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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore



Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

 

Should the religious beliefs of a presidential candidate ever be considered?

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

I was a Mitt Romney supporter when he ran for governor of Massachusetts. Then he foisted Romneycare on us. As a result, neither I, nor my wallet will be supporting him in his current bid for the presidency. I might have been persuaded to change my mind had he simply told the truth and acknowledged the whole scheme was a huge, horrendously expensive mistake. But he hasn’t for political reasons and that is reason enough for me not to support him. But it seems that is not enough of a reason for others, including  conservative author and ex-Mormon Patricia Erickson.

Romney’s Mormon Faith Rises In Campaign Again

In 2008 former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney addressed anxieties about his Mormon faith held by many Evangelical Christians, a key and often decisive Republican constituency known for their criticism of tenets of the Mormonism, by emphasizing the shared heritage and values with mainstream Christianity. A formal address had seemed superfluous this campaign season as heretofore his faith has not been made an issue by conservative opponents. 

But now a Conservative author and ex-Mormon Tricia Erickson, who heads a communications company promoting conservative causes and individuals, has published a new book whose long-winded title answers its own question: “Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus The Office Of The Presidency of the United States of America“.

Responding to questions on CNN, Erickson says she’s not anti-Mormon, but seeking to bring Mormons “out of deception and in to the truth” and “If I did not love them, I would not try to save them.”
With regards to Mitt Romney’s candidacy, Erickson says that ”it is my opinion that an indoctrinated Mormon should never be elected as President of the United States of America” and that Romney meets this disqualification.

“Mitt Romney and all temple Mormons have sworn to obey The Law of Consecration in the secret temple ceremonies…

“Long story short, it would be near to impossible for an entrenched Mormon to place his allegiance to the United States of America over the Mormon Church. After Mitt’s death oaths to the church, it is my belief that he lied about this to the American people and will continue to do so.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

When Mitt first ran for the presidency, he made clear his religious beliefs should not and would not affect his civil responsibilities as president. Still, many folks are uncomfortable with a man whose religion is cloaked in secrecy.

Are you one of them?

Should the religious beliefs of a presidential candidate ever be considered?

If yes, which ones, and why?

If no, why not? And would you have any concerns about electing a Rastifari, a Wahhabi, or a member of the Westboro Baptist Church?

 

Misquoting the bible appears to be pretty common

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

God helps those that help themselves, right?

Says so in the Bible, right?

Actually, that’s not in the Bible
By John Blake, CNN

NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches – all types of people  – quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

And there is this often-cited paraphrase: Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.

None of those passages appear in the Bible, and one is actually anti-biblical, scholars say.

But people rarely challenge them because biblical ignorance is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better, says Steve Bouma-Prediger, a religion professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

“In my college religion classes, I sometimes quote 2 Hesitations 4:3 (‘There are no internal combustion engines in heaven’),” Bouma-Prediger says. “I wait to see if anyone realizes that there is no such book in the Bible and therefore no such verse.

“Only a few catch on.”

Few catch on because they don’t want to – people prefer knowing biblical passages that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs, a Bible professor says.

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” says Rabbi Rami Shapiro, who once had to persuade a student in his Bible class at Middle Tennessee State University that the saying “this dog won’t hunt” doesn’t appear in the Book of Proverbs.

“They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in,” he says, “but they ignore the vast majority of the text.”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

Were any of the sayings in the article among those you thought were straight from the bible?

Are there other quotes you’ve heard folks use which you know are not bible-based?

And can you think of any passages that have been mis- or re-interpreted by anyone to justify his or her actions or beliefs? (No last names, please, unless they’re public figures.)

 

India gets it. Why doesn’t Islam? Also, another reason to homeschool your kids

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Congratulations to Blue_Sky, this week’s Comment Contest winner!

***

While Islam may be the leading practitioner of the subjugation, oppression, and abuse of women, they are not alone in the “barbaric and feudal” practice. As the article below shows, honor killings are still a small part of life in India despite the nations ongoing modernization. However, yesterday, India took a giant leap forward when its highest court declared the practice of honor killings so grievous a crime it deserves the death penalty.

If the second most populous nation on Earth can officially recognize, and determine to severely punish the abuse and killing of women, isn’t it time the world’s second most populous religion/political system started climbing out its sixth-century mindset and do the same?

In this June 7, 2010 photo, Ravinder Gehlaut, right, and his wife Shilpa Kadiyan, sit in a relative's house in Sultanpur Dabas village on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, where they were forced to flee for their lives. The reason: The caste councils that enforce medieval kinship rules judged the marriage sinful because the couple belong to the same thousands-strong clan. Such rulings lead to couples being separated, ostracized, or even killed. India's top court has recommended the death penalty for those found guilty of committing so called "honor killings" calling it a barbaric and feudal practice. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi, File)

India court urges death penalty
for honor killings

By Nirmala George
Associated Press
May 10, 2011

 

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top court recommended the death penalty for perpetrators of “honor killings,” calling the practice barbaric and feudal in a ruling cheered Tuesday by activists who hope it will inspire opposition to a crime seen as anathema to a democratic nation.

Most victims were young adults who fell in love or married against their families’ wishes. In some cases, village councils ordered couples killed who married inside their clan or outside their caste. While there are no official figures, an independent study found around 900 people were killed each year in India for defying their elders.

The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a life sentence imposed for a man convicted of killing his daughter but added a warning: “People planning to perpetrate honor killings should know that the gallows await them.”

Click here to read the rest of the article

***

Yet another reason to homeschool your children.

Watch this Fox news report about a teacher who stood by while one high school kids punches another. More disturbing than the one-sided fight is the commentary from the union hack and former school board member, both of whom essentially say it’s not the teacher’s job to keep your son or daughter from being punched, kicked, or, presumably beaten to death with a chair because if the perpetrator were to get hurt, the teacher and  the school system might get sued.

Un-#$&*@(;-believable.

I am so glad my kids are grown, but I fear for what my grandchildren will have to endure should they find themselves in public indoctrination camps one day.

 

Another brutal rape. A different outcome.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Still shrinking the newspaper pile today.

Yesterday, I offered an apology to Recy Taylor for the way she was treated 67 years ago after being raped. The state of Alabama also, officially, issued her an apology.

Contrast that story with this story about Mukhtar Mai, a young Muslim woman who, in 2002, was gang-raped by as many as fourteen men on orders from a village council. What crime did she commit to deserve such punishment? Did she have sex with someone? Did she pose for naked photos? Did she flirt with a married man? Did she appear in public with a male who was not her relative?

No. None of the above. She was punished not for anything she did, but because her younger brother and a woman from a more powerful tribe were alleged to have been involved in a romance. It was the woman’s tribal council that ordered the brutal retaliation rape of an innocent woman.

Note that neither the brother nor his paramour appear to have been punished.

So what happened to the men who raped her? Eight were freed by the nation’s Supreme (joke of a) Court in an earlier ruling, five were freed last week, and one remains in prison. For now.

Seriously! Read the news report.

This is the kind of treatment women receive in Muslim nations all over the world today. When liberals and other apologists rattle on about how Islam is just another religion like all the others, this is what they are supporting.

Can anyone name another modern-day religion that considers women to be property; that permits this kind of abuse as a matter of course; that allows the murder of women who “shame” their family by being brutally raped, or who just choose not to want to live as a virtual slave in the 21st century?

There is no such religion other than Islam. And the way I see it, Islam is not a religion. It is a political system cleverly crafted around religious trappings.

Do you Christian cheerleaders for Islam ever wonder why God might have sent his son — or as Islam views him, a prophet — to preach about love and kindness and turning the other cheek, and then sent along another “prophet” six centuries later with an entirely different message?

Are we to believe God is schizophrenic? Or is it more likely that a very clever and crafty salesman figured out a way use religion to brainwash his followers from birth; a way to get them to fight to the death to preserve and to expand their tribe; to go so far as to commit suicide to kill women and children on the promise of seventy-two sex slaves when they reach heaven? I don’t recall any of the previous “prophets” mentioning anything about killing kids and being rewarded with virgins. Did I miss that somewhere?

What happened to Recy Taylor 67 years ago was inexcusable, but at least the culture that permitted it to happen evolved and apologized.

What happened to Mukhtar Mai less than a decade ago was equally inexcusable, but has the culture that permitted it evolved? Clearly not. The culture remains mired in its sixth-century mindset. Any who may disagree with Islamic practices must remain silent lest they shame their family or infuriate some lunatic Imam who might call for their murder.

I titled this post Another brutal rape. A different outcome. but I realize now how similar they are. Both women were brutally abused. Both women were marginalized and denied justice. The only difference, really, is that one lives in a culture that no longer supports such treatment while the other lives in a culture where such treatment continues to be a way of life.

Any of you Christian lady cheerleaders ready to convert? Any of you want your daughters to live like Mukhtar Mai?

 

Happy Easter

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

To all my Christian and other readers who celebrate the day, best wishes for a happy and holy Easter.

Now turn off the computer, iPad, smartphone, or whatever you are using to read this and go spend time with family and/or friends.

***

For those who are still reading, here are half-a-dozen takes on the  true meaning of Easter.

 

 

Coming soon to your town?, A superb column, and A study in contrast

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Four days ago, British Muslims took to the streets for a little parade to let folks around the world know what they thought of America, Britain, and France getting involved in Libya.

Note the signs and the sentiments. The last minute or so is an interview with one of the marchers.

***

Superb column by Mark Steyn. Here are a couple of highlights, but the whole thing is really worth reading.

It is tempting and certainly very easy to point out that Obama’s war (or Obama’s “kinetic military action,” or “time-limited, scope-limited military action,” or whatever the latest ever more preposterous evasion is) is at odds with everything candidate Obama said about U.S. military action before his election. And certainly every attempt the president makes to explain his Libyan adventure is either cringe-makingly stupid (“I’m accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace”) or alarmingly revealing of a very peculiar worldview…

- – -

…suppose Qaddafi winds up hanging from a lamppost in his favorite party dress. If you’re a Third World dictator, what lessons would you draw? Qaddafi was the thug who came in from the cold, the one who (in the wake of Saddam’s fall) renounced his nuclear program and was supposedly rehabilitated in the chancelleries of the West. He was “a strong partner in the war on terrorism,” according to U.S. diplomats. And what did Washington do? They overthrew him anyway.

The blood-soaked butcher next door in Sudan is the first head of state to be charged by the International Criminal Court with genocide, but nobody’s planning on toppling him. Iran’s going nuclear with impunity, but Obama sends fraternal greetings to the “Supreme Leader” of the “Islamic Republic.” North Korea is more or less openly trading as the one-stop bargain-basement for all your nuke needs, and we’re standing idly by. But the one cooperative dictator’s getting million-dollar-a-pop cruise missiles lobbed in his tent all night long. If you were the average Third World loon, which role model makes most sense? Colonel Cooperative in Tripoli? Or Ayatollah Death-to-the-Great-Satan in Tehran? America is teaching the lesson that the best way to avoid the attentions of whimsical “liberal interventionists” is to get yourself an easily affordable nuclear program from Pyongyang or anywhere else as soon as possible.

***

And finally, a study in contrast:

President Harry Truman

Our Dear Leader

 

The “separation of church and state” fallacy

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The men who wrote the Bill of Rights were very concerned about religious freedom; so much so they chose to address it first:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

Those words have been quoted uncounted times as justification for prohibiting in public buildings or on public grounds or events like school  graduation ceremonies anything that even hints at to God or religion. Thanks to the efforts of  certain organizations and individuals, generations of citizens have come to believe it was the Founders’ intent to prohibit anyone from posting the Ten Commandments in a school or a courthouse or erecting a manger or menorah on the lawn in front of city hall.

How did they manage the scam? By conveniently forgetting the other six words that follow:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

When the Founders wrote the First Amendment, it’s clear they  were concerned with Congress – not people, not even state or local governments for that matter – establishing an official national religion. They’d been there, done that, seen what it led to, and wanted no part of it for their new nation. (Here’s an old article about Thomas Jefferson’s views on the matter.)

Had someone suggested to them their Bill of Rights meant that the Ten Commandments could not be posted in the local town hall or courthouse, they’d likely have laughed in his face, and not only because the Bill of Rights imposed restrictions of the Federal government, not on the several states.

Some will say that Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment did impose  those restrictions on the states and they’d be correct. But if states, like the Feds, are required to recognize Constitutional prohibitions and God-given rights, then both are required to recognize  the right of every citizen to worship as they please. And if part of their worship involves posting a copy of their Creator’s Ten Commandments in places where they may be constantly reminded of them, such is their right.

What government may not do is permit one religion to post their rules while stopping another religion from doing the same. It may not allow a menorah and deny a creche. In fact, government at all levels merely has to do nothing. If every religion has the same right to post or display,then  no harm, no foul, the Constitution is satisfied.

The foolishness about the Constitution demanding that public buildings not being used for anything that even hints of religion is just that – foolishness. Nothing could be further from the truth. And those who promote such distortions, and their judicial enablers, deny citizens the very right they pretend to protect.

But what about Christmas decorations and plays and songs in schools? Surely principals and teachers can’t force everyone to take part in such religious expressions. Correct. They cannot.

However, students who want to decorate their school and classrooms can do so on their own. Parents can organize holiday parties and plays and musicals and children are free to participate or not, as they and their parents choose. And teachers can choose to participate or not. If any of them are prohibited from doing so, they are being denied their right to the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

The Founders understood freedom is a powerful force. It’s a concept that enables men and women to live the lives they choose instead of being forced to live as others think best. And all it requires is that we each do nothing more than mind our own business.

Our nation has forgotten that simple truth, and it has led us down a path that grows darker by the day as factions from the right, left, and center strive to impose their worldviews on everyone under color and cover of law.

“But what if someone is offended by our Commandments or our menorah?” I hear someone ask. “Don’t they have rights, too?”

Yes, they do. They have the right not to look at whatever offends them and they have the same right as everyone else to post or display whatever they want. But they don’t have the right not to be offended. Honestly, I find it inconceivable that so many people cannot seem to understand that.

Have we strayed so far from Liberty Ave. and Freedom Way that we’ll never find our way back?

Do you see any solutions? Anything practical we can do?

Or must we to continue fiddling as our nation collapses around us?

t nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, such people and organizations, and their judicial enablers, now force government to deny citizens the very right they claim to protect.
 

The idiocy of Earth Hour

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

This Saturday is Earth Hour will again be upon us. At  8:30 PM local time, all around the world, eco-nazis, greenies, and large groups of well-meaning people will turn off lights, unplug appliances, and celebrate their desire to rid the world of the evils of electricity generation. An hour later, they’ll turn everything back on and probably boot their computers so they can use some of that evil electricity to upload their videos of the various celebrations to YouTube.

Perhaps Earth Hour makes some tangible difference somewhere, but it didn’t make a watt of difference in the greenest state of all, California. That should tell you what a crock of feel-good bull manure it is.

Following is the best essay I’ve yet read about Earth Hour.  I offer it without further comment but hope you’ll share your thoughts on Earth Hour and the essay in a Comment after reading it.

- – -

Earth Hour: A Dissent
By Dr. Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph, Canada

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour.

Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labor and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil fuel-based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the West developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that; instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation, it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks.

I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

 

Is God a Republican, Unscripted Honesty, and A nice scam

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Is God a Republican? Or a Libertarian? Or, perhaps, a Democrat, Socialist, or Communist?

The Bible inconveniently leaves out the Creator’s political affiliation, but Jeff Jacoby’s column last Sunday had some interesting things to say about the Separation of Jesus and Congress.

What do you think? Should government use religious values to make political and social decisions? And if so, who gets to choose which religion?

***

Former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu takes on the general lack of political forthrightness in Washington and around the nation in his recent Op/Ed piece, At last: unscripted honesty.

***

I will admit to being pretty good driver. As a result, it’s been a very long time since I received any kind of traffic citation. Which is why I was unaware of yet another judicial outrage here in The People’s Republic.

It seems that in 2009, some bright person on the public payroll came up with the idea of charging drivers $25 to appeal their citations to a clerk/magistrate. And if they don’t like the magistrate’s decision? They can pay another $50 to take it before a judge. Nice scam, eh? Win or lose, you end up paying.

Thankfully, a lawyer, Ralph Sullivan, will soon stand before the state’s highest court to fight this outrageous scheme to deny justice to those who cannot afford it while raising ever more money to fund the states socialist agenda.

Here’s the story, if you care to read it. My guess is that the court will not upset the gravy train that helps pay their salaries. When that happens, I hope Attorney Sullivan take it to the Federal courts.

Does your state charge folks to appeal traffic citations?

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, it’s not easy to be free

Friday, March 4th, 2011

The US Supreme Court yesterday ruled that virulent, antigay protests outside military funerals are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment, to the dismay of military families who argued that mourners should be allowed to conduct services in peace.

That was the lead paragraph in the the lead story in yesterday’s newspaper.

The decision has caused hand-wringing, disappointment, and outrage from coast to coast.

While the very idea of supposed Christians behaving as do the members of the Westboro Baptist Church is disgusting — picketing the funerals of soldiers while holding signs with messages like “Thank God fo Dead Soldiers” — the Supreme Court got it exactly correct. The tiny minds at the Westboro Baptist Church have the right to express their opinions no matter how bizarre, unChristian, revolting, wrong-headed, or downright stupid they may be.

That is the price we pay for freedom.

Some have said we should carve out an exception that recognizes a family’s right to privacy and peace as they bury their loved one. But the problems with exceptions is that once we agree there can be exceptions, we can start finding exceptions for everything. If it’s okay to keep protesters 1000 feet from a funeral, why is not okay to keep them 1000 feet from a business or a government office?

The Founders believed freedom of speech was one of many rights given by God to each human upon birth. And they understood that to ensure we are always free to express our opinion, we must always defend the right of others to express theirs, even when we disagree with them. Of course, they undoubtedly also understood what the Westboro Baptist Church members do not — that one day, the God that gave them the right of free speech will judge them on how they used it.

The proper response to the repulsive behavior of the Westboro pseudo-Christians is not to diminish everyone’s rights through restrictions. Rather, it is for each of us who is horrified at such behavior to exercise our own right of free speech. Organize a weekly protest outside their church. Disrupt their services and funerals as they have disrupted others. Make it loud and angry.  Bullhorns would be a nice touch. Carry signs like “Thank God Only Idiots Worship Here” or “Read your Bible Hypocrites – Matthew 7:2 – 7:5″ or something like the sign reproduced above or whatever you think is suitable for such revolting people.

See if they can take as good as they give.

That’s freedom in action.

***

In another story regarding religion, the Pope has exonerated the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ.

I’ve never been able to understand exactly why folks blamed Jews for Christ’s death. Jesus was a Jew and it was but a handful of Jewish officials who condemned him. Certainly, the majority of Jews alive then had nothing to do with it, and even more certainly, nobody born since then could have had anything to do with it.

Do we blame all Catholics  for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln because John Wilkes Booth was Catholic?

Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone was to blame – not even Judas. After all, if God sent his Son to Earth to die for our sins, his betrayal and condemnation had to have been part of the plan. People were only doing what needed to be done for God’s plan to be fulfilled. How can we condemn the actors without condemning the producer- director?

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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