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.)
posted by amberglow
on Jun 11, 2004 -
currently under consideration in the Ohio General Assembly would force public schools to "display the official motto of the United States of America 'In God We Trust' and the official motto of Ohio 'With God, All Things Are Possible' in each classroom, auditorium, and cafeteria of each school building in the district." Ohio Public Radio reports here.
posted by Otis
on May 20, 2004 -
Unitarians denied tax-exempt status in Texas.
Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn ruled that Unitarian churches don't qualify as religious organizations because they lack a single creed. In issuing this ruling, Strayhorn ignored the fact that lower courts and the Texas Supreme Court have both ruled against the Comptroller's Office in an ongoing lawsuit stemming from a similar ruling (by a former Comptroller) in 1997. Strayhorn has vowed to continue the legal fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that "Otherwise, any wannabe cult who dresses up and parades down Sixth Street on Halloween will be applying for an exemption." (if you run into userid/password issues, use "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "privacy")
posted by Irontom
on May 19, 2004 -
Interactive Church Music Player
The LDS Church has created a cool new tool for exploring its hymnbooks: a Flash application that not only shows the sheet music, but allows transposition, tempo changes, part selection, and all kinds of other nifty things.
posted by oissubke
on May 16, 2004 -
The Hillbilly Housewife. "I am just a humble, barefoot, hillbilly woman with too many irons in the fire like most folks...You will not find nutrional information with these recipe because I do not beleive that God intends normal, everyday eating to be a burden for His children."
posted by bingo
on May 15, 2004 -
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 -
The mind of the fundamentalist
(streaming RealAudio) is an hour-long radio show featuring excerpts from talks given at a psychoanalytic psychotherapy conference in Sydney. Three speakers discuss experiences with fundamentalists, and driving factors behind their beliefs. It includes an amazing first-hand account of fundamentalist terrorism by a journalist whos plane was hijacked, and who later tracked down the hijacker and attempted to understand what drove him. The RealAudio-squeamish can find a transcript here
posted by Jimbob
on Apr 29, 2004 -
After all the hoopla about increasing security, it seems that the requirement for biometric data to be included in passports of those entering the US from visa waiver countries will need to be extended for two years
to allow other countries to catch up
with the technology, as it seems most countries are unable to meet the deadline
. Some countries have put on hold
the new technology, while others seem committed to going ahead
with it, despite doubts
about the readiness of the technology. Of course, if civil liberties groups get their way
, the biometric passports may never see the light
of day. Specific religious issues complicate
the matter to some extent, also.
Given that, if the technology to produce biometric passports is available, will it really be that hard for forged passports to be created? Unless a massive world-wide database containing the biometric details of every person was used for data-matching, it is hard to see how these new measures will really make much difference to anyone apart from the companies selling the technology.
posted by dg
on Apr 26, 2004 -
to capitalize a deity? As far as I know Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic and the modern descendants of Sanskrit use no capital letters, so for those languages the point is moot. I can’t speak for too many of the other language families
, but I don’t know of any syllabaries
that use majuscules
, so the question seems to be most relevant to the alphabetic languages that use capitals such as the Latin, Greek and Germanic families (including English). Some people
even completely capitalize the name of their deity, apparently disdaining minuscules
posted by snarfodox
on Apr 8, 2004 -
Rwandans turn toward Islam.
A NY Times
story (reg. req.) describes how Islam has become the fastest-growing religion in Rwanda, partly because people are disgusted with the priests and nuns who helped with the killing ten years ago, partly because Muslims saved many people at that time.
Muslim leaders credit the gains to their ability during the 1994 massacres to shield most Muslims, and many other Rwandans, from certain death. "The Muslims handled themselves well in '94, and I wanted to be like them," said Alex Rutiririza, explaining why he converted to Islam last year.
Food for thought for those who think of Islam
as a "religion of violence
posted by languagehat
on Apr 7, 2004 -
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?
posted by amberglow
on Apr 6, 2004 -
Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment.
Unfortunately, there has been a massive retreat from Enlightenment ideals in recent years, a return to pre-modern mythologies. There has been a resurgence of fundamentalist religions
worldwide—Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Orthodox Judaism. Added to this are occult-paranormal claims, which allegedly transcend the existing scientific paradigm.
In the United States—the preeminent scientific-technological-military superpower in the world—significant numbers of Americans have embraced primitive forms of biblical religion. These focus on salvation, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. Evangelical Protestant Christians have made alliances with conservative Roman Catholics and neo-conservative Jews, and they have captured political power—power they have used to oppose secular humanism and naturalism. via the council for secular humanism
posted by skallas
on Apr 5, 2004 -
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 -
Odds are, God exists.
So says Dr. Stephen Unwin, a risk assessor in Ohio who applied Bayes' Theory to the question and determined there's a 67% likelihood of ... you-have-to-buy-the-book-to-find-out. Ah, the Devil is in the retail -- er, I mean, the details.
As a scientist and a Christian, I'm embarrassed by this junk. His book "includes a spreadsheet of the data used so that anyone can make the calculation themselves should they doubt its validity."
I can hardly wait.
posted by tbc
on Mar 20, 2004 -
Religious right fights "Dress-up Jesus" refrigerator magnets "...Urban Outfitters is offering a refrigerator magnet set depicting Jesus on the cross. A variety of clothes for "Jesus Dress Up" include a Satan mask and tights, ballerina, and dogcatcher outfit. The sign above the cross reads, "Hang in there baby!"....A variety of clothes for "Jesus Dress Up" include a Satan mask and tights, ballerina, and dogcatcher outfit....and a Dr. Seuss hat."
- So reads an Action Alert sent to the several million members of the Reverend Donald Wildmon's American Family Association
which urges concerned christians to bombard Urban Outfitters with letters
condemning the allegedly blasphemous magnets. But there is no need to even buy them when you can play "Dress up Jesus" online! - "Dress up Jesus by dragging the items to him with your mouse."
, reads the offending website. From the AFA's suggested letter text : "While you may think it is "cute," your decision shows a great disrespect toward people of faith everywhere."
- To say that I dislike the AFA would be to put it mildly, but are the refrigerator magnets indeed disrespectful ?
posted by troutfishing
on Mar 18, 2004 -
American Taliban plans theocracy - soon
Theocracy Watch reports on the religious right's takeover of the Republican Party. The Bush Administration's proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is but one ploy of the new American Taliban : "with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex"
["...behind this amendment: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, Robert Bork, Rick Santorum" - via Andrew Sullivan]. Maureen Farrell chronicles the power centers
of the newly powerful religious right. Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind
series, has the President's ear and this concerns more than jamming Creationism
into your school's curriculum. On the agenda
- "The civil government of our nation, its laws, institutions, and practices must therefore be conformed to the principles of Biblical law as revealed in the Old and New Testaments."
Writes Farrell - "How did this happen? - Voter apathy is the key to the phenomenal ascent of the Religious Right in the U.S. government." Pat Robertson, 1990 : "With the apathy that exists today, a small, well-organized minority can influence the selection of candidates to an astonishing degree."
posted by troutfishing
on Mar 10, 2004 -
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 -
Online Prayer Labyrinth This is an online translation of the Cathedral Labyrinth created by London alternative worship groups Grace, LOPE, and Epicentre. It is currently touring UK Cathedrals during 2001 - 2003. Youth For Christ are running/hosting the tour. The original is described as 'an interactive installation for spiritual journeys'. It consists of a pathway mapped out on the floor for visitors to follow. During this journey participants pause and listen to a piece of music and a meditation. They also undertake some symbolic action or ritual.
posted by konolia
on Feb 18, 2004 -
Do Most People Even Know What They're Eating?
Pork is served as veal; tilapia as red snapper and who knows what goes into sausages and other processed meat and fish products? You don't have to be an observant Jew or Muslim to be worried. How many years have those chicken pieces been frozen? How much pork and beef
have been added to them? As food is increasingly disguised (fish fingers, chicken nuggets, beefburgers) to hide its origins, feeding on hypocritical popular revulsion with animals' existence, death - and carcasses! - aren't consumers setting themselves up for an ever greater measure of food fraud? That is, if they still care. (And no, it's not just an American phenomenon.) [Via The Daily Gullet.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Jan 23, 2004 -
Environmentalism as Religion.
An interesting speech by Michael Chrichton
, in which he discusses the 'religion' of environmentalism reminded me of an article in Harper's entitled A Gospel According to the Earth
by Jack Hitt.
Both writers agree that Environmentalism is, or is becoming, a new religion, but their views of what this means are as divergent as possible. Chrichton sees a world where fantasy has replaced reality to the detriment of mankind, while Hitt sees a dramatic and growing movement that imbues environmentalism with a new spirituality and connection with God, as a foil of Creationism and Intelligent design.
posted by cell divide
on Jan 20, 2004 -
Man Wants Church Donation Back
A man, in the midst of a serious bout of depression, gives away almost his entire life savings, $126,000, to a local church. He later realizes that this was not the smartest thing to do. He asks the church for the money back. The church, not surprisingly, says they've already spent it and so he can't have it back.
Bust out the lawyers!
posted by fenriq
on Jan 13, 2004 -
The Genocidal Moon
"There will be a purge on God’s orders, and evil will be eliminated like shadows," the Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myong Moon, the owner and primary funder of money-losing right-wing Washington Times, said last week. (The comments were posted online by Rev. Moon’s webmaster and picked up by blogger John Gorenfeld.)
"Gays will be eliminated, the 3 Israels will unite. If not then they will be burned. We do not know what kind of world God will bring but this is what happens. It will be greater than the communist purge but at God’s orders."
How should the media be responding to this call for genocide? Have any major media outlets been covering this story? Why not?
posted by nofundy
on Jan 13, 2004 -
Kabbalah is the new Scientology
"The Rav" - Born Feivel Gruberger in Brooklyn, was an insurance salesman before leaving his first wife and children to reinvent himself as a modern spiritual guru. He runs the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre. When Berg blesses ordinary spring water, it apparently becomes "infused with kabbalistic meditation . . . for healing, well-being and rejuvenation" - qualities that are neatly marketed in his exclusive make-up range, which includes a "restoring night cream" at £80 and a £91 eye-cream.
posted by suprfli
on Dec 18, 2003 -
Truth About Rave? "Raves are a means of the devil to solicit worship. The Raver who commits himself to ingest drugs and dance the night away is unsuspectingly presenting his entire body as an instrument to express worship to demons and satan."
And here I thought God was a DJ
posted by grabbingsand
on Dec 5, 2003 -