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And I pray you can make it better down here. I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer

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.) Amen
posted by amberglow on Jun 11, 2004 - 10 comments

English Literature and Religion

English Literature and Religion.
posted by hama7 on Jun 5, 2004 - 2 comments

Jesus saves (on prescription drugs)

The Son of God has Prozac and Viagra on sale now. Why bother with know-it-all pharmacists when you can get prescription drugs from Jesus Himself? He even sells birth control for only $129.99 a month (loaves and fishes not included.) via The General
posted by trondant on Jun 4, 2004 - 19 comments

Gates of Mercy

Holy Land. Unlike Orlando's, this one's courtesy of Waterbury, Connecticut. Take a tour, read the debate. A few more pics here and here. Also documented in a short video by Albuquerque resident Brian Konefsky and is on tour via the The Itinerant Cinemascape traveling film show. See if it's coming to your town.
posted by protocool on May 23, 2004 - 7 comments

Hey, hey LBJ! How many containers did you ship today?

Cargo cultists versus Christians. Two religions enter, one religion leaves! Differences have led to murder on an island near Oceania. Many of us learned about cargo cults from Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. However, it seems that there's more to the story, including a Lyndon Johnson connection.
posted by Mayor Curley on May 21, 2004 - 15 comments

Ohio Wants God in Schools

A bill 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 - 30 comments

What do the Unitarians believe?

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 "bugmenot@fastmail.us" and "privacy")
posted by Irontom on May 19, 2004 - 48 comments

Except not every scene in Harry Potter revolves around a cell phone...

The Harry Potter series and the Left Behind series are more alike than you might think...
posted by PinkStainlessTail on May 18, 2004 - 8 comments

Interactive Church Music Player

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 - 13 comments

The Hillbilly Housewife.

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 - 78 comments

Virtual church

Church of fools No time for church? Like sleeping in on Sunday? Worship the virtual way with Church of fools. Wander the crypt and sanctuary, chatting with Ned Flanders looky-likey's. For real, and sponsored by the Methodist church. Shockwave required. via linkdup
posted by backOfYourMind on May 13, 2004 - 5 comments

ad aspera per astra

Ad Aspera Per Astra - an interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno, one of several full-time Vatican astromomers at the Vatican Observatory. He talks about the Church's take on astrobiology and the eventuality of encountering an alien race. The idea of the Church's mission beyond the Earth is something that's come up in a few good books, like The Sparrow and A Canticle for Leibowitz. Interesting to hear an actual Jesuit's take on the matter. [Via BoingBoing]
posted by ubersturm on May 13, 2004 - 8 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

Brutal Honesty

Pat Tillman's memorial ceremony was going as planned: John McCain spoke, American flags waved, the Army and the NFL stood together, all mourning their lost colleague. It was going as planned until Pat's brother spoke: "Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''
posted by falconred on May 4, 2004 - 115 comments

The Mind of the Fundamentalist

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 - 20 comments

What's in a name?

One God, Many Names. An intriguing short paper (pdf) from the Nawawi foundation on names given to God within the Abrahamic faiths and beyond.
posted by Mossy on Apr 27, 2004 - 13 comments

Biometrics are coming .... or not?

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 - 4 comments

What Did Jesus Do?!

I shared life's Growing Pains with him, and even winced through a video taped copy of Left Behind after finding the books interesting enough, but even my Christian friends think that this is just plain over the top. Ah, the born-again B-list celebrity.
posted by robbie01 on Apr 21, 2004 - 83 comments

Gays versus God?

MillionForChrist.com? Gays versus God? Looks like there's a race between people who support Christ and people who support same-sex marriages. They're both looking for a million signatures. Conincidence? Any bets on who's gonna win?
posted by ChristFollower on Apr 12, 2004 - 41 comments

Saints of Graphic Design

In these days of reflection and prayer, graphic designers would do well to seek the intercession of their patron saints.
posted by brownpau on Apr 9, 2004 - 9 comments

pnac vulcan;s empire iraq factions

Some said it could'nt be done, but the U.S. seems to have suceeded in uniting Iraq's different ethnic and religious groups. Now perhaps its time for the Vulcan's to begin to reign in their dreams of empire.
posted by thedailygrowl on Apr 8, 2004 - 28 comments

Are you shouting?

To capitalize or not 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 or abugidas 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 completely.
posted by snarfodox on Apr 8, 2004 - 6 comments

Saved by Islam.

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 - 29 comments

Render Unto Ceasar?

What America Can Learn From Its Atheists -- by Leon Wieseltier. Taking the Supreme Court case being decided 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 - 155 comments

Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment

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 - 75 comments

"And half of the them are Jewish"

The magazine Adbusters has published a list of "the 50 most influential neocons in the US," and, writes editor Kalle Lasn, "half of the them are Jewish." Lasn identifies the Jews on the list with a dot. At least I think they're dots; maybe they're very small yellow stars.
posted by tranquileye on Apr 2, 2004 - 92 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

Bayes' Theory applied; 67% chance God exists

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 - 46 comments

Jesus as dogcatcher, ballerina, SATAN!

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 - 134 comments

if a reddish-white sore appears on the scalp or forehead ...

the brick testament
posted by mrgrimm on Mar 15, 2004 - 11 comments

American Taliban, sans condoms, extra brimstone

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 - 142 comments

ye shall have their carcases in abomination!

god hates shrimp
posted by bluno on Mar 2, 2004 - 79 comments

The Passion Gap:

It's not quite fresh, according to mainstream reviewers polled by Rotten Tomatoes. But Christian Bloggers feel very differently. As one reports, I went into the movie expecting to be moved, but never to the extent that I actually was. But both sides seems to agree the R rating should be taken very seriously.
posted by alms on Feb 26, 2004 - 79 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

even I hadn't heard of this before.

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 - 4 comments

The Passion

Richard Roeper tells it like it is: Catholics are being persecuted. "And no other religious group gets bashed with such frequency."
posted by 111 on Feb 10, 2004 - 93 comments

Airline Faith

AA pilot asks for faith of his passengers. Air flight can be intimidating as it is - especially when your pilot has a nagging desire to introduce you to God.
posted by lightweight on Feb 9, 2004 - 90 comments

a penguin love story

Birds do it, bees do it... homosexual attachment and lovemaking are widespread in the animal kingdom, say biologists like Bruce Bagemihl, author of "Biological Exuberance." [For a longer, better-edited version of the same article, go here, but NYT reg. required.] Not everyone agrees, particularly those apt to quote the Bible to justify claims of a "natural revulsion to perverse sex."
posted by digaman on Feb 7, 2004 - 86 comments

Breakin' 3: Ecclesiastic Boogaloo

Breakdancers receive blessing from the Pope. A story about the papacy that isn't frustrating, just for a change. It doesn't say it in the article, but I like to think that His Holiness learned to do the Worm.
posted by Mayor Curley on Jan 26, 2004 - 11 comments

Do Most People Even Know What They're Eating?

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 - 49 comments

Two Views of Environmentalism as Religion

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 - 32 comments

Man Giveth, the Church Taketh, Whateth Be the Problem?

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.
What's next?
Bust out the lawyers!
posted by fenriq on Jan 13, 2004 - 20 comments

Israel's founding war

What they didn't teach me about Israel's 1948 war in religious school.
posted by Tlogmer on Jan 13, 2004 - 95 comments

Rev. Moon advocates genocide

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 - 26 comments

Rickshaw Rally!

Rickshaw Rally! From the same people who brought you "Dispel the Darkness".
posted by mr_roboto on Jan 9, 2004 - 10 comments

Evangelism in Sri Lanka

Globalized fundamentalism versus tradition. This report for the Society for International Development describes the efforts of foreign funded Christian evangelists to gain converts in Sri Lanka, which the author views as an assault on traditional Sri Lankan culture. There is a backlash, which some say is leading to the suppression of religious freedom and state sponsorship of Buddhism. [Via Plastic.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 5, 2004 - 10 comments

Faith-Based National Parks

Faith-Based National Parks? The National Park Service has recently approved the display of three bronze plaques bearing biblical verses at the Grand Canyon, as well as the sale of a creationist book on the canyon's origins (here's a review of the book by a professor of geology,) while at the same time blocking park rangers from publishing a scientific rebuttal to creationism. The NPS also wants to remove images of gay rights, pro-choice and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations from a videotape shown at the Lincoln Memorial, though they may be relenting.
posted by homunculus on Dec 24, 2003 - 45 comments

My "spiritual cream" is free!

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 - 13 comments

Satan and the fallen angels now inspire music in many different styles as they seek to divert worship from God.

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 - 136 comments

Stay between the lines.

Teacher sues over limits on history curriculum. "A seventh-grade social studies teacher in Presque Isle [Maine] who said he was barred from teaching about non-Christian civilizations has sued his school district, claiming it violated his First Amendment right of free expression."
posted by sarajflemming on Dec 4, 2003 - 35 comments

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