"Killing others is not loving them.”
--meet US Army Captain Peter D. Brown, just granted Conscientious Objector status due to his religious beliefs and honorably discharged after first being denied and taking them to court---only
224 applicants were approved for it during 02-06,
out of 2.3 million serving. [more inside]
Official transgender blessings --
Kulanu -- the newly-revised manual for LGBT issues and ceremonies put out by the Union for Reform Judaism
(1.5 million US Jews are Reform) now includes 2 blessings (written by a Rabbi now male) for those transitioning and who have completed the change, alongside the already existing same sex marriage liturgy and other documents and procedures. A first? (blessings text inside)
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.
--20th century book and magazine illustrations with new text. ; >
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
are now official DOJ policy, it appears. ...In his statement, Gonzales mentioned several cases litigated by ADF and its allies ...
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.
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. ...
“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.
“Treating you with respect and honesty are the cornerstones of our reputation.”
--unless you're gay, that is, for a Houston landscaper.
Step 1: Turn down 2 gay customers.
Step 2: Watch furor ensue.
Step 3: Profit (to the tune of $40,000 in new business)
the American God? The herders of this remote mountain village know little about America, but have learned from those who run a US-funded aid program about the American God. A Christian God. ...
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.
...a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment.
...Christian activist Gregory S. Baylor responds to such criticism angrily. He says he supports policies that protect people from discrimination based on race and gender. But he draws a distinction that infuriates gay rights activists when he argues that sexual orientation is different — a lifestyle choice, not an inborn trait.
By equating homosexuality with race, Baylor said, tolerance policies put conservative evangelicals in the same category as racists. ...
"Think how marginalized racists are," said Baylor, who directs the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom. "If we don't address this now, it will only get worse." Should Christians be able to sue for the right to not tolerate or abide by anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies meant to apply to all? Should they still be able to get school activity funding?
--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 ...
Philo-Semitism: Just another form of Anti-Semitism?
Interesting Wash Post article on Evangelicals turning away from supersessionism -- the centuries-old belief that with the coming of Jesus, God ended his covenant with the Jews and transferred it to the Christian church,
and the concerns it is raising. ..."That hope is felt and expressed by Christians as a kind, benevolent hope," ... "But believing that someday Jews will stop being Jews and become Christians is still a form of hoping that someday there will be no more Jews." ...
Is it that philosemitism is just as dehumanizing as antisemitism and, because it masquerades as its opposite, more insidious,
or just the most recent manifestation of the longstanding appropriation of us Jews as symbols, whether it helps or hurts us?
"Give the Jew Girl Toys"
--music video by comedian Sarah Silverman
Claus...Claus...is that German?
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.” . ...
Tennessee: 'Close Down Your Ex-Gay Ministry!'
--remember Zach, the 16-year-old sent to Love in Action so that he could be cured of being gay? The state has finally ordered the places shut down. Original post on him here: Pray out the Gay!
Unfortunately, this is the state's reasoning: ... The state inspected two facilities in Memphis on Aug. 19 and determined Love In Action International Inc. was providing housing, meals and personal care for mentally ill patients without a license, according to a subsequent letter to the organization from the Department of Mental Health. ...
(and more at Cherryblossom
The Uses of Canaries--and what canaries need to do
--...Why go to all that trouble when we have reduced the homosexual, himself, to nothing more than a body part? Remove the homo -- he's just a diseased body part, after all -- and the problem is solved.
Of course there will always be those so pathologically sex-panicked that they have to rely on their Think Pieces to get their pornography fix. Not worth worrying about, generally. But when United States Senators start in with the Depravity Fillip, and the DF starts showing up in the campaign literature of various groups... well, you want to keep your eye on that sort of thing. You maybe want to start thinking about that famous canary in the mine-shaft. ...
Smell The Brimstone
--Have you ever asked yourself, "Self, what if the folks at JibJab made another political cartoon, but before doing so were to remove their souls, morals, intellect, decency, and common sense?"
--Good as You's review
of this little flash piece, from the GodHatesFags crew (Phelps). I think it's so poorly done and insane, it's actually funny, but NSFW and offensive.
Early Readers or Proselytizing? ...Her father apparently agrees. "There is so much history here for Christians to enjoy," he says. "It's hard to believe that Egypt is a Muslim nation."
Dr. Ibrahim asks his daughter what she thinks of Christianity. Sana replies, "I want to know why Allah let my mother die."
--From Escape From Egypt,
one of the Accelerated Reader series of books put out by Renaissance Learning, Inc.,
and in many many public schools around the country. A review of Escape From Egypt
says this: ... In addition, to promoting Protestant Christianity, Morgan advocates home schooling. The story addresses the strengths of "home schooling" as opposed to public school instruction. ...Escape from Egypt is an addition to a multicultural curriculum as long as the reader understands the religious biases of the author and publisher.
The publisher: Bethany House
, whose purpose is to help Christians apply biblical truth in all areas of life--whether through a well-told story, a challenging devotional, or the message of an illustrated children's book.
Public elementary school students across the country are getting rewards and prizes for reading this book on their own, without teacher supervision or involvement and taking Renaissance Learning's reading comprehension quiz on a computer, again without any teacher involvement.
THE PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH BUDDHISM
-- 12. To Find the Buddha, look within. Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.
And there's even a term now: Jubu
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”...
Conscience Clauses and Health Care
--"Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?" she asked. "If someone's beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else." The Protection of Conscience Project
feels differently: Protection of Conscience Laws are needed because powerful interests are inclined to force health care workers and others to participate, directly or indirectly, in morally controversial procedures
, while NARAL says: ... Many of these clauses go far beyond respecting individuals' beliefs to the point of harming women by not providing them with full information or access to medical treatment. Medicine, not ideology, should determine medical decisions.
Pray For Reason
is a call to Americans of all religions and belief systems who want to see their country's policies at home and abroad based on facts, history, and reasonable thought processes.
My favorite: Dear God (in all your forms),
protect us from those humans among us who wish to direct the destiny of the world for their own gain. Bring them humility, compassion and enlightenment, and allow them to see the interconnection of all beings. (Or bring down upon them a rain of burning rocks, whichever strikes your fancy.)
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."
What America Can Learn From Its Atheists
-- by Leon Wieseltier. Taking the Supreme Court case
on the "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, he wonders what happens to God and religion when it's pressed into service and has all meaning bleached away. For the argument that a reference to God is not a reference to God is a sign that American religion is forgetting its reasons. The need of so many American believers to have government endorse their belief is thoroughly abject. How strong, and how wise, is a faith that needs to see God's name wherever it looks?
Red, White and Jew
--an examination of 6 issues facing the American Jews of today and tomorrow, religious and non, from the holocaust as history to Israel fatigue to Jewish conservatives.
...We can finally be Jewish and American, but somewhere along the line nobody bothered to figure out entirely what that meant. So it falls to us, the next Jewish generation, to balance the scales. Will we be more Jewish, more American, or a fusion of the two? More importantly, how will we do it?
The JetSet Society
What if the passengers on any given plane actually lived there? One guy's musings, with sections on the Economy, Love and Death, and of course, Religion.