Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wrong Answer

Way to win over the populace, Gov. While Illinois has its flaws, I am glad I don't live in Alabama.

The separation of church and state is in place for a very good reason. Unfortunately, this separation does not always extend and resonate from the mouths of those holding public office as is the case of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

The statement is divisive, judgmental and exclusionary. It is, in fact, NOT what Jesus taught: 

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned, forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."
- Luke: 6:37

"For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
-1 John 3:11

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female: for we are all one in Christ."
-Galatians 3:28

I caution against subscribing to the elitism of the traditional Christian. One has to view everyone - Jew, Muslim, Hindu, atheist - everyone - as a child of God to feel that we are all a single family on this planet.

Also, U.S. politicians have a great knack for embarrassing themselves and everyone else.

New Ala. gov: Just Christians are his family
By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Jay Reeves, Associated Press
Tue Jan 18, 11:39 pm ET

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters, shocking some critics who questioned Tuesday whether he can be fair to non-Christians. "Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The Birmingham News. The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday called Bentley's remarks shocking."His comments are not only offensive, but also raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment during his tenure as governor," said Bill Nigut, the ADL's regional director. Speaking at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church after the official inaugural ceremony, Bentley told the crowd that he considered anyone who believed in Jesus to be his brothers and sisters regardless of color, but anyone who isn't a Christian doesn't have that same relationship to him. "If the Holy Spirit lives in you that makes you my brothers and sisters. Anyone who has not accepted Jesus, I want to be your brothers and sisters, too," Bentley said. After his speech, Bentley said he did not mean to insult anyone. Responding to questions about it, Bentley's office released a statement Tuesday saying he believes "he is the governor of all of Alabama." "The governor clearly stated that he will be the governor of all Alabamians รข€” Democrat, Republican and Independent, young, old, black and white, rich and poor. As stated in his (inaugural) address, Gov. Bentley believes his job is to make everyone's lives better," the statement said. Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society, told The Birmingham News he wasn't sure how Bentley's remarks were intended. "Does it mean that those who according to him are not saved are less important than those who are saved?" Taufique said. "Does he want those of us who do not belong to the Christian faith to adopt his faith? That should be toned down. That's not what we need. If he means that, I hope he changes it. We don't want evangelical politicians. They can be whatever in their private life."The official with the Anti-Defamation League, which fights discrimination against Jewish people, said it sounded like Bentley was using the office of governor to advocate for Christian conversion. "If he does so, he is dancing dangerously close to a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids government from promoting the establishment of any religion," Nigut said.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Westboro Bapterrorists To Strike Again!

Look, I'm the first to criticize the Catholic Church. No big secret here. But I do it in the proper forum and with a decent and humanly amount of respect to those who are part of it. My family is Catholic. I go to a Catholic university which is totally progressive and mission-focused. I am surrounded by Catholicism but I can peaceably explain my stance and stand aside to let others worship as they may. I can do that and still disagree with its fundamental doctrines. 

These Westboro Bapterrorists epitomize the word "AntiChrist": they are nothing like Jesus. No compassion. No humility. No decency. No mercy. And they can't ACTUALLY be serious because if they were they would know just how ass-anine they appear. They are not attracting actual thinkers to their side. I am understanding it is a group comprised of the lawyerly types who take the opportunity to sue cities for keeping them at bay during funerals. Definitely not upstanding citizens, much less human beings.

Arizona lawmakers plan to block protesters within 300 feet of funerals
By the CNN Wire Staff - January 11, 2011 1:44 p.m. EST - Source

In addition to the expected legislation, some Tucson residents are planning an "angel action" -- with 8- by 10-foot "angel wings" worn by participants to shield mourners from picketers. Angel actions were created by Coloradan Romaine Patterson, who was shocked to find the Topeka church and its neon signs outside the 1999 funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man beaten and left on a fence to die in Laramie, Wyoming. "We want to surround them, in a nonviolent way, to say that our community is united," Gilmer said, who is helping organize the action. "We're a peaceful haven." Gilmer added, "You don't mess with Tucson," describing it as "a little dot of blue in a sea of red." But political persuasions don't matter, she said. Republicans, Democrats, independents, right, left and center -- they've all offered their support. Forty-two people have signed up on a Facebook page called "Build Angel Wings for the Westboro Funeral Counter-Protest and Meeting," and more than 4,500 have signed up on another page to "Show Support for the Families of the Tucson Shooting Victims." Jeff Rogers, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, said Tuesday that his organization as well as the local Republican Party also will ask people to line the funeral routes to form a barricade if the church follows through on its planned protest. "People, businesses, they're all donating material and money to build the angel wings," Gilmer said, adding that people are giving to a fund to help pay for services for the shooting victims. Chelsea Cohen, a 20-year-old senior at the University of Arizona who launched the "Show Support" Facebook page, said she never expected such a response. "Once I heard that the Westboro Baptist Church was coming, I felt like something should be done to show support for the families," she said. "I don't have any experience in organizing these things. I thought I might get 50 to 100 people." Cohen said she thinks many who signed up on the Facebook page will be there "in spirit" on Thursday when mourners gather for the funeral of Christina, who was born September 11, 2001. But she added that Tucson is an active town and the response isn't likely to be small. "This isn't a counterprotest," she said. "We wanted it to show support for the families and to show that Tucson is there with love and support." The groups don't want to interfere with the funeral in any way, Cohen said. "We plan on being completely silent, and we're asking people not to bring signs or make comments about the Westboro Baptist Church," she said. The angels will be doing the same thing. "We're going to silently stand there so people can mourn the death of a 9-year-old girl who died in a senseless tragedy," Gilmer said. Cohen said several groups are planning to be at the funeral to show their support, and there is an effort afoot to bring them all together "into one group so we can all be on the same page." "I hope that everyone there can convey the peaceful message that we want to convey, she said And if the church picketers persist, the silent supporters will be on hand for the funerals of U.S. District Judge John Roll, Gabriel Zimmerman, Dorothy Morris, Dorwin Stoddard and Phyllis Schneck, the other five victims of Saturday's shooting. Giffords, who was shot in the head and is in critical condition, and 13 other people were wounded. Westboro Baptist Church, founded by its spiritual leader, Fred Phelps, and run mostly by family members, did not respond to a request for an interview in time for this article. But a flier released by the church about the picket targets the Roman Catholic Church because Christina and her family were members. "God hates Catholics!" the flier, posted on the church's website, says. "God calls your religion 'vain,' as it's empty of His truth; you worship idols!"

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Gesture of Goodwill

This is good news. Very good . It indicates the early construction of a bridge of understanding and reason between two different religions whose fundamental value of peace is acknowledged. Amen! 

What is a Copt, you ask?

Copts are Egyptians whose ancestors embraced Christianity in the early centuries after Christ. Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the region.

Egypt Muslims to act as "human shields" at Coptic Christmas Eve mass
January 6, 2011 - View Source

Coptic Churches around the country expect an influx of Egyptian Muslims to share with the country's Christians their Christmas Eve mass.

“Although 2011 started tragically, I feel it will be a year of eagerly anticipated change, where Egyptians will stand against sectarianism and unite as one,” Father Rafaeil Sarwat of the Mar-Mina church told Ahram Online. The Coptic priest was commenting on the now widespread call by Muslim intellectuals and activists upon Egyptian Muslims at large to flock to Coptic churches across the country to attend Coptic Christmas Eve mass, to show solidarity with the nation's Coptic minority, but also to serve as "human shields" against possible attacks by Islamist militants. Mohamed Abdel Moniem El-Sawy, founder of El-Sawy Culture Wheel was among the promiment Muslim cultural figures who first floated the bold initiative. “This is it. It is time to change and unite,” asserted journalist Ekram Youssef, another notable sponsor of the intiative, in a telephone interview with Ahram Online. She added that although it is the government’s responsibility to act and find solutions to bring an end to such violations, "it is time for Egyptian citizens to act to revive the true meaning of national unity." Following last year's Coptic Christmas Eve attack on congregants as they left their church in the Upper Egyptian city of Naga Hamady, Youssef created the crescent and cross logo with the slogan “A nation for all” - that was adopted during the past couple of days by many of Egypt’s 4 million Facebook users as their profile picture. Mariam Yassin, a 24 year old video editor, will take Thursday off to travel to Alexandria to attend the mass at the Two Saints Church. “I am not going as a representative of any religion. I am supporting all those who died as a result of ignorance.” Yassin’s friend, Mariam Fekry, was killed along with her mother, sister and aunt in the Two Saints Church attack. “I feel great sympathy for her family’s loss, yet I don’t feel that as a Muslim I should apologize on the behalf of murderers.” Yassin added. On the other hand, Fatima Mostafa, a 40 year old house wife, will join Copts tomorrow to show that Muslims feel their sorrow. “I want to show the world that Islam is a religion of peace and that such attacks are nothing more than a result of poverty, ignorance and oppression.” While the reasons they cite for doing so may vary, many Egyptian Muslims are rallying around the idea of acting to protect their fellow citizens. “I know it might not be safe, yet it’s either we live together, or we die together, we are all Egyptians,” Cherine Mohamed, a 50 year old house wife said. For Youssef, Egyptians should attend regardless of their faith as “we all have Christians as part of our family. I am a Muslim but I’m sure my great grandfather was a Christian.” An engineer who wanted to remain anonymous stated that he was looking forward to tomorrow: “I was a Christian and I’m a Muslim now, I want my kids to go to church to realize that both religions are similar; we have one God, and both holy books stress peace and the welfare of the society at large.” The goodwill has been well received by the Coptic Church, and Coptic priests have been expressing their pleasure that Muslims intend to join them at tomorrow’s mass. Some churches have already put up banners welcoming Muslims to their celebration of the birth of Jesus. Some fear the initiative will be thwarted, however. “I’m filled with happiness, I feel it will become a national celebration, yet I fear that police won’t allow Muslims to attend the mass,” Ashraf Rasmy, a Coptic volunteer worker said. Nevertheless, Muslims and Copts are looking forward to tomorrow evening with all that it might bring. Amani Ramsis, a volunteer worker, remains defiant: “It is an anticipated celebration for all Egyptians, whether we live or die, we will never stop celebrating the birth of Jesus, and no one can bury our joy and unity.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sad Start to 2011

Happy New Year, everyone. Hopefully toward the end of this year I'll have more time to write after I finish grad school.

This is a very sad way to begin 2011, however, nothing is as sad as the betrayal of the trusting by the trusted -- especially the molestation and abuse of deaf children by Lawrence Murphy.

Yeah, keep cheerleading the celibacy. More and more it seems that those born with a d*** always end up using it one way or another, don't they? It isn't a question of its use but rather how long they can keep their doins' under wraps. Wonder why that is. Maybe this will be some sort of revelation to the CC in 2011.

Abusive priest suits force archdiocese to file for bankruptcy
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN - 1/4/11 - Source

The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee is filing for bankruptcy protection, it announced Tuesday, citing the cost of lawsuits filed against priests by victims of sexual abuse. "This action is occurring because priest-perpetrators sexually abused minors," the archdiocese said in a statement announcing it was filing for Chapter 11 protection. Milwaukee was home to Father Lawrence Murphy, who was accused of molesting as many as 200 deaf boys at St. John's School for the Deaf over the course of decades. He resigned from the post in 1974 and died in 1998. One of his alleged victims attempted to sue the Vatican to force it to release the names of thousands of Catholic priests against whom credible accusations have been filed. The Vatican said the suit had no merit. Arthur Budzinski, a deaf man who said he was sexually assaulted and raped by Murphy, talked about the abuse in a news conference about the lawsuit last year. He said the priest "may have stolen our bodies," but higher clerics such as cardinals, archbishops and the pope "stole our voices." He made his comments in sign language and his daughter, Gigi, interpreted his words. The archdiocese has failed to reach an out-of-court settlement with victims, and a court ruled in November that insurance companies were not required to help it pay off abuse claims, it said. That forced it to file for bankruptcy protection, it said. It said it had two goals: "fairly" compensating victims and carrying on its "essential ministries." But a lawyer representing victims rejected the explanation. "The reality is that this is being done for one reason - to hide the names of those who have offended kids and those that have covered it up in the archdiocese for years," said Jeff Anderson, who represents 23 victims. But bankruptcy will only delay the process, not stop it, he argued, saying other diocese had also filed for protection. "In all instances it has caused delays but ... never succeeded in avoiding the public disclosure of some of their crimes," he told CNN. The head of a victims' group blasted the decision to file for bankruptcy. "It's always distressing when supposed 'shepherds' act like callous CEOs," said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "This is about protecting church secrets, not church assets. The goal here is to prevent top church managers from being questioned under oath about their complicity, not 'compensating victims fairly,'" he told CNN. Milwaukee becomes at least the ninth American diocese to file for bankruptcy protection since 2004, according to, a database of publicly reported information about abuse allegations.

CNN's Alan Duke and Hada Messia contributed to this report.