Widening Circles

bhodhisatva

Ben Becker: Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.

Rep. Steve King: “Why Won’t Obama Call Tim Tebow?”

tim tebow praying

Dave Zirin: Tim Tebow is a neon distraction in a league that prefers the equivalent of men in gray flannel suits. If Tom Brady is the Don Draper of quarterbacks, then Tim Tebow is Megan Draper, flashing some skin and singing French pop songs, equal parts transfixing and excruciating.

Pray Like I Do

women of the wall

Steve Hochstadt: Americans typically know little about the nature of the Israeli state that we support so generously. Would Americans so willingly support a state that discriminates against women? Or that makes rules about how one must pray?

Caltech Faulted for Unfair Labor Practices at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

jpl

Caltech issued letters of highest level disciplinary reprimand to five JPL employees because they used JPL’s internal email system to discuss the implications of a recent Supreme Court ruling on the working conditions at JPL.

Faith and Fraud in “The Undershepherd”

the undershepherd

Sikivu Hutchinson: Set in Los Angeles under luminous blue skies, the film provides a window onto the cesspit of thug religiosity.

Rankism vs. the Golden Rule

SYMMETRY

Robert Fuller: What is Rankism? It is a collective name for the various ways power can be abused. Whereas rank is meant to serve, rankism is a self-serving perversion of service. There are many varieties of rankism — sexism, racism, and ableism are a few.

Remembering Bob Edgar

Bob Edgar

Peter Laarman: Bob Edgar had to contend with timidity among the good and the great especially during his years with the NCC, where denominational bigwigs (Bob’s bosses on the governing body) were privately horrified that their point person should actually seek to change oppressive systems rather than simply make mewling noises about them.

American Infidel: Robert Ingersoll Was the “Great Agnostic” of the (Last) Gilded Age

ingersoll

Peter Laarman: Ingersoll’s clarity and passion influenced almost everyone, from Mark Twain and Walt Whitman to Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison, and from Frederick Douglass and Margaret Sanger to Gene Debs and “Fighting Bob” La Follette.

The Iraq Invasion and U.S. Clergy

mlk_riverside-590

John Marciano: As I walked past a Santa Monica church on Easter Sunday, I wondered if the clergy inside had addressed the war’s anniversary. Had they at any time in the past ten years condemned it in clear and prophetic language? Where have they been during the long nightmare of war in Iraq – and Afghanistan?

Rites Versus Rights

christendom

Tina Dupuy: Religion has the charm of conforming to one’s opinion. Christendom has been splintered since the moment it was dubbed Christendom. The reason? Religion is subjective.

Why Isn’t There a War on Easter?

easter egg

Tina Dupuy: There is a “war on Christmas” because there are spoils to be had over Christmas. If Easter raked in nearly half a trillion in sales, the outragemeisters would suddenly claim it was under attack by pagans trying to obscure the Christian message by making it about pastel colored eggs.

A Sabbath Against Gun Violence

Interfaith

Deborah Gitell: It is clear the only way to put an end to this non sensical violence is by coalition building. Personally, I was uplifted to stretch beyond my own comfort zone, and attend another’s faith services.

Testing the New Pope’s Commitment to Poverty

Dorothy-Day-590

Walter Moss: Since the new pope seems to have a good sense of humor, he might appreciate the following irony: Although the Catholic Church he now heads bars women from the priesthood and his church is often accused of gender bias, the twentieth-century person who most forcefully embraced the ideals of St. Francis was a woman — Dorothy Day.

Did Pat Robertson Finally Come to Jesus?

pat robertson

JP Sotille: If he really wants to come to Jesus, Reverend Robertson should concern himself with rebuking all those firsthand sweaters from sweatshops, all those pants made by cheap child workers and all those other labor-intensive products that feed the beast of American consumerism.

Peace Dividend: A Model of Morality

bullying

Robert Fuller: That we’ve found ways to curb the indignities suffered by minorities, women, gays, the elderly, and people with disabilities suggests that making dignity the norm universally may not be out of reach.

Gangs or the Gospel: Competing for the Lives of Our Youth

Romal Tune

Romal Tune: We may not like what they offer and the negative impact they have on the lives of our children, but if you were to ask a lot of kids who joined gangs why they did it, you’d hear them say, it’s because they love me, they gave me a place to belong, they protected me, and they cared about me when no one else did.

Back to the Future for the Catholic Church?

married priest

John MacMurray: The Roman Catholic Church has changed greatly over its long life, and one of the points that has changed is the issue of celibacy for the Clergy. Until about the 13th century, celibacy was seen as optional.

Season of Hope: A New Deal for Religion and Science

zen

Robert Fuller: Those who argue that religion should be counted out are overlooking the role that religious leaders played in overcoming segregation in America, repealing apartheid in South Africa, and ending the communist dictatorship in Poland and Central Europe.

Will the Sun Ever Shine Again?

newtown memorial

Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson: I am sick and tired and I hope you are too. This is what I want to ask of everyone here today: if you have a gun, or guns, in your home, get rid of them. Take them to the police and have them decommissioned. Get rid of them.

‘Please Jesus, Protect Me From Your Followers’

james dobson

Berry Craig: My idea of hell would be to spend eternity with Dobson, Morris and the rest of what another of my union buddies calls “The Christian Taliban.”

School Shootings: ‘God’s Gonna Run From People Like Them’

mike huckabee

Berry Craig: What Huckabee and Fischer lament is the absence of their version of public school prayer: Protestant, fundamentalist and mandated by school officials.

Let’s Party Like It’s Baktun 13

mayan calendar

Rosemary Joyce: What we can’t do, apparently, is ignore the hype that claims that the Maya who lived in city states in Mexico and Central America a little more than a thousand years ago predicted that the end of the world will come this month: December 21, to be precise.

Too Many Monotheisms

jesus christ

John Peeler: For those who cannot accept atheism but who want to escape the madness of monotheism, there is something to be said for a modern polytheism.

Sharia Is Coming! Sharia Is Coming!

rush limbaugh

Tom Hall: the Fundagelical fear of Sharia rests on a misunderstanding of our nation’s fascinating history of changing legal systems.

Fetus Food: Another Urban Legend Busted

abortion

Tina Dupuy: There is a long and storied global history of demonizing groups of people with whom you disagree by tarring them with the charge of cannibalism

Intruding Upon the Constitution by the Religious Right

billy graham

Walter Brasch: 28 percent of Americans, according to a First Amendment Center poll in February, don’t believe there is a Constitutional separation of church and state.

Romney’s Prosperity Gospel: The Candidate as Televangelist

billy graham and mitt romney

Peter Laarman: Obama cannot and should not condemn those in the electorate who buy into Romney’s “there will be showers of blessing” message, but he probably does need to get his preacher voice on to remind folks that all covenant promises are conditional.

Muslims Go Home? They Were Here First

early muslims

John MacMurrary: It would probably send their pacemakers into full afterburner if local Islamophobes like Congressmen Ed Royce and Gary Miller found out that Muslims were in America before the British; as explorers, slaves, and business owners.

Heavens! Try Disputing This Poll

are you jewish

Tina Dupuy: Non-believers, agnostic, non-theists, secularists, spiritual but not religious, and moral without mythology folks could be the actual silent majority. It’s possible we’re completely surrounded. Shh..

Abandoned by the Spirits

peyote dreams

Kathleen Peine: Our hubris is that only humans matter, and it probably blinds us to a world that wouldn’t require us to self medicate with SSRIs (or whatever is handy).

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