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Religion Losing Ground

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The Washington Post

The percentage of Americans who call themselves Christians has dropped dramatically over the past two decades, and those who do are increasingly identifying themselves without traditional denomination labels, according to a major study of U.S. religion being released today.
Thank God!

Oh, wait. Thank all that is spaghetti and sauced.

There. That's better.


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I could go on a screed about the vile nature of Islam. The problem is that Islam is not the culprit here, it's Muzzammil Hassan.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The founder of an Islamic television station in upstate New York aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes has confessed to beheading his wife, authorities said.

Muzzammil Hassan was charged with second-degree murder after police found the decapitated body of his wife, Aasiya Hassan, at the Bridges TV station in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, said Andrew Benz, Orchard Park's police chief.
My problem with organized religion is that it's a construct of man. And since man is flawed, that makes organized religion flawed. Now, give me an organized religion that openly, honestly and with great humility, acknowledges it's flaw, then I might be willing to step inside one of their houses of worship. But as long as people like Muzzammil Hassan, Fred Phelps, Pat Robinson, Osama bin Laden, et. el.,  are the faces associated with fundamental religions, I'll pass.

While religions are intolerant, I am intolerant of religions.

Introducing Pope Benedict XVI

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New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Pope Benedict XVI makes his first papal trip to the United States in April, he will be guided by a seasoned Vatican ambassador who sees the visit as an opportunity to introduce a little-known pope to a complex set of audiences: American Catholics, Americans in general and global opinion leaders.

“The image of Benedict XVI is not only not well known, but it is badly known,” said Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who, as apostolic nuncio, is the Vatican’s top diplomat in the United States.

I hope he is on the No Fly List.

Top Ten List

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Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering.  And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers.  You consider that to be evidence that prayer works.  And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

By way of C&R

all_saints_church.thumbnail.jpgThe Carpetbagger Report

I'm glad the matter was resolved, but there are still lingering questions about whether the IRS investigation was driven by partisan motivations. It seems scary to think administration officials targeted All Saints because it's a progressive church, but there's reason to raise the question.

From the outset, the IRS seemed to deal with All Saints in an unusual way. For example, when a ministry is suspected of intervening in a political campaign, ordinarily the first step is a warning letter from the IRS. In this case, the agency skipped that step and went right to a threatening letter, stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church."

Moreover, usually a house of worship is reminded of legal limits, the institution promises to play nice, and unless there's a pattern of repeated abuse, the matter is final. The IRS seems to have taken a far more aggressive position towards All Saints Episcopal. The church provided the IRS with a copy of all literature given out before the election; the IRS said it wasn't satisfied. The church said it never endorses candidates; the IRS told church officials to either admit wrongdoing or face more intense scrutiny.

Looks to be another shiny example of BushCo™ politicizing government, by taking a page out of Tricky Dick's play book.

Given the circumstances, it's not unreasonable to wonder if, perhaps, Bush-appointed staffers at the IRS targeted All Saints because they didn't like the sermon's criticism of their president. It would be an outrageous abuse of power for the IRS to go after a house of worship based on partisan political concerns, but given what we've seen of the Bush gang, it's hard to offer the administration much in the way of benefit of the doubt.

During Watergate, we learned that Nixon used the IRS to harass and intimidate political opponents. Let's hope this isn't a repeat of the same abuse.

Another story to send to Dan Froomkin.

Traci Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, said the agency was acting in response to a 2004 report by the Office of the Inspector General in the Justice Department. The report recommended steps that prisons should take, in light of the Sept. 11 attacks, to avoid becoming recruiting grounds for militant Islamic and other religious groups. The bureau, an agency of the Justice Department, defended its effort, which it calls the Standardized Chapel Library Project, as a way of barring access to materials that could, in its words, "discriminate, disparage, advocate violence or radicalize."
And just who made up the list of "approved" religious text? And does this imply an "approved religion" for the United States?

Like I am going to trust anyone in the current administration with making a list. Probably the same damn idiot who makes up the "No Fly List."

MIAMI (AP) -- The Rev. D. James Kennedy, a pioneering Christian broadcaster and megachurch pastor whose fiercely conservative worldview helped fuel the rise of the religious right in American politics, died Wednesday. He was 76.
As always, if I've got nothing good to say about the dead, I've got nothing to say.

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- When the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed for bankruptcy in February, abruptly halting multiple sex-abuse lawsuits on the eve of trial, Michael Bang thought his chance for a day in court was gone.

On Friday, a federal bankruptcy judge revived hope for Bang, ruling that 42 cases be sent back to state courts for immediate jury trials.

''Doing that in February really reaffirmed to me how significant the cover-up is,'' said Bang, a 46-year-old Atlanta man who says he spent years of his boyhood as a sex slave to a reverend monsignor. ''They want to do anything they can within the legal system to stop it, but all it's done is made me more committed to telling the truth.''
So, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed for bankruptcy just to avoid having the truth about their priest's sexual deviancy exposed to light. Huh, just doesn't seem to jive with the whole confession is good for the soul ideology of Catholicism.

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Guy Andrew Hall

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Politics is the control of wealth and power. You are being conditioned to condemn politics as petty and boring, thus granting all the more control to the powers that be. You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. The choice is yours.


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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Religion category.

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