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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Something to renew faith

Posted by Greg on January 9, 2011

It’s been an interesting weekend, following an exhausting week on many fronts.

Here’s a story from Egypt that brings a smile to my face, and goes far toward reminding us that humanity really is worth saving.

Remember this story next time a wingnut tries to tell you there is no such thing as moderate Muslims.

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.

From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”



Posted in International, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Clearer heads in California

Posted by Greg on August 27, 2010

And it’s not the hope of legal pot.

An interfaith coalition has released an open letter in support of the NYC Mosque.

Posted in Civil Rights, Culture War, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Young Adults Doing Religion on Their Own? Blame It on Politics — Politics Daily

Posted by Greg on February 26, 2010

Young Adults Doing Religion on Their Own? Blame It on Politics — Politics Daily.

Interesting piece.

Posted in Religion | Leave a Comment »

Religious tendencies by state

Posted by Greg on December 23, 2009

Interesting information from Pew, interactive graphic.  Check it out.

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Muslim seminary in India issues edict opposing terrorism

Posted by Greg on June 2, 2008

More common sense comments from moderate Muslims. Not that the right wing would have you know such a thing exists.

Senior clerics from the 150-year-old Muslim seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, which is said to have inspired the Taliban, have issued an edict saying they wished to wipe out terrorism.

The Indpendent reports: “The Deoband institute was established in the aftermath of the 1857 uprising against British rule, an uprising that was brutally suppressed by the imperial forces. Highly influential, it controls thousands of smaller seminaries and madrassas around the world, from Britain to Afghanistan.

“Of Britain’s 1,400 mosques, about 600 are run by Deobandi-affiliated clerics. Seventeen of the UK’s 26 Islamic seminaries follow Deobandi teachings, which produce about 80 per cent of all domestically trained Muslim clerics.

“Analysts say the move to speak out against terrorism would be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of India’s 140 million Muslim population, many of whom believe the image of their religion has been tarnished by the actions of a small number of people.”

Hat tip:  TMV

Posted in International, Religion | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Greg on April 14, 2008

Bill Mahar on the Pope’s visit.

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Leasing God for mammon

Posted by Greg on April 13, 2008

Great piece at Positive Liberty:

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The political sermons of the American Founding collected by Ellis Sandoz are fascinating and enlightening to read, and many of them contain great ideas. They support the notion of political liberty. I likewise support political liberty. Yet, let’s not get too caught up in nostalgia. They also reveal that pastors back then have done exactly what the religious right AND religious left do today: whore the Christian religion for political purposes.

Posted in Religion | Leave a Comment »

In memoriam

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2008

A nicely done You Tube memorial to Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who passed away yesterday at the age of 97.

I had the chance to shake his hand on  a couple of occasions.  The world is poorer without him in it.

Posted in Religion, Utah | Leave a Comment »

Salem in Nigeria

Posted by Greg on December 12, 2007

A very sad piece on the state of Christianity in Nigeria in The Guardian.  It seems children are being tortured and even killed as “witches”:

Almost everyone goes to church here. Driving through the town of Esit Eket, the rust-streaked signs, tarpaulins hung between trees and posters on boulders, advertise a church for every third or fourth house along the road. Such names as New Testament Assembly, Church of God Mission, Mount Zion Gospel, Glory of God, Brotherhood of the Cross, Redeemed, Apostalistic. Behind the smartly painted doors pastors make a living by ‘deliverances’ – exorcisms – for people beset by witchcraft, something seen to cause anything from divorce, disease, accidents or job losses. With so many churches it’s a competitive market, but by local standards a lucrative one.

But an exploitative situation has now grown into something much more sinister as preachers are turning their attentions to children – naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.

John Aravosis at Americablog so succinctly observes:

These are the same wonderful people who are trying to lecture churches in developed countries about how we should (mis)treat gay people. Yes, let’s aspire to be as good of Christians as these fine folks.

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German government seeks to ban Scientology

Posted by Greg on December 10, 2007


Germany’s interior minister called the Church of Scientology “an unconstitutional organization” and said the nation’s domestic intelligence agency would move to ban the group, a report said Sunday.

Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s remarks followed a unanimous decision Friday by interior ministers from Germany’s 16 states to seek a ban on Scientology, accused of threatening “the peaceful democratic order” of the country.

Are there no larger problems in Germany today that might occupy their attention?

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Turning to God

Posted by Greg on November 20, 2006

Great post by Elrod at The Moderate Voice:

I am constantly struck by how people in the midst of crisis turn to God – and in contradictory ways. I drove through Tennessee last March and a tornado destroyed a megachurch on the side of I-65 in Gallatin. A week later a sign emerged declaring God’s greatness. Surely it was a sign of God’s power, as it were. But greatness? Some Tennesseans believed God was punishing them for some sort grand transgression – too many gay people, rejection of the poor, too much war, too little prayer – whatever fits one’s pre-existing politics.

And so I wonder, what does it mean when Iraqis who suffer daily unspeakable outrages, reaffirm God’s greatness? Is that a sign of their true “submission” to God? Is it a sign of delusion? Is it just an anthropological gesture through which Iraqis “make sense” of the chaos?

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Uncommon sense

Posted by Greg on October 17, 2006

The British seem to be growing a set.  Can Europe be far behind?

Phil Woolas, the communities minister, whose brief includes race relations, told a Sunday newspaper that Aishah Azmi, 23, had “put herself in a position where she cannot do her job”. He added that should the head teacher at the school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire choose to sack Ms Azmi then “so be it”.

He was backed by a Muslim MP who said that it would be a setback for common sense in education if his constituent were to win her employment tribunal claim for religious discrimination. Ms Azmi was suspended from her job teaching children English because she refused to remove the veil.

Shahid Malik, the Labour MP for Dewsbury, said: “The basic thrust of what Phil says is just common sense. If you are not able to fulfil your job requirements then obviously it will be difficult for you to continue in that particular role.”

Hat tip: Sullivan

Posted in International, Religion | 2 Comments »

Kuo on the infestation of religion with politics

Posted by Greg on October 15, 2006

Oh, this is good.  Read it in full.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Religion, Religious Wrong, The Right | Leave a Comment »

The debate continues

Posted by Greg on October 11, 2006

The Douthat/Linker debate continues at TNR. Ross’ comments today include the following:

The American experiment has succeeded for so long precisely because it doesn’t force its citizens channel their “theological passions and certainties … out of public life and into the private sphere.” It forces them to play by a certain set of political rules, yes, which prevent those passions and certainties from creating a religious tyranny. But it doesn’t make the mistake of telling people that their deepest beliefs should be irrelevant to how they vote, or what causes they support. The kind of secularism that you’re promoting–and that Neuhaus and the rest of the “theocons” were originally reacting against–is an attempt to change those rules and impose greater restrictions on religious Americans than have heretofore existed.”

Interesting view, but it doesn’t really seem to mesh with the facts on the ground. I make a definite distinction between conservatives of faith and “religious Americans”.  God is not owned by any one political philosophy and it is presumptuous to act as if such were true.

How does treating gays as equal citizens restrict conservatives of faith?  How does maintaning confidentialy in doctor/patient relationships restrict conservatives of faith?  How does expecting parents to be responsible and use the remote control and off switch restrict conservatives of faith?  How does demanding rigorous academic standards and the teaching of real science restrict conservatives of faith? 

It seems the issue is less about restrictions and more about the unwillingness to be exposed to differing viewpoints and independent analysis.

Posted in Culture War, Religion | 1 Comment »

Losing patience

Posted by Greg on October 11, 2006

The New York Times has a good article that discusses Europe’s changing attitudes toward Islam and its (in)compatibility with western values.  It can be read HERE.

And good commentary on the article, by an intelligent, well read, well spoken European can be found HERE.

Posted in International, Politics in General, Religion | Leave a Comment »