Tag Archives | Religion

U.S. Supreme Court To Weigh New Religious Rights Case

One of the Good News signs at issue.

One of the Good News signs at issue.

Should we expect further expansion of pro-religious law from the Roberts Supreme Court today? Reuters via Yahoo News reports on its latest opportunity to roll back the decades:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will take up a new religious rights case when it considers whether a town in Arizona discriminated against a local church by forcing it to remove signs notifying the public of its worship services.

The nine justices are set to hear a one-hour argument in an appeal filed by the Good News Community Church, which objected to its treatment by town officials in Gilbert, Arizona. The church says its free speech rights, protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, were violated.

The conservative-leaning court’s last decision on a religious-themed issue came last June. The justices ruled 5-4 that owners of private companies can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance covering birth control for women.

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#JeSuisIslamophobia – Why Anti-Muslim Critics Are Wrong About the Charlie Hebdo Killings

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By now, you’ve probably heard all the details of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. But just in case you haven’t, I’ll fill you in. On Wednesday, two masked gunmen broke into the headquarters of Paris’s Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing ten employees, including the magazine’s top editor. The magazine was well known locally for its attention-grabbing cartoons, which often sought to offend the easily offended – namely Muslims.

Thus it came as no surprise to many that the perpetrators of the massacre were two Muslim extremists, reportedly shouting that they had avenged Mohammed after committing the attack. The killers were able to escape central Paris to the suburbs, where they took hostages in a standoff that would last nearly two days. As I write this, reports are coming in that they have been killed by French police.

It’s hard to quantify tragedy. The killing of these twelve people is horrendous and ought to be condemned.… Read the rest

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Michel Houellebecq New Book Foresees Possible Muslim President For France

Michel Houllebecq, France’s famously controversial novelist, has a new book (Soumission) – published this week in extraordinary timing – depicting a possible future for France with a Muslim president. Both the book and the interview below in the Paris Review were carried out before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but it’s clear that Houellebecq has zeroed in on the religious versus secularist tension in France.

After the attack, The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, stated: “France is not Houellebecq. It’s not intolerance, hatred and fear.” Houellebecq is apparently in hiding and his publisher’s office is under police protection. Regarding the book itself, he tells interviewer Sylvain Bourmeau:

Is this a satirical novel?

No. Maybe a small part of the book satirizes political journalists—politicians a little bit, too, to be honest. But the main characters are not satirical.

2008.06.09. Michel Houellebecq Fot Mariusz Kubik 16.JPG

Michel Houellebecq. Photo by Mariusz Kubik (CC)

 

Where did you get the idea for a presidential election, in 2022, that came down to Marine Le Pen and the leader of a Muslim party?

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Former ‘Onion’ editor: Freedom of speech cannot be killed

Daniel R. Blume (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Daniel R. Blume (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Joe Randazzo via MSNBC

When I was editor there, The Onion was located in the heart of Manhattan and the one person manning our front entrance was our petite, tattooed office manager, Jessie. She was the definition of unthreatening, and we used to joke that she was the only thing standing between us and some heavily armed radicals, should any ever become enraged by something we put in print. Right now, that joke makes me sick to my stomach.

Twelve people were murdered at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, today, apparently for doing the very thing The Onion does: satire. These people – including one guest and one police officer – are dead. They were cartoonists and editors and humorists. People whose job in life was to point at hypocrisy and laugh at it; to ridicule hate; to make us all try to see our own failings as humans.

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Santo Daime in the Sacred Valley

Holy Cross - symbol of the doctrine of holy daime (also known as Caravaca de la Cruz)  Ton (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Holy Cross – symbol of the doctrine of holy daime (also known as Caravaca de la Cruz)
Ton (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The last thing I would have to expected to be doing on Halloween night was standing in a brightly lit room attempting to sing Portuguese hymns of Christian praise. Yet there I was, swaying back and forth, clad in white, leafing through a booklet of verse and mumbling along. I was barely able to stand by the end of it. I hung my head in my hands and endured tidal waves of nausea brought on by the medicinal sacrament that had been periodically served throughout the night. I forced myself to remain upright until the last recitation of the last Hail Mary was complete. The closing of the work initiated a reception of congratulations and gratitude while I collapsed and recovered. I had survived my first experience with the doctrine of Santo Daime.… Read the rest

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Americans with no religious affiliation most underrepresented in Congress

PR_15.01.05_religionCongress-01-new

Via Pew Research:

When the new, 114th Congress is sworn in on Jan. 6, 2015, Republicans will control both chambers of the legislative body for the first time since the 109th Congress (2005-2006). Yet, despite the sea change in party control, there is relatively little change in the overall religious makeup of Congress, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. More than nine-in-ten members of the House and Senate (92%) are Christian, and about 57% are Protestant, roughly the same as in the 113th Congress (90% and 56%, respectively).1About three-in-ten members (31%) are Catholic, the same as in the previous Congress.

Protestants and Catholics continue to make up a greater percentage of the members of Congress than of all U.S. adults. Pew Research surveys find that, as of 2013, 49% of American adults are Protestant, and 22% are Catholic.

As was the case in the 113th Congress, the biggest difference between Congress and the general public is in the share of those who say they are religiously unaffiliated.

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Controversial DNA startup wants to let customers create creatures

Stuart Caie (CC BY 2.0)

Stuart Caie (CC BY 2.0)

Via SFGate:

In Austen Heinz’s vision of the future, customers tinker with the genetic codes of plants and animals and even design new creatures on a computer. Then his startup, Cambrian Genomics, prints that DNA quickly, accurately and cheaply.

“Anyone in the world that has a few dollars can make a creature, and that changes the game,” Heinz said. “And that creates a whole new world.”

The 31-year-old CEO has a deadpan demeanor that can be hard to read, but he is not kidding. In a makeshift laboratory in San Francisco, his synthetic biology company uses lasers to create custom DNA for major pharmaceutical companies. Its mission, to “democratize creation” with minimal to no regulation, frightens bioethicists as deeply as it thrills Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

With the latest technology and generous funding, a growing number of startups are taking science and medicine to the edge of science fiction.

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M’onma – Lucid Dreamings

From text by Randall Morris, quoted with permission.

Monma’s Lucid Dreamings

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Looking for a cohesive narrative in one of M’onma’s drawings is like telling someone about a dream and then realizing that you are losing and changing the thread of the experience as you tell it…. The further in you get into the telling, the further you travel from the original way you remember it. It is a lot like a novel or short story by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. One needs to move through the narrative without necessarily putting the pieces together. Add a healthy dose of Shinto and contemporary spiritual symbolisms and you begin to get an inkling into the dream world of M’onma. Murakami also must also allow himself to abandon concepts of rational sequence when he writes. In a way this brings one back to Surrealist concepts of automatic writing and allowing dream to occupy equal ground with temporal realities.… Read the rest

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History Lesson: America Is the Same Oligarchy It Was over a Century Ago

“Forget the politicians. They’re irrelevant. Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media news. They own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the information and news you get to hear. They’ve got ya by the balls.”

via Truthstream:

(Truthstream Media) When Americans see charts like this one which illustrate that virtually all the food on grocery store shelves basically comes from no more than 10 megacompanies, or hear statements like this one from our own Attorney General Eric Holder who told the Senate Judiciary Committee that some banks are just too big to prosecute, or check out studies like this one out of Princeton which openly declare we are not a democracy but an oligarchy…it’s kinda hard to believe we aren’t an oligarchy (because we are).

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“Darkness” — A Poem by Lord Byron

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Darkness

Lord Byron, 
July, 1816

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went — and came, and brought no day,

And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts

Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:

And they did live by watchfires — and the thrones,

The palaces of crownded kings — the huts,

The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,

And men were gather’d round their blazing homes

To look once more into each other’s face;

Happy were those who dwelt within the eye

Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:

A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;

Forests were set on fire — but hour by hour

They fell and faded — and the crackling trunks

Extinguish’d with a crash — and all was black.… Read the rest

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