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."
It's the demography, stupid: "The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birth rate to sustain it. ... Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there’s an excellent chance they can drag things out until western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default."
Liberal conspiracy to take away school children's right to sing cherished Christmas song......Or simple misunderstanding? Another hard-hitting battlefield report from the frontlines of the Culture Wars, from the same stalwart news organization who brought us John Stossel's seminal treatise on the hidden virtues of greed. (Yes, both links are to a mainstream news outlet, but this story's an exclusive, so there aren't any alternatives.)
...resources that could prove pivotal to understanding and better contending the central struggles of our time are underutilized ...
Talk To Action and Mother Jones mag team up for e-conference tomorrow: ...a day of thoughtful reflections on, and vigorous discussion of the role of religion and government -- as intended by the framers of the constitution, and the situation we face today. (MoJo's December issue is all about the role of religion and government, including this on Reconstructionists: A Nation Under God.) New and old media officially collaborating to highlight specific issues and futher debate--a first?
Anti-Defamation League speaks up against the Christianizing of America-- They're calling for a communal strategy for confronting the political and cultural initiatives of religious conservative groups, and naming the Arlington Group, Focus on the Family, The American Family Association and the Family Research Council as some of those responsible for the infrastructures throughout the country designed not just to promote traditional “Christian values,” but to actively pursue that restoration of a Christian nation. Opinions differ, of course. Foxman anticipates them in his speech, Religion in America’s Public Square: Are We Crossing the Line?: ... On one hand, there is an extreme element in the community that believes it is unsafe to confront Christianity. ... There are also those who say that because evangelicals are friends of Israel, “don’t fight them;” “don’t make them angry;” “don’t upset them.” . ...
Einstein Speaks from Beyond the Grave... To issue a vigorous challenge to the muddled claims coming from all sides about the inherent incompatibility of science and religion. (No secondary links to go with this, but in my opinion, this link is interesting enough to stand on its own.)
God forgives Whippers. If you burn the flag, it is Jerry Falwell's obligation to whip you. In fact, he believes that the Lord will forgive him if he does so. (.wmv video link)
Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed? Carl Zimmer wonders. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled with Christianity?
A Brief History of Slime, or How The Current Wave Of Global Islamic Terrorism Was Precipitated By A B-Movie Actor.
The American Taliban. Christian fundamentalists in their own words.
Who were the Puritans? Being a life-long Christian who is deeply dissatisfied with the image of my faith presented by these kinds of people, I found myself thinking about what happens when one version of belief gains dominance in a particular political context... and thought perhaps there might be interesting things to learn in studying this group of politically radical Protestants... particularly considering that they are arguably the religious precursors of modern fundamentalism. The search is leading me to learning a great deal more about the early history of Christianity in the United States. You might be surprised by the depth of complexity and history represented by a word that is now largely just a one-dimensional perjorative