It goes without saying that religion is big in America. It played a starring role in the founding of the nation and continues to be the source of policy fights. Just this week, a group of Satanists launched a donation drive to erect a monument on Oklahoma’s Capitol grounds, in what some see as a test of the nation’s religious freedoms.
But religion influences local governments in less sensational ways. Some 21 states, for example, are requiring insurers under the federal health-care law to provide exemptions from contraception coverage for employers that object on religious or other grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And 13 states in recent years have banned abortions past 20 weeks, a move influenced at least in part by religious views of when life begins. (Albuquerque, N.M., recently defeated a similar effort.)
With what is arguably the most widely observed holiday of the nation’s most popular religion right around the corner, now seems as good a time as any to look at the state of religion in America’s states and counties. All six of the maps and data below—which depict religious popularity, diversity and adherents—come from the “2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study,” an every-decade research effort sponsored by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, which gathers statistics for religious groups or scholars interested in such.
Most popular religion, by county
The Catholic church (blue) and Southern Baptists (red) dominate the map below, which marks the religion with the largest number of adherents in every American county. Blanketed red, the Bible Belt is alive and well. Evangelicals in orange can lay claim to a smattering of Midwestern and Western counties, while Mormonism (gray) is, unsurprisingly, the largest religion in every Utah county and in chunks of Utah’s neighboring states.
What’s the hottest headwear in Montreal on these cold winter days? Surprisingly, it’s not woolen toques or fur hats. Lately, Quebecers wanting to make a fashionable, yet political, statement are wearing kippot covered in the Fleur-de-lis.
The kippot are the brainchild of a young Montreal rabbi who felt it was time for Jewish Quebecers to wear their opposition to Bill 60 not only on their sleeves, but also on their heads.
The province’s ruling nationalist Parti Quebecois, led by Premier Pauline Marois, tabled Bill 60 in the National Assembly in early November. The proposed legislation, also known as the Charter of Quebec Values, would ban the display of religious symbols and the wearing of religious garb by public employees.
“The best way to protest the charter is to wear religious symbols,” says Rabbi Yisroel Bernath. Known as “Montreal’s Hip Rabbi,” he is the spiritual director of Chabad Notre-Dame-de-Grace & Loyola Campus, and the Jewish chaplain at Concordia University.
Bernath, a 31-year-old transplant from Chicago, is astonished at how his Québec Kippa has taken off. Right after Bill 60 was tabled, he made a mock-up image of the skullcap and posted it on his Facebook and Twitter feeds. The link went viral, and people started asking him when he was going to actually make the kippot featuring the provincial symbol.
Initially, the rabbi and his friend Herschel Weil bought some white kippot and ironed on a Fleur-de-lis patch. Soon after, they found a fabric with the appropriate pattern and approached kippa-maker Rhonda Levy, asking her to make a batch of 400 kippot for them.
“I really wanted it to be made locally in Quebec,” Bernath emphasizes.
Updated : Pamella Geller Apparently Believes The NYT Is Antisemitic Due To Its Report On Cancer & Jewish Women
Here’s a quote Right Wing Watch pulled from something she wrote at World Net Daily, which is one of the few places even more insane than her stupid blog.
On the first night of Chanukah, the New York Times indulged in its grotesque penchant for its special brand of subtle, sophisticated Jew-hatred, on the front page - of course.
Not only did the New York Times publish a nipple on the front page (a first) next to a tattooed Jewish star, but the article is all about the cancerous Jews. Front page stuff, don’t you know? All the Jews that are fit to libel in print:
While poor countries struggle to provide even basic cancer care to women, wealthier societies like Israel and the United States are increasingly using sophisticated technologies to identify those at greatest risk in an effort to thwart the disease before it gets started. [emphasis hers]
Front page. It’s really vile - disgusting. A tattooed (tattoos are a violation of Jewish law) Jewish star above a nipple as the image for the “Jews’ genetic predisposition to cancer.” Jews = cancer. Jews were tattooed and naked when they were killed in concentration camps. The Times must be taking its talking points from Iran.
I have a feeling that Geller has a very activate imagination. I just read the New York Times article and there’s nothing remotely antisemitic about it. No where does it demonize Jews or equate Jews or Judaism with Cancer. Also why would antisemitic bigots show any concern for Jewish Women, especially Jewish Israeli women? That would be especially true for anyone who would support rounding up Jews and mass murdering them like the Nazis did.
If Geller is so concerned about demonetization, she should read her own writings. She, along with her Fellow Wingnut, Robert Spencer have done far more to demonize Muslims, than that New York Times article about the very real problem of Breast Cancer in Israel, which didn’t demonize Jews at all. Geller on the other hand, has done an excellent Job of demonizing Muslims.
Earlier this year Imagine 2050 reported on one of her group’s recent ad campaigns.
Over the past several weeks, advertisements featuring images of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Al-Qaeda representatives, and other Islamic extremists have been displayed in public transportation stations and buses in several U.S. cities including Washington D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco.
The ads also feature direct quotes attributed to the pictured extremists saying such things as, “killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah” and “The first thing we are calling you to is Islam.” The ads are a blatant misrepresentation and attempt to slander Islam and Muslims. Unsurprisingly, the ads were commissioned by notorious Islamophobes Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer via their American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
The ads are a direct response to the ongoing #MyJihad ad campaign that debuted in cities last December. Initially, AFDI’s ads were nearly identical to the ads it opposes.
A legal battle forced AFDI to redesign its ads and refrain from using the “#MyJihad” phrase. Even so, the ads remain remarkably similar in design. AFDI’s ads only differ due to subtle changes to wording and border colors.
And here’s a picture of some of the ads she designed that was featured in the Imagine 2050 report.
Remember Geller attacks anything that even remotely portrays Islam or Muslims in a positive light. Complaining about “1,001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization,” exhibit created by National Geographic, she wrote,
Sharia enforcement extends far beyond the obvious attempts to silence critics of jihad and sharia. The scrubbing of the 270 million victims of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilations, and enslavements from academic texts has been going on for well over a decade. The demonization and smearing of politicians who dare speak against the most extreme and radical ideology on the face of the earth is virtually automatic at this point, as is the self-enforcing sharia compliance of the mainstream media.
Pamela Geller also attacked TLC’s All American Muslim reality show and basically outright denied that Islamophobia ( bigotry against Muslims ) which the show was designed to combat, even exists.
The premise behind the creation of the show is the fictional construct “Islamophobia.” “All-American Muslim” is designed to counter “Islamophobia” by showing Muslims who aren’t terrorist monsters, but ordinary people living ordinary lives, balancing tradition and modern life, dealing with their families, their jobs, etc.
Yet based on the most recent FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims are at record lows - the lowest since 9/11. Contrast that to the record highs in anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish people; so where’s TLC’s Jewish family series?
Left-wing sites are shamelessly pushing, promoting and propagandizing the new “All-American Muslim” show. The dhimmi Jew Alyssa Rosenberg urged viewers to watch the show, writing at Think Progress: “Normally, I would never tell you to watch something just because it would make someone mad. But noted Islamophobe Pamela Geller is apparently vexed that TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim,’ a new reality show about a group of Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., doesn’t achieve what she thinks of as balance, by which she means including story lines where Muslims commit crimes based on their faith.”
In addition to the creeping sharia/Stealth Jihad nonsense, Both Geller and Spencer have also spread the “Taqyya Is Lying For Islam,” myth.
However what Taqiyya really is, lying to save your life when you’re being persecuted by people who just may end up murdering you, if they find out about your true faith. According to Encyclopedia Britannica,
taqiyyah, in Islam, the practice of concealing one’s belief and foregoing ordinary religious duties when under threat of death or injury. Derived from the Arabic word waqa (“to shield oneself”), taqiyyah defies easy translation. English renderings such as “precautionary dissimulation” or “prudent fear” partly convey the term’s meaning of self-protection in the face of danger to oneself or, by extension and depending upon the circumstances, to one’s fellow Muslims. Thus, taqiyyah may be used for either the protection of an individual or the protection of a community. Moreover, it is not used or even interpreted in the same way by every sect of Islam. Taqiyyah has been employed by the Shīʿites, the largest minority sect of Islam, because of their historical persecution and political defeats not only by non-Muslims but also at the hands of the majority Sunni sect..
In addition The British Council Of Ex Muslims, which counts Maryam Namazie as a member and is hardly a pro Islam organization ( which you might have guessed just by the name alone ) has attacked them and the rest of the “Counter Jihad” on this, as well as their belief that all the violent verses in the Qur’an and Hadith Literature abrogate the peaceful ones, and thus the idea that “any good Muslim is terrorist and hates Infidels.”
This is nothing like her and her supporters expect us to believe Taqiyya is. Such as this guy which sounds just as paranoid and Islamophobic as she does. This is what “The Bottom Line Guy,” Claims Taqiyya is, contrary to much more reputable sources.
Taqiyya (“al Taqiyya”) is the Muslims’ license to lie to infidels in order to camouflage Islam’s holy war strategy (jihad) to conquer the world. The strategy mentioned through orders and solicitations in the Quran 3:28 and other Islamic writings and reference applies to all Western countries and against all infidels(non-muslims). (1)
Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era. (2)
In reality as my sources have pointed out, not only is it not lying for Islam, its not even a part of Sunni Islam. Its a Shia concept only. So its hardly even a major teaching of Islam. People like “The Bottom Line Guy,” and Geller are not people we should get our information from, especially when it comes to Islam or Muslims.
Let’s also not forgot how Geller reacted to the recent overblown NSA Spying Scandal.
Yet Geller Expects us to believe it is the New York Times which is demonizing a minority, not her or “counter jihad” bigots like her.
Update 12/02/13 at 10:13 PM
By the way, here’s something I just remembered. If Geller really cared so much about antisemitism, she’d be willing to condemn this. Chicago-Based Racist & Anti-Semite Organizes “Freedom of Speech” Event….. Waiting…. Oh of course she won’t do that because ACT! For America is a “Counter Jihad” group, and its a major player in the “counter jihad,” war on Muslims. I can guarantee you that Geller and Spencer will never condemn that event, even long after it occurred. But than again, I guess antisemitism is okay as long its being promoted by people who are against the “even greater evil” of Islam. If all this doesn’t tell you about the true nature of the “counter jihad” movement nothing will. Its a movement that is dedicated to demonizing Muslims and taking their rights away, above everything else, and its major supporters are willing to join forces with people who hate and want to destroy other groups of people, even if they’re people they claim to be defending.
I’m willing to give a hundred dollars to anyone who can find a single condemnation of Eli James and Act For America on either Atlas Shrugs ( Geller’s Blog ) or Jihad Watch ( Spencer’s Blog ). You will not find it.
So much for the claims that the “counter jihad” isn’t bigoted or that they support freedom and liberty, not mention respect the constitution. Recent ( Thankfully falsified ) reports that the nation of Angola has banned Islam have pleased our “counter jihad” buddies. Contrary to whatever they may claim, these people do not respect the US constitution.
@jihadwatchRS Great news! Kill them all..
— Ken in Arizona (@dayo1946) November 25, 2013
— Jason (@jbrownlee55) November 25, 2013
Angola 'Bans Islam': Surrounded by countries under the bloody seige of jihad, this is not surprising. Angola i… http://t.co/X5couIFylr
— Pamela Geller (@Atlasshrugs) November 25, 2013
Let's take a min and realize what the country of Angola has done. They have done what we have not! Good for them! http://t.co/EKkfRu9u7r ??
— D Smith (@OldGlory_) November 23, 2013
http://t.co/qt8Fj8O5L0. Good work Angola! They understand what Islam really is and are not blinded by western relativism.
— Whabo utjohngalt (@WhaboUtjohngalt) November 23, 2013
WOO HOO! African state of Angola bans Islam and will destroy all the mosques http://t.co/1Qj5j2ppkg
— rockynickydog (@rockynickydog) November 23, 2013
— Just call me Allah (@cheshirecat0025) November 23, 2013
@cheshirecat0025 yes!!!!! Perfect. It needs to be exterminated!! Do it!!
— D Smith (@OldGlory_) November 23, 2013
@Atlasshrugs The US should also ban Islam. It is not a religion. It is a cult and cults should be eliminated.
— Tommy Moore (@mooretommyh) November 25, 2013
@Atlasshrugs I cannot stop laughing. It had to happen, they have Boko Haram to the north and Al Shabaab to the East. Who can blame them?
— Reginald Adams (@reggiereggie66) November 25, 2013
Who can blame them Reginald Adams? I can blame them. Everything people like you claims to stand for, in reality do not, even if you think you do, and the “threat from Islam” you claim is out there doesn’t even exist. The entire Stealth Jihad/Creeping sharia conspiracy theory is a joke, as this video by youtuber, UJames1978Forever points out.
but now back to the wingnuts praising Angola for violating human rights and taking away the rights of their citizens to practice their own religion.
It can be done: Angola bans Islam, dismantles mosques. http://t.co/3Mc43VtO9S
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) November 25, 2013
Angola bans Islam. Can we do that here? If we follow 1st Amendment as given by Founders, States can do it if they wish.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) November 25, 2013
No they can’t Bryan. Off course you don’t really care about freedom or the Constitution contrary to everything you may claim. Ironically you and your Dominionist Buddies pose a far greater threat to our freedom in the US than any group of genuine Muslim extremists. You really do deserve the “American Taliban” Label.
@BryanJFischer earlier the better.
— TheBanyanTreeWisdom (@WiseBanyanTree) November 25, 2013
— Debi Ringhaver Lane (@LibertyBee7) November 25, 2013
— Patrick Dollard (@PatDollard) November 25, 2013
Yes friends, the “completely and totally not bigoted counter jihad movement” who will protect our freedom from the non existent threat of creeping sharia by violating the rights of Muslims whenever we let them. If you’re a non Muslim like myself, Keep in mind that it won’t just be Muslims who will end up loosing their freedom if they have their way. When people can get away with violating the rights of one group of people, the rights of everyone else are in danger as well. These people are paranoid bigoted hate mongers, not defenders of liberty, especially religious liberty.
Update 11/25/13 at 5:09 PM
I fixed the broken link that Origuy pointed out to me. He also mention how the government of Angola has denied that it banned Islam, which is good news and not very surprising. However this still goes a long way to show us the true nature of the “counter Jihad” movement, which is at its heart bigoted
Update 11/25/13 at 5:17 PM
Update 11/26/13 at 7:42 AM
Curious Lurker has just pointed out another news article on this story that
does even more to debunk the claim that Angola banned Islam. I’m so glad, that claim turned out to be false. On the other hand, the shear fact that so many “Counter Jihad” people were so thrilled at the idea that they actually did, speaks volumes.
Good news for tolerance and pluralism, bad news for our counter jihad “friends.” I wonder if Pamela or Robert Spencer has had a ragegasm over this yet, as Vicious Babushka would say. They probably have, this story is a little over a week old, but I just found out about this today, so it maybe news to many of you here.
By Patch Editor Kaitlin Glanzer
When South Windsor residents cast their votes for Dr. Saud Anwar, electing him the town’s next mayor, they likely were choosing the soft-spoken doctor and humanitarian who votes his conscience and urged the Town Council not to raise taxes when residents were struggling and families lived in the homeless shelter.
They likely were not considering that they would make history by electing the first Muslim mayor in Connecticut.
“They’re looking for the person who is going to do the best job for them with the priorities that they feel are important to them,” Anwar said Friday by phone.
Still, that South Windsor has embraced Anwar says much about them and about the United States.
“We live in the best country in the world …where everyone and anyone who follows the law is respected and can help make the country better,” Anwar said.
“The people of South Windsor are very caring, embracing individuals who respect people of all backgrounds, so my being elected is more about the people of South Windsor and less about me.”
Who says people can’t put aside their differences and work together for a good cause. Climate change will effect all of humanity, regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity or nationality. Climate change is a serious threat. We should be glad that people around the world are concerned about this issue, even if some places like the US, are lagging behind.
Here’s a video that should give us all some hope, that we’ll be able to do something about it.
Religious leaders meet to discuss climate change
I recommend everyone who hasn’t already done so, check out his Climate Denial Crock of the Week blog where he talks about the issue of climate change and debunks the people who deny the science behind it.
I added a link to Sinclair’s twitter page, since I forgot to do so earlier. Let him know I sent you.
In an era of narcissistic self-obsession, there’s something to be said for the value of self-awareness. This week, atheist philosopher Sam Harris leapt forward to claim Malala Yousafzai as another trophy in his one-man jihad against Muslims and the weak-kneed “Muslim-apologists” he perceives on the left.
That Harris has been denounced as a crude, pseudo-intellectual bigot for his various tirades about the monolithic evil of Muslims didn’t do much to deter him; but what was most interesting about his latest missive was its complete disregard for Malala’s actual words and opinions. Either he didn’t listen to her words at all before plastering her face on his website or he was too contemptuous of her to think it necessary.
Given the requisite beliefs…. an entire culture will support such evil. Malala is the best thing to come out of the Muslim world in a thousand years. She is an extraordinarily brave and eloquent girl who is doing what millions of Muslim men and women are too terrified to do—stand up to the misogyny of traditional Islam
It’s worth pausing here to listen to whether Malala thinks that she is standing up to her own evil culture and the misogyny of “traditional Islam”:
“The Taliban think we are not Muslims, but we are. We believe in God more than they do, and we trust him to protect us…..I’m still following my own culture, Pashtun culture….Islam says that it is not only each child’s right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility.”
Whatever one thinks of this, given that these are Malala’s beliefs, anyone with a modicum of decency or respect for her would not go ahead and use her suffering as a tool to attack the very things she is fighting to defend. Yet Harris takes up this opportunity with great vigor. For him it doesn’t matter whether Malala believed she was defending traditional Islam, because anyone who tries to differentiate Islam from the acts of extremists are part of the “tsunami of stupidity and violence breaking simultaneously on a hundred shores … the determination that ‘moderate’ Islam not be blamed for the acts of extremists.’”
While we come up to a very-off year Election Day, there are two big elections. The NYC Mayoral, and the Virginia Gubernatorial. However, there is an interesting quirk of an election up in Maine, in Lewiston. One that got the BBC over in the UK involved.
Lewiston, may look like a normal American small city of 35,000. However, it has some interesting characteristics. For one, the Francophone population of Lewiston is about 25%. But more importantly, it is likely one of the most Muslim heavy population in the United States. Of the population of just over 35,000, Somalis make up about 5,000 of this population, and Bantus another 1,000. This means Lewiston, ME is unlikely competition for Dearborn, having a Muslim Population of around 17.15%
How did this happen? In 1999, the United States the US agreed to resettle about 12,000 Somalis and Bantus in the US. At first, many of these people were put into higher crime areas of the United States. Over time, these people were attracted into Maine by good schools, low crime, and cheap housing. Many of these people, obviously, ended up in Lewiston, though others are in Portland.
Which leads to today to an election that has become a minor circus. The current Mayor, Robert MacDonald, is up against Larry Gilbert for the race in 2 weeks.
There are two main bones of contention here. The first here is the fact that Gilbert, a former mayor, is contending that the town is getting a bad representation from MacDonald:
“So, who wants to come to a city that is divided, where all you do is talk about layabouts, morons, do-nothings and welfare collectors?” Gilbert asked. “Who wants to come to a community like that?”
Macdonald said he gladly discusses negative issues because that’s the only way to solve them.
“Maybe I do talk about layabouts and welfare reform, but maybe that’s what people are looking for,” Macdonald said. “I didn’t invent the ‘Dirty Lew.’ All the time (Gilbert) was in there, that’s what the city was called. So I’m divisive? You’re not divisive when you bring problems to the front.”
This has been the main bone of contention between these two. However, the Debate is more complicated. MacDonald asserts most of the trouble comes from “Outside,” referring to the efforts of the Maine People’s Alliance, separating them out from the locally heavy Somali residents. However, that is not entirely the case, as the MPA has outright stated they wanted to help out the Somalis.
Another contention is the local economy. This also complicated by the fact that the town has seen a recent revival economically, with Somalis opening up new stores in the area. Aside from this, though are two new visions for the town. MacDonald, is wanting to continue the current growth pattern with things like call centers. However, the challenger has different ideas:
Gilbert said the city can do better than call-center jobs such as Argo Marketing.
“We need jobs that pay a living wage, and marketing jobs, telephone jobs, don’t pay very well,” Gilbert said. “They say they have access to health benefits, but they don’t provide them. So we need to drive jobs in here from outside that pay a good, living wage and provide benefits.”
However, there is agreement between the two that there needs to be a question on a future ballot about a proposed merger between Lewiston and Auburn, a neighboring city across the Androscoggin River. The question for the future is whether the 2 communities will in the future work collaboratively, or as one.
And how did the BBC get involved, you ask? Well, last year they had a documentary on this town and it’s Muslim Community in the whitest state of union. During the making of the Documentary, the BBC caught this, which was included in the final televised version. This then made it’s way back Maine, where a scandal occurred.
Mayor Robert Macdonald’s comments to the BBC earlier this year have again put the city in the spotlight — and not in a good way.
In a documentary on America that aired Sept. 11, Macdonald told the BBC: “You (immigrants) come here, you come and you accept our culture and you leave your culture at the door.”
Those comments came up again last weekend when the Maine Global Institute played the segment during a workshop in Portland.
Macdonald attempted this week to clarify the statement, telling WGME television: “When anybody comes here from any country, they have to embrace our culture. Now, do they have to give up their own culture at home? No. If they want to carry on you know, the Irish St. Patrick’s Day, the French, the Italians, everybody, they all keep their culture, but we all practice a unique culture, and that is an American culture that over 200 years has been developed.”
He also dismissed concern from the immigrant community that the comments apparently aimed at Somalis were divisive and hurtful.
“If you believe in (Somali culture) so much, why aren’t you over there fighting for it?” Macdonald said in the WGME interview. “If you believe in it so much, why aren’t you over there shedding your blood to get it? Why are you over here shirking your duties?”
He has said his statements to the BBC were taken out of context and used as a political weapon against him by former Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert.
It also needs to be noted that the French-American and Somali-American contingents of Lewiston get along cordially. Likely because both have and continue to face pressure from the softer headed in the community.
So, while everyone wants to watch NYC and Virginia, I will watch a bit up the coast. To a small city up the Androscoggin River, with a large number of Francophones and Muslims.
Thomas Jefferson didn’t just own a Quran — he engaged with Islam and fought to ensure the rights of Muslims.
[He] says “neither Pagan nor Mahamedan [Muslim] nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion.” — Thomas Jefferson, quoting John Locke, 1776
At a time when most Americans were uninformed, misinformed, or simply afraid of Islam, Thomas Jefferson imagined Muslims as future citizens of his new nation. His engagement with the faith began with the purchase of a Qur’an eleven years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s Qur’an survives still in the Library of Congress, serving as a symbol of his and early America’s complex relationship with Islam and its adherents. That relationship remains of signal importance to this day.
That he owned a Qur’an reveals Jefferson’s interest in the Islamic religion, but it does not explain his support for the rights of Muslims. Jefferson first read about Muslim “civil rights” in the work of one of his intellectual heroes: the seventeenth-century English philosopher John Locke. Locke had advocated the toleration of Muslims—and Jews—following in the footsteps of a few others in Europe who had considered the matter for more than a century before him. Jefferson’s ideas about Muslim rights must be understood within this older context, a complex set of transatlantic ideas that would continue to evolve most markedly from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.
Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.