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Hannity spinning, spinning, just not, alas, in his grave… yet.

Plenty of time for that though. All his Ill Gotten Gold won't save him. The Pope, the one Hannity and others praised for "saving the Catholic Church from a Marxist rebellion"... having a little bit of trouble. However are they going to spin that against their previous comments about Liberation Theology being "destroyed" by a pastoral letter written before he was a Cardinal? What I as a Christian object to is that many will see ALL Christians as being represented by such Bigoted Capitalist Thieves like Hannity and the rest of the crew at Fox News and their Fellow Travellers. Like the Klan and THEIR subsidiary the Tea Party. Nice bunch of fellows they're promoting as being the Next Leaders of America. With, of course, Hegemony, ordained by God, Himself, over the entire world. Which is what Liberation Theology opposes. With no blessing at all from his "holiness" Poop Been-a-dick.

Rebuilding the Temple of The Almighty Dollar… the WTC… capital as “god”

So they chose one that "gives the bird" to Heaven.   Nice Choice! If you believe that Money is the god of America, and that the Twin Towers were its Most Holy Temple. I heard a preacher once describe the 9/11 as being an attack against the basic tenets of Christianity ...except, Jesus spoke against capitalism. And the first church at Jerusalem was a commune. And, yes, it DOES look like four curled knuckles with an outstretched middle finger. OOOOOOOO.... I bet that makes bin Laden shake in his sandals! But my thought was, since the place is literally a grave to begin with, why not just pour a concrete slab 4 stories high and have the names of the Known Dead written on it as a tombstone? Maybe write the names of the thousands of Americans and Hundreds of Thousands of Afghans and Iraqis and Pakistanis etc etc etc that were slaughtered in an orgy of Hate, which funneled the treasury of the United States into the pockets of Bush and Cheney, who were extremely likely suspects in the destruction of the Towers in the first place. They made out like, well, the despicable Sneak Thief Cowards that they truly are. Does anybody else find it intriguing that there were no high-level Finance or Trade ministers actually in the buildings at the time, on a Tuesday morning in the late summer? Or how about the Pentagon, top heavy with Colonels and Generals, (naval Captains and Admirals...) but not a single general dies in the attack? Or the fourth plane, supposedly going after the White House, when George coWard Bush had let it be known a couple of weeks in advance that he wasn't going to be there? By the way, if they're looking to insult folks from the Arabian peninsula, the "sign of the fig" would be more appropriate. But the ones who want to "wave the bloody shirt" to keep the BushWarz going (and putting more money into the pockets of the Corporate Elite) wouldn't recognize that anyway.

The Godless God fearing Americans

What is all this Goddamn pomp? "Non-believers" got a mention in Barack Obama's inaugural address, dead last after Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus, even though they rank second, and even though church abstainers actually comprise the majority of Americans. Yet even this second day, mentions of God, Lord, and prayer, continue ad nauseum. Talk about disrespect. And why are atheists and agnostics named in the negative? Why aren't they called rationalists? Churchgoers should be called reason disabled. What a farce. Are Americans to believe that Obama and his wife, Harvard grads, are religious? And which of the shysters of DC can be considered spiritual? I'm watching the service at the National Cathedral, which, taking into account the time zones, is eating well into Obama's first day in office. Assembled are a bunch of pharisees, a disproportionate sampling for certain, to voice their prayers for our lawmakers. Where were they when Bush and cronies were in attendance? NOTE: Was Obama's multi denominational ceremony representative of American believers? Let's have a look at the distribution of the 20 religious leaders attending the National Prayer Service, as they relate to their corresponding population segments, in descending order of size: 5 PROTESTANT EVANGELICALS, representing 27% of the US population: Rev. Sharon Watkins, president, Disciples of Christ in North America Rev. Andy Stanley, North Point Community Church Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, Believers Christian Fellowship Church Rev. Cynthia Hale, Ray of Hope Christian Church Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners 7 MAINLINE PROTESTANTS, 21% Katharine Jefferts-Schori, presiding bishop, Episcopal Church Rev. John Bryson Chane, Washington Episcopal Bishop Rev. Samuel Lloyd, dean of the cathedral, Episcopal Church Canon Carol Wade, cathedral's precentor (Note: Episcopalians represent !.3%, but are third richest group) Rev. Otis Moss Jr., father of pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ Kirbyjon Caldwell, Windsor Village United Methodist Church Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, Reformed Church in America 2 CATHOLICS, 22% Donald Wuerl, Washington Catholic Archbishop Rev. Francisco Gonzalez, auxiliary bishop, Washington archdiocese 1 MUSLIM, at 3% Ingrid Mattson, president, Islamic Society of North America 1 each, HINDU and ORTHODOX, in sum 1.7% Uma Mysorekar, president, Hindu Temple Society of North America Archbishop Demetrios, primate, Greek Orthodox Church in America 3 JEWS, at 1.5% (but richest) Rabbi Jerome Epstein, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Haskal Lookstein, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (Is that AIPAC's influence extending to America's Christians?) How about that corpulent Saddleback creep Rick Warren, reciting a completely forgettable invocation at yesterday's inauguration? Unheard by the masses was Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson's earlier invocation, which was fathoms deeper than any of these high priests. HBO didn't air it in their coverage of the Sunday inaugural buildup, but it's available on Youtube. Here's the transcript: A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama (Opening Inaugural Event, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, January 18, 2009) By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president. O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will… Bless us with tears – for a world in

The Jewish Nation

Yes, there has already been the establishment of 'a Jewish nation' and 'Jewish Homeland' since the Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem after its siege in 70 AD. Most Christian Zionists (like Joseph Biden or Joe Lieberman, for examples) remain rather ignorant of this Jewish history though. The 'Jewish Homeland' was established not in Palestine, but in an area between the Black and Caspian seas, just north of what is today's far Eastern Turkey and far Western Iran. Surprise! Not Palestine at all. Like the Roman Emperor Constantine who made Christianity today's dominant religion, Emperor Bulan of Khazaria made Judaism the state religion in this 'Jewish Nation' 600 plus years after the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans. Didn't know anything about that? Well, it does kind of conflict with today's mythology around Israel, does it not? Some might not want you to know much about real Jewish history, including Zionist Jews themselves! See this link for some information about Khazaria The fact that this area of Khazaria was right next to Persia might help explain some of the current President of Iran's (Ahmadinejad) differing ideas about the origins of the Jewish people, perhaps?

Would Dominionists murder for Palin?

While we've been speculating whether lotto-winner candidate Sarah Palin measures up to big "C" Christian standards, lo, church ambitions of old step in. A minister friend of mine offered Ides of March for November and President-elect John McCain: Having a Christian Dominionist in line for the US presidency would mean curtains for the septuagenarian as soon as he's sworn in. It doesn't take Dan Brown to imagine religious zealots would stop at the proverbial nothing to raise one of their own to supreme power. Whether syphilis takes John McCain or whether it's Sarah's poison lipstick, we'll be Sieg Heiling President Palin, whose signing statements will be taken straight out of scripture. Then where will the poor world be? I'm thinking RBs. Revelations and nuclear bombs. My friend envisions the remedy will be an urgent Palin impeachment leading to a Pelosi ascent. A circuitous Democratic Party re-coup to be sure, amidst global catastrophe from which it's difficult to imagine our world will escape. No wonder the rich have privatized spaceship R&D.

Playing ball with the entrenched church

It would have been my mother's seventieth birthday today. We found the badge she used to gain entry to the Colorado Penal System. Besides serving on State committees for prison reform, Mom would counsel female inmates who were about to be released. Often their release dates would be postponed and postponed. My mother worried she couldn't be too outspoken against the war lest our pro-war Catholic Bishop revoke her chaplain status and she would lose access to the prisoners.

The Texas state government trial by press of the Eldorado parents

The Texas state government has decided to try the parents of the Eldorado children in the press by circulating new rumors that underage boys were sexually abused and that children had their bones deliberately broken by the parents. This is a new low to date in the government's actions, who have yet, weeks after their raid, to file any criminal charges against anybody! ...See MSNBC titled Official: Sex abuse of boys in sect possible Texas investigators give few details, cite journal entries, interviews Besides trying to taint this fundy religious group with being interested somehow in homosexual sex, the allegations about broken bones are certainly unique in its stupidity. Out of 417 children, the CPS claims that 41 children have evidence of broken bones! Well whoop-to-do here. Can you imagine the evil these parents had to have been up to? Where are the charges, Rick? Rick Perry is the Bush clone that is Governor of Texas who launched this nightmare. These evil parents were breaking children's bones, but your courts can't back any of that up, now can they? So it's trial by slandering these folk in the press, is it? Once again, it is not backing up the sick religion of fundy Mormonism of the 19th Century to be against the government's actions at Eldorado. It is not supporting sex with underage girls. It is simply nothing more than supporting the right to a fair trial before punishment is made. It is to not support group punishment when maybe a few have broken some laws. It is Americanism not to cheerlead the victimization of vulnerable parents by a sick government bureaucracy.

A wondrous mystery

I watched the coverage of the Pope's final message to the lucky faithful -- 60,000 hankie-waving fans in Yankee Stadium -- and can only shake my head in disbelief. Am I the only one who doesn't understand this Pope-worship stuff? It is so weirdly absurd that I hardly know what to make of it. Who are these people driving hundreds of miles to catch a glimpse of him? Those who turn out by the thousands, even without tickets, just to be near him for a few minutes? Looking at the pontiff (just the word makes me laugh) clad from head to toe in white, barely this side of the grass, reminds me so much of the movie Foul Play that the whole thing seems hilarious. I am pretty sure that no one I know personally would even consider going to great trouble to see the Pope (except my mom, of course), so it makes me wonder what kind of person does. Are they part of other groups that also make me slightly uncomfortable, like NASCAR fans maybe? Or those who drive around the country in silver RVs looking for other people with silver RVs? Maybe I'm just jealous that I wasn't invited to join the club. I did do a ten-year stint in Catholic schools, after all, and never missed Sunday mass until I went off to college. Even in Boulder I went to St. Thomas Aquinas for a few months, until time spent in the confession booth started interfering with my studies. So why do I not know what they know? No pithy analysis will be forthcoming. As I said, this is beyond me.

No freedom of religion for FLDS in Texas

Mormon polygamist families at the mercy of a merciless state. In the absence of formal charges, or an accuser, recently released women plead to have their children returned, and wonder what happened to their protection from religious persecution. Custody hearings begin Thursday.

Horton Hears Your Fetus

Can you think of anything more terrifying for a pregnant teen than to imagine a large clumsy elephant will begin to stomp all over your right to decide what to do in you moment of crisis because he thinks he hears the distress call of your unborn accidental pregnancy?

In praise of Pope Benedict and his boys

The Vatican has updated the list of the seven deadly sins! We are no longer to be concerned only with gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. As if these weren't more than enough! Oh, woe is I. The new cardinal sins (those that require absolution from a priest to be forgiven -- otherwise you're lookin' at a stint in Purgatory) are pollution, mind-damaging drug use, and genetic experimentation. Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, also made mention of the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots. "The poor are always becoming poorer and the rich ever more rich, feeding unsustainable social injustice....If yesterday sin had a rather individualistic dimension, today it has a weight, a resonance, that's especially social, rather than individual." The church seems to be walking the walk here, at least where the Earth's fate is concerned. During Pope Benedict's papacy, Vatican engineers have developed plans for some Holy See buildings to use solar energy, including photovoltaic cells on the roof of the auditorium for pilgrims' audiences with the pontiff. As for fighting social injustice, one needs only visit the Vatican to sense that perhaps the church has a way to go on this one. I've heard suggestions in the past that the church sell some of its astounding collection of artwork to help the poor. The reply is that the art should be considered public wealth, equally available for all to see. A reasonable argument, especially if one has the resources to make it to the Vatican. As for the billions in real estate owned by the church, reference is usually made to Jesus' obvious love for the temple in Jerusalem as justification. The big beautiful churches, after all, were not built at great monetary cost, but through the dedication of thousands of laborers and through the prayers of the faithful. Again, a reasonable position. The Vatican, the artwork, and the great churches of Europe are part of human history and probably shouldn't be sold off to collectors and developers for fast cash. It's not often that I find myself in agreement with the Catholic church. But I have to say, I think they are on the right track here.

i have no tribe dot com slash lineage

iHaveNoTribe.com is a stateside effort for ex-pat Kenyans to renounce their tribal ties, or give it the old college try, to set an example for their friends and family (and tribe!) back home. The new refrain being: I am a Kenyan. Valiant, but what does it mean? At NMT we know something about tribe. It sounds good, doesn't it? To cast off old-fashioned family ties, vestiges of biology, the roots certainly of bigotry and xenophobia. But blood ties are the only bonds we can know without being taught them. Familial bonds are part of our inherent biological imperative, to procreate, to protect the prospects of our progeny, their interests being synonymous with ours. It goes without saying, doesn't it? We look after our own. As our bloodlines spread over greater numbers, we have to be reminded who to consider our own. Higher ideals, often religion, would have us see all of mankind as our own. Subsets of race feed our need to recognize ourselves in others. Further subsets collect nationalities. National feelings of fraternity become patriotism. But is that natural at all? Where we are led to believe to think about others as ourselves, usually requiring sacrifice of the individual, is for the collective good. A collection of someone's. In the case of Kenya, the subjugation of tribes would benefit the larger group, the collected population of the state. It's become civilized tradition, precursor to globalization, to put country before traditional division. But what is a country? In Africa in particular it's a colonial apportionment of land based on what territories the western explorers were able to conquer and hold together. Or it can be the subsequent holdings of whoever was the last ambitious chieftain. In either case, they are combinations of majority peoples interwoven with minorities, tribes on the rise landlording over those on the wane. The directive to ignore tribal differences would seem to serve mainly dominant bloodlines. Having reached beyond its own dominions, an expanding tribe needs to fold the minority neighbors into its ranks to populate and work the extended lands. The common good being as a matter of fact the leadership's prosperity. Tribes were the original sustainable paradigm for land stewardship before societies needed a system of ownership to support non-productive hierarchies. Tribal claim to land was determined by who could hold it, usually directly related to how much of its resources you needed. Native Americans tribes protected their territories based on their number. Civilizations brought the fat cats who drew more than their share. These included the priests, and thus the need to explain that the administrators of peoples were your extended tribe. Scotland used to be divided into clans, large extended families which inhabited the moors and highlands. Land wasn't owned, clans grew or shrank based on the aptitudes of their chiefs, and borders adjusted accordingly. When the English invaded, they divided the lands and introduced ownership. Clans were rendered obsolete when the English landlords discovered they didn't need farming labor. They discovered that raising sheep netted

Promoting education and ignorance

Have I a verdict on Greg Mortenson now that I've had a chance to see him? He's an incredibly likable guy, doing great good; to my values, doing fantastic work. But I'm a secular westerner, concerned about preserving the ideals of the enlightenment, and worried about the challenge posed by overpopulation. Are these the concerns of Islam? Do fundamentalist Muslims favor personal fulfillment of the individual and smaller families? Greg Mortenson is advancing my agenda and I'd certainly like to think this will lead to prosperity and peace for everyone, but in the meantime I'm certain these actions are antagonistic to Muslims. I'd prefer we consult with Islamic leaders about prospects for peaceful coexistence, not peace engineered on curbing their numbers. Perhaps Greg can champion the educating of Americans to tolerate other belief systems, some of which may not value literacy above family and religion. Westerners subject themselves to schooling because it's the cultural conditioning with which we equip ourselves for our complex post-agrarian world. Does everyone need it? Do Pakistani girls who are going to marry by age twelve need to be literate? Critical thinking and scientific understanding are values of ours. Getting married at a later age, and having fewer children, are values of ours. If Islamic fundamentalists are rushing to indoctrinate adherents with the intention of recruiting Jihadists to attack western encroachment, you have to admit Mortenson's conquest by education would be one of the causes. Mortenson's methods are infinitely preferable to our military's, but they are invasive all the same. The disservice of Greg Mortenson's lecture tour may be that he's selling an over-simplified solution. Mortenson preached a message of hope not fear, hurrah, to an audience that really wants to hope. With Pennies for Peace, we can hope that kids' pocket change will bring us closer to world peace. With the Central Asia Institute, we can hope to end-run our own government's incurable ways. Is it true, do you think? The white elephant in the room was so palpably invisible Dr. Greg may well have trained with David Copperfield. Not even lip service to it: Capitalism. Mortenson's idealism does not address globalization, the World Bank, debt, impoverishment by design, intentional destabilization, protracted war-making, etc. We the People may want world peace, we the people of the world could possibly come together through education, but will our industrial mechanisms allow it? Americans can't even fraternize with Mexico! The fantastic promise of Mortenson's efforts would distract Americans from the more difficult challenge at hand, for which many of us perhaps are finding it harder to muster hope: arresting the destructiveness of our market forces, our government and its corporate oligarchy. Putting our hopes in schooling the children of Islam will be of little avail if our military-driven economies increase their plundering and exploitation all the while. That's who I think is behind the promotion of Three Cups of Tea. That's why the Center of Homeland Security sponsored Mortenson's visit. That's why a self-defined hapless do-gooder is getting such traction. He's selling a fix

Greg Mortenson’s own cup of tea

Greg Mortenson finds himself on the vanguard of Pax Americana the same way he stumbled into the mountain village beneath K2. He has no idea the enormity of the power behind his continued fortune.

Stealing Muslim women from terrorists

Greg Mortenson, author of THREE CUPS OF TEA, thinks that building secular schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan will not upset their Islamic communities and not incite further religious war and terrorism.

I had a blue Christmas without you

I felt more than a bit empty around Christmas this year. For the first time it seemed completely devoid of meaning. No one believes in God. No one believes in Santa. There's nothing particularly thrilling to give or get. There's just an obligation to pour money into the pockets of corporate pricks and fill our houses with crap none of us needs, or even really wants. I remember Christmas as magical. But, as I reflect on my childhood, the magic of the holiday was closely tied to religious ritual. Coming into church on a Sunday soon after Thanksgiving, back when Christmas lights didn't begin showing up by Halloween and could still be cause for celebration, we'd find the Advent wreath suspended from the rafters. Oh, yes! Christmas is coming! The three purple candles, a pink one for the third Sunday of Advent, a white candle for Christmas Eve. Each candle with its own story and symbolic meaning. The beautiful haunting Christmas carols. O Come O Come, Emmanuel was my favorite. It still gives me goosebumps. The nativity display. The Christmas story with its shepherds and wise men and camels and bright stars and inns and stables and mangers and gold, frankincense and myrrh. Oh my! I just loved it all. My poor darling children have none of this, thanks to me. I, like many of my generation, have largely rejected organized religion. Unfortunately, I now understand hypocrisy and oppression and believe that the church is guilty of all the sins it forbids. But what do we do about our spiritual longings? How do we find meaning and impart that meaning to our children who are daily bombarded with despicable messages from our commercialized world? For meaning surely does exist. I am at a loss when it comes to recreating Christmas magic without a little baby Jesus to help me. And I can't just pull him out of a box in the attic and blow the dust off of him so he can lay in his manger Christmas morning. My parents did this, and it was okay, because we knew all about him, every day of every year, so it didn't smack of phoniness like it does when I try to bring him into the Christmas mix. I have no answers. My children sense my sadness around Christmas, and they know it has something to do with religion. But it doesn't really. It has to do with meaning, significance, all things lofty and sublime. It has to do with my remembered feelings of joy and sheer awe at the birth of the Savior. It's the Christmas spirit that, without a miracle, my children will never know.

Benazir’s murder, a matter of when

It's tragic that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today. There is rampant speculation about who did it and why. But largely missing from the analyses I've read is the possibility that the nation of Pakistan, the Islamic nation of Pakistan, a nation that recently gave Osama bin Laden a 46% approval rating, simply didn't want a high-born, Western-educated, secularist woman in a position of power in their country. A woman who has twice been removed from office on corruption charges and whose father was branded an enemy of Islam and executed in 1979. We can pretend that it's an oppressive regime we oppose and that the Pakistani people are longing for freedom and equality as we've defined it. In actuality, our quarrel is with the Pakistanis themselves, at least half of whom would institutionalize Islamic fundamentalism and call it freedom. Pakistanis who would love to be free of Western influence, be it cultural or political. Pakistanis who want to practice their religion and define their values without interference from outsiders. The world does not want our electronics, nor our cars, nor much of anything we have to offer. Why do we insist that the world want our democracy? Clearly it doesn't.

From Labour to Catholicism in time for Christmas and Santa

For those of us who are easily entertained by the Republican Party candidates' pre-Christmas expressed opinions in favor of our Lord and Master, it is especially gratifying to know that these expressions of faith are not solely American. The Lord, too, has recently moved Tony Blair to reject godless Labour Party ideology in favor of Papism. God bless Thee, Tony! You no longer will live in sin. December 23, 2007 Tony Blair finally becomes a Catholic

Jesus vs. Santa rivalry is nothing new

A holiday detente: As Easter sprung from fertility celebrations befitting the rebirth of spring, so Christmas originated from offerings of the season's greetings to the winter solstice. And while Christians might have taken over the party, they've had to retain the yule tree and other pagan party favors to ensure converts would still RSVP to the festivities. The struggle between Jesus and Santa is nothing new. The First War on Christmas happened in Oliver Cromwell's England when Christmas idolatry came to be forbidden by law. Popular merriment was deemed to have strayed too far from the Protestant message of the church, the Lord's Day etc, so Lord Protector Cromwell reined things in, for a time, until the reformer's dominance over the parliament and the influence of the Puritans waned. I heard this story on NPR, half of it actually. They described Christmas having been made illegal for a period, but curiously didn't mention which period, and who in England had done it. Puritans you say? Might these have been the same Puritans who came to America's shore? The same. Well, they shared forefathers (Our forefathers, if our WASP history books can be believed, emphasizing as they do our "Christian Nation" while minimizing Jefferson and the other 90% of our settlers). Thus religious intolerance, on the part of the Puritans, drove the rest of England to send them packing, post paid, to take their anti-everybody else's Christmas to New England, where it was thought there were no revelers to be bothered. The Puritans fled religious intolerance to THEIR intolerance basically. What BS to assert that English merry folk did not accord them freedom of religion. England wanted freedom FROM the Puritan's brand of religion. For some reason our historians seem content to leave open the suggestion that the Puritan party-pooper recount being expelled from the party because of his "wild and crazy" ways! Just as in Old England, the American puritanical pin heads every so often revive to prominence, usually in reaction to economic or social catastrophe, to prescribe austerity across the board, from no drinking to unhappy holidays. In their current incarnation they're Fundies aghast at what's become of their Christmas. The "true meaning" having become too commercial, too secular, not enough infant Christ worship, etc. We've got a nation of party-poopers, wanting to repo the universal Xmas holiday and its international message of brotherhood: Peace on Earth, Goodwill To All Mankind. Puritans aren't about being good, they're the fine folk who who accepted the turkey, then thanked the Lord, not the heathens. Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!

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