Archive for the 'religion' Category

Do We Really Think a Mosque Near Ground Zero Is Offensive?

I am amazed that this story still keeps going around and around but earlier this week the NY Times published another story quoting former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  Giuliani said that building a “mosque near ground zero is offensive to families of 9/11 victims and should be built elsewhere.”  He went on further to say that, “if you are a healer, you do not go forward with this project. If you’re a warrior, you do.”

I find this rationale rather disturbing and these statements borderline racist or at a minimum with religious prejudice.  When “white” and “Catholic” terrorist Timothy McVeigh decided to attack his country killing 168 people and injuring 450 (with nineteen of the victims being small children and babies in the day care center on the second floor) he was not labeled as one of “those Catholic terrorists.”  We did not round up all of the Catholics in the country and demand information on their loyalty to the USA or the affiliations to the Catholic Church.  So how is it that America was not up in arms with what happened next… the Catholics of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral built a “shrine in remembrance” of the event on the site (see location)!  Remember that this is the same Catholic Church that started killing unbelievers as early as the 4th century. The killing (often with torture) of heretics, church splinter groups, dissenters, atheists, agnostics, deists, pagans, infidels and unbelievers was supported by almost all mainstream Christian theology for over a thousand years, starting with the intolerant St. Augustine (died 430 AD).  The Catholics are no less culpable for the heinous acts commited in the history of their religion.

So Mr. Giuliani (Roman Catholic) how easy is it for you to lump the 19 September 11th hijackers in with the rest of their law-abiding Muslim citizens in this country but neglect the fact that your Catholic brothers and sisters have already raised a statue as a shrine of remembrance on the hallowed ground of the OKC National Memorial in Oklahoma City, OK?   Do you not think that the “shrine” might be found offensive to families of victims and should it have not been built elsewhere?

Why We Will Perish

velasquezEduardo Velasquez’s “Consumer’s Guide to the Apocolypse” investigates the culture wars with improbable evidence from angst ridden pop songs from Cold Play and Tori Amos and the writings of Tom Wolfe and Chuck Palahniuk.

“we discover that the antagonisms that fuel the current cultural wars stem from the same source. Enthusiastic religions and dogmatic science, the flourishing of scientific reason and the fascination with mystical darkness, cultural triumphalists and multicultural ideologues are all sustained by the same thing: a willful commitment to the basic tenets of the Enlightenment.”

“we need a new genesis to go with our contemporary apocalypse”

Truth, Lies, & Taboos… how dearly do they cost us?

I have been doing a lot of think lately about several of our societal taboos… specifically talking about religion, politics, and money.  I have always been a fan of the quote “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, which refers to the benefits of openness and transparency.  There was a further suggestion from Louis Grumet, Publisher of The CPA Journal, who offered “We should not only accept criticism and suggestions, we should embrace them.  If questions from constituents, the public, or the media make leaders or other responsible parties obfuscate, the questions are usually valid and the answers are not.  People who feel uncomfortable under the bright light of scrutiny and criticism often have something to hide.”

I am suggesting that this impartive not only holds true for politicians but for all of us and that by conforming to the norms and labeling subjects as taboo we are supporting prejudice, hatred, misinformation, lies, deceit, and unaccountability – we are letting these lies survive in the dark alleyway between Truth & Freedom.  When women like Gayle Quinnell of Shakopee suggested that she didn’t trust Senator Barack Obama and called him “an Arab” at a Lakeville, MN, McCain rally we all thought wow… did she just say that in public?  My next question was, where had Gayle been “hiding” this racism?  Hasn’t she talked with others about the candidates?  Doesn’t she know that Barack is actually a Christian?  If her friends, family members, or fellow parishioners had heard her mention this idea before did no one speak up?  Did no one correct her on the facts?  When we avoid discussing our religious and political beliefs with others who do not agree with us we are protecting ourselves from having difficult or uncomfortable questions that we may not wish to face.  The latest of these taboos is the belief that we should not talk about money with friends, neighbors, or family.  A couple of stories that I thought I would share… 1) two years ago in a local fast food establishment I overheard a couple talking about how their daughter and son-in-law planned to file for bankruptcy immediately after returning from the cruise trip that they were on, 2) a year and a half ago friends were trying to sell their condo and plan for a down payment on their house – they had almost no money in savings but drove new Cadillac and Audi vehicles and spent lavishly on expensive clothes and purses, and finally 3) this weekend I overheard a few patrons talking in a restaurant about how one of them had four different vehicles in four years but had no money.  Where was the sense of responsibility from these people?  Did no one question their actions?  Did no one question their sense of accountability?  We need to again talk about our beliefs and actions… we need to expose them to the light of day… and we need to be more accepting of those who might question us or our motives… or we will continue to provide safehavens for prejudice, hatred, misinformation, lies, deceit, and unaccountability.

The God Delusion vs. Audacity of Hope

Candidates can’t ignore values-based voters

“This much is clear: Presidential candidates ignore the importance of the values-based vote at their peril.”

“[In 2000] White voters identifying with the “religious right” grew from 14 to 17 percent of the total electorate. At the same time, the GOP’s share of the white religious right vote jumped 15 percent: from 65 percent in 1996 to 80 percent.”

“[In 2004] …although the war in Iraq dominated the headlines, it didn’t dominate at the polls. A small plurality of voters cited ‘moral values’ as the most important issue in the campaign; Bush crushed Sen. John Kerry among these voters by a whopping 62-percent margin, 80 percent to 18 percent.”

“‘If white evangelicals had not voted in 2004, Kerry would have beaten Bush by a 53 to 45 percent margin nationwide…'”

And, as such, their first opportunity to share the stage in a “forum” (not debate) will be in a mega-church.

Why America is great… this land is our land!

We all can be so sarcastic about life and our own personal circumstances… but there is so much “good” in the world that we just need to open our eyes or in this case ears to see and hear.  I heard one great story yesterday on NPR from Eboo Patel, a native from India, a Muslim, living in America and I wanted to share it… please take the 3 minutes and 49 seconds to join me on this journey.

Let me know what you think?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91163183

Bloch Head… portrait of a hater!

Bloch Head?

WSJ News Alert… “FBI agents raided the Office of Special Counsel in Washington, an independent agency created by Congress in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Agents seized computers and documents belonging to the agency chief, Scott Bloch, and staff. Agents also searched Bloch’s home. Employees said the searches appeared focused on alleged obstruction of justice by Bloch during the course of a 2006 inquiry into his conduct in office. Bloch’s agency is typically involved in senstive investigations of alleged government wrongdoing.”  If you are like me and asking yourself what the F#$@ does that all mean… read a little more on who is Mr. Bloch.

From Wiki… Scott Bloch is a US attorney, former deputy director and counsel to the Department of Justice’s Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives, and presently the Special Counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The Special Counsel is the highest position in the OSC, which upholds anti-discrimination laws and whistleblower protections for federal employees.

So where does one start in upholding anti-discrimination laws?  By ordering all mention of sexual orientation workplace nondiscrimination be removed from OSC’s website and printed materials, of course.  Bloch’s first major actions as head of the office were to choose as deputy a lawyer who had publicly taken a position against the “homosexual agenda”, and to hire young lawyers from Ave Maria School of Law, the Catholic school founded by Domino’s Pizza billionaire Tom Monaghan.[2]  Bloch stated his office lacked the authority to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. [3]

Another example of President Bush pushing the agenda of the Moral Majority?  Hmmmm…

We are all atheists about most of the gods… some just go one god further?

This is one that I started writing over a month ago when my PC locked up… I didn’t even realize that it saved it as a draft… here goes.

I thought I would share this video from Richard Dawkins at the 2002 TED conference.  Richard’s presentation titled “An atheist’s call to arms” discusses his view that there needs to be a militant uprising of atheists.  With roughly 30 million citizens (Americans – added for clarity) who claim to be “non-religious/secular,” why is this voice so dormant in our society?  I personally liked his suggestion that we are all atheists of some sort… we don’t believe in the god of the golden calf, we don’t believe in the god of tooth fairies, or we don’t believe in God / Allah… and some of us just go one god further.

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/113


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