Friday, November 30, 2007

Bono's Religious Drive

Everyone knows Bono as the rock star from the bank U2 and one who has played a huge role in fighting world poverty. What a lot of people don't know is how his Christian faith has helped him achieve these goals of giving aid. wrote an article titled "Good old story about Bono history" that highlights Bono's faith and how he feels he had an advantage in being able to communicate with people on all ends of the spectrum- especially in Washington D.C. He explained that one of the advantages to his fame was that he was given the ultimate opportunity to reach out to the world and have an impact, and so it began.

I found this article very enlightening and it made me want to go out and help the world! Really though, I think Bono is one of the few people who actually uses his fame in a good way, and that is to fight poverty around the world. The fact that his Christian faith helped him do that is all the better because a belief system is really an empowering tool.

Silly Santorum

Rick Santorum is the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania who raises questions in the eyes of the public as to whether he is truly the social issues activist he claims to be or a partner of corporate America who is interested in money-making. He was one of the fighters who fought to keep Terry Schiavo alive, and he was at the "media scrum" in Tampa near the hospice where she had been located during her final days and made a visit to pay his respects to the family. However, eyebrows were raised when questioning why he was in Tampa in the first place. Allegedly, he was at a fund raising lunch with one of his corporate benefactors, Outback Steakhouses and apparently flew in on another corporate donor's jet- everybody's favorite corporation- Wal-Mart.

I believe it's hard to pull off a scheme such as he has, especially when he has claimed to be fighting for homosexual and abortion rights, which don't necessary go hand in hand with conservative corporations. Looks like he has got himself in a bind that will be hard to crawl out of.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Seasonal Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair revealed in a television interview that, had it not been for his strong religious beliefs, he would have found his job as prime minster much more difficult. This is interesting because Blair's then director of communications, Alastair Campbell, once said "We don't do God." Later, Campbell turned around and said, "Well, he does do God- in quite a big way". Some of his practices supported this, one being that he would go to church every Sunday, no matter what part of the world he was in. Blair makes it seem that his politics and religion were definitely intertwined, however, exactly how and what policies were affected by his faith?

The reason I pose this question is due to the fact that, although Blair makes it seem that his religion guides him, human cloning was legalized in Britain, civil partnerships for homosexual couples were legalized, and abortion is permitted up until the 24th week of pregnancy. I don't know about you, but I don't see any evidence of his religion being put into action.

Jesus Back in Court

An Indiana state lawmaker, Senator Dennis Kruse, mentioned Jesus Christ in a prayer given to the Indiana Senate in which the ACLU and others protested this "sectarian" behavior. One would think that there have been enough instances where problems have been caused mixing religion and politics, but this man obviously forgot and once again, controversy arose as it always does.

Being a senator, one would assume that he would know the logistics of what would happen by mentioning Jesus in a prayer, and surely enough it did. It is possible to pray without saying Jesus' name and it would make his life, and everyone else's involved much easier. One could think of Jesus to themselves, inside their own head, and there would be no necessity to say it as long as one thinks of it inwardly.

Mystical Masses

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have researched why there is growing popularity of the Tridentine Mass in the Catholic world. Federal government worker Ken Wolfe attends Latin masses 4 times a week, and he reported that this specific mass is different from the usual- "it's a very serious liturgy. Apparently these were the types of masses that went on before for 1,500 years before Vatican II- in a world different from ours today. Priests find this revival of the Tridentine Mass a very significant endeavor for them and, according to some, should be focusing on more important things like the fact that fewer and fewer Catholics are going to confession today?

In my opinion, it's matters like these that should be the priority of these spiritual leaders instead of trying to revive an ancient liturgy. I'm sure it's exciting to do because it's different from the norm of every Sunday, but we shouldn't lose sight of the important things that affect our daily lives like confession.

Change in the Book of Mormon?

"After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principle ancestors of the American Indians."
"After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians."
If you ask me what the difference is between these two sentences, I would tell you that "the principle ancestors" changed to "among the ancestors". Otherwise, I have no clue what the heck that means or why it has any significance at all. That is probably just me being ignorant. This has raised some DNA related debate, considering there is no evidence of practically anything that is written in this book, including "Reformed Egyptian" which Smith claims to have transcribed, no Book of Mormon kings, tombs, etc.

Now, I am not one to be easily judge things, but I just think it's totally bogus and it amazes me to see such a large group of followers who actually believe in this. How Joseph Smith new "Reformed Egyptian" is beyond me, maybe he picked it up in grade school or something. It is just not convincing at all- I could probably make up a more convincing story and ultimately my own religious that's more legit than this!

Me= God

I learned that Mormonism is America's most prosperous religion, and that really surprised me; it shows how much I have yet to learn. What surprises me even more is the Mormon belief that they become their own gods. This really stuns me. God is the only God and if he is as almighty and powerful as they believe him to be, than no human could ever equate to being a god. I'm sure there is some spiritual or religious explanation for this but it's issues like these that give Mormonism a poor connotation. And sadly enough, I am part of the crowd who is swayed by these. There is not enough positive attention going toward Mormonism, and this is one of the reason that presidential candidate Mitt Romney is going to have major issues.

What the heck is tithing?

Tithing is the concept of giving 10% of one's income to the church. Recently, churchgoers have been challenging what some churches have made to be their rule of tithing and has ultimately lead to several people questioning and eventually leaving the church. Church leaders say that this idea comes from the Bible itself claiming that "Jews brought 10% of their harvest to a storehouse as a welfare plan for the needy or in case of famine". Whether of not this was the case does not mean that it should be a requirement for regular churchgoers! I understand that churches need ways to raise money and this is a quite and easy way for them to achieve that. However, making it a requirement for families to give 10% of their income away is really a difficult thing for me to grasp. Every family is in a different financial situation, and they should give what the each individually can afford to give.

Religion v. Science Part 2

As I have mentioned before in previous posts, the debate between religion and science is ongoing and forever will be. James K. Galbraith, the writer of the article titled "Smith v. Darwin" explains that both Intelligent Design and the Invisible Hand persist with plenty of evidence on each side. So how do we find out what the answer really is? Can both ideas exist simultaneously with each other?

Missing Atheist Representation

Lori Lipman Brown is the first registered lobbyist in Washington for atheists. She is also the director of the Secular Coalition for America who is working towards a more widespread acceptance of atheists in today's culture. She represents the approximately 30 million Americans who don't believe in God or don't have a religious preference. Dislike for atheists is what often makes these non-believes afraid to "come out of the closet" and it is important for society to be more educated and accept widespread views that aren't similar to their own.

Though there is already lobbying taking place in attempt to further the separation of church and state, Lori is working on things such as "removing references to God from the citizenship oath". I think that this article is enlightening and I believe that atheists have as much of a right as another other group of people to express their concerns and be critical of legislation that might be disadvantageous to them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Unlikely Preacher

December 2006: Jay Bakker, the 31 year-old son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker has founded a "nondenominational congregation" called Revolution. The main gist of this is that Jesus loves even those who are generally unlikely church-goers: skaters, punks, those who are "tatted up" and all. After a sex scandal and his father's imprisonment, Jay dropped out of his school and turned to alcohol. To him, God had ultimately forsaken him. Several years, later he taught himself the Bible and became a preacher for others like him who have felt that God has forsaken them.

Even though this article is a year old, I find it interesting and surprising that I hadn't heard of this happening. I think it's great and not mainstream which makes it even more attractive. There should be a sect for every group of people where they can go and pray and learn without feeling uncomfortable, but rather being surrounded by others with similar interests as them.

Again on Religion

I don't know what's with me today but I feel like babbling once again about Romney and religion. Previously in my blog I mentioned that it doesn't matter what one's belief system is when they're running for President, as long as they believe in something it's OK. Well, I changed my mind after being in lecture more and more and learning about all these things. I mean, seriously, if one has a religion whether or not you feel deeply about it or not, you still believe in something, right? If you are to have a faith, you should support it, especially if you are the President of the United States. People need to feel comfortable about their future leaders and without knowing them inside and out, it is hard to have respect for them.

We've all had experience with our Catholic and Evangelical leaders, but never have we run into a prospective Mormon leader. For this reason we should be especially critical of their beliefs, and if he is having a problem confronting the issue of his religion, I wonder how he will react when there are bigger issues in the world that need to be handled.

"No Muslims"

Mitt Romney found himself in a political squabble when he stated that he would not have any Muslim-Americans in his Cabinet because they do not have an equal percentage in the United States. He then turned around and tried to clarify his statement by saying that it was due to the way the question was worded. He says that the question asked if he felt they would need a Muslim in the Cabinet in order to face radical Jihad and in answer to this, he said no just as they didn't need a Japanese-American in the Cabinet to understand the threat coming from there decades ago.

It looks like Romney has once again gotten himself into a religion-related controversy, aside from his mysterious Mormon background which has been shielded from the public this far.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fighters Against Capital Punishment

Catholics at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Raleigh, North Carolina are fighting for legislation in their state to outlaw the death penalty. This was brought about when one of their very own parishioners who was found guilty of murder and put to death in the late 1980's. Every Sunday, they begin each mass with a prayer to this man, Jeff Meyer, and lead a fight in stopping these policies. They participate in everything from fund raising to lobbying in order to get their legislation through and their opinion heard.

The video below is an account of a women whose daughter was viciously raped and murder. She is the kind of woman that these Catholics are fighting because she is in favor of the death penalty.

Religion vs. Science

The debate between religion and science is one that seems to get more and more involved as the discussions get more and more heated each year. Those who are involved in these issues are those who are extremely passionate about one side or the other. At Baylor University in Waco, Texas, there was a large upheaval of fundamentalist Christians against moderate Christians in regards to the "soul of the university".

That is why when the Theory of Intelligent Design was introduced into a class's curriculum and then removed, there was even more outrage, especially among the faculty and there were even headlines across the state about what had happened. People take these subjects very seriously, especially since this school is the nation's largest Baptist university.

Christian Soldiers

This topic is an extension of two posts below. It deals with the alleged attempt of the military to inflict their religious beliefs on non-believers who are fighting among them. The "anti-crusader", Mikey Weinstein, is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Death threats and harassment are the norm for him as he is told to burn in hell almost every day. This is the price he is willing to pay in order to keep the boost of fundamentalist Christianity from rising.

He believes that these fundamentalists who are trying to transform the Army into an Army of God will not stop until they have succeeded in doing so. In my opinion, members of the military are comprised of all sorts of races, ethnicities, and religions and all of these religious should be represented or at least equally acknowledged.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Godless Constitution

The Founding Fathers left God out of our Constitution, and columnist Susan Jacoby is one of several who believe that there is a reason behind this. It is not due to the fact that they simply oversaw this detail; no, they believed even back then that there should be a separation between church and state and there would be controversy otherwise. This is similar to what we are facing in today's age, the conflict of how much God should be involved in the governing of the leaders of our country is endless. There is really no right or wrong answer to this problem.

One of the events in which this issue was raised was when two Kentucky court houses were ordered to take down signs that displayed the Ten Commandments. Situations like this have sparked countless others throughout the United States and now these things are in need of being reviewed again and again. Ultimately, there is no way of pleasing every party when it comes to God-related circumstances. Either you're FOR IT or AGAINST IT- there is no in between.

Horner's Haranguing?

Eric Horner is a famous Christian country singer who is generally greatly admired by the American military. He was invited to play a gig in front of a graduating army recruits class in which President Bush would be delivering a speech. He, his wife, and of could of others were the only people (non-officers) that were allowed to meet the President.

An article was written by Josh Harkinson of in which they brought up the subject of Eric Horner and how some believe that he is infusing religious coercion into his music by referring to God in his songs, which he claims he never has but records prove otherwise. I'm sure there are a zillion other performers out there who would gladly perform for our military, so there's obviously some sort of connection between people in which Horner's performances are considered superior to others due to the strong religious element- while still claiming that it is not their aim.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Falwell's File

Jerry Falwell was a popular Evangelical Christian pastor, televangelist, and one of the founders of the Moral Majority- an organization for Christian-oriented political lobbying. He died this passed May at the age of 73 but during those years made a huge impact on the world. He believed that the church was the cornerstone of a good family. His more radical beliefs consisted of staunch opposition to abortion and homosexuality.

The Washington Post published an article last week on Jerry Falwell and a confidential FBI file of his. This file reveals death threats that were brought against Falwell for his radical anti-gay beliefs. An example of these threats is a letter that was received to his television ministry in 1983 which was signed with "Hope you will die soon", accompanied by a box with a scorpion in it. Yikes! The horror of being hated with such a passion is unbearable, but with people as passionate as they are about these issues, Falwell was kind of asking for it.

Election by God

General William Boykin was the United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He once said, "George Bush was not elected by a majority of voters. He was appointed by God". It is this belief that is held among a decent chunk of Americans today. In my opinion, it is frightening to think that they really believe this and take it in a literal sense. To me, this is a little on the fanatical side to think that God "choses" Presidents of the United States, and it reminds me how people like Bush are "told" by God to do certain things, and that He speaks to them in guidance of their actions.

Of course, this leads back to the subject of separate of church and the state the major controversy surrounding it. It is comforting to me to know that our leaders have faith in God in which he can make his own moral and value decisions in his personal life. But when God starts "speaking" to him about how to rule and things of that nature, it is taking it too far in my book.


Reverend Sun Myung Moon is an 82- year old conservative billionaire and a convicted felon who was imprisoned for income tax evasion and conspiracy in the mid-1980s for approximately 13 years, according to He was coronated in a senator's office building last March during which authorization was to be given to allow the ceremony, but this information was not disclosed to the public.

The reason this is such a big occurrence is due to the fact that this man claims to be the Messiah, among other things. That is why the senator's name was not made public because of potential embarrassment, in my opinion, of supporting Reverend Moon and his outlandish beliefs. People are either really admirable of him or they think he is completely ridiculous in everything that he does.

Jesus' SUV conducted a survey in which people were asked whether or not Jesus would drive an SUV. The results, to me, were pretty astonishing. Twenty-nine percent said yes, forty-six percent were SUV drivers that also said yes, twenty-five percent among non-SUV drivers said yes, and a mere thirty-three percent said no. As for the last seven percent, they said that Jesus would walk!

I would think that everyone would answer the obvious answer which would be that Jesus would absolutely not not drive one of these gas-guzzlers, but apparently I've got it all wrong because there is a huge majority who think otherwise. Am I missing something?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Hinn-ster AKA False Prophet

Benny Hinn is one of the most popular televangelists, best known for his "Miracle Crusades" in which he travels to places around the world and performs miracles on people who have illnesses. It is quite sad because his work is basically bogus and gives false hopes to people who truly believe that they are being touched and healed by God through this man. What Hinn is doing is outrageous and downright despicable, in my opinion.
It is even more depressing knowing that people who make meager amounts of money are being influence by him to give what little they have as a donation and in return God will "pay them back" several-fold. The worst part is that the prayer requests that these donors send in are put in a pile that eventually end up in the trash!!

It is incredibly sad that these people's hopes and dreams, not to mention their money, are destroyed and they are left with virtually nothing. It is people like Benny Hinn who are full of crap who think that they have the right to put these people in worse situations than when they started. He says that once he prays for them, it is up to that person and God when it comes to what happens to them- he apparently has no control of what God decides as long as he prays.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Scandal hits the Catholic Church

We are all aware of the Catholic Sex Scandal that took place throughout the country. However, it was largely concentrated on the West Coast, with the largest of them- the Los Angeles Diocese- at its focus. The molestation of young boys had been happening for decades, yet these stories did not actually surface until just a few years ago. How these occurances have been allowed to go on for so long is as much as mystery as why the leaders of the Catholic Church have been covering up for these predators.

According to an LA Times article, in 2003 approximately 800 claims were filed over a one year period that was opened to people who wanted to come forth about being sexually abused by a priest. The number is so staggering because people didn't feel that if they had come forth about it before, no one would have believed them. However, once they heard about these cases years later, they felt that it was time.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Iraqi Occupation and Religion

Going into Iraq in 2001 was an abrupt and very serious mistake. The mistake lies more in the fact that the majority of Americans, especially our leaders, were very ignorant about Iraqi society and culture, which lead the extreme clashes and violence. One can't storm into a country and take over everything without experiencing retaliation, of course. It is more drastic however, because it is a Muslim society, and they view their invaders as those who are on a crusade and are trying to inflict their (Christian) beliefs onto them.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has his own view on religion and ties it into the death toll in Iraq. He believes that we are too often only commenting on the American death toll and don't pay as much attention to total Iraqi casualties. He believes that we are all one family and should look out for each other accordingly. Unfortunately, that's not how society really is and probably never will be.

Evangelicals and 9/11

Most people in the world recognize that the events of September 11, 2001 were acts of a terrorist organization grounded in the Middle East. They know that it was not just a random act of hate, but that these events have happened before towards Americans and citizens of other nations around the world. There is a long history behind the United States' relationship with these organizations and the leaders of their nations, however, there is one interpretation of this event that is particularly outrageous to me.

Several evangelical leaders believe that the blame of 9/11 should be placed on homosexuals, abortionists, feminists, etc. The effect of these groups of people has caused God to lift his veil of protection and has resulted in a strike against America. Normally, I would believe this interpretation to be from someone who is uneducated. However, the scary part is that these people are very much educated, yet they still consider this shocking interpretation as the truth. The ignorance of these people is ridiculous and they should seriously open their eyes and expand their minds to see the truth.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Unruly Spending

A New York Times article talks about the Senate investigation on the ministry spending of churches, targeting a few individuals in particular. Bishop Eddie Long is one of these people who are currently under fire. He refuses to produce records of their financial spending, calling the investigation "unjust".

I believe that this investigation is absolutely legitimate and necessary in order to keep track of what the ministries' money is going towards and to see if their tax breaks are really being abused. It is clear, to me, that these figures are taking advantage of their position, and they believe that they deserve all of the lavish things they spend their money on because they preach the word of God. If they were really as religious and God-loving as they proclaim, then they would alternatively be putting these large amounts of money toward charities or non profit organizations in need.

Religion in Schools?

After much debate, a vote has been made in the Bakersfield school district to display the motto "In God We Trust" on the walls of classrooms, libraries, and offices. Opponents saw this as the beginning of an endeavor to infuse religion into the schools. Others say that this in no way imposes upon people that they must believe in God.

So why is it such a big debate? I believe it is because people are afraid that there will be no limitations as to how far people on the school boards will go when making these additions to school properties. Advocates just see is as merely as something that has an "educational and historical context."

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hillary and Religion

An article by writes about Hillary's faith and how it effects her political beliefs. It describes her as being a part of a "secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to capitol hill." It mentions that she was questioned about how she managed to handle her husbands affair, and at this she replied, that her strong grounded faith help her through this devastating time. To me it seems that people are putting too strong an emphasis on the importance of religion in office. They waste way too much time criticizing the candidates when they can otherwise be putting their efforts towards reporting other things.

To me, as long as a candidate has some type of belief in something or other, that seems like enough. One should not have to go into the intricacies or religion and delve into whether one is Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, etc and for what reasons. As long as they have a belief system that will help them with their jobs, but not be too influential in policy, then I believe that is sufficient enough.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nigeria's mix of Religion and Politics

The depictions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad that came about in September of 2005 caused tremendous controversy throughout the entire world. A Danish newspaper commissioned12 cartoonists to draw the Prophet, and because of this, there were outbreaks everywhere that involved Muslims throughout the world who were extremely angered by this. One place in particular whose effects where especially drastic was Nigeria. There had always been ethnic and political tensions from the Muslims in the North and the Christians in the South, but this event caused these tensions to reignite to the extreme.

An article by the Herald Tribune describes the scene as: "Dozens of charred, smoldering bodies littering the streets..."

Homes, businesses, and mosques have been burned by Christians in response to the violence the Muslims have been inflicting on them. It is said that these riots had been the worst violence that was linked to the caricatures. Nigeria was the country that was hit the worst by the violence that grew from the drawings, with over 100 deaths in a single week. It amazes me to see what length people will go to defend something that they believe in with such strength, and in these cases, violence. The losses that have come about from the situation are extremely unfortunate, and we can only wish that one day violence will not be the answer to anything.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mitt Romney & Presidency

Mitt Romney's run for Presidency looks to be successful from afar. However, when examining the logistics and various elements behind electing someone, we have come to learn that religion is a major part of each candidate's personality and a lot of times, it is what gets them elected. However, with his religious beliefs in Mormonism, Mitt has found himself in some sort of a bind. The majority of Americans do not know very much about this religion, and sometimes view it as a cult. It appears very threatening to them despite the fact that they have the same pro-Christian ideals as Christian's do in America.

Mitt Romney's problem stems from the fact that he has been concealing details about his religion, not wanting to go into detail about it in front of the public. However, the more he hides it, the more curious society will be about it. Yet, if he reveals his religious beliefs, people will no longer be curious, but they will be critical. It doesn't seem as though his campaign has suffered thus far, but we will have to wait to see what is to come.

Mayhem in Myanmar

In August of this past year, the government of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), raised fuel prices and caused major protests in the streets, especially the former Burmese capital of Yangon. Buddhist monks are the foremost activists in these protests, and because they are highly revered in societies like these, religion plays a major role in how the events are playing out during this time of unrest. The monks referred to these protests as a "monks affair".

The five hundred percent rise in gas prices is not the sole reason for these protests. There were previous pro-democracy rallies that had been struck down by the junta, which has made this current effort even more of a struggle because there are several different issues to be dealt with.