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NPR: The Mormon Church Wants a Free Pass for Bigotry

Here we go again - bigotry redefined as “religious freedom”
Religion • Views: 16,163

MP3 Audio

The Mormon church has apparently learned a lesson from the Catholics and Protestants who’ve been redefining “religious freedom” as a free pass for bigotry, because they announced this week that they’ll support LGBT anti-discrimination laws — with one catch. They want to be immune from criticism when they continue the same anti-LGBT policies they’ve always had.

NPR has an interview with Mormon leader Elder Dallin Oaks, with a ration of phony victimhood that has to be heard to be believed. When I listened to this earlier, I was yelling at the radio: Mormon LGBT Announcement Met With Cheers, Skepticism.

Islamophobia, Fox News, and Bogus Statistics

Steve Emerson’s use of bs stats about Muslim demographics in UK furthers agenda of Islamophobia
Religion • Views: 25,417

Steve Emerson, who claims to be an Islam expert, was on Fox News spouting off bogus statistics about Muslims living in the UK. He claimed that Birmingham and other cities are majority Muslim and that non-Muslims can’t go there (no-go zones).

Steven Emerson, an American whose website describes him as a leading authority on Islamic extremist networks, told Fox News in a live broadcast Sunday that in Britain “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”

Emerson, who was discussing the recent terror attacks in Paris with host Jeanine Pirro, also claimed that in parts of London, “Muslim religious police” beat and injure “anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim religious attire.”

Official figures show that the number of Muslims in Birmingham, Britain’s second-largest city, numbered at 234,411, or 22 percent of the city’s population. That compares to 494,358 who described themselves as Christian.

Emerson quickly tweeted an apology saying his comments were “totally inaccurate.” But his comments continued to draw derision online, spawning dozens of humorous reactions on social media.

Many posted absurd, fictitious claims and jokes about Islam and Birmingham with the hashtag #FoxNewsFacts, which was trending on Twitter on Monday. One Twitter user said Birmingham buildings wear burqas and posted a photo of a building covered in scaffolding.

It was patently BS, and he had to walk back those claims, but not before he got them out there. That was entirely the point. Spout off claims that don’t hold up to scrutiny and hope no one notices.

Islamophobia is real, and people like Emerson are spreading their noxious nonsense all over the media, especially Fox News.

As a reminder, this is the true demographic picture in Europe, and far from being a majority anywhere, there’s a range from insignificant minority to a substantial minority.

In Birmingham, Muslims make up 22% of the population, which is hardly a majority (unless you’re playing RWNJ math).

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron has called out Emerson’s nonsense as well.

I’d go further and say that he’s not an idiot. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s sowing discord and fear of all Muslims, even though 98% of terrorism in Europe is not related to Islamic extremists. He’s sowing Islamophobia, and his audience is more than willing to pursue extreme measures - from limiting immigration to the US and curtailing constitutional rights and protections all the way to the genocidal calls to nuke all Muslims.

It’s a sickness, and there’s no easy cure.

UPDATE at 1/12/15 10:19:09 am by lawhawk


For the statistics, here’s what I’ve come up with:

The EU report indicates that for 2013, there were no terrorist attacks specifically classified as religiously inspired, though two attacks show role of religious radicalization (section 2.1). For 2013, there were 152 attacks total, with 535 arrests made.

Doing the math for 2013, and that works out to 2 out of 152 incidents = 1.3%
Doing the same for 2012, and the EU reports 219 attacks, six of which were religiously motivated. Since one of those attacks included the murder of a Shi’a imam in conjunction with an arson attack, I adjusted that to 5. 5 out of 219 = 2.2%

So, for 2012-2013, we’re looking at 371 attacks, 7 of which are religiously motivated. That’s 1.34%. In other words, that means 98.66% are not related to Islamic terrorism.

If you want to quibble that I shouldn’t have excluded the murder of the imam, then you’re looking at 6 out of 219 = 2.7% and 8 out of 371 for the period, which is 2.1%. That works out to 97.9%.

Christians More Supportive of Torture Than Non-Religious Americans

Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches
Religion • Views: 30,759

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: 22,308

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: 28,970

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: 32,988

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: 13,194

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: 15,810

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: 12,952

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: 13,490

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?

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 Frank says:

On a personal level, Freaking Out is a process whereby an individual casts off outmoded and restricting standards of thinking, dress, and social etiquette in order to express CREATIVELY his relationship to his immediate environment and the social structure as a whole. -- from the liner notes of Freak Out.