Thursday, April 28th, 2011 02:23 pm
You recall one of my bookmovie reviews mentioned the religious issues at the Air Force Academy out there in Fundy CentralColorado Springs? And the Military Religious Freedom Foundation made me aware of this story today.

Seems if you can't get people to shut up when they tell about your nefarious ways, the really classy thing to do is to poison their service dog.

Yeah, that's Christly, alright.
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 10:14 am
I finally forced myself to watch this, but I admit I had to fast forward through some bits to keep from vomiting. I can't watch revival tent techniques without becoming physically ill, sorry.

Most of the history as presented in this film based on the book by an ex-Catholic priest was not an utter surprise to me; although I was taken by surprise about how long the Jewish ghetto of Rome existed...OUT of the Middle Ages. And the story of St. Edith Stein, a converted Jewess nun, murdered at Auschwitz in spite of the concordant between Pope and Nazis about leaving converts in safety....the worst part there was her poignant letter to the Pope at the time, warning him and begging for his action.

The modern parts, about the Air Force Academy and that asshat hypocrite Haggard I knew already due to my support of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. But to hear Haggard call it a part of "freedom" to "have to listen to the opinions of others even if you don't want to" just like he has to "watch Pepsi ads" tho' he drinks Coke....and he calls that part and parcel of a pluralistic society?? That almost made me vomit, too. I was pacing the floor in rage.

I do urge you to watch this film if you have not. I urge you to make Christian friends or family watch it, too....hey, let's spread the "pluralism" from ALL sides, ok? The attitudes of entitlement to FORCE Christianity upon people is similar to Huckabee recently saying people should be tied to chairs to watch an evangelist he likes.

I am shaken and frightened by the burgeoning sense that they should all conquer by whatever means available.
Sunday, April 24th, 2011 10:22 am
SECULAR: of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal

Apparently, this includes Easter eggs, baskets, bunnies, and treats. Because those have no "religious" connotations, a fascinating claim made by articles that manage to mention Eostre, goddess of spring with her basket of flowers, and hares and eggs as sacred symbols of fertility... and still insist these are "secular" symbols today.

Article links: Cultural appropriation is okay when it's fun for kids! )
Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 12:53 pm
I saw a TV ad today for ChristianMingle.com, a dating site. "Find God's match for you™" it says.

Poking around their site, I see that they're owned by Spark Networks, which is centered in California, which guarantees that they're not allowed to discriminate by race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Random info: Spark owns a swarm of themed dating sites, like BlackSingles.com, CollegeLuv, Jewish Mingle, LDS Mingle, Military Singles Connection, BBW Personals Plus, Silver Singles, and Single Parents Mingle. So I have some doubts about their statement of faith. (Also, I'm sure a fascinating paper about identity politics could be put together by checking out their different sites.)

Is it for Christians only? They don't say that. )
Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 11:19 am
Saturday before Zombie Christ day, and I have missionaries walking up to the back of my house? Trust me, you are glad I was not in the mood to answer the door.

Take your "good news" and shove it, ok, thanx.
Friday, April 22nd, 2011 09:04 am
It is to laugh, if it were not so pathetic. A governor who is busy telling the federal government to go take a flying fuck only too happily demands money to fight fires ravaging his state.

But then, he also declares a weekend of prayer.Like anyone 'up there' even knows who he freaking is!

Public hypocrisy much?
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 11:27 pm
I had somehow managed to blot this out of my head. The couple of weeks before Easter, the History channel goes overboard with the crucifixion stories. Endless, endless semi-documentaries (with extensive reenactment sections involving bearded men in tan and brown robes), telling "the story of Jesus" as if it were established fact. They quote a whole bunch of people who point to translations of Bible verses as proving this or that aspect of the story, and a cluster of later historians.

They quote *Constantine* as some kind of evidence that Jesus lived. Because Constantine dreamed about Jesus and followed the instructions in the dream and won battles, ergo Jesus must really have helped him in war.

It's a fascinating exercise to watch the "documentaries" and poke holes in them, sort out which bits are just anthropology, and which are elements of Jewish culture & prophecy, and how they tie those together to insist that, since [X] is how a person who acted like Jesus would've been treated, he must've done the things accredited to him. ("A certain type of criminals were crucified; the story says Jesus was crucified and he was that kind of criminal; this proves he lived," rather than "this proves the people who put the stories together knew the local culture.")

Sigh. At least Dan Brown's not on the bestseller charts at the moment; those shows were worse. It was like watching a show use Hannibal Lector as an example of the flaws in the psychiatric industry.
Friday, April 1st, 2011 08:42 am
Ah, Mike Huckabee. Always so homey and warm, eh? Wants to be President, but wants to be all humble and shy about it, does he?

The guy didn't even crack a grin when stating that he thinks Americans should be FORCED to watch a religious speaker he likes at gunpoint if necessary.

Yeah, this is so not an Aprils Fools joke. If anyone wants proof that a Christian Taliban is right here in River City America, just show them that oh-so-freedom-to-MY-religion bit.

He and his exceptionally ball busting Christian thugs can kiss my ass. Even at gunpoint, I'd not agree.
Friday, April 1st, 2011 11:49 am
The European Court of Human Rights has recently ruled that Italian authorities may continue to permit schools to display crucifixes on the walls of public classrooms, apparently in part because they are considered an essentially "passive" symbol and do not constitute proselytisation. In an earlier case, it ruled that Switzerland could continue to ban teachers from wearing Islamic headscarves because those were "a powerful symbol" which could influence children to think that the institution is backing that religion. Here's an interesting blog post on the subject. So the jurisprudence seems to be saying that a school authority choosing to put the official symbol of a religion on the walls of its classrooms is not giving that religion the sort of institutional backing which could influence children towards that religion, but a woman choosing her personal dress in accordance with the requirements of her religion is giving such backing. I think this is only explicable by the fact that the first religion is the majority one and the second is not only a minority, but one that has become politically charged in the mind of the majority. The fish can't see the water (or choose not to.)
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Monday, March 28th, 2011 05:39 pm
Bryan Fischer, of the AFA, says that Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. ("We," of course, is presumed to be "good Christian Americans," or something like that.) He quotes Justice Story saying "The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects ...." (You can google for more details & reactions. Fascinating, in that staring-at-ugly kinda way. I'm always amazed at what rights supposedly good-hearted people think I'm not supposed to have.)

It's not a new idea; Brad Sherman says When the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”, the word “religion” is referring to Christianity, not all religions. Another blog reiterates, Again, the First Amendment was merely meant to equalize all Protestant sects with each other, but Christianity in the abstract was still to be supreme.

The fact that no, the authors of the constitution faced those issues and shot them down (“... neither Pagan nor Mahamedan nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion.”) But we're still faced with constant diatribes from people who believe that "freedom of religion" means "you can be any kind of Christian you want."
Monday, March 14th, 2011 07:03 am
Is this... Christian privilege? Racism? English-centrism? All three? YOU DECIDE! Five different news accounts of the same event:Quote from one spokeswoman: "We've since learned from law enforcement that the passengers onboard were practicing a traditional Orthodox Jew ritual called Tefillin." Which involves small boxes containing scripture and leather straps. And speaking in Hebrew. Depending on the sensationalism of your news editor, this is either "elaborate" or "bizarre."
Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 01:32 pm
The British Humanist Association is running a campaign to encourage people who do not practise any religion to tick the "no religion" box in our forthcoming census, rather than either ticking a religion that they identify with culturally, or writing in a protest answern such as "Jedi" (as happened last time, when the question was first asked). A comparison with other surveys suggests that because of the phrasing of the question, "cultural Christians" who do not actually practise may have accounted for around half the people ticking "Christian" last time round, which in turn was used to justify anti-secular policy decisions. I'm posting the link here because I think it's an excellent campaign site and provides a good illustration of how thinking of "Christian" as the default category can disadvantage others. There is also some allusion to the problems caused by trying to fit Jews and Sikhs into neat boxes marked "ethnicity" and "religion" (given that "Jewish" is used with both ethnic and religious meanings within the Jewish communities themselves as well as by non-Jews, and "Sikh" is often understood as an ethnic label by non-Sikhs in the UK, although I don't think that Sikhs themselves commonly use it in that way.)

(This particular census question is optional. As a Christian whose current practice is drawn about equally from Christianity and a yogic practice that has a strong Hindu influence, I'm unsure whether the best course in order to avoid giving further ammunition to discriminatory policies is not to answer, or to tick "Other" and write in something that covers my situation more accurately - which may still show up as just "Christian" in the data - or whether I should just grit my teeth and tick "Christian" anyway. I realise that no-one here has any obligation to help me sort out my thought process on that, but if anyone does feel like sharing any thoughts, it would be welcome.)
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Monday, February 14th, 2011 04:48 pm
Robert Flynn has a more-or-less political blog at Open Salon. And he posted, a few days ago, about The UnChristian Right, and how Jesus was all about helping the poor and needy, and praying in private, and paying taxes, and not fearing each other, and so on.

On the one hand, it's nice to see Christians speaking out and saying, "hey, those fanatics who claim to be following Jesus? Have seriously missed the point." On the other, it's a nuisance that it's widely believed that anyone at all, outside their religion, should be concerned what Christianity says about politics.

I try not argue on political forums that this-or-that sect is "more correct" than another. Try not to argue what Jesus said vs what the Paulines insist on. Because it doesn't matter, shouldn't matter, which version is closest to what the bible really said, really meant.

Not my holy book; laws I have to follow shouldn't be using it as a reference.

I like seeing the hypocrisy pointed out. I don't like the hidden assumption that non-hypocritical Christian politics would be reasonable and good.
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Saturday, January 8th, 2011 07:22 am
christianfanfic is a community for Christian fan fiction writers and readers who want to read and post fan fiction ... without having to worry about running into content that goes against their beliefs.
... The goal of this community is to demonstrate that great stories don't need bad language or suggestive content to be great stories.
... It is our belief we can glorify God by obeying His commands and standards when we write, so, as long as your story follows the content rules below, it's welcome.
Rules For Posting Fan Fiction:
1. Do not submit fics rated higher than PG-13.
2. Do not use the Lord's name in vain.
3. Fics cannot include slash (female/female or male/male romantic pairings) of ANY KIND.
4. No suggestive content, descriptions, or humor.
5. Do not include profanity in your fic. If there is profanity in your fic, please edit it before posting it here.
6. Please do not write fics about the actors themselves (i.e. Jensen Ackles from Supernatural). Stories from the characters' perspectives are fine, but please respect the actors' personal lives.
I am... fascinated...

And I want to expound at length about why. )
Monday, December 20th, 2010 01:27 pm
Someday, I may have to do a huge linkspam roundup of lawsuits related to prayers at the start of city council meetings. The US has plenty of towns with a strong majority of citizens who think that "since we've used Christian prayers to start our meetings for many years, it must be legal and okay; anyone who objects is just trying to cause trouble."

Town du jour: Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, where a Jewish woman filed suit over starting the meetings with the Lord's Prayer and the sign of the cross. (They tried to avert the lawsuit by agreeing to a moment of silence instead--but refused to penalize the crowds who interrupted the silence with, surprise surprise, loud readings of the Lord's Prayer.)

The comments are a breathtaking array of antiSemitism and Islamophobia. That's kinda new for me; I'm used to seeing the anti-Wiccan versions. Apparently, they just recycle the same hate-rhetoric with different labels in the religion slots. (Of course, since Islam was mentioned--why, I have no idea--there are people screaming about the foreigners trying to take over the US.)

Occasionally, a comment or an article offers alternatives like, "Downtown churches could offer a place for local officials to pray before their meetings or could offer to host a weekly session in which the city -- or elected officials from anywhere -- could come and pray or be prayed over. They could host an event in a place that would be common to many to allow prayer to be said before public meetings." These tend to be ignored--how dare those heathens suggest that Christians do their praying somewhere else, not at government meetings?

The issues of prayers at graduation ceremonies and school functions held in churches are related, and inspire similar lawsuits, and similar backlash.
Sunday, December 19th, 2010 09:00 am
For anyone who's interested, I have a short review in my journal of a book on comparative religious ethics in which I briefly refer to the authors privileging certain Christian ethical teachings. Scroll down to the second of the two books in the review. I don't think I would have caught this one if I hadn't been following the journals of a number of Feri and Asatruar for a while, so thanks to those concerned (including [personal profile] elf.)
Saturday, December 18th, 2010 09:41 am
More whining about how persecuted they are because we won't always allow them to be hateful wrenches. (Yes, this was my blog post at WOTF in my final count-down month)

Consider this quote:

"Clearly a determined effort is afoot, in cultural bastions controlled by the left, to anathematize traditional views of sexual morality, particularly opposition to same-sex marriage, as the expression of "hate" that cannot be tolerated in a decent civil society. "

Read that carefully, it came from an article decrying prosecution of schools and others who were in fact, being quite hateful to gays and lesbians. Basically, the insistence on the part of homophobic Christians is the same as we hear all the time from the religious right: "If you don't allow us to shove OUR religion down YOUR throats, you are persecuting US."

They go on to complain that they are being called "Taliban" for supporting traditional marriage, and they object to their continued opposition to equal rights for persons of all sexual persuasions being called "hate speech". They claim us nasty liberals are "marginalizing" and "anathemizing them. Pot meet kettle, folks! How can you rant and rave about this happening to you in the name of "reason" when you do the same thing to homosexuals in the name of your faith?

If you dislike being called theocrats, understand that trying to make the secular law of the country match your religious rules might have something to do with it.

If you dislike being compared to the Taliban, recognize that insisting your particular brand of religion should be treated with softer kid gloves than anyone else's makes you sound like whiny brats at best, and yes, the Taliban at worst.

It is extreme Christian exceptionalism that you INSIST you should be able to ACT in public on every precept of your religion while denying others the same privilege based on their faith----whether that be in the Great Spaghetti Monster, Reason, Shiva, Mohammed, Buddha, or Kybele the Great Mother. You are not being persecuted. You are being asked to live in a SECULAR society without acting like spoilt two year olds. Get the fuck over yourselves!
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 04:05 pm
A couple of years ago, a Muslim woman resigned her job as a teacher to perform the Hajj. She resigned because the school denied multiple requests to take unpaid leave for 3 weeks to cover it, and she filed a complaint with the EEOC, who eventually bumped it up to the DoJ, who filed suit for religious discrimination. Gather.com has a brief overview article; Huffington Post has a longer article, with comments.

Many of the comments are loaded with the notion that "of course schools shouldn't have to allow time off for religious activities," and oblivious to the concept that they *do* allow time off for *Christian* religious activities... every Sunday.
Sample comments )
Saturday, December 11th, 2010 03:55 pm
I hope this is appropriate for the community... I was wondering if any of you have any thoughts on how to deal with those salvation army bell ringers? Read more... )
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Saturday, December 11th, 2010 09:49 pm
This time, I'm ashamed to say it's a very poor piece by the leader of my own denomination, published in the UK Radio Times (our main TV and radio listings magazine). It's not just that he perpetuates the "war on Christmas" myth, although he ought to know better; he also manages to say that Christmas "touches something universal" (not judging by some of the contributors in this community, I think) and uses Orientalising language about the Wise Men.

And he describes Christmas as a "European export", which I'd consider at least dubious. It celebrates an event that took place in Palestine; the first mention of that event being celebrated at all - albeit on a different date - refers to Egypt, and the modern Western date is based on the writings of an African author. Unless he means just the cultural trappings, but if those are supposed to be what has struck a chord in some quarters outside Europe, that kind of works against his argument that the nativity story itself has some kind of universal appeal.