Is the west thwarting Arab plans for reform? Few Muslims now invest much hope in the democratic western powers (essentially the US, Britain and France) that back the rulers who oppress them, even if, against the odds, they still admire “western” values, science and culture. There is no endemic or intrinsic conflict between Christians and Muslims. Rather, the root of the problem is that a majority of Muslims is convinced that the west – interested only in a stability based on regional strongmen, the security of Israel and cheap oil – is engaged in a war against Islam and is bent on denying them the freedoms it claims for itself. That is why it is so self-defeating to collude in tyranny as ostensibly a lesser evil than political Islam. [more inside]
Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA. "This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
Thomas Muthee, the witch-hunting prayer warrior who anointed Sarah Palin, is part of a much larger movement called the New Apostolic Reformation. Researchers at religious watchdog site Talk2Action have released a 36 page report on the NAR (part 1, part 2, part 3 & PDF). Learn about Palin confidant Mary Glazier, the Queen of Heaven, the Christian Emergency Network and much, much more.
Prophets and politics. "The Mormon Church works to ban gay marriage in California, even as gay people in places like Rexburg, Idaho, come out of the LDS closet."
Fire, brimstone & pee. (SLYT)
In these final days the campaign,with the promise of more mudslinging looming large on the horizon, tempers flaring, political threads raging out of control, it's important to remember that religion and politics often make some people give way to ranting and raving and carrying on like emotional children... [more inside]
Party Faithful. Can the Democrats get a foothold on the religious vote?
At the risk of heresy, let it be said that setting up the two presidential candidates for religious interrogation by an evangelical minister -- no matter how beloved -- is supremely wrong. [more inside]
Long before people called themselves Muslims or Hindus, long before they fought and died over these or any labels... water dripped and froze inside the Amarnath Cave at the heart of Kashmir. Amarnath Cave official site. Amarnath Cave pilgrimage. Amarnath virtual tour. Wikipedia's page on the Amarnath land transfer.
Who are Muslims? Gallup has conducted a poll "in 40 predominantly Muslim nations and among significant Muslim populations in the West. It is the first set of unified and scientifically representative views from 1.3 billion Muslims globally." They'll be parsing and interpreting this data for years, but for the time being, they've offered some of their key results online and in print. See also, the Muslim-West Facts Initiative. (via) [more inside]
Like it or not, religion is at the forefront of the 2008 US Presidential elections. The Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life previously cited in MeFi threads examines many of the current intersections of religion and politics, domestic and abroad.
Is Barack Obama the Messiah? After all, it may explain the logo. Maybe he's just a light-worker, "who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet." This could just be all hootenany from the press, like Chris Matthews, who called BO the "New Testament." But, as always, there are unbelievers.
The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy. Steven Pinker reviews Human Dignity and Bioethics, the latest report from the President's Council on Bioethics. [more inside]
Bill Moyers interviews the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in his first broadcast interview with a journalist since he became embroiled in a controversy for his remarks and his relationship with Barack Obama [more inside]
“For more than 50 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has been a Washington institution. Every president has attended the breakfast since Eisenhower, elbow-to-elbow with Democrats and Republicans alike.”* The event is sponsored by a secretive Capitol Hill group known as “The Fellowship,” (aka The Family)* “For 15 years, Hillary Clinton has been part of [this] secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill.” An exposé of the group 'The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,' by Jeff Sharlet will be published in May. [NBC video]. [more inside]
I think its time that we joined a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern pluralistic society. Obama on religion and politics. (SLnonYTP)
Your mother told you never to discuss religion or politics in polite company. You'll probably start a fight. [more inside]
American Fascists: A CBC interview with author Chris Hedges regarding the Christians Right's onward march toward political power.
Christianity is not just a series of truths but Truth -- Truth about all of reality. And the holding to that Truth intellectually... brings forth not only certain personal results, but also governmental and legal results.When the Religious Right cruised onto the cultural scene in the late 1970s, the road map was drawn by oddball Pennsylvanian Francis Schaeffer. Generally regarded as the first (perhaps only) Evangelical philosopher, Schaeffer's views on the fundamental clash between Christian and secular belief systems became the talking points for a generation of American Christians. The movement's trajectory, though, left many of Schaeffer's more nuanced beliefs by the wayside. His son's recent writings suggest that it didn't take long for the father of the Religious Right to regret what he'd birthed.
Off the air, when no one is listening, Mitt succinctly deals with the Mormon question. (Shameless YouTube FPP)
Spiritual Highs and Legal Blows - the power and peril of religious exemptions from drug prohibition
Blog Against Theocracy --a blogswarm dedicated to the separation of church and state, ... Easter Weekend, April 6-8, 2007. Also see the non-profit joint venture between The Interfaith Alliance Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, First Freedom First.
Youtube user davebones goes to London demos, protests and gatherings. His videos demonstrate the complexity of issues, calling into question the credibility of television news which tends to portray the same events in black and white terms. While his blog sets a clear agenda, his commentary-free videos are accessible to people regardless of their viewpoint.
The First Freedom Project --new from the Dept of Justice, announced at the Southern Baptist Convention along with a call for their help---specifically and only to protect the religious from discrimination against them. Many are not impressed: The administration has often ignored the importance of the no establishment principle by supporting attempts of governments to endorse a religious message, using tax dollars to fund pervasively religious organizations, allowing religious discrimination in hiring for federally funded projects, ... Legal strategies and actions from groups like the Alliance Defense Fund and ACLJ are now official DOJ policy, it appears. ...In his statement, Gonzales mentioned several cases litigated by ADF and its allies ...
Tell me the stories that will embarrass those conservative bigots that are backing a constitutional ban on our formalized relationships.
The dirty underbelly -- I'm sick and tired of these hypocritical Hoosier legislators who think that my sex life or relationship status is any of their business. Do I intrude on who they're sleeping with? I didn't, but I'm going to start now. ...Consider this a call to
arms gossip. ... -- Bilerico, a GLBT blog in Indiana, fighting their proposed state Constitutional Amendment to ban marriage and all other rights for gay and lesbian couples and families.
Fora Tv is a good place to watch videos of lectures and discussions on topics ranging from politics and science to religion and the arts. Whether you'd like to see Jim Lehrer talk about politics and prose, or watch Brian Eno and Will Wright discuss the joys and techniques of generative creation, you might find something here to like
“Maybe, yes, I am a diva.” Meet Ali Saleem, known on Pakistani TV as Begum Nawazish Ali, hostess of a popular talk show. Mr. Saleem’s portrayal ... a middle-aged widow who, in glamorous saris and glittery diamonds, invites to her drawing room politicians, movie stars and rights advocates from Pakistan and India.
Jewcy asks The Big Question-- Why Are Atheists So Angry? with Sam Harris and Dennis Prager. Email exchanges on the topic--and if you can get past the incredibly loaded and one-sided question, really interesting.
Why do atheists care about religion? (youtube). Some of this video is factual, however some states do not have these clauses in their constitutions. However, not even being able to testify in court because you are an atheist is downright frightening.
A Pasadena Church is being investigated for preaching an anti-war sermon. And methinks, would it have had no trouble at all if it was pro-war, instead?
Democrats of Faith. Jesse Lava, co-founder, says the site is attempting "to help reframe the values debate to be beyond wedge-issue politics, beyond fear and division and more focused on justice and the common good."
Pastor to Candidate: Prove You're Not Gay. The Religious Right and the Ohio GOP team up to address the important issues of the day.
...the emancipation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from bigotry disguised as religious truth ...
Faith In America asks a simple question: Is using religious teachings to deny equal rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people any less wrong than using religious teaching to discriminate against people of color, against equality for women or against people of different cultures wanting to marry? (check their ad campaign too--some great ones) Meanwhile, clueless elected officials like Barack Obama continue to buy into the GOP lies that all people with faith are conservatives/Republicans, and that Democrats are hostile to people with religious beliefs.
Battle Cry, the youth arm of the Christian Reconstructionist (also called Dominionist) movement, is holding a rally in Philadelphia this weekend. They've already had events in San Francisco & Detroit. Create your own Battle Plan or just chat with other soldiers in God's Army. But not everyone is happy about it.
How modern evangelicals are ignoring their own history. "Even though Jefferson was labeled anti-religion by some, he had become a hero to evangelicals—not in spite of his views on separation of church and state, but because of them." (via A&L Daily)
When Iranian paper Hamshahri (in Persian) launched a contest for Holocaust cartoons, an Israeli group responded in turn with a contest of their own for cartoons that make fun of Jews. Too bad it closed yesterday, or the Dutch branch of the AEL could submit theirs. (WARNING: some of the linked content may be offensive to readers' ethnicities, cultures, religions, or tastes.)
The New Secular Jihad. Together the Patriot Pastors flanked by warrior Ken Blackwell are fighting an apocalyptic clash between the forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell. "Make sure that when the shootin' starts, all of the enemy is in front of you."
In the Muslim world, the major argument against punishing European governments for the cartoon scandal is that it was not caused by those governments, but by private newspapers. Italy's Reform Minister tries to put things right.
Newsfilter: PBS Station Nixes Show On Terrorism. Following last-minute cries of protest from Muslim leaders last week, a Public Broadcasting Service affiliate in Dallas canceled the premiere of a documentary on the roots of Islamic terrorism.
We Are All Danes Now is a great editorial run today in the Boston Globe. Why does radical Islam suffer such a fundamental disconnect with the rest of the world?
Depictions of Mohammed Throughout History This page is an archive of numerous depictions of Mohammed, to serve as a reminder that such imagery has been part of Western and Islamic culture since the Middle Ages -- and to serve as a resource for those interested in freedom of expression.
President Jonah --an essay/history lesson/bible lesson/etc by Gore Vidal. ...We have also come to a point in this dark age where there is not only no hero in view but no alternative road unblocked. We are trapped terribly in a now that few foresaw and even fewer can define ...
Challenging Christian Zionism "We are a group of evangelical pastors, academics and mission executives who have been disturbed by the growing influence of Christian Zionism on the political scene in America..." Detailed critique of the Christian Zionist movement includes a look at Hal Lindsey, "the Father of Apocalyptic Christian Zionism."