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Religion is absolutely fair territory for critics when it leaves in its wake war, a crusade against another religion, ethnic cleansing, the destruction of constitutional government, or the endangerment of domestic tranquility.
If Pope Benedict XVI talked about Jews the way he talks about gays or treated blacks the way he treat women, what would we call him?
The relationship between the American media and the Catholic Church can fairly be described as necrophiliatic: the only thing that really matters about the church is the Pope and the only really good Pope is a dead one. Once dead, whatever God does with the Pope's body becomes somewhat redundant. The press has already sent him to heaven, giving him credit for things he never did and avoiding some of the things he did that are not sufficiently encomium enabled.
We have always had Christian fundamentalists in this country. We just used to call them New Deal Democrats.
The ultimate irony of the conservatives is that they pretend to be a bastion of Christian politics when, in fact, they are comprised in no small part of despoilers, usurers, war-mongers, hypocrites, idolaters and groupies of false prophets - all of whom are frowned upon by the book they pretend to follow. And its opponents, who are more faithful to the words the conservatives only quote, are often such good Christians that they never say a mumblin' word about it all.
On the one hand, we have those enveloped in a retro version of Christianity devised by some highly successful hustlers and charlatans and, on the other, we have liberals who seem to believe that politics begins and ends with abortion and gay rights - and in a cargo cult that delivers salvation through SUVs, Botox injections, the right wine and Vanity Fair. It is rare anymore to hear liberals speak of things like pensions, health care, or labor issues. Thus they have little to talk about to the fundamentalists save the issues that divide them so sharply.
The magnificence of America lies in the opportunity not to have to agree with other Americans. The Christian right has clearly forgotten this, but so have liberals who send all sorts of unconscious signals that they will be no less vigorous in imposing their values should they get the chance. Both these messages, because of their implicit aggression, become extremely threatening to the other side.
Politicus USA - A Public Policy Polling national survey of Republican voters, found that an astonishing 57 percent of Republicans want to dismantle the Constitution, and establish Christianity as the official national religion. Only 30 percent oppose making Christianity the national religion. Although the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment clearly states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, GOP voters want to cast aside that provision and impose Christianity as the official American religion.
Chris Kromm, Facing South - Indiana sparked a national debate over so-called "religious freedom" bills, a controversy that soon flared up in other states across the South and country.
A similar bill stalled in the Georgia House amidst the backlash. In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, signed that state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act only after substantial revisions, although civil rights advocates say it still doesn't go far enough. North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory, who is also a Republican, said he won't support his state's proposed RFRA bill, which scholars and activists say would allow for a wider range of discriminatory practices based in religion.
As many quickly pointed out, these measures aren't new: A federal "religious freedom" act passed in 1993. After the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that it couldn't be enforced at the state level, states moved to pass their own versions, with momentum building in the wake of court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage.
The newest batch of RFRA laws go further than their predecessors. As Think Progress and others have noted, while the federal and early state RFRA laws focused on blocking state actions that supposedly put a "substantial burden" on religious beliefs, measures like the one passed in Indiana are rare in extending the law's purview to disputes between private parties, such as a business and a customer. While support for same-sex marriage is still lower in many Southern states, over time the needle has moved
But another reason for the strong public backlash to the Indiana bill and other recent measures is evolving attitudes. Part of this changing sentiment is being chalked up to shifting views about gay marriage and LGBT rights, especially among millenials. While support for same-sex marriage is still lower in many Southern states, over time the needle has movedalbeit slowlyin the South and country to growing acceptance and support.
There's another factor that may be playing into changing views about gay rights and "religious freedom" bills, which hasn't received as much attention: the declining clout of white evangelicals, especially in their stronghold in Southern states.
Politically, white evangelicals have been the driving forcein numbers, attitudes, and resourcesbehind anti-LGBT legislation. But after a period of growth in numbers and political influence in the 1980s and 1990s, white fundamentalist Christians have seen the size of their congregations dwindle, eroding their political clout as well.
In October 2014, shortly before last year's midterm elections, Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute published a report in The Atlantic that summarized this decline and its political implications:
In recent years, for example, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest evangelical denomination in the country, has reported steady declines in membership and new baptisms. Since 2007, the number of white evangelical Protestants nationwide has slipped from 22 percent in 2007 to 18 percent today ... A look at generational differences demonstrates that this is only the beginnings of a major shift away from a robust white evangelical presence and influence in the country. While white evangelical Protestants constitute roughly three in ten (29 percent) seniors (age 65 and older), they account for only one in ten (10 percent) members of the Millennial generation (age 18-29).
... Jones sees the decline of white evangelicalism in the South and nationally as stemming from two sources: changing demographics, including new immigrant communities with different religious traditions, and a younger generation that increasingly identifies as "unaffiliated" when asked about their relationship to organized religion.
That doesn't mean that white evangelical faith is extinct in the South; far from it. And due to successful efforts to build religious-right organizations over the last three decades, white Christian conservatives are still a well-organized force in the electorate. But if current trends continue, white conservative Protestants are destined to be a less formidable feature of the Southern political landscape in the years to come.
Andrea R. Jain, Quarz - Yoga is satanic and leads to evil, warned Gabriele Amorth, Italian priest and chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, reported Vatican Insider in Nov. 2011. Three years later in July 2014, Father Padraig OBaoill of County Donegal, Ireland, warned his parishioners against endangering their souls by practicing yoga, which he called unsavoury. Other high-profile opponents of yoga in the US include Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Pat Robertson, television evangelist and founder of the Christian Coalition of America. 1
The danger of yoga, according to yogaphobics, is its Hindu essence, thought to be incompatible with Christianity, as I argue in Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford, 2014).
In one of the most high-profile cases of Christian yogaphobia, in Feb. 2013, some parents in Encinitas, California, complained that yoga classes from their kids public schools were promoting Hinduism. Supported by the National Center for Law & Policy, an evangelical Christian civil liberties organization, the parents sued their school district for introducing religion into the curriculum. Although the judge ruled in favor of the school district, the fight continues.
Even Pope Francis, idol of the leftist media, has become part of this yogaphobic maelstrom.
At one Jan. 9, 2015 morning mass in the Santa Marta residence in Vatican City, the Pope spoke of that days gospel reading, and mentioned that only the Holy Spirit could open peoples hearts and free them to love, no matter how many catechism courses, spirituality courses, zen courses or yoga courses they took...
In a homily on the devil and exorcism delivered on Feb. 8, 2015, in County Breathing can become an idol and thus an obstacle to experiencing God. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Father Roland Colhoun warned that yoga leads to the Kingdom of Darkness and draws people toward Satan and the fallen angels. In a later Feb. 23 interview about his homily with the Derry Journal, Colhoun misquoted the Pope:
Pope Francis said do not seek spiritual answers in yoga classes. Yoga is certainly a risk. Theres the spiritual health risk. When you take up those practices from other cultures, which are outside our Christian domain, you dont know what you are opening yourself up to.
Race to the bottom No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution. - South Carolina constitution
Arizona says Christianity the only religion allowed to be taught: .According to a House summary on the bill, here's what the classes will include:
- The contents, characters, poetry and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory and public policy.
- The contents of, history recorded by and literary style and structure of the Old and New Testament.
- The influence of the Old and New Testament on laws, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values and culture.
The Mormon church stands to own nearly 2 percent of Florida by completing a deal to buy most of the real estate of the St. Joe Co. for more than a half-billion dollars.
What the IRS didn't investigate
Before Vatican condemned nun's book on sexuality, it was 142,982 on Amazon bestseller list. Today it's 19
2011 2010 2005
TIMES UK - Unknown to many members of the church, Ratzinger's past includes brief membership of the Hitler Youth movement and wartime service with a German army anti- aircraft unit. Although there is no suggestion that he was involved in any atrocities, his service may be contrasted by opponents with the attitude of John Paul II, who took part in anti-Nazi theatre performances in his native Poland and in 1986 became the first pope to visit Rome's synagogue. . .
The son of a rural Bavarian police officer, Ratzinger was six when Hitler came to power in 1933. His father, also called Joseph, was an anti-Nazi whose attempts to rein in Hitler's Brown Shirts forced the family to move home several times.
In 1937 Ratzinger's father retired and the family moved to Traunstein, a staunchly Catholic town in Bavaria close to the FÃ¼hrer's mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. He joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941. He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary. "Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one," concluded John Allen, his biographer.
Two years later Ratzinger was enrolled in an anti-aircraft unit that protected a BMW factory making aircraft engines. The workforce included slaves from Dachau concentration camp.
Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot - adding that his gun was not even loaded - because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp.
A new cause for the religious right
Great thoughts of Pat Roberston
Right Wing Watch - On the same "700 Club" program today in which Pat Robertson said that Jews must convert to Christianity in order to enter Heaven, he also took on a question from a woman who was friends with a man whose wife is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and has begun to date another woman and wanted to know what to do. Robertson's advice was to encourage the husband to divorce his wife with Alzheimer's because she was, for all intents and purposes, already dead. Co-host Terry Meeuwsen understandably wondered if that would not violate the "til death do you part" provision of the wedding vow, which Robertson just pretty much dismissed, saying "he certainly wouldn't put a guilt trip" on anyone who decided that divorce was the answer.
Sons of Perdition. Three young men escape Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A remarkable look at some of the reall effects of religious extremism. Not yet on Netflix but you can put it on Save
Stupid Christian hustler tricks
Ladies and gentlemen, I don't want to get weird on this so please take it for what it's worth. But it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America's power, it has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and say this is one nation under God. Now there's a crack in it, there's a crack in it and it's closed up. Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance or is it just result of an earthquake? You judge, but I just want to bring that to your attention. It seems to me symbolic. When Jesus was crucified and when he died the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom and there was a tear and it was extremely symbolic, is this symbolic? You judge. - Pat Robertson
WHAT EVANGELICAL HISTORY READS LIKE
[From United States History for Christian Schools written by Timothy Keesee and Mark Sidwell]
American believers can appreciate Jefferson's rich contribution to the development of their nation, but they must beware of his view of Christ as a good teacher but not the incarnate son of God. As the Apostle John said, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (I John 2:22).
On the whole, [the progressives] believed that man is basically good and that human nature might be improved. . . Such a belief, of course, ignored the biblical teaching that man is sinful by nature (Ephesians 2:1-3). Progressives therefore also ignored the fact that the fallible men who built the corrupt institutions that they attacked were the same in nature as those who filled the political offices and staffed the regulatory agencies that were supposed to control the corruption.
[From "Elements of Literature for Christian Schools," by Ronald Horton, Donalynn Hess and Steven Skeggs (Bob Jones University, 20010]
Twain's outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless. Denying that he was created in the image of God, Twain was able to rid himself of feeling any responsibility to his Creator. At the same time, however, he defiantly cut himself off from God's love. Twain's skepticism was clearly not the honest questioning of a seeker of truth but the deliberate defiance of a confessed rebel.
[Emily] Dickinson's year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary further shaped her "religious" views. During her stay at the school, she learned of Christ but wrote of her inability to make a decision for Him. She could not settle "the one thing needful." A thorough study of Dickinson's works indicates that she never did make that needful decision. Several of her poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general. Throughout her life she viewed salvation as a gamble, not a certainty. Although she did view the Bible as a source of poetic inspiration, she never accepted it as an inerrant guide to life.
[From "Physics for Christian Schools," by R. Terrance Egolf and Linda Shumate (Bob Jones University, 2004)]
Some people have developed the idea that higher mathematics and science have little to do with the Bible or Christian life. They think that because physics deals with scientific facts, or because it is not pervaded with evolutionary ideas, there is no need to study it from a Christian perspective. This kind of thinking ignores a number of important facts to the Christian: First, all secular science is pervaded by mechanistic, naturalistic and evolutionistic philosophy. Learning that the laws of mechanics as they pertain to a baseball in flight are just the natural consequences of the way matter came together denies the wisdom and power of our Creator God. . . Second, physics as taught in the schools of the world contradicts the processes that shaped the world we see today. Trying to believe both secular physics and the Bible leaves you in a state of confusion that will weaken your faith in God's Word.
You are about to embark on an adventure. The study of physics reveals the wonderful orderliness of God's creation - so orderly that it can be comprehended in terms of relatively simple principles (mathematical formulas). ... Physics is important because through it mankind learns how creation actually works. It satisfies our God-given curiosity about nature. Seeing that God does "great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number" (Job 5:9), men have dedicated their lives to unraveling the rich mysteries of creation. NY TIMES