Posts filed under ‘Religion’
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Bravo to Stephen Hawking!
JERUSALEM — Stephen W. Hawking, the physicist and cosmologist, has pulled out of a high-profile conference to be held here in June in order to support an academic boycott of Israel, conference organizers and the university said on Wednesday.
The academic and cultural boycott, organized by international activists to protest Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, is a heated and contentious issue; having Dr. Hawking join it is likely to help the anti-Israel campaigners significantly.
“Never has a scientist of this stature boycotted Israel,” said Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Organizers of the fifth annual Israeli Presidential Conference, held under the auspices of President Shimon Peres, said they had received a letter over the weekend from Dr. Hawking, a longtime Cambridge professor, announcing his decision.
Most of the news we get about the endless Israeli/Palestinian conflict implies that the Palestinians just won’t leave the poor Israelis alone. That’s because here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. it’s considered sacrilegious to say anything negative about Israel. Yet it’s amazing to me the Palestinians aren’t more militant than they are what with the Israelis forever picking away at them by doing things like this:
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces destroyed over 1,300 olive trees in the south Hebron hills on Tuesday.
Israeli soldiers accompanied officials from Israel’s civil administration as demolition crews uprooted hundreds of olive trees in the village of Susiya, Ma’an’s reporter said.
According to B’Tselem, there are 26 outstanding Israeli demolition orders in the village.
In February 2012, right-wing settler advocacy group Regavim petitioned Israel’s supreme court on behalf of an Israeli settlement overshadowing the village, calling for Israeli authorities to implement the demolition orders.
Meanwhile, settlers from Karmi Tzur uprooted 30 olive trees east of Halhul, local Saeed Madiyah told Ma’an.
In al-Malih and al-Madareb, in the Jordan Valley, Israeli forces demolished 15 animal shelters belonging to Bedouins in the area.
It’s a heartbreaking situation.
The folks who came up with this hugely unconstitutional, anti-American idea probably think of themselves as uber patriots:
Proposal Would Allow State Religion in North Carolina
Raleigh, N.C. — A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.
I can hear the Founding Fathers yelling Nooooooo! from their graves.
The “Establishment Clause” of the Bill of Rights is in the First Amendment. It was the first thing the founders wrote down when they were thinking about what should be in that document. It was really, really important to them. It reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Didn’t we all learn this in fourth grade?
Here’s my Tweet of the Day from my favorite gay blogger, John Aravosis of Americablog:
Not something we straight people think about.
If schools want to teach creationism, fine (though I pity the kids). Go ahead, but don’t use my tax dollars to do it. Public funds should not be used to promote any religion or religious point of view.
Interactive Map: Voucher Schools Teaching Creationism
This week on Moyers & Company, 19-year-old education activist Zack Kopplin joins Bill to talk about his campaign to get creationism out of science classes in publicly funded schools. He discovered that students attending private and parochial schools in states with school voucher programs were taught creationism in addition to — or, in some classrooms, instead of — the theory of evolution.
Using data compiled by Kopplin, this map shows private schools that accept state vouchers [taxpayer dollars] and teach creationism. Hover over each dot to read Kopplin’s findings on that school. To zoom in, double click on the map or use the map tools that appear in the upper left corner.
Go here to access the interactive map. Below is a screenshot of the home page (oy, Florida)
I just saw this ad on Fox News:
The “book that built America.” Really?
Anyone who knows anything about who “built America” knows the Pilgrims sailed to what is now the United States to escape religious persecution. Their goal was to establish a government free of religion. They’d had enough.
This video is taken from a YouTube site called (gag me) “Patriot Update Report.”
Who’s funding this site? Who’s trying to turn the United States into a religiously fundamentalist country…exactly the kind of place the Pilgrims fled?
Uh oh. Republicans are undoubtedly seething and probably working the phones behind the scenes trying to get one of these posthumously awarded to Ronald Reagan:
On Israel Trip, Obama to Get Medal
(CNN) – When President Barack Obama visits Israel next month, he’ll be awarded the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israeli President Shimon Peres’ office announced Monday.
Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to receive the recognition, will be awarded the medal for making “a unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens,” according to a release announcing the news.
He’ll receive the award at a dinner at Peres’ residence in Jerusalem, slated to be attended by senior figures from Israeli public life and the Obama administration. The award is given to “private” individuals and organizations that have made “outstanding contributions to bettering the world.”
The rich and powerful don’t have to face charges like We The Little People do:
Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.
It was systemic: Priests. Raped. Children.
And the Catholic church claims to have a lock on what Jesus would do?
I live in “Bronco Country” as in Boulder, Colorado, just up the road from Denver. As you probably know, Tim Tebow spent a year (2010 – 2011) quarterbacking with the Broncos before he was traded to the New York Jets.
The American Taliban tried to turn Tebow into a Jesus-like icon and an anti-women’s choice hero while he was here (it was intense) but it didn’t work. When people found out he was a failure as a quarterback, he wasn’t taken seriously.
Now there’s this:
While Tim Tebow is struggling to find an NFL team that is willing to sign him, he is apparently having no problem booking speaking gigs as the Jets’ backup quarterback is scheduled to address a Texas megachurch whose pastor is notorious for extremist statements about Roman Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, gays and lesbians and President Obama.
Bye Tim. I see you attending tent-style revival meetings in Arkansas in a few years.
Gotta love The Onion:
Citing his advancing age and deteriorating health, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy Monday, saying he no longer possessed the strength and energy required to lead the Catholic Church backward. According to the 85-year-old pontiff, after considerable prayer and reflection on his physical stamina and mental acuity, he concluded that his declining faculties left him unable to helm the Church’s ambitious regressive agenda and guide the faith’s one billion global followers on their steady march away from modernity and cultural advancement. “It is with sadness, but steadfast conviction, that I announce I am no longer capable of impeding social progress with the energy and endurance that is required of the highest ministry in the Roman Catholic Church,” … “While I’m proud of the strides the Church has made over the past eight years, from thwarting AIDS-prevention efforts in Africa to failing to punish or even admit to decades of sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy, it has become evident to me that, in this rapidly evolving world, I now lack the capacity to continue guiding this faith back centuries.”
This isn’t all parody. I will never forget the hateful message Benedict delivered last Christmas. One would think a Christmastime message would be full of hope and joy, but not from this guy.
This is how crazy they’re getting.
This would be Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson on his show this week:
And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.
Simultaneously sad and hilarious:
Two Arizona lawmakers are stirring Constitutional debate and threats of legal action after introducing bills that would require the state’s students to express love of country under God.
House Bill 2467, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Bob Thorpe, would require all public high school seniors to take an oath to “support and defend” the U.S. Constitution and proclaim, “so help me god.” A second proposal, House Bill 2284 sponsored by Republican state Rep. Steve Smith, would require all public 1-12 students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The oath, as proposed by Thorpe, reads:
I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.
I came across that at the same time I came across this:
The Founding Fathers were wise, wise men. They believed in the separation of church and state. They believed in the separation of church and state so much, the “So help me God” line at the end of the presidential oath of office we hear these days, was not included in the oath as written in the United States Constitution.
This is Article II, Section 1, Clause 8:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Again, there’s no “So help me God” at the end.
The lock the Israeli lobby in the United States has on the discussion of Israel’s occupation of Palestine is truly astonishing. Check out what the New York Times — a newspaper which says it offers “the world’s finest journalism” — did today when it told the truth (oops!) about that:
Screenshot #1. Note the headline: “Palestinians Set Up Camp in Israeli-Occupied West Bank Territory:”
Uh oh. Israeli-occupied? That’s basically banned language around here because Israel doesn’t do things like that, or so “the worlds finest” journalists would have us believe. Look at how the headline reads now: “Palestinians Set Up Tents Where Israel Plans Homes:”
The State of Israel was established in 1947:
On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the adoption and implementation of the United Nations partition plan of Mandatory Palestine. On 14 May 1948 David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”
The Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting over territory ever since, which makes this comment by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so ridiculous:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized President Shimon Peres on Tuesday, after the latter called him to move forward with Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
“Contrary to voices I’m hearing over the last few days, urging me to rush forward, to give up, to withdraw, I think that in a political process one should act responsibly and not in a rush, with a realistic approach and not a hasty one,” Netanyahu said.
No, let’s not “rush” or make any “hasty” decisions Bibi. Let’s wait another 65 years and who-knows-how-many more deaths. Geezus. What an utter lack of leadership.
The Pope took another step toward marginalizing the Catholic church today:
Pope Benedict used his annual Christmas message to denounce gay marriage, saying that it destroyed the “essence of the human creature.”
In one of his most important speeches of the year, the Pope stressed that a person’s gender identity is God-given and unchangeable. As a result, he sees gay marriage as a “manipulation of nature.”
“People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being,” he said at the Vatican on Friday. “They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”
The Pope has said that gay marriage, like abortion and euthanasia, is a threat to world peace.
I’m sorry Pope, you’re ignorant. My brother is gay and he has felt gay all his life. If he were to “deny [his] nature,” he would have ignored his feelings and tried to fake it as a straight man. He didn’t manipulate anything. Who in their right mind would “deny their nature” and choose to be gay when there are people like you out there using an occasion when the world celebrates peace and love to spread a message of hate? I mean, my brother is a threat to world peace?! Really?
Couldn’t you just have sung a Christmas carol or something?
Fox is having a fit over the White House Christmas card because it doesn’t mention Christmas, God or Jesus:
The 2012 White House “Holiday” card spotlights the Obama’s family Portuguese water dog — instead of Christmas.The black and white illustration was designed by Iowa artist Larassa Kabel and shows Bo the dog, wearing a scarf, while frolicking in the snow on the South Lawn of a blurred White House.The inside of the card reportedly reads, ”This season, may your home be filled with family, friends, and the joy of the holidays.” The card is signed by the entire First Family — along with Bo’s paw print.Vanity Fair deemed this year’s Obama ‘Holiday’ card his best-ever in a posting titled, “Bo Obama: the True Meaning of Christmas.”The 2012 card made no mention of any specific holiday nor did it include a Bible verse noting the birth of Christ.
Fox looks so silly here. What percentage of the American public will be outraged by this? Maybe 23%. The same 23% who still think George W. Bush was a great president and Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons.
This is such good news. The Palestinians have been shunned (thanks to Israel and the United States) long enough. I’m all for any move that gives oppressed people a voice. Bravo to the U.N.:
The United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a long-sought victory for the Palestinians but an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the United States.
The resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status to a nonmember observer state at the United Nations was approved by a more than two-thirds majority of the 193-member world body — a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
A Palestinian flag was quickly unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly, behind the Palestinian delegation.
Israel and the United States (embarrassingly) voted against the measure.
Thank god a majority of the members of the U.N. are less hateful and vindictive than the U.S. is; a big factor being that the Israeli lobby doesn’t have a choke-hold on their governments.
UPDATE: Here’s a list of the powerhouse (well, not exactly) nine nations that voted no with the U.S. on this:
Voting “no” Thursday were Israel, the United States and Canada, joined by the Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The Pacific nations typically support the U.S. and Israel at the U.N. on key General Assembly resolutions.
That’s right Americans. The Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau are on your side.
Check out this photo the New York Times ran yesterday under the headline: On This, 2 Sides Agree: Fighting Hardened Positions:
The caption under the photo reads: “Girls at a Gaza school were stunned to find it closed.”
Read the article here or at the link above.
That said, I love the reaction from TheAngryArabNewsService which is spot on:
“Girls at a Gaza school were stunned to find it closed[?]“ No, you smart people of the Times. They are stunned obviously to see all that destruction.
Geezus. The NYTimes can’t get past its own spin. Look at the blown-out windows in the background and the rubble. Who does the NYT think it’s kidding?
Hey, I think I know. Itself.
Does Israel have a long-term plan or strategy for dealing with its seemingly never-ending conflict with the Palestinians in Gaza? Not exactly:
An Israeli official was listening a few days ago to the familiar critique that Israel doesn’t have any strategy in Gaza, just periodic tactical assaults on Hamas. The official finally exploded: “That is our strategy. Don’t you understand? We don’t have any other choice except to punch our adversary in the face every few years.”
They “don’t have any other choice?” Yes they do. Where are the grownups?
In January, televangelist Pat Robertson told 700 Club viewers that in his annual New Year’s “conversation” with God, the Almighty had revealed to him who the next president would be. Up through Election Day, Robertson harshly criticizedPresident Obama and the Democratic Party while praisingMitt Romney. Then, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network predicted a GOP sweep, leaving Robertson utterly confounded by Obama’s victory.
Today, responding to a question from a viewer who wondered why her business is struggling since she thought God told her it would be successful, Robertson admitted that he sometimes misses God’s message. “So many of us miss God, I won’t get into great detail about elections but I sure did miss it, I thought I heard from God, I thought I had heard clearly from God, what happened?” Robertson replied, “You ask God, how did I miss it? Well, we all do and I have a lot of practice.”
Watch the video here, if you can stand it.
My Tweet of the Day from NBC’s Richard Engel:
Gee. I wonder where those drones came from. (Hint: USA! USA! USA!)
Think about it: Israel has nuclear bombs yet they claim the Palestinians who they’ve corralled in Gaza are a threat.
Ugh. I can’t stand it.
Follow Jewish Voice for Peace
Check it out:
This is a must — MUST — watch: “It tells the story of the wars in the land called Israel/Palestine/Canaan/the Levant, since the cavemen until today:”
Seriously. I highly recommend it.
Remember when Republicans thought the fight over contraception would help them win the Catholic vote? Heh. Didn’t happen. They support Obama in greater numbers now than they did in November:
Catholics are represented by that light blue line, third from the top.
See larger graph here.
More than 1,000 Nigerian women pilgrims remained stranded at a Saudi airport for a fifth straight day Thursday after being denied entry into the kingdom because they were not accompanied by men, an airport official confirmed.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the women have been denied entry because “they are not accompanied by a mahram (the statutory male companion),” adding that talks were continuing between Saudi and Nigerian officials.
The official said that the Nigerian consulate in Jeddah had offered to ensure the women’s return after the annual hajj pilgrimage, but Saudi immigration officials were “sticking to their position.”
The kingdom has yet to release a formal statement regarding the case.
The women had begun arriving at Jeddah airport on Sunday, a report by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, which oversees Nigerian participation in the pilgrimage, said.
I’ve always felt these laws are more about men than women. What, men can’t control themselves? Women have to cover their bodies from head to toe and be accompanied by a man when in public or else they’ll be assaulted? That’s my takeaway.
Before the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya on Tuesday evening I (embarrassingly) didn’t know a thing about Coptic Christians. Here’s a primer I came across today, FYI: What Journalists Need to Know About Coptic Christians.