more inside]
posted by Mblue on May 20, 2011 - 151 comments

Juju Apple, Voodoo Apple

Looks like FOX News called it -- UK neuroscientists now suggest that the brains of Apple devotees are stimulated by Apple imagery in the same way that the brains of religious people are stimulated by religious imagery.
posted by hermitosis on May 19, 2011 - 162 comments

New Reliquaries

Artist Al Farrow uses ammunition, parts from firearms, and selected other materials to build miniature churches, synagogues, and mosques.
posted by gman on May 9, 2011 - 11 comments

I Scheme with Genie

Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery. Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits). Increasingly, there is a rift between the President and his Supreme Leader.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 7, 2011 - 142 comments

The Wonder of God in Nature

Die Wunder Gottes in der Natur (1744) illustrates astronomical, meteorological, geological, spiritual, and psychological visions, based on the work of 16th century Alsatian encyclopedist Conrad Lycosthenes.

The cover and title page.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 5, 2011 - 7 comments

'These children don’t recognize the flags of their home countries, but they can all sing "Jesus Loves Me."'

The Evangelical Adoption Crusade [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 28, 2011 - 137 comments

Westminster Abbey

How is abbey formed?
How is abbey formed?
How girl get regnant?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 27, 2011 - 255 comments

Photographic Immortality

The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2011 - 15 comments

No Marriage Until Gay Marriage Is Legal

The Douglass Blvd. Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has voted to stop signing marriage licenses until gay marriage is legalized by the state.
posted by reenum on Apr 25, 2011 - 87 comments

The Philanthropist "Godman"

"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."
On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 25, 2011 - 41 comments

Before sharks swam in formaldehyde, there was Piss Christ

Andres Serrano (some NSWF images) has made controversial art for decades, with his piece Piss Christ causing controversy shortly after it was created in 1987. In 1989, the photograph initiated outrage against the National Endowment for the Arts because of "anti-Christian bigotry". Then the piece was physically attacked two times in one weekend, when it was first shown in the National Gallery of Victoria in 1997. In December 2010, the Collection Lambert museum of contemporary art in Avignon, France opened a show called "I Believe in Miracles" that includes pieces of minimal art, conceptual art and land art, and includes Piss Christ. The photograph had been shown in France before without disturbance, and had been shown without incident in Collection Lambert for four months, but around 1,000 protesters marched to the museum on Saturday, and on Sunday vandals succeeded in attacking the picture, breaking the plexiglass shield and slashing the photograph. The museum is open again, and the damaged work is still on display. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 19, 2011 - 143 comments

Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Amen

File-Sharers Await Official Recognition of New Religion
* All knowledge to all
* The search for knowledge is sacred
* The circulation of knowledge is sacred
* The act of copying is sacred.


Too religious for you? Then try the remix manifesto.
posted by telstar on Apr 16, 2011 - 59 comments

"I was 100 percent deceived. One hundred percent."

The Truth About Race, Religion, And The Honor Code At BYU. Deadspin has released an exposé on Brigham Young University's Honor Code, which prohibits students from having sex or drinking alcohol. The article accuses the University of selectively punishing minority (and especially African American) athletes who violate the Code. Co-authored by Darron Smith, a former BYU instructor. Responses from former BYU students at Religion Dispatches, the Deseret News and the Provo Daily Herald. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 14, 2011 - 133 comments

Senator James Inhofe

A released FAA investigation describes how in October last year, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) deliberately landed his plane on a closed runway, and then caused the plane to "hop" over terrified construction workers and their vehicles. More recently, Senator Inhofe has taken to the Senate floor in praise of his friend (and friend of C Street), deposed Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo. [Previously, previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 13, 2011 - 81 comments

Full veil banned for Muslim women in France.

A law has come into force in France which makes it an offence for a Muslim woman to conceal her face behind a veil when in public. [more inside]
posted by dubold on Apr 11, 2011 - 444 comments

"Have friends who are atheists? Agnostics? Into Wicca? Or New Age?"

Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist, Marty the Mormon, Jenna the Jew, Sid the Satanist, Mo the Muslim and Willow the Wiccan. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones, Halo 3, Brokeback Mountain, Kung Fu Panda and The X Files.
posted by jardinier on Apr 8, 2011 - 299 comments

I have great faith. Obviously, I've been a Mets fan for forty years.

Jon Stewart hosts a three part debate with Mike Huckabee about religion, society, and policy. [more inside]
posted by graphnerd on Apr 7, 2011 - 118 comments

Afghanis riot over Terry Jones' Koran-burning kill 20

A 2nd day of riots in Afghanistan over Rev. Terry Jones's trial and execution-by-burning of a Quran leaves a total death total of 20, with at least 80 injuries, including 7 UN aid workers. Thousands participated in the riots across the country. "I don't think we should be blaming any Afghan. We should be blaming the person who produced the news — the one who burned the Quran," stated the top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura. Others defend Jones's right to free speech. (previously)
posted by shivohum on Apr 2, 2011 - 227 comments

Theological Clusterf***

Who Goes to Hell? An editorial response (by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, posted on Foxnews.com) to the controversy of Chad Holtz, a Methodist Church pastor in North Carolina, having been fired for questioning whether hell exists.
posted by rodmandirect on Mar 29, 2011 - 397 comments

SLYT: Steve Martin: Hymn for Atheists

SLYT: Steve Martin: Hymn for Atheists via Open Culture
posted by artlung on Mar 28, 2011 - 24 comments

Hitchens Harris Rabbis Afterlife Debate

Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris Debate Rabbis David Wolpe and Shavit Artson on the existence of an afterlife (video) [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Mar 9, 2011 - 92 comments

"But I am angry, even though I cannot always explain who I am angry at."

Nice Jewish Girl is an unmarried orthodox Jew. She started a blog six years ago. She wrote about being Shomer Negiah (not allowing herself physical contact with men other than relatives or a husband) and being a woman in her mid-thirties that has never kissed a man. Over the run of the blog, she decided to stop being Shomer Negiah while still looking for an Orthodox husband, kissed a man, and then broke up with him. For the last three years, she has been silent. Recently, she has returned to discuss the effect of Jewish law on her view of sex.
posted by ignignokt on Feb 28, 2011 - 154 comments

Religion, freedom and democracy in Egypt

Deacon Dodge has a couple of posts (here and here) about religion, freedom and democracy amid the turmoil of Egypt. [more inside]
posted by KMH on Feb 4, 2011 - 4 comments

Russell's Teapot = the crazy watering can?

How "just another homework assignment" (slyt) can (maybe even without the creator's knowledge) easily explain an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) "Russell's Teapot" (wiki)
posted by MrBCID on Jan 23, 2011 - 17 comments

“We either live together, or we die together.”

Barely into the new year on Khalil Hamda street in Alexandria Egypt: "A devastating New Year’s Day terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt that killed 21 people was the latest in a spate of violent assaults against the Middle East’s vulnerable Christian communities. The car bomb explosion also injured 79 people just after midnight Saturday as worshipers were leaving a New Year’s Mass at the Saints Church in east Alexandria, Egyptian officials said." The Egyptian people responded. [more inside]
posted by vapidave on Jan 7, 2011 - 22 comments

This isn't your grandfather's science fiction

Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 27, 2010 - 116 comments

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Humanity

Everybody knows TVTropes is the best and most time-killing-est way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more. Enter Useful Notes. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 26, 2010 - 43 comments

Don't teach kids to sneer

Atheist Camille Paglia slams atheist Christopher Hitchens for not doing his research and suggests we should value the bible like literature.
posted by aunt_winnifred on Dec 18, 2010 - 101 comments

So, Mithras and Gaia had some children

Forming (NSFW - cartoon nudity) is a webcomic by Jesse Moynihan (NSFW) that tells the history of the evolution of man via the machinations of various alien entities whose familiar names (and unfamiliar stories) have been recorded in various religions throughout time. [more inside]
posted by lyam on Dec 16, 2010 - 24 comments

Papal gymnasticis

Papal gymnastics. Just your typical day at the Vatican. Topless muscle-bound gymnasts perform for the Pope, appreciative cardinals and waving nuns. Make your own jokes.
posted by illy on Dec 15, 2010 - 45 comments

"We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong."

The Christian left is a term originating in the United States, used to describe a spectrum of left-wing Christian political and social movements which largely embraces social justice. "We will not be profiled or pigeonholed and we will not ‘Be Quiet.’ We’re Christians. We’re Liberals. Please get used to it. Thank you."
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit on Dec 14, 2010 - 145 comments

How Caviar Turned Out To Be Halal

A look at how fatwas are issued, and how Iranian authorities were able to change the classification of caviar from haram (forbidden for Muslims to eat) to halal (permissible for Muslims to eat) in order to retake the caviar industry from the Soviets. [PDF]
posted by reenum on Dec 9, 2010 - 26 comments

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