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A majority of conservative old Catholic men: What’s Next? A Ruling that Workers’ Insurance Doesn’t Have to Cover Transfusions?

By Dave Lindorff


The vote by the US Supreme Court’s five conservative Catholic male members in the Hobby Lobby case, declaring that companies substantially owned by people who on religious grounds believe that contraception is a sin can not be compelled to offer coverage for it in any health plan provided to their employees raises a few important questions.


Just Say Yes: Amber Lyon on Radical Transformation Through Psychedelics

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

Discussed in this episode:Ayahuasca as a Cure for Amber Lyon’s PTSD, Psilocybin as a Possible Cure for Dennis Trainor Jr.’s ‘Anger Issues’, Reset.Me, Corruption at CNN, BP Oil Spill, Saving the World Through Self Improvement, DMT, LSD, Indie Media, The Healing Power of Psychedelics

http://youtu.be/j91CMGdIz94

Fundamentalism: A Psychological Problem

Fundamentalism is a widespread problem. It often manifests in a religious context - making it highly visible - but there are plenty of secular fundamentalists too. If we are to understand fundamentalism we should not view it as a religious problem: It is a psychological one.

What is a fundamentalist? A fundamentalist is usually considered to be a person who adheres strictly to a doctrine, viewpoint or set of principles that are considered original and ‘pure’; this doctrine might be theological in nature. For the fundamentalist, many of their beliefs and the behaviours that arise from them will, at least in theory, be derivative of their fundamental doctrine. For the fundamentalist, there is no room to consider views that are at variance with their accepted doctrine and contrary views will usually either be dismissed out-of-hand or resisted with considerable vigour and, often, violence.

Of Principalities and Powers ~ “Doesn’t the Pope Realize It’s Football Season?”

  “A person could perish of entertainment....”     - Garrison Keillor

 

“Did you see that the Pope has called for people around the world to get together for a day of prayer and fasting this Saturday?” asked my neighbor Harmon, looking up from his newspaper.

 

U.S. Government Requires That Woman Agree to Kill, Believe Pile of Lies, or Both

Atheist Applies For U.S. Citizenship, Told to Get Letter From a Church

Immigration Officials Deny Secular Conscientious Objector Status, Says Humanist Legal Center

For Immediate Release from American Humanist Assoc.

Contact: William Burgess, bburgess@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x 102

(Washington, DC, June 18, 2013) — The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter yesterday on behalf of atheist Margaret Doughty to immigration officials regarding an unconstitutional demand that her application for naturalized citizenship include proof of a religious basis when she objected to a pledge that she “bear arms” in defense of the United States.

Margaret Doughty, 64, has been a legal resident of the U.S. for over 30 years and is in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen. She has expressed her objection to warfare to immigration officials. A part of the process includes an oath of loyalty, including, in part, a pledge that the new citizen would bear arms in the county’s defense. The law permits those who object to doing so for moral reasons to omit this portion of the oath. Despite U.S. Supreme Court rulings that require a secular exemption be offered, she has been required to present a letter by June 21 from a church to justify her objection.

“In order to comply with the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of conscience, references to 'religious belief' in federal immigration law have been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include secular moral beliefs,” said Bill Burgess, coordinator of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “We are happy to represent Margaret Doughty in this case and will be working to make sure the government to which she wishes to swear loyalty will respect her constitutional rights.”

When asked if she would take up arms in defense of the United States, Ms. Doughty said, in part:

Drones for Christ

by David Swanson | July 2013

How Jerry Falwell's Liberty U.—the world's largest Christian university—became an evangelist for drone warfare.

 http://sojo.net/magazine/2013/07/drones-christ

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY in Lynchburg, Va., was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. Its publications carry the slogan “Training Champions for Christ since 1971.” Some of those champions are now being trained to pilot armed drones, and others to pilot more traditional aircraft, in U.S. wars. For Christ.


 

Liberty bills itself as “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.” It trains chaplains for the various branches of the military. And it trains pilots in its School of Aeronautics (SOA)—pilots who go up in planes and drone pilots who sit behind desks wearing pilot suits. The SOA, with more than 600 students, is not seen on campus, as it has recently moved to a building adjacent to Lynchburg Regional Airport.

Liberty’s campus looks new and attractive, large enough for some 12,000 students, swarming with blue campus buses, and heavy on sports facilities for the Liberty Flames. A campus bookstore prominently displays Resilient Warriors, a book by Associate Vice President for Military Outreach Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert F. Dees. There’s new construction everywhere you look: a $50 million library, a baseball stadium, new dorms, a tiny year-round artificial ski slope on the top of a hill. In fact, Liberty is sitting on more than $1 billion in net assets.

The major source of Liberty’s money is online education. There are some 60,000 Liberty students you don’t see on campus, because they study via the internet. They also make Liberty the largest university in Virginia, the fourth largest online university anywhere, and the largest Christian university in the world.

More than 23,000 online students are in the military—twice as many as students who live on campus. Liberty offers extra financial support to veterans and those on active duty, allowing them to be credited for knowledge learned in the military and to study online from a war zone.

Liberty has been turning out “Christ-centered aviators” for a decade. In fall 2011, Liberty added a concentration in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka drones), making it one of the first handful of schools to do this. Now at least 14 universities and colleges in the U.S. have permits from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones, and many institutions, including community colleges, offer drone training.

If one chooses to concentrate studies on piloting drones, the load will include a half dozen courses on “intelligence.” Liberty students can also pick up a minor in strategic intelligence and take courses in terrorism and counterterrorism. (Liberty’s school of government brags that Newt Gingrich helped develop its course on “American exceptionalism.”)

Attacking American Sovereign Soil Diminishes the Rights of Religion

 


 


by Walter Brasch


 


The terrorists who attacked the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, claimed the attacks were retaliation for the publication on You Tube of an anti-Muslim film. That YouTube video was a 14-minute trailer for a one-hour film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that was not only a vicious bigoted attack against Islam but also of no artistic merit.  


 One of the extremist political parties in Egypt plucked the trailer from obscurity and used it as part of a newscast, inflaming the people of Egypt, who mounted a demonstration against the U.S. embassy. Within a week, the trailer had more than 10 million hits on YouTube.

It's Their Thin Skin That Makes Muslims Hate Us, Right?

Why the Mideast Exploded, Really

September 17, 2012

Editor Note: The new conventional wisdom, in the wake of angry protests roiling the Middle East, is that Muslims are either way too sensitive or irrational. How else to explain the fury over an offensive anti-Islam video? But the video was just the spark that ignited a long-smoldering fire, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

“Why Is the Arab world so easily offended?” asks the headline atop an article by Fouad Ajami, which the Washington Post published online last Friday to give perspective to the recent anti-American violence in Muslim capitals.

While the Post described Ajami simply as a “senior fellow” at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, Wikipedia gives a more instructive perspective on his checkered career and dubious credibility.

You Mean Muslims Make Art?

When Jesus used a good Samaritan to explain the need to appreciate foreigners, he can be forgiven for not having known that so many Samaritans would later convert to Islam.  It's not as if he was omniscient or something!  And think of how much he's forgiven us.  Nonetheless, since we can't reasonably be expected to appreciate Muslims -- at least not while we're teaching young people that Muslims deserve genocide --  that whole parable falls apart.

I doubt one film can solve this problem, but I did just get a chance to preview a beautiful documentary that will be airing on PBS on July 6th, called "Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World."  Susan Sarandon narrates, and the voices are all in English -- no dubbing or subtitles.  They're the voices of professors, art scholars, and artists.  The subtitle could be a reference to cultures of the distant past, as an early comment in the film suggests, or perhaps it carries some sort of religious meaning.

The art in the film is largely but not exclusively religious.  It's all art and architecture of "the Muslim world," taken to mean geographic areas dominated by Muslim culture now or in the past.  We learn about the heavy use of Arabic writing in Islamic art, in calligraphy, and in architectural inscriptions.  We tour great works of architecture in Palestine, Syria, Spain, Turkey, Mali, and India.  In the secular world, apart from the mosques, we see plates, bowls, pitchers, sculptures, and paintings depicting animals and people. 

In Isfahan, in the middle of Iran, so easily bombed, we find the origin of the blue and white ceramics we associate with a nation they spread to: China -- as well as stunning images of a beautiful blue mosque.  During the course of the movie we are told how various Muslim art forms were influenced by Christian or Hindu art.  And of course, the opposite has been just as common.  The interlocking histories of these cultures make it very difficult to speak of one as if it were separate from the others. 

I have to assume that someone who identified with a religion other than Islam could have as easy a time appreciating Islamic art as I do, being an atheist who would prefer to see the world leave religion behind. Some of the experts heard in the film instruct us that various art objects refer to prayer or heaven, or that the art provides the viewer with a religious experience.  And yet if I ignore the commentary what I see are incredible designs and colors developed around natural and mathematical beauty. 

God said: to know me, know my creations, we're told, and yet the flower designs woven into wonderful tapestries in Western Asia inspire even if I'm not trying to know something else that I can know by knowing them, if you know what I mean.

Second Thoughts on Publicly Displaying 10 Commandments

Until now, I've always opposed the idea of posting the 10 Commandments on government buildings.

I don't want a theocracy. I don't want religion at all, even separated from government. I'm embarrassed for my species that so many people imagine we haven't advanced at all in millennia. Must we really turn to an ancient book that sanctions slavery and rape, stonings and genocide, to find not only guidance but unquestionable dictates? I'm disgusted by the notion that we should behave decently merely because of an imaginary system of rewards and punishments. Even mice only behave for real cheese and real shocks. How pathetic are we, exactly?

How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren

Child reading Bible
The story of Saul and the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.

The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It's not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don't intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:

"Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."

Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. "In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul's memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors," writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses (HarperCollins).

This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly "Bible study" course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

CAIR Asks Pentagon to Dismiss Officer Who Taught 'Total War' on Islam

Training suggested destroying Mecca and Medina using 'Hiroshima' tactics

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/10/12) -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to dismiss the instructor who taught fellow officers that only a "total war" on Islam would protect America, that they should use "Hiroshima" tactics, target civilian populations, and abandon the Geneva Conventions.

U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam

From Wired

The U.S. military taught its future leaders that a “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room. Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary.”

The course, first reported by Danger Room last month and held at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, has since been canceled by the Pentagon brass. It’s only now, however, that the details of the class have come to light. Danger Room received hundreds of pages of course material and reference documents from a source familiar with the contents of the class.

Santorum Hearing Voices

By Michael Collins

Satire

(Washington, DC) Senator Rick Santorum knows something many of us do not. Satan is waging war on the United States. This is no scruffy terrorist group carrying explosives in their underwear or shoes. It is Satan himself, also known as the Devil, Mephistopheles, the Beast, etc. (Image one, two)

How does the senator know so much about this attack?

Santorum hears voices.

Four years ago, he admitted just that:

"Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those voices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has (sic) deeply rooted in the American tradition," Senator Rick Santorum from The Daily Beast

That's a very strong statement. Some wonder if the senator is barking-at-the-moon mad. Santorum is undeterred. Campaigning in Arizona, he asserted his right to speak out about "good and evil." He referenced former President Ronald Reagan as one political leader who shared this view. Santorum also shares Reagan's strongly held conviction that trees cause pollution.

Droning on... and on, across whole countries... with secret military & CIA programs...

In Air America: Under the Imperial Eye, Chris Floyd reports on the recent revelation that Iraq's supposedly "sovereign airspace" is constantly under surveillance by a network of drones operated by the State Department. Apparently the only reason this news came to light is because of a publicly available government appeal for private bids on the project. Neither we nor Iraqis were meant to know:

"Iraqis were outraged this week to find they are being spied upon by a fleet of American drones hovering constantly in their supposedly sovereign skies, long after the supposed withdrawal of American forces."

Christianists Boo When Ron Paul Proposes Following the Golden Rule

Ron Paul in debate:

My point is, if another country does to us what we do others, we're not going to like it very much. So I would say that maybe we ought to consider a golden rule in foreign policy. Don't do to other nations... [Boos]

... what we don't want to have them do to us. So we endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder, wonder why they get upset with us? And yet it continues on and on. I mean, this idea that we can't debate foreign policy, then all we have to do is start another war?

I mean, it's warmongering. They're building up for another war against Iran, and people can't wait to get in another war. This country doesn't need another war. We need to quit the ones we're in. We need to save the money and bring our troops home.

Better than Obama: Why the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.

 

How Much Money Could The Defense Department Save If It Stopped Trying To Save Souls?

From the Public Record

By

When the average American thinks of military spending on religion, they probably think only of the money spent on chaplains and chapels. And, yes, the Department of Defense (DoD) does spend a hell of a lot of money on these basic religious accommodations to provide our troops with the opportunity to exercise their religion while serving our country. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the DoD’s funding of religion.

Also paid for with taxpayer dollars are a plethora of events, programs, and schemes that violate not only the Constitution, but, in many cases, the regulations on federal government contractors, specifically the regulation prohibiting federal government contractors receiving over $10,000 in contracts a year from discriminating based on religion in their hiring practices.

READ THE REST

Air Force Cites New Testament, Ex-Nazi, to Train Officers on Ethics of Launching Nuclear Weapons

by: Jason Leopold, Truthout | Report


Wernher Von Braun, a former member of the Nazi Party who used Jews imprisoned in concentration camps to help build the V-2 rocket for Hitler's Third Reich, is cited in an Air Force PowerPoint presentation about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons. (Image: Department of the Air Force)

The United States Air Force has been training young missile officers about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons by citing passages from the New Testament and commentary from a former member of the Nazi Party, according to newly released documents.

The mandatory Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare session, which includes a discussion on St. Augustine's "Christian Just War Theory," is led by Air Force chaplains and takes place during a missile officer's first week in training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The Christian Just War Theory has been touted by Rep. Ron Paul, a 2012 presidential candidate, during campaign stops.

St. Augustine's "Qualifications for Just War," according to the way it is cited in a 43-page PowerPoint presentation, are: "to avenge or to avert evil; to protect the innocent and restore moral social order (just cause)" and "to restore moral order; not expand power, not for pride or revenge (just intent)."

READ THE REST AT TRUTHOUT

 

How Should The West Engage With the Muslim World?

By David Swanson

Opening Remarks at a Dialogue With Islam.

I want to thank Shahinoor Ali and http://dialoguewithislam.org for inviting me and I'm honored to speak together with Dr. Azzam Tamami.

I don't know about the West, but I have some thoughts on the United States. I recently flew from California to Washington, D.C., and when the plane landed, the pilot came on the intercom to tell everyone to celebrate: our government had killed Osama bin Laden. This was better than winning the Super Bowl, he said.

Set aside for a moment the morality of cheering for the killing of a human being -- which despite the pilot's prompting nobody on the plane did. In purely Realpolitik terms, killing prominent individuals whom we've previously supported has never resolved anything.

June 10 in London: How Should the West Engage with the Muslim World?

Following the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the recent Middle-East speech of Barak Obama many now feel this is a ‘new chapter’ in US diplomacy in the Muslim World. How realistic are these positive expectations or have we been on this road before?

To discuss these and other issues Dialogue With Islam has invited the following distinguished panel:

David Swanson (US Author and activist)

Sir David Blatherwick (former ambassorder of Egypt)

Dr Azzam Tamami (Director of the Islamic Institute of Political thought)

Tickets are £1 by reservation - Limited seats ( or £2 at the door)

Please note this is to cover the hiring of the venue; no profits are made from this event

Please text on 07956 411558

Email shahinoorali@aol.com

Time: 7.00pm

Date: Friday 10th June 2011

Venue: Jagonari Centre

183-185 Whitechapel Road,

London E1.

Nearest Tube: Whitechapel Station and Aldgate East.

Please Stop Burning Korans

DUBAI, UAE -- I was on my way to Afghanistan and have delayed the final leg of the trip a day to see whether being American is compatible with not getting blown up. The problem seems to be that, in addition to the U.S. military occupying the country for almost a decade and routinely murdering random innocent people, some bigoted jerk in Florida is creating a big stink about how much he hates Islam and enjoys burning copies of the Koran.

The Koran-burning preacher claims that he's just burned a book, not killed anyone. Of course, nothing excuses those who actually engage in killing, no matter what inspired their rage. But the preacher hasn't just burned a book. He's preached hatred. He's added deep insult to injury. The results were predictable, or at the very least are predictable now, while he shows no sign of relenting.

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