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?
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.]
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.
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.
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....
And here I thought God was a DJ....
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."
As a historian, I am dismayed by the letters I see that proclaim that America was founded as a Christian nation. "America is not a Christian nation but rather a nation of mostly Christians. That was the intent of the Founders, to allow each of us the right under natural law, to decide matters of conscience for ourselves." A new form of revisionism?
One Nation Under God(s): George W.Bush unwittingly restarted an old theological debate. Is the God that the Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Or to be more accurate; notwithstanding the different forms of worship and beliefs, is it the same God in different guises? Fundamentalists in all three monotheistic faiths tend to disagree. For other believers - to ruthlessly simplify - God is necessarily one. Either way it's still a fascinating question (possibly not only for religious folk) and has important consequences in an increasingly divided and antagonistic world. What's it be? One God or one's God?
Star presenter wears hijab and apparently gets "a flood of calls". But, in an odd turn for the BBC, the piece doesn't say what those calls think. Are they all praising the traditional - and controversial - head-dress, or are they up in arms. The story skirts the issue. Islam 101 explains a bit about it.
Alhamdullah. "I do say that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person," the president replied. "I also condition it by saying freedom is not America's gift to the world. It's much greater than that, of course. And I believe we worship the same god." Apparently, this is causing no small amount of controversy in the Christian God-believing circles. I was always under the impression that it was commonly accepted that Jews, Christians, and Muslims were all working for the same Guy. So, Bush finally says something that's not completely stupid, and he gets all kind of hell for it. Great.
Johnny Hart at it again? "B.C." creator Johnny Hart is getting some negative publicity (again) for a comic that some say is anti-Islam. See the comic here. An outspoken Christian, Hart has had brushes with religious controversy in the past. Are people reading too much into this, or does it look like bigotry to you? (via Atrios)
How to be a bible apologist. Informative, sarcastic, and amusing guide to these religious times of ours. Brought to you by the Evil Atheists Conspiracy, which has a great News section.
Judgment Day: Roy Moore faces the music for defying federal law. Misconduct aside, will Roy Moore become a martyr? I think he should go, but is it wise? I believe it is; I mean someone needs to reign the "runaway" judiciary the Republicans are always talking about. (Who knew that their own straw-man would bite them it the ass?)
Church sign generator. Crank out your own roadside platitudes.
Getting converted has never been so easy! "The Plug 'n' Pray concept: Religion is no longer a mystical experience or a personal journey to get closer to our transcendent inner dimension - it belongs now to the FCG (Fast Consumer Goods) segment." …A brilliant religious (and software marketing) satire, IMHO.
What is old is new again, unfortunately. Wholesome Wear (boy that name just makes you cringe eh?) makes modern, and even less revealing, duplicates of what your Grandma or Great Grandma used to swim in - for the thoroughly modern Mormon (or other religious zealot wackos who cant accept girls have knees). God hates females in swimsuits, I guess.
The Jesus O' Lantern - for those still looking for a carving design for this year's Halloween pumpkin.
Can Islam and Electronica co-exist? Listen to a wonderful track named "Semitones In Darkness" by Subtonal and Fresh Moods from BBC Radio 1's Blue Room this week (Min. 5). You'll hear what Muslims normally say when they are praying: "al-Fatiha" (The Opening), the first chapter of Quran.
Ever wonder who is bankrolling the furor over gay bishops in the Anglican Church? Meet Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr., Newport Beach recluse. Among his greatest hits: funding articles that argue gays should be stoned, and a video by Charlton Heston praising the "God-fearing Caucasian middle-class."
Founding fathers quotations about religion. Sick of hearing fundie pundies say "the US was founded on a vision of Christianity"? Let TJ and the crew speak for themselves.
How about tolerance for all? These regular protests in Utah (or other LDS-dense populations) don't seem to make much news, though they'd probably be scandalous if performed against other religious groups.
The new Islam. Husam Tammam and Patrick Haenni in Le Monde (English version) describe the new forms of Islamic culture taking shape in Egypt. I follow the Islamic world fairly closely, but this was news to me. Does it herald an Islam that can live with the rest of the world (and vice versa)?
This entry, both with the hijab [veil] and the nashid [religious chant], into consumerism and syncretism with non-Arab models, has led to an implicit questioning of the old puritanism of the 1970s and 1980s - and above all a questioning of the principle of the ideologisation of religion. The change is important: we could trace similar patterns in the Islamic economy, increasingly affected by the ups and downs of international finance; or in Islamic charity, which has been rethought, within a framework of neoliberalism, as a security net to replace the state's withdrawal from this area (a withdrawal the Islamists have widely supported).(Via Path of the Paddle.)
Vatican declares fresh Death all around. It seems the Vatican is telling people in countries with high AIDS infection not to use condoms, because the virus is small enough to pass through the porous latex. The World Health Organization believes condoms do reduce the risk of AIDS transmission. To which the Vatican's Cardinal Trujillo replied: "They are wrong about that... this is an easily recognisable fact."
Faster Pastor - Billboard Humour - a lovely and very funny pictorial archive of billboards from a British church, done by a Rev. Paul Sinclair, who has other eccentric services as well...
E.T. and God. Physicist Paul Davies explores the question of what impact the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe would have on religion on Earth.
The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus
It's not Friday yet but this is great entertainment! Hope you laugh as much as I did!
It's not Friday yet but this is great entertainment! Hope you laugh as much as I did!
The Bush administration has today stepped into the Supreme Court’s next major church-state case, by siding with the ACLJ and asking the high court to allow a state merit scholarship to be applied towards a degree in theology at a Christian College. Is this a valid example of the separation of Church and State, or unreasonable anti-religious discrimination? More inside.
Why do so many scientists believe in God? "Modern science did not emerge 400 years ago to challenge religion, the orthodoxy of the past 2,000 years. Generations of thinkers and experimenters and observers - often themselves churchmen - wanted to explain how God worked his wonders. Modern physics began with a desire to explain the clockwork of God's creation. Modern geology grew at least partly out of searches for evidence of Noah's flood. Modern biology owes much to the urge to marvel at the intricacy of Divine providence. But the scientists - a word coined only in 1833 - who hoped to find God somehow painted Him out of the picture... So although the debate did not start out as science versus religion, that is how many people now see it. Paradoxically, this is not how many scientists see it."
Autistic boy dies at faith healing service 'An 8-year-old autistic boy died during a prayer service at a Milwaukee church that the pastor said was meant to heal him of "spirits," and the pastor's brother is facing child abuse charges...' This is sad. Evil spirits? What can be done to protect children from ill-treatment by religion?
Roy Ten Commandments Moore (discussed here) received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in January of 2003 from the Methodist Episcopal Church, USA (temporarily deactivated, someone, call billing!) & the National Clergy Council. The National Clergy Council has placed "Ten Commandment" plaques on the walls of politicians such as George Bush, Trent Lott, Joe Leiberman, & Rick Santorum among others. The web site of the National Clergy Council reads "There remain thousands of additional government officials yet to receive the Ten Commandments Plaques." and asks for help. Chief Justice Moore had to travel all the way to Washington DC to receive his honorary Doctorate of Divinity. It would have been far cheaper to pay $7.95 online. In case you were wondering a Doctorate in Divinity means an "understanding of the relationship between Man, His Creator, and the rest of the Cosmos." It's good nice to know that such a moral man
is was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Pray for Paul Wolfowitz Many across America and Americans in other countries are heeding the call to pray for our President. In a short time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, well over a million people have registered their promise to pray daily for the President. That number is increasing by tens of thousands of new team members every day. News of The Presidential Prayer Team is spreading rapidly throughout America as people march to the tempo of an almost forgotten tune, "God Bless America." The independent, nonprofit organization behind The Presidential Prayer Team, has a singular purpose: to encourage specific nationwide prayer for the President. The goal is to enlist at least 2.8 million participants, or 1% of the American population, to make this prayer commitment.
Alabama's Chief Justice refuses to remove Ten Commandments. Despite a unanimous decision by the 11th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Roy Moore has refused to remove the four foot high, two and a half ton monument to Christianity, vowing he'll take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the sharks are already beginning to circle.
The Panacea Society is a small group in England that has existed since the 1920s, waiting for Jesus to return to Earth and move into the house they've set up for him in Bedford - the new Jerusalem. Built on the prophecies of Octavia, a vicar's widow obsessed with the prophecies of 18th/19th century English prophetess Joana Southcott, the Panaceans are the keepers of a box of prophecies left by Joanna. "War, disease, crime and banditry will increase until the Bishops open Joanna Southcott's box" is still being placed in newspapers on their behalf as they send out linen squares, breathed upon by Octavia before her death, that will, if placed in jugs of water, will heal and protect. Harmless neighborhood church group or money-grubbing cult? As they receive more attention (including a documentary shown on Channel 4) and their members slowly die off, it'll be interesting to see what happens...
Dr. Laura Schlessinger renounces Orthodox Judaism: Although Schlessinger said she still "considers" herself Jewish, "My identifying with this entity and my fulfilling the rituals, etc., of the entity — that has ended." I'd link to the show in question but it appears to be available by subscription only.
Rev. Gene Robinson's controversial aspirations to be the first gay bishop in the Episcopal church have been put on hold over accusations regarding allegedly inappropriate touching in public conversation and an indirect hyperlink to pornography via a group called Outright that says its mission is "to create safe, positive, and affirming environments for young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and questioning people ages 22 and under." They also say that the would-be bishop is not affiliated with the group in any way. The church's investigation into the matter, CNN has just reported, is now complete and the vote will soon be rescheduled.
The Pope really disapproves of gay marriage. He says "people extending cohabitation rights 'need to be reminded that the approval or legalisation of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.'" He "also described gay sex as inhuman and gay couples adopting children as 'doing violence'."And some people thought Bush was bad!
Ready for a new religion? Or maybe not so new. But it may explain a few things.
Jesus, Told the US A Bald-Faced Lie, I Got Proof Satan Has A Brother! Good stuff from Prophet Freddie. It says "comedy" on the homepage, but I don't think he's joking.
Web Project Seeks to Digitize Religious Images for Theological Libraries The American Theological Library Association's Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative aims to create a large database of religious images to spare research librarians the expense of digitizing documents that other institutions have already scanned
Common sense, really. Need something to do on a Sunday morning? Charles Osgood's fine, but he's got nowhere near the entertainment value of the New Age IQ Test. It's a stunning exercise both in web design and rational outlook. Brought to you by the folks at the Salem (Massachusetts)New Age Center. Don't miss the writings of John Cali, who "channels Chief Joseph."
Bush: "a bottomless void"? Jon Carroll's Boston Globe op-ed asks whether it's ever possible to rid the world of evil, as W. claims is his ultimate goal, and answers in the negative. Is presidential rhetoric on good and evil helpful? Elaine Pagels doesn't think so.
Preacher asks for a sign, and gets one. Is this the wonder-working power Bush was talking about in the State of the Union Address? Oddly enough this list of indoor lightning safety tips doesn't suggest staying the hell away from charismatic preachers.
Meet the People of the Peacock Angel, the Yezidi. Theirs is a religion and culture centered near Mosul, Iraq, as well as Syria, the Caucasus, the via the diaspora in Germany. Seclusive and secretive, the Yezidi have often been maligned by outsiders due to misinterpretations of the nature of their primary Deity, Malak Taus (once a rebel angel who recreated the world and doused the fires of hell with his tears). Gurdjieff (pt. I, pt. II) may have been heavily influenced by them. Unlike other middle-eastern religions, the Yezidi have rejected dualism and, therefore, the ideas of sin and evil. Various versions float around of the Black Book of the Yezidi and other works that form their sacred literature. Wars, political pogroms and proselytizing have placed this beautiful, complex and misunderstood tradition in jeopardy.
"American Pie [the song] tells about the last decisive struggle between, Christian America and all the heathen armies of the world, who will be gathered on America's doorstep and according to the Bible, will invade America." "Could it be that "JESUS ACTUALLY FORETOLD THE ADVENT OF THE INTERNET?" [Warning: cheesy MIDI music background]
"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did..." does this kind of talk coming from our president and the most powerful man in concern you? - or reassure you?
“. . . just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.” Even the soon-to-be St. Theresa had moments of atheism; although this essay is too devotional for me (and doesn't even mention Hitchens's take) it does humanize the calcutta nun's experience for me. via aldaily.