Recent Entries in Religion

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has stepped into the controversy between religious fundamentalists and scientists by saying that he does not believe that creationism - the Bible-based account of the origins of the world - should be taught in schools.

Giving his first, wide-ranging, interview at Lambeth Palace, the archbishop was emphatic in his criticism of creationism being taught in the classroom, as is happening in two city academies founded by the evangelical Christian businessman Sir Peter Vardy and several other schools.

"I think creationism is ... a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories ... if creationism is presented as a stark alternative theory alongside other theories I think there's just been a jarring of categories ... My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it," he said.

The debate over creationism or its slightly more sophisticated offshoot, so-called "intelligent design" (ID) which argues that creation is so complex that an intelligent - religious - force must have directed it, has provoked divisions in Britain but nothing like the vehemence or politicisation of the debate in the US. There, under pressure from the religious right, some states are considering giving ID equal prominence to Darwinism, the generally scientifically accepted account of the evolution of species. Most scientists believe that ID is little more than an attempt to smuggle fundamentalist Christianity into science teaching.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Archbishop: stop teaching creationism

On his live television programme, The 700 Club, he said radical Islamists were inspired by "demonic power".

A US religious liberty watchdog called the comments "grossly irresponsible".

Mr Robertson had to apologise recently for calling for Venezuela's president to be killed, and saying Ariel Sharon was struck down by divine retribution.

His latest comments were expunged from The 700 Club's website, but Mr Robertson's Virginia-based Christian Broadcasting Network confirmed them with a transcript.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Top US evangelist targets Islam

  Great Atheist Quotes

Isaac Asimov [1920-1992] Russian-born American author

"I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."

"Creationists make it sound like a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night."

Thomas Jefferson [1743-1826] 3rd American president, author, scientist, architect, educator, and diplomat. Deist, avid separationist.

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes" Letter to von Humboldt, 1813

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own" Letter to H. Spafford, 1814

John Adams [1735-1826] 2nd President of the United States

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Treaty of Tripoly, article 11

GREAT MINDS: atheist quotes

Oh, so now I gotta be a villian? Hmmm. Works for me.

Religion of Comic Book Characters (Religion | Comics)

Most super-villains in mainstream comic books are atheists, agnostics, or simply non-religious. Aside from a few major villains, the list below primarily focuses on villains who have a known religious affiliation other than atheism.

[Neat. So I take back everything bad I said about the church. Well, most of the things....]

Evolution Sunday

On 12 February 2006 hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

The Vatican newspaper has published an article saying â..intelligent designâ. is not science and that teaching it alongside evolutionary theory in school classrooms only creates confusion.

The article in Tuesdayâ..s editions of Lâ..Osservatore Romano was the latest in a series of interventions by Vatican officials â.. including the pope â.. on the issue that has dominated headlines in the United States.

The author, Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, laid out the scientific rationale for Charles Darwinâ..s theory of evolution, saying that in the scientific world, biological evolution â..represents the interpretative key of the history of life on Earth.â.

He lamented that certain American â..creationistsâ. had brought the debate back to the â..dogmaticâ. 1800s, and said their arguments werenâ..t science but ideology.

â..This isnâ..t how science is done,â. he wrote. â..If the model proposed by Darwin is deemed insufficient, one should look for another, but itâ..s not correct from a methodological point of view to take oneself away from the scientific field pretending to do science.â.

Intelligent design â..doesnâ..t belong to science and the pretext that it be taught as a scientific theory alongside Darwinâ..s explanation is unjustified,â. he wrote.

â..It only creates confusion between the scientific and philosophical and religious planes."

Vatican paper raps â..intelligent designâ.. - Science - MSNBC.com

In a lawsuit filed on his behalf by the civil rights group, a 23-year-old Catholic man from Genesee County is asking a federal judge to set aside a drug conviction, saying he was punished for not completing a Pentecostal rehabilitation program.

Joseph Hanas was 19 when he pleaded guilty to a marijuana possession charge in February 2001 in Genesee Circuit Court and was placed in a diversion program for young, non-violent offenders.

Upon the recommendation of a probation officer, Judge Robert Ransom sentenced Hanas to the state-sponsored rehabilitation program - the Inner City Christian Outreach Residential Program, run by a Pentecostal church.

Hanas said the program did not offer drug treatment or counseling, nor did it have any organized program other than reading the Bible and attending Pentecostal services.

ACLU sues over faith-based rehab: Catholic man forced into Pentecostal program

It may not make the "creationist" crowd very happy, but their attacks on evolution might have to stop. According to an article from the Australian news.com website, the Vatican has issued a statement about the Darwinian theory of evolution and its relationship to Biblical scripture.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, is quoted as saying the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin's theory of evolution are "perfectly compatible" if the Bible is read correctly. It was a direct attack on the creationist campaigners in America.

"The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," Poupard allegedly said at a Vatican press conference, declaring that the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator." His statements were interpreted in Italy as a rejection of the "intelligent design" view, which says the universe is so complex that some higher being must have designed every detail.

VATICAN: EVOLUTION SYNC WITH BIBLE

The highest court in the Methodist Church yesterday defrocked a lesbian minister in Philadelphia, and reinstated a Virginia pastor who had been suspended for denying congregation membership to a gay man.

The nine-member Judicial Council also voided a declaration by Methodists in the Pacific Northwest that there was a ''difference of opinion among faithful Christians regarding sexual orientation and practice.

Methodist Church court defrocks lesbian minister - The Boston Globe

We get so fixated on which version of the Pledge of Allegiance that we want to strong-arm children into reciting that every time the argument over its wording winds up in court, we blow our chance to teach kids everything they need to know about America.

We're about to do it again. A California judge put the pledge back in the news and back on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling the words "under God" are unconstitutional. The ruling only affects a few school districts in California for now, but that's enough for politicians to condemn judges and pass resolutions (as a unanimous U.S. Senate did a few years back) demonstrating just how little they understand what the flag stands for.

We could start by pointing out to school kids how the "one nation" part of the pledge becomes meaningless every time we talk about the "under God" part, which causes all kinds of divisions. Mostly among people who have no idea where the pledge came from or who wrote it.

It wasn't Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. The Pledge of Allegiance was composed in 1892 by a Baptist minister and socialist named Francis Bellamy. The original pledge written by him read: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The words "my flag" were changed to "the flag of the United States of America" in the 1920s. Congress added the words "under God" in 1954, when the greatest threat to the United States was the "godless" Soviet Union.

One nation (not always), under God (since 1954)

Famed entertainer and political activist Harry Belafonte told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that he was retracting his recent statement that Jews had served "high up" in the Third Reich, a comment which angered several Jewish organizations. He continued, however, to maintain that Jews had contributed to Hitler's cause and that the Bush administration resembled the period leading up to the Nazi regime.

Earlier this week, in an interview with Cybercast News Service, Belafonte used a Nazi analogy to attack black officials in the Bush administration. "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich," he said.

"I do regret the sentence was not structured more accurately," Belafonte told the 'Post' in a telephone interview from the United States. "I, too, agree that Jews weren't 'high up'."

He added, however, that "Jews did have a role, some did, in the demise and brutal treatment of the Jewish people." He pointed to the book Hitler's Jewish Soldiers as just one example supporting his statement. The book, recently profiled in the 'Post', tells of part-Jewish soldiers who fought for the Wehrmacht.

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World

The right-wing's multi-front war on American democracy now aims at our core belief in separation of church and state. It includes an attempt to say the founding fathers endorsed the idea that this is a "Christian nation," with an official religion.

But the founders---and a vast majority of Americans---repeatedly, vehemently and with stunning clarity denounced, rejected and despised such beliefs.

Nowhere in the Constitution they wrote does the word "Christian" or the name of Christ appear. The very first phrase of the First Amendment demands that "Congress shall make no law concerning an establishment of religion."

The Free Press -- Independent News Media - Harvey Wasserman

German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected Tuesday to succeed Pope John Paul II, was a close confidant of the late pontiff and fellow conservative.

The newly elected Pope Benedict XVI, who turned 78 on Saturday, will be expected to maintain John Paul II's deeply conservative line.

At the age of 14, he joined the Hitler Youth, as was required of young Germans of the time, but was not an enthusiastic member.

Joseph Ratzinger, an ex-member of Hitler Youth- The Times of India

  Life Everlasting

The religious right and the right to die

This is the ballad of Doctor Lloyd Thompson, who may or may not have hastened a patient's death. This is a song about American secular democracy, which may be under a sentence of death, and about those forces gathering at the gallows. Most of all, this is a song about who owns your life.

Dr. Thompson will never be as well known as Timothy Quill or as notorious as Jack Kevorkian. He will be remembered, and doubtless would choose to be remembered, as a founder of one of Vermont's first hospice programs, which serves the geographical area where I happen to live and where I hope, not any time soon, to die. He also makes house calls, and therefore might have merited a ballad even without careening so close to outlawry.

Life Everlasting (Harpers.org)

The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States knew that we human beings have a tendency to 'not get along with each other'. They knew that if power accrued into the hands of an elite the experiment of democracy (power spread out into the realm of the people) would be over. So they created a system of checks and balances which blocked access to any one person, or any one special interest or elite gaining too much power over others. Thus our executive, legislative and judicial branches of government "checked" each other. The media was yet another "check" on the accrual of too much power as was the Bill of Rights which was written into the Constitution. The system wasn't perfect but it kept alive the possibility of true democracy. It kept alive the dream that one day "we the people" could live in a peaceful commonwealth where every person has what they need to survive and thrive.

That dream died in December 2000 when the checks and balances of our Constitution collapsed and George Bush was inserted into the Presidency of the nited States. September 11, 2001 furthered the atrophying of democracy handing the country into the hands of an emerging Corporate (and I say Christian) Fascism.

Since that time we have witnessed and have been unable to prevent the emergence of an Imperial Presidency that has the unrestricted power to declare war against any country he chooses. The Imperial Presidency has brought to an end the Constitutional mandate that 'ONLY CONGRESS' has the authority to declare war. It has furthered weakened international law and has undermined the potential of the United Nations to spread democracy throughout the earth.

George Bush and the Rise of Christian Fascism

Bush better hope that there is no heaven, no hell and no judgment day.

Ron Reagan Jr. recently commented that while his father believed in God, he didn't wear his religion on his sleeve. While he did not mention Bush by name, most observers assumed that he was talking about the man selected by the Supreme Court to be our president. Bush often uses code words familiar to his critical evangelical base that fly under the radar of mainstream, moderate Christians. Still, it does not seem to be too cynical to believe that Bush's supposed religion is simply a ploy to gain votes from the rubes among fundamentalist Christians. Or if he is a religious man, few genuine Christians would believe that his God was the one they pray to.

What would St. Peter have to say to George Bush once he stands before the Pearly Gates of heaven on judgment day? Has he been a good Christian? Has he led a pious life according to the teachings of Jesus?

...

According to childhood friends, Bush used to blow up frogs with firecrackers and shoot them with BB guns. As several therapists have pointed out, this cruelty to animals is a trait he shares with many serial killers.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/04/07/17_wwjt.html


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