Jerusalem - Clergy representing Christians, Jews and Muslims met Wednesday near the Jerusalem synagogue where five people died in a grisly Palestinian attack to plead for tolerance amid spiking regional tensions.
The group stood in a sun-dappled courtyard outside the synagogue where two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers, knives and a pistol killed four worshippers and a policeman Tuesday. After a brief gun battle, security forces shot the assailants dead.
Absent from the meeting were Muslim authorities from Jerusalem and senior Israeli rabbis. [VB: Except here is a photo of Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Imam Mohammed Kiwan==>]
“People from all religions which are here in the Holy Land want to express the common belief that this is not the way,” said Rabbi Michael Melchior, a former Israeli legislator who is active in interfaith efforts. “We can have our differences, political differences, our religious differences, but this is not the way.”
Melchior’s moderation seems an increasingly scarce commodity in this region, which in recent weeks has been riven by religious tensions. During that time 11 people have died at the hands of Palestinian attackers — most in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the West Bank.
ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County Public Schools will remove religious labels from school holidays, but members of the Islamic community say the adjustments to the school calendar do nothing to gain parity and a day off for the Muslim holiday of Eid.
The school board approved the school calendar for the 2015-2016 school year Tuesday. The calendar will no longer reference specific religious holidays but rather state simply that school will be closed on dates that correspond with holidays like Eid, Yom Kippur and Christmas.
Saqib Ali, a former Maryland state delegate and co-chair of Equality for Eid, was not happy with the board of education’s action Tuesday.
“Equality is really what we’re looking for,” Ali said. “Simply saying we’re not going to call this Christmas, and we’re not going to call this Yom Kippur, and still closing the schools, that’s not equality.”
School board members said they were sympathetic to the desire to have Eid recognized and close schools but that legal precedent in Maryland bars them from closing for religious purposes.
“We can’t close for religious holidays. We can only close for operational purposes,” like high absenteeism, school spokesman Dana Tofig said.
That explanation doesn’t sit well with Zainab Chaudry, with the Council on American Islamic Relations. “What’s really concerning to us is that similar conditions weren’t placed on any other faith community.”
In the 1970’s school officials decided to close on Jewish holidays because of high absenteeism.
But school board member Michael Durso said that the schools effectively close for a religious reason: the schools had high absenteeism because of a religious holiday in the community.
Noting the attempt to move away from favoring religions by instead referring to school days off as “winter break” and “student holidays,” Durso said as long as the Islamic community’s concern for parity wasn’t somehow addressed “it comes off as insensitive, and I just think we cannot afford to be in that light”.
Read more: wtop.com
I think this is really, really stupid. Wingnut rage erupting in 4…3…2…1…
Good news, even some top conservative Republicans realize that laws attempting to ban sharia or foreign law are ridiculous and pointless (Unless of course you want to demonize Muslims). Its good to see a member of the Alabama Christian coalition openly opposing this stupidity. Tara Culp-Ressler reports.
Next week, Alabama voters will be asked to cast their ballots on Amendment 1, a carefully worded measure that would prohibit “the application of foreign law” in the state’s courts. The ballot initiative is ultimately seeking to ban sharia law, an increasingly popular right-wing legislative tactic that serves to demonize the Islamic faith as something that Americans need to be protected from.
The push to ban sharia law is often spearheaded by prominent Religious Right figures like Pat Robertson and Bryan Fischer. But somewhat of a different scene is playing out in Alabama in the lead up to the election, as Christian leaders in the state are speaking out against Amendment 1.
Randy Brinson, the president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama — one of the state’s largest network of conservative evangelicals — is one of the religious figures lending his voice to the opposition campaign. In an interview with the Birmingham News this week, Brinson said that the effort to pass Amendment 1 is “just silliness,” adding that “it’s all something that lawmakers can trumpet back to constituents that they’re protecting Christian values, but they need to be working on other stuff.”
Now Fischer is really desperate for America to be a “Christian Nation,” either that or he’s even dumber than we thought.
So apparently we’re to believe that China now is a “Christian Nation?”
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) released a report last month documenting the causes and the consequences of the pork miracle. The story sounds simple: In the last few decades, China has developed the world’s largest pork industry to feed a rising middle class.
Also what about Japan, where pork is the most popular meat?
I guess both Japan and China are Christian countries now, even through they’re not.
Buddhist 18.2%, Christian 5.1%, Muslim 1.8%, folk religion 21.9%, Hindu < .1%, Jewish < .1%, other 0.7% (includes Daoist (Taoist)), unaffiliated 52.2%
note: officially atheist (2010 est.)
Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8%
note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005)
Also the statistics don’t mention what percentage of the “other” in Japan are Muslims. I was wondering since Fischer has also claimed Japan bans Islam which is something else he’s utterly wrong about, much like the claim that the first amendment was meant only to protect Christians.
But I digress, clearly neither Japan or China are “Christian nations.” Unless a nation can both not be officially Christian, and have a majority of its citizens belong to other faiths ( or no faith at all) instead and still somehow be a “Christian Nation,” we can safely say that neither country is Christian. Bryan Fischer has batted zero again. But this was a pathetic joke even for him.
Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, debunks some common myths put forth by the religious right, about the ten commandments. This is a must for anyone to read who supports secularism, and opposes their anti liberty agenda.
Anyone who spends time around members of the Religious Right quickly realizes that they have a serious crush on the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments are found in the Old Testament and are closely identified with the history of Judaism. But in recent years, they’ve been adopted by right-wing fundamentalist Christians eager to prove that the United States has religious underpinnings and wasn’t founded to be a secular nation.
This far-right obsession with the Commandments has legal and political ramifications because fundamentalists often try to display the Commandments at seats of government.
A few days ago, Charisma, a Christian magazine, published an article titled “Why I Am Absolutely Islamophobic,” by Gary Cass. The article opens with:
My fear is not an irrational fear based on uniformed prejudice; rather it’s an historic, clear eyed, informed, rational fear. ISIS is doing to American journalists what every true follower of Muhammad wants to do to you and yours—subjugate or murder you. They believe they have been given a mandate by Allah (Satan) to dominate the world.
He goes on to ponder the best way to deal with this menace. Should we convert the heathens? No!
1. Conversion. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Muslims turn from Satan (Allah) to Christ? But, I agree with Phil Robertson: This is not biblically doable. Why? God has a plan and he revealed it at the birth of Ishmael, the father of the Arabs.
Well, perhaps if we let them have their own corner of the world, we can work something out? Nope:
2) D.A.M.N. (Deport All Muslims Now). Deport them like Spain was forced to do when they deported the Muslim Moors. Muslims in America are procreating at twice the rate of other groups. So either we force them all to get sterilized, or we wait for the “Army of Islam” to arise in our midst and do what Muslims always do, resort to violence.
So, what’s left, Mr. Cass?
3. Violence. The only thing that is biblical and that 1,400 years of history has shown to work is overwhelming Christian just war and overwhelming self defense. Christian Generals Charles Martel in 732 and Jon Sobieski in 1672 defeated Islamic Turks and their attempts to take the West. Who will God raise up to save us this time? Will God even intervene or turn us over to the Muslims for turning against Him?
Either way, we must be prepared for the increase of terror at home and abroad. This is not irrational, but the loving thing we must do for our children and neighbors. First trust in God, then obtain a gun(s), learn to shoot, teach your kids the Christian doctrines of just war and self defense, create small cells of family and friends that you can rely on if some thing catastrophic happens and civil society suddenly melts down.
ISIS has done us all a favor. The true face of Islam is on full display even as Muhammad is burning in hell. We will have to face the harsh truth that radical Islam has no place in civilized society. Militant Muslims cannot live in a society based on Christian ideals of equality and liberty. They will always seek to harm us.
You can find the original article here, because the editors at Charisma had an attack of intelligence and have taken the article down. They haven’t apologized or anything, but they have taken it down.
But it doesn’t matter, does it? The fact that no one in this prominent conservative Christian magazine saw nothing wrong with publishing this article says a lot about the Religious Right.
I originally found this article through Fred Clark, who posts for the Slacktivist blog: Charismanews.com goes full-on Hutu radio. Fred Clark has since posted an article on the author Gary Cass: So who is this Gary Cass guy?
A while ago I decided to look one of my good friends from High School. We had drifted apart in college in large part due to his becoming more and more involved with the Campus Crusade for Christ and finding less and less room in his life for incorrigible non-believers such as myself. To be fair I wasn’t interested in keeping in touch with him either, as he became more of a fundamentalist hanging out wasn’t enjoyable anymore.
Anyway, like I said I decided to look him up. I had known that he’d become a dentist and found his practice’s website, where unsurprisingly he describes himself as a “committed Christian.” This got me thinking, how many dentists out there, especially in America, describe themselves as committed / devout Christians on their official website, and the answer is quite a few. I picked dentists because that was my entry into this line of inquiry and because it’s the most common quasi-medical specialty. Searching for actual medical doctors generally requires a specialty, and it was harder for me to find examples of cardiologists, etc who wear their religions on their professional sleeves. Usually when other professionals are described as committed / proud / or devout Christians it’s in the context of a church website write-up or in an obituary describing the kind of life a person had led.
So anyway, for the purposes of this post, the specific observation is about Christian dentists, and how they feel that advertising their strong devotion to a specific religion is a benefit to their practice. I’m sure that one could find medical doctors, CPA’s, lawyers, even plumbers who advertise their Christianity, but for some reason maybe somebody else can explain it’s really easy to find the dentists.
This wouldn’t be noteworthy in itself except that the phenomenon isn’t shared by dentists who adhere to other religions. I haven’t seen a single American dentist’s professional website that advertises their status as a proud Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist. Again, I’m sure there’s an outlier to be found somewhere, but it’s not readily apparent and I’m fairly certain atheistic dentists don’t ever advertise on that basis.
There’s also a deeply patriarchal aspect to what I’m seeing. Almost invariably the term Christian is accompanied by descriptions of the practitioner as a husband, father, grandfather or family man. Obviously churches tend historically to be heavily male dominated institutions, so this isn’t all that surprising. Women don’t seem to advertise on the basis of their faith nearly as frequently, or at all that I can find. Literally the only “Christian” female dentist search result I got was for someone who’s last name was Christian.
So it’s all the more remarkable when Christian Americans pretend they’re being persecuted, that their faith and religious freedoms are under attack. Theirs, it seems, is the only religious identity in this country that certain professionals feel makes prospective clients and patients more comfortable, because if it didn’t they wouldn’t put it on their websites.
This isn’t very surprising coming from Geller; she’s made this baseless claim about Hitler before along with other “counter Jihad” bloggers. Truth be told it makes far more sense to blame Christianity for Hitler’s antisemitism. Based on what he wrote he sure sounds like he was a Christian. Also look at the long history of antisemitism in Christian Europe. However, that too would be unjustified as well, given the fact that among other things, many devout Christians opposed the Nazis and were horrified by their racist ideology. This is just another example of demonization of a minority.
With few exceptions, I doubt many aliens would want to be baptized. I do have to give the new pontiff credit though for being open minded enough to accept the fact that they could exist. There was once a time when the church would put you to death for even suggesting that there could be worlds out there other than Earth. Giordano Bruno would be amazed by how much things have changed.
In a quirky morning Mass, the pope used a far-out example of little green Martians seeking Jesus to preach about the church’s inclusiveness.
Is Pope Francis willing to go to extremes to fill the pews? Apparently so, if his latest outreach message is an indication.
Speaking on Monday during the homily at his daily morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta inside Vatican City where he lives, he told his mostly clerical audience that they should keep an open mind to anyone—or anything—seeking God. “If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here… Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them… And one says, ‘But I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?” he asked parishioners. “When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way…’”
The evolution-creationism debate has returned to Dayton, Tennessee—the site of the Scopes Monkey Trial. Except this time, the venue is not a courtroom but a Christian college, where faculty members have resigned and students have mounted protests. The issue? Whether Adam and Eve were the progenitors of humanity.
The answer to that question depends upon where one falls on the spectrum of the creationist movement. If someone is a young-earth creationist, they believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. The Earth was created exactly as described in Genesis: Adam and Eve were the first humans and the parents of all humanity, and they lived happily alongside dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden until they disobeyed God and were expelled.
Or, one can be a believer in theistic evolution—a range of views based upon the premise that God used the process of evolution to create all life on earth today. Someone who adheres to this belief might view Adam and Eve as a parable, or believe they were historic figures chosen to represent the rest of humanity before God.
For decades, Bryan College (yes, named for William Jennings Bryan), managed to avoid confronting this issue—that is, until the school’s board of trustees decided to change the institution’s statement of faith.