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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.
NY Times - The evangelical Christian family that owns Hobby Lobby, the chain of craft stores, made history two weeks ago when the Supreme Court overturned the Obama administrations mandate that family-owned companies must provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.
Now, the family is looking to build a permanent presence on the Washington landscape, by establishing a sprawling museum dedicated to the Bible just two blocks south of the National Mall.
Infrequently asked questions: The Supreme Court
Why did the Supreme Court implicitly rule that the religious beliefs of the owners of a closely held corporation outweighed the religious beliefs of their employees, some of whom, as decent Christians, believe in the importance of contraception? The Supreme Court essentially raped these Christian employees - and without contraception.
Why does the mass media think the only Christians in this country are right wingers? This is not only bad journalism, it's deep religious prejudice. 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, blasphemers, heretics and groupies of false prophets - all of whom are frowned upon by the book they pretend to follow. And the mass media never says a mumblin' word about it all.
What would have happened to the Hobby Lobby case if all the Catholics on the Supreme Court had recused themselves from this case instead of committing high crimes and misdemeanors by subjecting the Constitution to the rules of their church? The answer is that the workers would have won 3-0. This case was entirely decided by members of a church whose pope ruled in 1968 that "it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence." Only Justice Sotomayor voted against her church. - Sam Smith
Race to the bottom
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution. - South Carolina constitution
Daily Beast - The National Catholic Reporter reported that the Vatican rebuked the largest umbrella organization for U.S. nuns for planning to honor Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a theologian whose work has been criticized by U.S. bishops for containing misrepresentations and doctrinal errors. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious was sharply criticized by the Vaticans orthodoxy watchdog, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, in a speech that was made public on Monday. He said that after this disagreement, all LCWR honorees must be pre-approved by the Vatican, a reform first proposed under Pope Benedict XVI after an investigation concluded that U.S. nuns were promoting radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith. The LCWR would only comment that Muellers staff was respectful and engaging.
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