Is it the Apocalypse, or just the federal Real ID Act?
Fourteen people in West Virginia won a special exemption from having digital photos taken for their driver’s licenses, which have new security features required by the federal law. The group objected to their digital photographs being stored in the state motor vehicle department computer system on grounds it conflicts with their religious beliefs. The group fears storing the pictures could be the beginning of the biblical “mark of the beast,” according to The Charleston Gazette.
Dinosaurs helped build the pyramids, school director says
Far from becoming extinct 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs actually co-existed with early humans, and even helped in the construction of the pyramids.
This is the word of Vince Fenech, Evangelist pastor and director of a fully licensed, State-approved Creationist institution which admits children aged between four and 18.
“Of course the ‘dinoceros’ existed (as Fenech pronounces the word). It is mentioned in the Book of Job. They were used to help build the pyramids,” he says, adding that this latter observation is only “his personal belief”, and that it does not form part of the school’s curriculum.
But the curriculum of the Accelerated Christian Academy in Mosta is not exactly free of such fanciful reinventions of history. Fenech reiterates the basic Evangelist tenet that the entire universe was created in 4004 BC… and this time, he also supplies “proof”.
“When man landed on the moon (in 1969), they expected the landing module to sink in a deep layer of dust. But the layer was only a few inches deep. This proves that the universe is still young!”
Does it? I would have thought it merely illustrates that unlike the Earth, the moon has little or nothing in the way of atmosphere… and dust is usually generated as a result of particles which combine as they are buffeted around by the movement of atmospheric molecules. Also, the moon’s gravity is two thirds less than it is on Earth… which in turn means that dust is practically weightless, and therefore doesn’t settle.
But of course there is little point in saying so, because as far as Fenech in concerned, it is the word of God alone that counts. Fenech confirmed this during an impromptu interview at the MaltaToday office in San Gwann, where he irrupted last Thursday on a Divine Mission to correct my misconceptions about his Mosta academy.
“Your write-up last Sunday was full of mistakes,” he pointed out. Foremost among the mistakes is the incorrect identification of Fenech as “headmaster” instead of director… an error which I acknowledge, and for which I apologise.
Complete article at:
THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT’S SLICK CAMPAIGN TO MAKE ABSTINENCE SEEM TRENDY
By Vanessa Valenti, AlterNet
Conservatives finally learned that moralizing doesn’t keep teens from having sex. Now they have a creepy new tactic.
A Pop-Star Pastor’s Public Fall and the Christian Cult of Celebrity (by Jarrod McKenna)
It was only last month that Sydney newspaper The Herald Sun’s Faithworks blog carried a post with this paragraph: “There is an amazing moment on the latest Hillsong DVD, This Is Our God, when Michael Guglielmucci, stricken with cancer, walks on stage with an oxygen tent to boldly sing his song “Healer.” He doesn’t know how long he has to live, but still proclaims the goodness of his God.” Earlier in the year, Mike’s overtly Christian worship song “Healer,” which he said was inspired by his struggle with a deadly form of cancer, debuted at number two on Australia’s official music charts. Tragically, last week another news source headline read: “Pop star pastor lied about cancer.”
THEOCRATIC SECT PRAYS FOR REAL ARMAGEDDON
By Casey Sanchez, Southern Poverty Law Center
The end-times are coming. Are you a soldier in God’s army, fighting to bring about the millennial reign of Christ?
Swedish government makes it illegal for schools to teach religious doctrine as if it were true
The Guardian – The Swedish government has announced plans to clamp down hard on religious education. It will soon become illegal even for private faith schools to teach religious doctrines as if they were true. In an interesting twist on the American experience, prayer will remain legal in schools – after all, it has no truth value. But everything that takes place on the curriculum’s time will have to be secular. “Pupils must be protected from every sort of fundamentalism,” said the minister for schools, Jan Björklund.
Creationism and ID are explicitly banned but so is proselytising even in religious education classes. The Qur’an may not be taught as if it is true even in Muslim independent schools, nor may the Bible in Christian schools. The decision looks like a really startling attack on the right of parents to have their children taught what they would like. Of course it does not go so far as the Dawkins policy of prohibiting parents from trying to pass on their doctrines even in their own families – and, if it did, it would certainly run foul of the European convention on human rights. It does not even go as far as Nyamko Sabuni, the minister for integration – herself born in Burundi – would like: she wanted to ban all religious schools altogether. But it is still a pretty drastic measure from an English perspective.
The law is being presented in Sweden as if it mostly concerned fundamentalist Christian sects in the backwoods; but the Christian Democratic party, which represents such people if anyone does, is perfectly happy with the new regulation. There is little doubt that combating Islamic fundamentalism is the underlying aim, especially in conjunction with another new requirement that all independent schools declare all their funding sources. This would allow the inspectors – whose budget is being doubled – to concentrate their efforts on those schools most likely to be paid to break the rules.
In the background to these announcements comes the release of a frightening documentary film on Swedish jihadis, which follows young men over a period of two years on their slow conversion to homicidal lunacy.
From: http://tinyurl.com/6zkepr (politicalbunker.com)
THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT’S GOT A NEW STEALTH TACTIC TO SMUGGLE CREATIONISM INTO SCIENCE CLASS
By Sandhya Bathija, Church & State Magazine
A new law in Louisiana allows teachers to bring in “supplemental textbooks” about evolution, the origins of life and global warming to science class.
New Words From The Seminal – Love of God, Love of Country: The Right Doesn’t Know The Difference
24 Aug 2008
Today, I saw two bumper stickers on a mini-van that frightened me. One simply said, “McCain. Country First.” Right next to it was a miniature version of the Ten Commandments. The very first of those Ten Commandments states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This means that for Christians (and also for Jews), there is no priority greater than following God. Neither self, nor family, nor career, nor favorite sports team, nor even country should come first. Only God.
I wonder if the contradiction presented by the two stickers has even occurred to the driver of that mini-van. Probably not, since conservative Christians in the United States tend to equate God with country. To be a good Christian is to be a good American and vice versa. Therefore, when they say “country first,” they might as well be saying “God and country first.” In their minds, it’s the same thing. This simplistic equation allows them to put a divine sanction on all of their political views, and to push their policies with a “bomb-proof” certainty that more nuanced minds on the left and in the middle cannot arrive at.
The really frightening part is that the people pushing the buttons on faith and patriotism don’t seem to be all that faithful themselves. It’s dangerous territory to start questioning the religious convictions of others, but I don’t get the sense that the driving force behind Bush, Cheney, Rove, McCain and the other top neo-cons is their desire to follow God, or for that matter to serve their nation and its Constitution. Their top priority seems to be something else – and God and country are tools that they use to accomplish their own agendas. History shows that this is a dangerous equation – religion and nationalism being used by politicians in order to gain power.
“McCain. Country First.” “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” In previous generations, these two bumper stickers would not have been so frightening. But in a time when the president lies to get us into a war with religious overtones; in a time when the Christian right is making great political efforts to get their minority views enacted into law; in a time of expanding executive power; in a time when civil liberties are eroding; and in a time when politicians routinely provoke fears of terrorism and immigration, we should all take notice.
From: The Seminal :: Independent Media And Politics
Missouri Public School Must Stop Distribution of Bibles to Fifth-Graders, Americans United Tells Court
August 25, 2008
Gideon Bible Handouts Put Pressure On Students To Conform, Says Church-State Watchdog Group
A Missouri public school must end its policy of allowing an evangelical Christian group to distribute Bibles to fifth-graders on school property during school hours, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has told a federal appellate court.
In a friend-of-the court brief filed with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Americans United insists that school-sanctioned distribution of religious materials to students violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
AU urges the appellate court to uphold a Missouri district court’s decision that ordered South Iron R-1 School District to stop the practice.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, said the brief was filed because important principles are at stake.
“The Constitution forbids government officials to meddle in religious matters,” Lynn said. “Decisions about religion are up to parents, not school board members.
“If parents want their children to have a Bible, they are perfectly free to go out and buy one,” Lynn continued. “This school board is way out of line.”
For more than 30 years, South Iron R-1 School District permitted Gideons International to distribute Bibles during class time under the supervision of school officials, but revamped its policy as soon as the federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of parents by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The new school policy allows the Gideons to hand out Bibles in the cafeteria or in front of administrative offices between classes. The federal district court invalidated both policies.
The school board appealed the court’s Roark v. South Iron R-1 School District decision, hoping to continue the unconstitutional practice.
In its brief, AU asserts that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that school district promotion of religion puts pressure on nonbelievers or dissenters and is unconstitutional.
“In the cafeteria, students who choose to take Bibles and those who choose not to will be visible to much, if not all, of the student community — a prospect made more likely given the school’s small size, 427 students,” the brief said. “Any child visibly ignoring the availability of the Bibles or returning to class empty-handed will stand out to his peers and thus feel pressured to take a Bible.”
The Gideons distribute the Bibles “to encourage the children to accept Christ as their personal savior.” The Bibles distributed at South Iron also include a place for students to sign under the written statement: “My Decision to Receive Christ as My Savior.”
The school board continued to allow the Gideons to distribute Bibles at the school even after warnings from the school’s attorneys, superintendent and insurance carrier. The superintendent resigned soon after the board ignored this legal advice, indicating in his resignation letter that the board was “headed down a path that is both illegal and costly.”
AU’s brief was drafted pro bono by attorney Kristina Silja Bennard of the national law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, in consultation with AU Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan and AU Senior Litigation Counsel Alex J. Luchenitser.
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State www.au.org
An Open Letter to God, from Michael Moore
Sunday, August 31, 2008
The other night, the Rev. James Dobson’s ministry asked all believers to pray for a storm on Thursday night so that the Obama acceptance speech outdoors in Denver would have to be cancelled.
I see that You have answered Rev. Dobson’s prayers — except the storm You have sent to earth is not over Denver, but on its way to New Orleans! In fact, You have scheduled it to hit Louisiana at exactly the moment that George W. Bush is to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention.
Now, heavenly Father, we all know You have a great sense of humor and impeccable timing. To send a hurricane on the third anniversary of the Katrina disaster AND right at the beginning of the Republican Convention was, at first blush, a stroke of divine irony. I don’t blame You, I know You’re angry that the Republicans tried to blame YOU for Katrina by calling it an “Act of God” — when the truth was that the hurricane itself caused few casualties in New Orleans. Over a thousand people died because of the mistakes and neglect caused by humans, not You.
Some of us tried to help after Katrina hit, while Bush ate cake with McCain and twiddled his thumbs. I closed my office in New York and sent my entire staff down to New Orleans to help. I asked people on my website to contribute to the relief effort I organized — and I ended up sending over two million dollars in donations, food, water, and supplies (collected from thousands of fans) to New Orleans while Bush’s FEMA ice trucks were still driving around Maine three weeks later.
But this past Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that the Republicans had begun making plans to possibly postpone the convention. The AP had reported that there were no shelters set up in New Orleans for this storm, and that the levee repairs have not been adequate. In other words, as the great Ronald Reagan would say, “There you go again!”
So the last thing John McCain and the Republicans needed was to have a split-screen on TVs across America: one side with Bush and McCain partying in St. Paul, and on the other side of the screen, live footage of their Republican administration screwing up once again while New Orleans drowns.
So, yes, You have scared the Jesus, Mary and Joseph out of them, and more than a few million of your followers tip their hats to You.
But now it appears that You haven’t been having just a little fun with Bush & Co. It appears that Hurricane Gustav is truly heading to New Orleans and the Gulf coast. We hear You, O Lord, loud and clear, just as we did when Rev. Falwell said You made 9/11 happen because of all those gays and abortions. We beseech You, O Merciful One, not to punish us again as Pat Robertson said You did by giving us Katrina because of America’s “wholesale slaughter of unborn children.” His sentiments were echoed by other Republicans in 2005.
So this is my plea to you: Don’t do this to Louisiana again. The Republicans got your message. They are scrambling and doing the best they can to get planes, trains and buses to New Orleans so that everyone can get out. They haven’t sent the entire Louisiana National Guard to Iraq this time — they are already patrolling the city streets. And, in a nod to I don’t know what, Bush’s head of FEMA has named a man to help manage the federal government’s response. His name is W. Michael Moore. I kid you not, heavenly Father. They have sent a man with both my name AND W’s to help save the Gulf Coast.
So please God, let the storm die out at sea. It’s done enough damage already. If you do this one favor for me, I promise not to invoke your name again. I’ll leave that to the followers of Rev. Dobson and to those gathering this week in St. Paul.
Your faithful servant and former seminarian,
P.S. To all of God’s fellow children who are reading this, the city New Orleans has not yet recovered from Katrina. Please click here for a list of things you can do to help our brothers and sisters on the Gulf Coast.
And, if you do live along the Gulf Coast, please take all necessary safety precautions immediately.
Former priest sentenced for decades-old Wis. abuse … and more
Fort Mills Times – Fort Mill,SC,USA
In its ruling the high court said clergy can be prosecuted for decades-old sexual abuse if they left Wisconsin before a six-year statute of limitations …
Priest defrocked over sex abuse allegation
Albany Times Union – Albany,NY,USA
By JIMMY VIELKIND, Staff writer ALBANY — Officials of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese have defrocked a priest accused of sexually abusing boys in the …
Priest sex abuse case gets green light
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES …
Roman Catholic priest sex abuse case gets green light in Belleville, Ill. -
Court reinstates child neglect charges against East Tenn. minister
Jackson Sun – Jackson,TN,USA
AP KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Supreme Court says a minister accused of contributing to the cancer death of a 15-year-old girl can be charged with child …
Testimony: Gregory released priest files missing information on …
Belleville News Democrat – IL, USA
Petersen said Wisniewski, as a 13-year-old, had little chance of preventing abuse by an authoritarian figure such as a priest who told him the sexual
More Alleged Priest Sex Abuse Victims Take the Stand
Fox44 News – Colchester,Vermont,USA
He says when the Diocese received complaints about the priest, they simply moved him, instead of protecting him from Father Paquette. …
three thousand words
Mike Peters: think of it as an “IGOD”
Free Thinking is Bad…
YES THIS IS BALAAM, NO I WON’T ACCEPT A COLLECT CALL FROM ‘DONKEY’