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Sexual Harassment or Religious Freedom?

Friendly Atheist has the story of Mary Linklater, former choir director at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, who was sexually harassed by her pastor and another prominent church member; complained; was cruelly retaliated against and eventually fired; sued; and won. The church is now appealing the judgment...
...on the basis of the "Ministerial Exception" -- the legal principle that, because of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion, religious employers have more leeway in hiring and firing than secular employers do, and can hire and fire based on religious criteria.
I'll say that again.
The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church is claiming, in court, that resisting the unwanted sexual overtures of your pastor and boss is a "religious criteria." They are arguing that screwing the pastor when he asks you to is part of the religious doctrine they adhere to, and that they have the right to fire someone who doesn't adhere to it.MORE

Please excuse me while I stare.

Also: U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes

Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.
At the end of the serial number on Trijicon's ACOG gun sight, you can read "JN8:12", a reference to... Expand
At the end of the serial number on Trijicon's ACOG gun sight, you can read "JN8:12", a reference to the New Testament book of John, Chapter 8, Verse 12, which reads: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The ACOG is widely used by the U.S. military. Collapse
(ABC News)
More Photos
The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.
U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious "Crusade" in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents MORE

Yes well, in any case those Muslims just need to be converted anyway. And so much for the separation of church and state. And of course, note that part where oh the objections are being raised by a group that's "not christian". *Eyeroll* Doesn't mean that what you are doing isn't fucking WRONG, asshole. It even brings up questions about your morality, at that, considering that you all are supposed to be so much more moral than us non believers. The idiot who claimed that this is the worst example of church and state separation does need to be cited for exaggerating though.
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together, so thats why this link is used. Ugandan Antigay Laws timeline Please note specifically more dot-connecting with Master Pharisee Rick Warren Rick Warren's Dissertation Advisor Leads Network Promoting Uganda Anti-Gay Bill
In 2008 Rick Warren declared that, following Rwanda, Uganda was the world's second official "Purpose Driven" nation. Uganda is currently in the news because of a bill before the Ugandan legislature that would establish the death penalty for homosexual acts and, critics charge, might even require the execution of HIV-positive Ugandan citizens.
Some observers have wondered if Purpose Driven Life author and mega-evangelist Rick Warren has had a role in the globally controversial bill, especially because of Warren's close association with Ugandan anti-gay activist Martin Ssempa and, more broadly, because Warren has refused to denounce the anti-gay bill. To little notice, a charismatic network overseen by Warren's doctoral dissertation advisor, C. Peter Wagner, has played a major role in politically organizing and inspiring the Ugandan legislators who have spearheaded the anti-gay bill.
Both Wagner and Warren have designed elaborate infrastructures for blurring the lines between church and state. Wagner describes his movement as the “New Apostolic Reformation” and openly espouses his goals of reorganizing and mobilizing the church to take Christian “dominion” over government and society. Warren’s movement is described as a “second reformation” in the form of his P.E.A.C.E. plan, but his goals of rapid “expansion of the kingdom” in Uganda and elsewhere closely parallel those of Wagner's.MORE
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So the British planted the Seed. This Alien Legacy

More than 80 countries around the world still criminalize consensual homosexual conduct between adult men, and often between adult women.[14]

These laws invade privacy and create inequality. They relegate people to inferior status because of how they look or who they love. They degrade people's dignity by declaring their most intimate feelings "unnatural" or illegal. They can be used to discredit enemies and destroy careers and lives. They promote violence and give it impunity. They hand police and others the power to arrest, blackmail, and abuse. They drive people underground to live in invisibility and fear.[15]

More than half those countries have these laws because they once were British colonies.
This report describes the strange afterlife of a colonial legacy. It will tell how one British law-the version of Section 377 the colonizers introduced into the Indian Penal Code in 1860-spread across immense tracts of the British Empire.

Colonial legislators and jurists introduced such laws, with no debates or "cultural consultations," to support colonial control. They believed laws could inculcate European morality into resistant masses. They brought in the legislation, in fact, because they thought "native" cultures did not punish"perverse" sex enough. The colonized needed compulsory re-education in sexual mores. Imperial rulers held that, as long as they sweltered through the promiscuous proximities of settler societies, "native" viciousness and "white" virtue had to be segregated: the latter praised and protected, the former policed and kept subjected.MORE

And now? Here come the US Evangelicals, in search of power to add fertilizer and water to the poisonous plants that in this garden grow.

The Anti-Gay Highway: New Report Details Mutually Beneficial Relationship Between US Evangelicals and African Antigay Clergy

A new report released today details the role that US-based renewal church movements have played in mobilizing homophobic sentiment in at least three African countries. “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches & Homophobia,” written by Rev. Kapya Kaoma for the progressive think tank Political Research Associates, was the result of a yearlong investigation into the relationship between conservative clergy on two continents, which has hastened divisions within denominations and has “restrict[ed] the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.” Renewal groups and their neoconservative ally, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, have long sought to conservatize or split mainline American churches—frequently over gender or sexuality issues—and liberal scholars have traced many of the mainline schisms that have dominated headlines over the past several years to groundwork laid by the IRD and others.*

Increasingly, though, renewal movements have begun looking abroad for allies. Focusing on three mainline denominations under assault by these renewal movements (the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA) in three African countries (Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya), Kaoma has documented a clear trend of the US Christian right exporting its battles over social and sexuality issues to Africa. There, churches have been pressured to sever ties with mainline funders in exchange for conservative support, and have become recipients of a more fiercely anti-gay message than the US Christian right delivers at home.
This report describes growing anti-gay movements in African churches as a “proxy war” for US culture battles. Can you explain?

Since the ’90s, we’ve seen this shift from the American conservatives who are going to Africa, and they started spreading this anti-gay rhetoric across sub-Saharan Africa. We started getting a lot of statements from US evangelicals that homosexuality is wrong and that there is this Western agenda among gays to take over world. So it is coming from the West. Why is it a proxy war? In America, these politics have been going on for a long time—since the ’80s they have been used as a political tool to gain support in American churches.

But we saw a shift in the [tactics] to allow that war to be fought outside American soil: They’ve allowed Africans to get involved and fight on behalf of conservatives. You see [US evangelicals] going to Africa and making statements and having political access to leadership there, asking them to criminalize same-sex orientation. And now, when they do that, the Africans are benefiting the religious conservatives, because they’re helping them fight in America. But American conservatives are also benefiting African leaders in terms of giving them not just an ideological framework—the anti-LGBT arguments that have been used in America—but also providing them with legitimacy.

The second aspect is very interesting in a sense, because in addition to the ideological framework, they’re getting the religious leaders in Africa involved by telling them to misrepresent the progressive or mainline churches as evil—part and parcel of a gay agenda to take over the world—so you cannot deal with them. They say they’re going to partner with [African leaders and churches], if they can disassociate from mainline churches [in the United States], which are part of the gay agenda. So [the African churches] cut the relationship, and then the American conservatives take over financially.

That’s how the war is being fought. Thus, when the Africans come [to the United States] they have nothing to do with mainline churches; instead they side with American conservatives against mainline churches. And the mainline church in Africa is bigger and stronger than in America. So the conservatives are relying on the numbers of African leaders; they start fighting mainline church leadership using Africans to win the American battle, and come across as though they care about Africa.MORE

The FULL REPORT:Globalizing the Culture Wars PDF

Rick Warren and Homophobia in Africa
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Rachel Maddow vs Formerly Gay Author

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Via:[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political

And to think. This is the POS that Obama decided was good enough to officiate at his inaugural. How interesting.
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The Rachel Maddow Show: U.S. Ties to Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill


The Rachel Maddow Show Attempts to Get Some Responses on the Ugandan 'Kill the Gays' Bill

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Road to Hajj Panama Part 1

Hey there! Is that a Jamaican flag I see there?!?!?!

Al Jazeera follows Muslims in Panama as they prepar to go to Hajj

Road to Hajj Part 2

Rest linked here
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While the Mexican branch of the Catholic Church is making that country's women's lives as miserable as they can manage Women go to jail in Veracruz, Mexico if they dare to have an abortion.

I go to Daily Kos and am immediately confronted with this headline.

Shameful Day for teh Irish Catholic Church

I'm not looking for this shit, internets. it is popping up all over my usual haunts. I am not happy.
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After spending opiles of monye to defeats gay marriage in Maine and California
Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum :Same-sex marriage bill, as written, called a threat to social service contracts

By Tim Craig and Michelle Boorstein
Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Gee, can't have that now, can we?
Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

more here @ the source...
remind me again about how atheists can't be moral without serving god  and all those other wonderful arguments?

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters reminds us:

"Lets say an individual caterer is a staunch Christian and someone wants him to do a cake with two grooms on top," said council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 6), the sponsor of the amendment. "Why can't they say, based on their religious beliefs, 'I can't do something like that'?"

Almost a good question but the devil is in the details. I prefer to point to the words of hopefully soon-to-be EEOC head Chai Feldblum:

Once an individual chooses to enter the stream of economic commerce by opening a commercial establishment, I believe it is legitimate to require that they play by certain rules. If the government tolerated the private exclusionary policies of such individuals in the commercial sector, such toleration would necessarily come at the cost of gay people’s sense of belonging and safety in society. Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT people.

There may be some who disagree with this and I understand that. However the matter at hand is this: that the Catholic church would make such a petty move as to threaten to eliminate services for thousands of people in an attempt to erode not just gay marriage but gay anti-discrimination rights is just petty.
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On the Road to Refuge:A radical church reaches out to queer communities

“You, and everything about you, is welcome in this house of God,” Pastor Kendal Brown declares as he removes thick-framed glasses to wipe sweat from his brow. “Welcome home.”

His outstretched arms wave before him, palms open and extended toward a crimson crucifix at the front of the church. Members moved by the Holy Spirit run circles around pews filled with teary-eyed worshipers. Organs and drums invade the air with deafening force as members cry out in Pentecostal tongues.

Each Sunday, in the desolate town of Lanham, Maryland, north of Washington, Brown preaches the controversial doctrine of Radical Inclusion, an emerging trans-denominational philosophy that aims to provide safe, affirming space for those wounded by “oppressive,” traditional religion. His church, the City of Refuge, reconciles this concept of GLBT-focused, “affirming” worship with Pentecostalism, a branch of Christianity known for a conservative doctrine as well as intense worship styles, like speaking in tongues.

Under Brown's bold words, the church's wooden pews are growing warmer every week.

“For centuries, the church has been an integral aspect of African-American culture,” Brown explains. “Throughout our history, the church has served as a place of worship, community and organization.” For Black people of alternative sexual orientations, however, the conventional church, and many of its followers, pit faith against self-acceptance.

“There are so many congregations across the Washington, D.C. metro area where GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] persons are forced to check an essential part of their being at the door, while their gifts and talents are exploited Sunday after Sunday,” he says. In the City of Refuge, his passionate weekly sermons indicate that this ain’t your granddaddy’s Pentecost. MORE
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People & Power - Italy's other religion - 14 Feb 09

The arrival of more than 1.5 million Muslims in the last four decades has made Islam Italy's second religion. People & Power investigates religious prejudice in the the predominantly Catholic country.


Aug. 4th, 2009 09:13 pm
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via:crooks and liars...

Erik Prince's company Blackwater (now known as XE) has been embroiled in controversy for years. Company employees have posted videos online of their own ruthless behavior and abuses against Iraqi citizens, and can be heard laughing off camera. We're now finding out that this brutality most likely came from the top, down from Prince himself -- former employees are finding their consciences and telling horrifying stories about their former boss:
A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."
In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting "illegal" or "unlawful" weapons into the country on Prince's private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.
These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct. Read on...

It would be nice if the news networks would stop trying to dig up MJ's life and turn their investigative skills to this atrocity.
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There's something about Monotheism

Via Dave Bath, I’ve learnt that leading Spanish director (he won Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2005 for Mar adentro) Alejandro Amenábar has made a film about classical scientist Hypatia. It’s to be called Agora and stars Rachel Weisz. For those unfamiliar with the background, Hypatia (an astronomer) was killed in appalling circumstances by a Christian mob shortly after Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius’ ‘Edict of Intolerance’ in 391AD.
That’s my moniker, of course, but it sums up pretty accurately what Theodosius did: made all non-Christian religions (bar the very limited exception of Judaism, although the stinging slur ‘Christ Killer’ was beginning to make its presence felt) illegal, confiscating their property and giving it over to Christian churches, breaking up community associations and desecrating public structures associated with paganism. The most dramatic of these acts was the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, which although a public building for the citizens of the city, was maintained and paid for by worshippers of the Hellenized Egyptian God
Serapis. Theodosius did other nasty things at the same time, like banning same-sex marriage and generally taking what had always been a matter of private contract in the Roman world into the hands of the State. He’s the reason why churches in Italy with names like ‘Maria Maggiore’ will have a Temple of Cybele underneath, or why the crypt is so often a mithraeum.
Here’s a rather bitty outtake from the film; the panicked reaction of library staff once they realise what’s coming is well done.


This via[livejournal.com profile] jsl32 is the actual history...

The Hypatia of History

The real Hypatia was the daughter of Theon, who was famous for his edition of Euclid's Elements and his commentaries on Ptolemy, Euclid and Aratus. Her birth year is often given as AD 370, but Maria Dzielska argues this is 15-20 years too late and suggests AD 350 to be more accurate. That would make her 65 when she was killed and therefore someone who should perhaps be played by Helen Mirren rather than Rachel Weisz. But that would make the movie much harder to sell at the box office.

She grew up to become a renowned scholar in her own right. She seems to have assisted her father in his edition of Euclid and an edition of Ptolemy's Almagest, as well writing commentaries on the Arithmetica of Diophantus and the Conics of Apollonius. Like most natural philosophers of her time, she embraced the neo-Platonic ideas of Plotinus and so her teaching and ideas appealed to a broad range of people - pagans, Christians and Jews. There is some suggestion that Amenabar's film depicts her as an atheist, or at least as wholly irreligious, which is highly unlikely. Neo-Platonism embraced the idea of a perfect, ultimate source called "the One" or "the Good", which was, by Hypatia's time, fully identified with a monotheistic God in most respects.Fanatical Christians still killed her, but the reason was... Also, the Great Library of Alexandria was not burned down by a Christian mob. It was probably done in by a fire started by Julius Cesar's soldiers...Oh. [livejournal.com profile] lesbiassparrow comments that thats not accurate either. The library went to its doom in a different manner And the director of the film is Chilean, not Spanish.[livejournal.com profile] helenadaxclarifies the identity issue re: the director This entire post is amusing me no end...

Good news

Jul. 21st, 2009 11:27 pm
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Jimmy Carter leaves teh Southern Baptist Convention over sexism

In an opinion piece published last weekend, entitled “Losing my Religion for Equality,” Carter said that a “twisted interpretation of the word of God” taught by male religious leaders has been used to justify the oppression of women:
The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.
Although Carter severed ties with the SBC in a 2000 letter mailed to 75,000 Baptists, the former president “continued to serve as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at his local church” in Plains, GA, an SBC affiliate that in 2006 ordained former first lady Rosalynn Carter as a deacon. President Carter, a member of a group of retired statesmen formed by Nelson Mandela called “The Elders,” said last month that the group had concluded that religion has been “a basic cause of the foundational excuse” for “other dominant males to persecute or abuse or deprive women of their justifiable rights.”


May. 20th, 2009 01:03 pm
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Thousands beaten, raped in Irish reform schools

DUBLIN – A fiercely debated, long-delayed investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades — and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.

Nine years in the making, Wednesday's 2,600-page report sides almost completely with the horrific reports of abuse from former students sent to more than 250 church-run, mostly residential institutions.

It concluded that church officials always shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest to protect their own reputations and, according to documents uncovered in the Vatican, knew that many pedophiles were serial attackers.

The commission said overwhelming, consistent testimony from still-traumatized men and women, now in their 50s to 80s, had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential.MORE
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Wole Soyinka on The Yoruba Religion

...Traditional religion is not only accommodating, it is liberating, and this seems logical, because whenever a new phenomenon impinged on the consciousness of the Yoruba - whether a historical event, a technological or scientific encounter - they do not bring down the barriers - close the doors. They say: Let us look at this phenomenon and see what we have that corresponds to it in our own tradition, that is a kind of analogue to this experience. And sure enough, they go to Ifa and they examine the corpus of proverbs and sayings; and they look even into their, let’s say, agricultural practices or the observation of their calendar. Somewhere within that religion they will find some kind of approximate interpretation of that event. They do not consider it a hostile experience. That’s why the corpus of Ifa is constantly reinforced and augmented, even from the history of other religions with which Ifa comes into contact. You have Ifa verses which deal with Islam, you have Ifa verses which deal with Christianity. Yoruba religion attunes itself and accommodates the unknown very readily; unlike Islam, because they did not see this in the Koran - therefore it does not exist. The last prophet was Mohammed, anybody who comes after this is a fake. And Christianity! The Roman Catholics: until today they do not cope with the experience and the reality of abortion! They just shut the wall firmly against it. They fail to address the real problems of it; they refuse to adjust any of their tenets.

Beier: The Yoruba people have always been willing to look at another mythology and find equivalents in their own tradition. For example: when I first met Aderemi, the late Oba of Ife - that was at Easter 1951 - he told me about the different shrines in his town and he said: "You know, in Yoruba religion we know the story of Mary and Jesus" and he told me the myth of Moremi (Mary) who sacrificed her only son in order to save her town. And he said: "Really, Moremi is Mary." I was impressed, because he could see that there was some basic metaphor that remained valid across a variety of cultures: He knew that the basic truth is the same - only the trappings are different ...

Soyinka: The Yoruba had no hostility to the piety of other people.

Beier: Yoruba religion, within itself, is based on this very tolerance. Because in each town you have a variety of cults, all coexisting peacefully: there may be Shango, Ogun, Obatala, Oshun and many more ...

Soyinka: Even in the same compound!

Beier: Even within the same small family - because you are not supposed to marry into the same Orisha!

But there is never any rivalry between different cult groups; they all know they are interdependent. Because they are like specialists: everybody understands specific aspects of the supernatural world. Nobody can know everything. The Egunguns know how to deal with the dead; the Ogun worshippers know how to handle the forces that are symbolized by iron. But for the Ogun worshippers to function, it is also necessary that Shango worshippers and Obatala worshippers and all the other Olorisha perform their part. Only the concentrated effort of all of them will bring peace and harmony to the town.

So naturally: when the Christians first appeared, the Olorishas could hardly suspect ...

Soyinka: ... how hostile the new religion would be ...

Beier: I think that tolerance is one of the big qualities of Yoruba culture. Even the treatment of handicapped or mentally disturbed people - it all shows how much more tolerant Yoruba culture was than Western cultures.

Soyinka: Yes. Europeans tend to hide such people, whereas Yoruba religion actually accounts for them.2MORE


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