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Christians More Supportive of Torture Than Non-Religious Americans

Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches
Religion • Views: 17,332

This is no surprise to me since the most common question I get from xtians when stating my atheism is “But how do you tell right from wrong without God?” The real difference here is that there isn’t any forgiveness and few if any rationalizations for torture in the atheist viewpoint. At the WaPo link you have to use the “more details” link, and then the drop downs to see each question broken down by religion.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that Americans, by a 59-31% margin, believe that CIA “treatment of suspected terrorists” in detention was justified.

Using the Water Cure A plurality deemed that “treatment” to be “torture,” by a 49-38% margin.

Remarkably, the gap between torture supporters and opponents widens between voters who are Christian and those who are not religious. Just 39% of white evangelicals believe the CIA’s treatment of detainees amounted to torture, with 53% of white non-evangelical Protestants and 45% of white Catholics agreeing with that statement. Among the non-religious, though, 72% said the treatment amounted to torture. (The poll did not break down non-Christian religions in the results.)

Sixty nine percent of white evangelicals believe the CIA treatment was justified, compared to just 20% who said it was not. (Those numbers, incidentally, roughly mirror the breakdown of Republican versus Democratic voters among white evangelicals.) A full three-quarters (75%) of white non-evangelical Protestants outnumber the 22% of their brethren in saying CIA treatment was justified. White Catholics believe the treatment was justified by a 66-23% margin.

But a majority of non-religious adults, 53%, believe the CIA actions were not justified, with 41% of the non-religious saying the treatment was justified.

More: Christians More Supportive of Torture Than Non-Religious Americans

Also See

Most Evangelicals Believe Natural Disasters Are the Apocalypse, Not Climate Change

Fatalism
Religion • Views: 21,467

Yep, according to almost half of the Americans surveyed, there’s no such thing as climate change. It’s just the End Times.

Poll results released by the Public Religion Research Institute on Friday showed that sixty-nine percent of Americans believe there is solid evidence that Earth’s temperatures are increasing. This is good news, as so far this year has been the hottest ever recorded, despite the recent chill covering the United States. But the pollsters also asked about the cause of recent natural disasters, and the responses from some religious people could impact how America responds to climate change.

While 62 percent of total respondents ascribed the cause of recent natural disasters to climate change, 49 percent also thought biblical “end times” were the cause. For white evangelical Protestants, these numbers basically reversed — 77 percent pointed to the apocalypse, and just 49 percent attributed extreme weather to climate change (the numbers add up to more than one-hundred because people could offer more than one cause).

This fatalistic view of the impacts caused in part by burning fossil fuels could influence the national policy responses to the problem. More than half of the total respondents (53 percent) thought that God would not intercede if humans were destroying the Earth, while 39 percent said that God would step in.

The Public Religion Research Institute poll suggested that congregants who heard about climate change at church were more likely to be concerned about it. Of the respondents who attend religious services at least once or twice a month, 36 percent said their clergy leader speaks about climate change often or sometimes, and these respondents were more likely to be concerned about climate change.

More: Most Evangelicals Believe Natural Disasters Are the Apocalypse, Not Climate Change

Pope Francis Takes a Stand for Evolution

US conservatives are now to the right of the Pope
Religion • Views: 28,746

Pope Francis is more pro-science and anti-superstition than most Republicans: Pope Francis Takes a Stand for Evolution, Against ‘Magic Wands’.

Social conservatives in the United States who’ve been unhappy with Pope Francis’ moderation today have one more reason to be upset.

Daniel Berger reported this afternoon:

Pope Francis broke with Catholic tradition Monday by declaring that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real, and remarking that God is not “a magician with a magic wand.”

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” the pope said at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, during a plenary meeting dedicated to evolving concepts of nature.

The pope’s remarks came earlier today in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

“The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God; on the contrary, it requires it,” the Roman Catholic pontiff said. “Evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of [divine] creation because evolution requires the creation of the beings that evolve.”

ISIS Bans Teaching Evolution in Schools

Fanaticism in common
Religion • Views: 32,778

Here’s some common ground between America’s religious right and the jihadis of ISIS: ISIS Bans Teaching Evolution in Schools.

The new Mosul curriculum, allegedly issued by al-Baghdadi himself, stresses that any reference to the republics of Iraq or Syria must be replaced with “Islamic State.” Pictures that violate its ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam will be ripped out of books. Anthems and lyrics that encourage love of country are now viewed as a show of “polytheism and blasphemy,” and are strictly banned.

The new curriculum even went so far as to explicitly ban Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution — although it was not previously taught in Iraqi schools.

Maybe this is why the religious right and social conservatives are so hell-bent on fear-mongering about ISIS — they recognize a mirror image of themselves. Their worst enemy.

James Dobson Calls Obama ‘Abortion President’ at Allegedly ‘Non-Partisan’ Prayer Day Event

May 2, 2014 by Simon Brown
Religion • Views: 13,025

If anyone was still unconvinced prior to yesterday that the National Day of Prayer (NDP) is little more than a fundamentalist Christian political rally, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson’s rant on Capitol Hill should have erased any doubts.

During an event organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force (a non-profit run by conservative evangelical Christians) and attended by members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dobson slammed President Barack Obama, calling him the “abortion president.”

In a lengthy rant at an event that was supposed to be about prayer, not politics, Dobson attacked Obama primarily for his support of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, which says that most businesses must offer insurance plans to their employees that include access to no-cost birth control.

“President Obama, before he was elected, made it very clear that he wanted to be the abortion president,” Dobson fulminated. “He didn’t make any bones about it. This is something that he really was going to promote and support, and he has done that, and in a sense he is the abortion president.”

He also called the regulations “wicked” and vowed to never abide by them.

Dobson’s opposition to the birth control mandate isn’t exactly a secret. His Family Talk radio program recently won a temporary reprieve from offering employees birth control in their insurance plans thanks to a legal challenge. Dobson claims his 28-employee organization is a Christian ministry and therefore should be exempt on religious grounds

More: Politicizing Prayer: James Dobson Calls Obama ‘Abortion President’ at Allegedly ‘Non-Partisan’ Prayer Day Event

ABC’s This Week Easter Show: Gays Are Going to Hell, Civilization Is Doomed

“A more authentic Christianity”
Religion • Views: 15,663

Video

Today, ABC’s “This Week” chose to celebrate Easter by hosting a panel of extreme religious right crackpots who say gay people are going to hell unless they repent. And no, I’m not kidding.

As a part of a special Easter week discussion on religion, Graham told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that gays could go heaven if they repent.

“Maybe gays that are watching want to know, ‘Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?’ Absolutely. But the same for any of us. We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent,” said Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Brandeis Cancels Plan to Give Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Critic of Islam

As the right wing blogs go ballistic
Religion • Views: 12,766

I agree with and support this decision; Ms. Ali has allowed her experiences with the worst sorts of Islamic fundamentalists to shape her view of all Muslims. She has fallen into the narrow viewpoint of the standard Islamophobe that moderate Islam can not exist, much less outweigh or overcome the extreme fundamentalist sects. Like the syndrome suffered by some reformed smokers, to some extent she has become a zealot rather than a voice for reason, and thus has fallen into the camp of the extreme islamophobes. Beyond the valuable story of her own journey she is merely restating much of what you hear people like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller spout ad nauseum.

Facing growing criticism, Brandeis University said Tuesday that it had reversed course and would not award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a campaigner for women’s rights and a fierce critic of Islam, who has called the religion “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.”

“We cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values,” the university said in a statement released eight days after it had announced that Ms. Hirsi Ali and four other people would be honored at its commencement on May 18.

The university said that the president of Brandeis, Frederick M. Lawrence, discussed the matter with Ms. Hirsi Ali on Tuesday, and that she “is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue.” Universities consider it important to make a distinction between inviting a speaker who may air unpopular or provocative views that the institution does not endorse, and awarding an honorary degree, which is more akin to affirming the body of a recipient’s work.

More: Brandeis Cancels Plan to Give Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Critic of Islam

NY Satanists to Posthumously Baptize Fred Phelps… into Homosexuality

If it’s good enough for Joseph Smith’s suckers, it oughtta be good enough for the rest of us, right?
Religion • Views: 13,258

The NY Satanic Temple plans on giving the same holy ceremony they did for Fred’s mother — the Pink Mass.

Lucien Greaves, the head of the Satanic Temple, has some “heartfelt”(?) words about the planned event:

At the time, I predicted that Fred hadn’t too much longer till he would pass, and I stated - in a direct tweet to the WBC - that I would be presiding over Fred’s own Pink Mass before too long. As I have made a promise to a dying man, I fully intend to do my very best to see it through, and the pomp and circumstance of this Pink Mass will surely far, far exceed that of the original event in Meridian, Mississippi.

So, uh. This is a thing. It’ll be interesting to see if the WBC tries to keep this form of protected free speech away from Fred’s gravesite. However, given that they have excommunicated Fred for apparently having a change of heart (and actually accepting real Christian values into his blackened heart), who knows?

Imam Welcomes Gay Muslims to Worship and Marry

‘I have a slightly different vision of Islam, and it may take a while for the world to catch up.’
Religion • Views: 13,825

I was looking for a picture of a gay Muslim wedding cake yesterday, just to poke fun at the wingnuts, but I found this Imam instead. He wasn’t lost, of course; the rest of us were if we thought he couldn’t exist.

Imam Daayiee Abdullah.

I didn’t find a credit for the above photo, but it appears on the Imam’s own website, smaller but less cropped.

The article below is from last April. I found it through this website, which is where I first saw the wonderful photo above. It makes a nice introduction.

Imam Daayiee Abdullah arrives by bus, sweaty and lugging a green bag stuffed with a Koran, two books of poetry by Persian mystic Rumi and three Islamic prayer rugs. Tonight, he’s speaking to a room full of young, gay activists and progressives after a screening of the documentary “I Am Gay and Muslim” at the Human Rights Campaign’s bright white Equality Center in downtown Washington.

But when the openly gay imam takes the stage, he stuns even this audience.

“I think we’re at the start of a movement: a more inclusive Islam in America,” says Abdullah, who runs Washington’s Light of Reform mosque and is thought to be the only publicly gay Muslim leader in the Western Hemisphere.

“So if you have any same-sex marriages,” he says with a soft smile and a shrug, “I’m available.”

Some young Muslims in attendance mumble, “Wow!” and “Seriously?”

[…]

Read the rest of it here: Imam Daayiee Abdullah Welcomes Gay Muslims to Worship, Marry

I also found an article from the Metro Weekly from 2006, which gives more insight into the Imam’s personal and spiritual journey.

A Man for All Seasons
Imam Daayiee Abdullah offers a gay Muslim’s insights for the holidays

[…]

This year, with the Christmas battlefield relatively quiet, a cheerful Abdullah took time from his day-to-day life of running his own foreign-language software company to speak with Metro Weekly. With an educational background in Chinese and Arabic languages, Middle Eastern studies, the Koran and law; extended periods of time spent in Beijing, Cairo, Damascus, Taipei, among other global spots; and decades of activism in the gay community, including moderation of an Internet group for gay Muslim men, there turned out to be quite a lot to talk about.

[…]

‘Cheerful’ seems to be his hallmark. Read the whole interview here.

American Conservatives Say Israelis Don’t Understand Their Own Religious Laws on Abortion

Religion • Views: 13,742

But American reporters are curious: if US Christian Zionists, who have significant overlap with the US anti-choice movement, love Israel so much, shouldn’t they be up in arms about the country adopting one of the world’s most expansive abortion policies?

The Daily Beast’s Jonathan Krohn set out to find out (“You would expect conservative groups to go ballistic when it comes to taxpayer funding of abortions,” reads his lede) and got a number of vague answers which suggested that US anti-choicers don’t feel particularly inclined to export the abortion wars to Israel. But Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest, who is Christian, ventured into a suggestion that perhaps the Israelis were getting their own religious laws wrong:

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, the CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL), decided to use Jewish law as a defense, saying “In a meaningful passage, the Talmud teaches that ‘Whosoever preserves a single soul…, [it is] as though he had preserved a complete world.’ Unborn lives are rich with possibilities and worth saving and government should never be used to harm life and harm women.”

More: American Conservatives, Jewish Law, and Israel’s New Abortion Policy

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 Frank says:

We'll get back to the wimp, and his low-budget conception of personal freedom, in just a moment -- Thing-Fish.