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I sat out there every day trying to dig out that damn stump

"One night in August 2004, I awoke to a man and a woman in my room whom I had never seen before telling me that they were "escorts" and we were going to a place called "wilderness."...There is a legal process where parents can sign over custody of kids who need residential care, which makes sense, because if a kid has to be housed in a mental health facility, the staff needs to be able to make all of the day-to-day decisions for her care. But that same process works for "unruly" teens like me, which meant the company that ran my camp had total legal control over where I went and what I did." --Cracked.com takes on the Tough Love for Troubled Teen camps that, mostly unregulated, are "treating" more and more children every year. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 27, 2014 - 69 comments

Hell Houses

Evangelical churches across the country run "hell houses" on Halloween. These attractions show how "sinful" activities can ruin young lives. Some churches are trying to be more positive in their messaging. For those who are interested, you can now buy your own "hell house" outreach kit. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 31, 2013 - 68 comments

"I have never been custodian of my legacy."

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2013 - 89 comments

"Stopping bad things is a significant public service."

"Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas"
posted by zarq on Sep 23, 2013 - 348 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

Naming: From Fly-fornication (ok) to ChristIsKing (not ok)

Historically the United States (on a state by state basis) has given almost complete freedom to parents to name their children, both first name and surname, with results like "Fly-fornication," "Mahershalalhashbaz," "Encyclopedia Britannia," "States Rights" (who was killed in battle as an officer for the confederacy), "Trailing Arbutus Vines" and many more. (Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights, Carlton F.W. Larson, 2011 [SSRN/PDF]). In October 2012, however, New York courts made two interesting rulings that reflect limitations on renaming, if not naming, rights, for both adults and children. [more inside]
posted by Salamandrous on Feb 27, 2013 - 54 comments

"...the 2012 campaign still looks like a titanic collision between the economy and demography."

In 2008, the National Journal released The Hidden History of the American Electorate, an analysis of exit poll demographics conducted by multiple news organizations from US presidential elections between 1988 and 2004. The study looked for "pressure points in the electorate": trends which were likely to decide the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. They've released an update for 2012, by adding exit poll results from the 1980, 1984, and 2008 presidential elections. It gives a more comprehensive look at voting trends over a 32 year period of the groups whom they believe are likely to influence the outcome in November. Charts: Voting Preferences of the American Electorate, 1980-2008
posted by zarq on Sep 3, 2012 - 54 comments

The End of the Christian Right?

Historian Michael Kazin says that we are witnessing the end of the Religious Right's influence in American politics. Peter Montgomery of Alternet says not to declare the Christian Right dead quite yet.
posted by reenum on Feb 14, 2012 - 128 comments

You can't stop Katy Perry

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election. [SLYT] Via BigThink, "A knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world."
posted by furiousxgeorge on Dec 4, 2011 - 103 comments

Netanyahu Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews

The Netanyahu government has paid for US TV ads saying US Israelis will never understand what it means to be Israeli, and American Jews will lose their religion
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2011 - 189 comments

We Have Graphs

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
While the FBI's monitoring of Muslims and infiltration of mosques in the United States is nothing new, this is the first time I've seen any of documents they use to train some of their agents. [more inside]
posted by gman on Sep 15, 2011 - 81 comments

God's Own Warden

Burl Cain, the warden of Angola, Louisiana's largest prison, uses religion to control and subdue the prison population.
posted by reenum on Jul 26, 2011 - 47 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

Well I'll be damned

In a survey of Americans' religious knowledge conducted by the Pew Research Center, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons scored higher than evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions, leading the surveyors to conclude that "large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own."
posted by Houyhnhnm on Sep 28, 2010 - 116 comments

Can you find Satan?

"This may truly be the most important new painting of the twenty first century." The McNaughton Fine Art Company presents "One Nation Under God" [cache], an... interesting take on American history in a nifty zoom interface. Artist John McNaughton, who calls himself "the only living artist in the world today" to practice the Barbizon School of French Impressionism, has an extensive body of less opinionated work for you to admire. Interview. Character list.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 6, 2009 - 305 comments

as a thief in the night

You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind?
Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.
posted by plexi on Aug 25, 2009 - 82 comments

A nation of nonbelievers

"The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion." ~ George Washington / "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature." ~ Thomas Jefferson / "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion." ~ Abraham Lincoln / "A just government has no need for the clergy or the church." ~ James Madison / "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice." ~ John F. Kennedy / "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers." ~ Barack Obama
posted by 0bvious on Jan 20, 2009 - 270 comments

Pastor Rick's Test

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]
posted by finite on Aug 20, 2008 - 151 comments

3 to 10 classroom hours

16% of US science teachers believe human beings have been created by God within the last 10,000 years. 25% of science teachers spend some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. 12.5% teach it as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species". 2% say they do not cover evolution at all. Teachers who have taken more science courses themselves devote more time to evolution - "This may be because better-prepared teachers are more confident in dealing with students' questions about a sensitive subject."
posted by Artw on May 19, 2008 - 205 comments

I'm kind of homesick for a country to which I've never been before.

Frank Newsome leads the congregation at the Little David Church in Hayside, Va. Old Regular Baptists, they sing the way people sang when they first came to the American colonies: without instruments or notation, and following their leader line by line. It's called lined-out hymnody, and people outside the southern Appalachian Mountains rarely hear it. One of the songs Newsome sings at services is a hymn about longing for heaven, called "Beulah Land."
posted by The Jesse Helms on Apr 8, 2008 - 30 comments

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross

American Fascists: A CBC interview with author Chris Hedges regarding the Christians Right's onward march toward political power.
posted by plexi on Dec 26, 2007 - 86 comments

... the replacement of my secular education with a curriculum guided by God. ...

Through a Glass, Darkly How the Christian right is reimagining U.S. history--from Harpers. ...producing a flood of educational texts with which to wash away the stains of secular history. ...
posted by amberglow on Jan 12, 2007 - 111 comments

get on your knees

"God created man exactly how Bible describes it." A Gallup report released today reveals that more than half of all Americans, rejecting evolution theory and scientific evidence, agree with the statement.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Mar 8, 2006 - 177 comments

A Nation of Saints

One in five Americans consider themselves "holy", according to a recent poll by the Barna Research Group.
posted by bcveen on Feb 24, 2006 - 52 comments

there is a place for me and my friends

85% of Americans are going to heaven.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Dec 20, 2005 - 188 comments

Harold Bloom, Jesus and Tanakh

"It is absurd to talk about a Judeo-Christian tradition".
I had been born in the United States but didn't know any English because none was spoken at home or in the streets. We were a solid enclave of some 600,000 Eastern European, Yiddish-speaking Jews. But I still remember one day that a missionary came to the door with what I still have my copy of: a Yiddish translation of the New Testament. There's a kind of grim joke in that, isn't there? In the mere existence of it.
Harold Bloom on religion in America, God smoking a cigar, and who really is the King of the Jews.
posted by matteo on Dec 4, 2005 - 72 comments

Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

Faith based prisons... Can Gov. Jeb Bush's new drive to introduce God to the inmates make a difference, or was Jesus 'dying for our sins' not enough already? Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

"Night has fallen. He has died now. A fly crawls over the still flesh. Of what use is it to me that this man suffered, If I am suffering now?" - Jorge Luis Borges
posted by 0bvious on Nov 25, 2005 - 36 comments

Will they vote for the Constitution Party in 2008?

By the end of 2008, will religious social conservatives be rode hard and put up wet or will they get their Christian Theocracy? Is the American Taliban set to shred our secular government? Some think so. Others however point out that those in power may be simply exploiting their religious base and have no intention of furthering theocracy in any meaningful way. After all we have a president who doesn’t go to church, and a gay-friendly vice president (who we shouldn’t rule for a 2008 run.) Oh and the Faith Based Initiative? It’s simply an effort to get blacks to vote Republican, duh. And if it’s conspiracy theories that interest you then what about Bush’s abortion, or gays in the Whitehouse?
posted by wfrgms on May 16, 2005 - 45 comments

Constitution Restoration Act of 2005

"...God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government." The re-introduction of this bill on March 3rd seemed to have been hardly noticed. It was first brought up last year by Senator Richard Shelby, Rep. Robert Aderholt, and Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore. I wonder if section 201 of the CRA will affect Article VI, Sect. 2. (born of, the 2004 thread (s))
posted by john on Mar 29, 2005 - 47 comments

Little-Known U.S. Document Signed by President Adams Proclaims America's Government Is Secular

Little-Known U.S. Document Signed by President Adams Proclaims America's Government Is Secular Some people today assert that the United States government came from Christian foundations. They argue that our political system represents a Christian ideal form of government and that Jefferson, Madison, et al, had simply expressed Christian values while framing the Constitution. If this proved true, then we should have a wealth of evidence to support it, yet just the opposite proves the case. Although, indeed, many of America's colonial statesmen practiced Christianity, our most influential Founding Fathers broke away from traditional religious thinking. The ideas of the Great Enlightenment that began in Europe had begun to sever the chains of monarchical theocracy. These heretical European ideas spread throughout early America. Instead of relying on faith, people began to use reason and science as their guide. The humanistic philosophical writers of the Enlightenment, such as Locke, Rousseau, and Voltaire, had greatly influenced our Founding Fathers and Isaac Newton's mechanical and mathematical foundations served as a grounding post for their scientific reasoning.
posted by Postroad on Jan 27, 2005 - 49 comments

American Christian Jailed For His Beliefs

Marine Refuses to Use Guns ... Marine Cpl. Joel D. Klimkewicz converted to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day saints while in the Marines, and now believes that killing is against Jesus' teachings. As such, he refused to train with a gun though he says he would be willing to clear mines and work the front lines. The result is that the military has jailed him for his religious beliefs, convicting him of disobeying a direct order. Anyone think that Bill O'Reilly is going to say the military is trying to destroy Christianity?
posted by nathanrudy on Jan 1, 2005 - 71 comments

Yes Virginia, There are Christian ACLU Lawyers

A call for Christian lawyers who have worked for the ACLU. The ACLU tries to be balanced , but considering the amount of effort they have put forth to inhibit Christian influence from/to the government, should a Christian lawyer work for them?
posted by urlnotfound on Dec 27, 2004 - 65 comments

...to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family...

Meet the WallBuilders --an organization that promotes the return of American public life to its religious-based heritage, according to USA Today. And the Congressional Pastor's Briefings may be of interest too: WallBuilders has been privileged to bring ministers from across the nation to Washington, DC, for an intimate briefing session with some of the top Christian Senators and Representatives now serving in Congress. The Members brief pastors on a variety of issues related to Biblical values as well as share their hearts regarding their own faith and its application to public office. ...
Wallbuilders or Mythbuilders provides a debunking of 8 historical fallacies of the group, concluding that:...In that sense, then, the name “Wallbuilders” is correct: the organization is building unnecessary walls of prejudice in an onlooking world, a word desperately needing to hear about the One who has “broken down the middle wall of division”...
posted by amberglow on Oct 28, 2004 - 24 comments

If America were Iraq, what would it be like?

If America were Iraq, what would it be like? Private armies totaling 275,000 men; platoons of Christian Soldiers Militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery; the grounds of the White House constantly under mortar fire; the Secretary of State, President, and Attorney General all assassinated in the past year; and the Air Force routinely bombing Billings, Flint, Philadelphia, and parts of LA and DC to destroy "safe houses" of "criminal gangs."
posted by johnnydark on Sep 27, 2004 - 34 comments

Allah forgive them--they're imbeciles

Have You Prayed Today?*
Today is the National Day of Prayer in the US (I had never heard of it). Oliver North!?! is the honorary chairman this year. Here are the President's remarks today. Meanwhile, Larry Flynt is calling for a different sort of prayer today.
*Muslims and Mormons need not apply.
"We're in an election year, and we believe God cares who's in those positions of authority," said Mark Fried, spokesman for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. "But we're not endorsing a candidate, just praying that God's hand will be on the election." The private task force, which operates from the Colorado headquarters of the Christian organization Focus on the Family ....
... since the mid-1980s the ceremony has been organized by the nonprofit task force headed by two prominent evangelical women: Vonette Bright, widow of Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, and Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. She also made no apologies about the task force's exclusion of Muslims and others outside of the "Judeo-Christian tradition" from ceremonies planned by the task force on Capitol Hill and in state capitals across the country. "They are free to have their own national day of prayer if they want to," she said. "We are a Christian task force."

posted by amberglow on May 6, 2004 - 26 comments

No stem cell research

Thou shalt not make scientific progress. "Medical research is poised to make a quantum leap that will benefit sufferers from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and other diseases. But George W. Bush's religious convictions stand in its way."
posted by homunculus on Mar 24, 2004 - 45 comments

SCOTUS rules for seperation of church and state for once.

SCOTUS rules for seperation of church and state for once. The court's 7-2 ruling held that the state of Washington was within its rights to deny a taxpayer-funded scholarship to a college student who was studying to be a minister. That holding applies even when money is available to students studying anything else. "Training someone to lead a congregation is an essentially religious endeavor," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court majority. "Indeed, majoring in devotional theology is akin to a religious calling as well as an academic pursuit."
posted by skallas on Feb 25, 2004 - 42 comments

New religion?

Ready for a new religion? Or maybe not so new. But it may explain a few things.
posted by donfactor on Jul 29, 2003 - 11 comments

Integration of Church & State

House Resolution 153 recognizes the need for the American public to pray and fast in order to secure the blessings of "Providence" (read: Jesus) for our Armed Forces. Seriously. "Resolved that the President should issue a proclamation designating a day for prayer & fasting for all people of the United States". I take back the thing I said earlier about the Freedom Fries being the stupidest Congressional legislation I'd ever seen.
posted by jonson on Mar 27, 2003 - 75 comments

He maketh me to lie down in green pasture

George W. Bush is Jesus Christ. Bush delivers, he sets free. He liberates. He is the 21st century incarnation of Psalm 23. As the HAZMAT suit becomes the American burka, Bush is praying, and we will do the same.
posted by the fire you left me on Mar 2, 2003 - 56 comments

The Guardian isn't so good

The Guardian isn't so good at letting you link to their articles anymore. But if you use this link then click on "printable version" you might get to the site I want you to link to. My title being: If you're Jewish and American its hard to know whose side your on these days.
posted by donfactor on Oct 28, 2002 - 20 comments

A bill is currently being pushed through Congress that will give health care providers, including those that are federally funded, the right to refuse to perform abortions or administer contraceptive medication for personal moral reasons. Next week: firefighters allowed to let houses burn down because they hate the color of the curtains.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Sep 25, 2002 - 72 comments

"One nation, under God, indivisible..."
posted by Reggie452 on Jun 26, 2002 - 142 comments

Know-Nothings, Bible Riots and the Catholic Church

Know-Nothings, Bible Riots and the Catholic Church Take a break from priest abuse news with this detailed history of anti-Catholic bias in the United States. In 1834, an angry Boston mob burned down a convent after Harriet Beecher Stowe's father preached that Catholic immigrants were a threat to democracy. In Philadelphia, the 1844 Bible Riots lasted for days, destroying Irish-Catholic churches and neighborhoods. In 1855, Louisville Know-Nothings went on a "Bloody Monday" rampage that left dozens of Catholics dead. Even telegraph inventor Samuel Morse got into the act with a series of anonymous anti-Catholic letters. Fascinating stuff, but oops, break's over. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
posted by mediareport on Jun 13, 2002 - 25 comments

Among the 'American Taliban' in Smalltown, USA.

Among the 'American Taliban' in Smalltown, USA. "I discovered that Taliban-style attitudes are not restricted to Afghanistan and Pakistan. They exist tenaciously in American towns like this one. Sometimes tolerance prevails in small towns; other times the dark fears and hatreds of the "American Taliban" -- vicious fundamentalists -- are resurgent."
posted by fold_and_mutilate on Mar 29, 2002 - 3 comments

Troll of trolls

Troll of trolls In this one tiny piece in Modern Healthcare hot button issues are pressed all over the place: abortion, public funds ($40 billion) for religious doctrine, contraception, patients rights, etc. etc. Of course none of this would be an issue if poor unwed mothers would take West Virginia up on their offer of $100 to just get married. Flame away...
posted by victors on Jan 25, 2002 - 6 comments

News flash!

News flash! Buddhist monks and leaders are people too, although it's easy to think otherwise judging by the uncritical adoration heaped upon the religion, and it's most high-profile representatives, in the United States. Why is it difficult for religious adherents to accept the basic fact that any religion (including Catholicism, Islam, and the Church of the SubGenius) includes helpings of the good, the bad, and the ugly? Maybe this is why I refuse to join any group that would have me as a member.
posted by estopped on Sep 1, 2001 - 16 comments

So Help Me God

So Help Me God : "Ninety-five percent of the people believe in God. An invocation of his name, in conjunction with the seriousness of telling the truth, has an importance beyond mere legal requirement," Sessions said Thursday. [via NextDraft]
posted by gleemax on Aug 3, 2001 - 66 comments

Muslim congressional intern removed from White House

Muslim congressional intern removed from White House During a meeting between Muslim community leaders and the White House office of faith-based initiatives, too. Random administrative error, or religious profiling?
posted by Gilbert on Jun 29, 2001 - 19 comments

Anti-bullying vote blocked by Christian Conservatives

Anti-bullying vote blocked by Christian Conservatives The Washington State bill would have required school districts to set up policies against harassment, bullying and intimidation. Christian conservatives that blocked the vote claim "it amounted to censorship of their right to condemn homosexuality." There is no mention of homosexuality in the bill at all. So this leads me to the conclusion that these Christians condone "harassment, bullying and intimidation." How far from the Golden Rule can you stray and keep a straight face?
posted by kokogiak on May 1, 2001 - 26 comments

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