Archive for the ‘religion’ Tag

After Gay OK, Robertson Supports Episcopal Church’s Demise

After Gay OK, Robertson Supports Episcopal Church’s Demise

After the Episcopal Church OK’d the ordination of gay bishops, televangelist Pat Robertson said he supports the demise of the church.

Robertson’s latest anti-gay comments came Tuesday, the day after the Episcopal Church voted in favor of lifting their three-year moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops. The self-imposed pause was initiated after the church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Robertson made his remarks while discussing the leadership of the Episcopal Church of America on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club.

“They have lost their way. They were taken over by this controversy having to do with same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexual bishops. Once they got into that morass and lost their way from scriptural teaching, they didn’t have much denomination left,” Robertson said.

“There is a very vibrant denomination coming along, it is called the American Anglican Church, and thousands of people are moving toward it. It’s amazing that their presiding bishop is from Rwanda. But nevertheless, they are filled with the flame of the Holy Spirit and we congratulate them.”

“And there will be no tears in my life if the Episcopal Church of America just quietly goes out of business,” Robertson added.

French prosecutor seeks dissolution of Scientology

French prosecutor seeks dissolution of Scientology

PARIS (Reuters) – A French prosecutor on Monday recommended a Paris court should dissolve the Church of Scientology’s French branch when it rules on charges of fraud against the organization.

Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France, where it has faced repeated accusations of being a money-making cult.

The Church’s Paris headquarters and bookshop are defendants in a fraud trial that began on May 25. Summing up her views on the case, state prosecutor Maud Coujard urged the court to return a guilty verdict and dissolve the organization in France.

The Church of Scientology denies the fraud charges and says the case against it violates freedom of religion.

A ruling is expected within months.

We who sowed hate share blame in killing of abortion doctor

We who sowed hate share blame in killing of abortion doctor

My late father and I share part of the blame for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the abortion doctor gunned down on Sunday.

Until I got out of the religious right (in the mid-1980s) and repented of my former hate-filled rhetoric, I was both a leader of the so-called pro-life movement and a part of a Republican Party hate machine masquerading as the moral conscience of America.

In the late 1970s, my father, evangelical pro-life leader Francis Schaeffer, along with Dr. C. Everett Koop (who soon become surgeon general in the Reagan administration) went on the road with me, taking the documentary anti-abortion film series I produced and directed to the evangelical public. The series and companion book eventually brought millions of heretofore nonpolitical evangelical Americans into the anti-abortion crusade.

In the early ’80s, my father followed up with a book that sold over a million copies and which, in certain passages, advocated force if all other methods for rolling back the abortion ruling of Roe v. Wade failed. He compared America and its legalized abortion to Hitler’s Germany and said that whatever tactics would have been morally justified in removing Hitler would be justified in trying to stop abortion. I said the same thing in a best-selling book I wrote.

Like many writers of moral/political/religious theories, my father and I would have been shocked that someone took us at our word, walked into a Lutheran Church and pulled the trigger on an abortionist. But even if the murderer never read Dad’s or my words, we helped create the climate that made this murder likely to happen. In fact, it has happened before. In 1994, Dr. John Bayard Britton and one of his volunteer escorts were shot and killed outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Fla., by Paul Hill, a former minister and an avid follower of my father’s.

‘The Mormons Are Coming!’

‘The Mormons Are Coming!’

LOS ANGELES — As more states take up the debate on same-sex marriage, some advocates of legalization are taking a very specific lesson from California, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dominated both fundraising and door-knocking to pass a ballot initiative that barred such unions.

With the battle moving east, some advocates are shouting that fact in the streets, calculating that on an issue that eventually comes down to comfort levels, more people harbor apprehensions about Mormons than about homosexuality.

“The Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!” warned ads placed on newspaper Web sites in three Eastern states last month. The ad was rejected by sites in three other states, including Maine, where the Kennebec Journal informed Californians Against Hate that the copy “borders on insulting and denigrating a whole set of people based on their religion.”

“I’m not intending it to harm the religion. I think they do wonderful things. Nicest people,” said Fred Karger, a former Republican campaign consultant who established Californians Against Hate. “My single goal is to get them out of the same-sex marriage business and back to helping hurricane victims.”

Scientologists in France go on trial for fraud

Scientologists in France go on trial for fraud

PARIS (Reuters) – The Church of Scientology in France went on trial on Monday on charges of organised fraud.

Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France and has faced repeated accusations of being a money-making cult.

The group’s Paris headquarters and bookshop are defendants in the case. If found guilty, they could be fined 5 million euros ($7 million) and ordered to halt their activities in France.

Seven leading French Scientology members are also in the dock. Some are charged with illegally practising as pharmacists and face up to 10 years in prison and hefty fines.

The case centres on a complaint made in 1998 by a woman who said she was enrolled into Scientology after members approached her in the street and persuaded her to do a personality test.

In the following months, she paid more than 21,000 euros for books, “purification packs” of vitamins, sauna sessions and an “e-meter” to measure her spiritual progress, she said.

Other complaints then surfaced. The five original plaintiffs — three of whom withdrew after reaching a financial settlement with the Church of Scientology — said they spent up to hundreds of thousands of euros on similar tests and cures.

They told investigators that Scientology members harassed them with phone calls and nightly visits to cajole them into paying their bills or taking out bank loans. The plaintiffs were described as “vulnerable” by psychological experts in the case.

BBC video report.

Mexico’s death cult protests shrine destruction

Mexico’s death cult protests shrine destruction

MEXICO CITY (AP) — About 200 worshippers marched Sunday to protest the government’s destruction of “Death Saint” shrines, saying Mexico’s fight against drug cartels has veered into religious persecution.

“We are believers, not criminals!” the protesters chanted as they marched from a gritty Mexico City neighborhood to the Metropolitan Cathedral downtown.

At shrines, chapels and small churches across the country, tens of thousands of people worship the Death Saint, which is often depicted as a robe-covered skeleton resembling the Grim Reaper.

It is popular with drug traffickers, and soldiers often find shrines to the saint during raids on cartel safe houses. But in crime-ridden neighborhoods, people of all walks of life believe the “Santa Muerte” protects against violent or untimely deaths. Devotees often use elements of Catholic rites, leaving offerings of candles or praying to the folk saint for protection.

Mexican law enforcement won’t say it is targeting the “Santa Muerte.” But last month, army troops accompanied workers who used back hoes to topple and crush more 30 shrines on a roadway in the city of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. Many were elaborate, one-story, marble-clad constructions with electric lighting and statues of the skeletal Death Saint.

95 Theses on the Religious Right

95 Theses on the Religious Right

Here’s something you may not have known or suspected. When I grew up my family went to a conservative Christian church and I subsequently went to a Swedish Baptist college in Minnesota. I recently went back to my home town and was sickened by what became of the family church over the last 20 years. The received view is that the conservative christians have taken over the Republican Party. I think the reverse happened. The right wing of the Republican Party has taken over the church. Nothing could be more clear to me. In a fit of revulsion, and with a nod to Marty Luther, I wrote up the following 95 theses on the relighous right: Download ludlows_95_theses_on_the_religious_right.doc In lieu of nailing it to the door of the Wittenburg Church I’m sending it to you instead. Not exactly the same thing, I realize. I’m not saying I’m a believer and I’m not saying I’m not, but I am saying that what has happened to the fundamentalist church is revolting.

Note: linked article contains excerpts from the theses.

Texas board comes down on 2 sides of creationism debate

Texas board comes down on 2 sides of creationism debate

(CNN) — Dueling theories of how the universe was created got a split decision Friday night from the Texas Board of Education, which required examination of “all sides of scientific evidence” in new science standards, but rejected language requiring teachers to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories.

The debate pitted proponents of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution against supporters of religion-based theories of intelligent design, or creationism.

“Science loses. Texas loses, and the kids lose because of this,” board chairman Don McLeroy, a creationist, told the Dallas Morning News.

A final 13-2 vote approved language that will be printed in textbooks beginning in 2011 and remain there for 10 years, CNN affiliate KPRC-TV in Houston reported:

“In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental observation and testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the students.”

Earlier, the board rejected two sections written by McLeroy on identical 8-7 votes, the Dallas Morning News said.

One section required teachers to “analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information,” and the other required high school students to study the “sufficiency or insufficiency” of key principles of evolution.

Science: ur doin it wrong.

Texas Rep. Leo Berman: let the Institute for Creation Research grant masters degrees

Texas State Representative Leo Berman has proposed a bill which would allow the Institute for Creation Research – a creationist think tank – to issue academic qualifications:

A Texas legislator is waging a war of biblical proportions against the science and education communities in the Lone Star State as he fights for a bill that would allow a private school that teaches creationism to grant a Master of Science degree in the subject.

State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) proposed House Bill 2800 when he learned that The Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a private institution that specializes in the education and research of biblical creationism, was not able to receive a certificate of authority from Texas’ Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant Master of Science degrees.

Berman’s bill would allow private, non-profit educational institutions to be exempt from the board’s authority.

“If you don’t take any federal funds, if you don’t take any state funds, you can do a lot more than some business that does take state funding or federal funding,” Berman says. “Why should you be regulated if you don’t take any state or federal funding?”

HB 2800 does not specifically name ICR; it would allow any institution that meets its criteria to be exempt from the board’s authority. But Berman says ICR was the inspiration for the bill because he feels creationism is as scientific as evolution and should be granted equal weight in the educational community.

“I don’t believe I came from a salamander that crawled out of a swamp millions of years ago,” Berman told FOXNews.com. “I do believe in creationism. I do believe there are gaps in evolution.

The bill in question can be found here.

See Bad Astronomy for more info.

Mormons demand ICANN plugs net smut hole

Mormons demand ICANN plugs net smut hole

Mormon anti-pornography activists led by SCO Group chairman Ralph Yarro III are calling on ICANN to give more political clout to those who want to kick porn off the web.

Scores of Yarro’s followers have this week petitioned ICANN to OK the formation of a new “Cybersafety Constituency” which would help develop binding policies for the internet’s domain name system.

The drive is being orchestrated by Cheryl Preston, the top lawyer for CP80.org, an “Internet Zoning” censorship campaign headed by Yarrow, who is also the chairman and largest shareholder of controversial Linux vendor SCO.

CP80.org wants all adult material banned from Port 80, the standard protocol port for the web, and confined to a new port. It also suggests that “ISPs could simply block all IP addresses originating from a non-compliant country”.

facepalm.jpg

The discussion on the proposal can be found here, while more information on the Cybersafety Constituency itself can be found here.