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Author Topic: Prayer and Religion in Public Life  (Read 372476 times)
Dos Equis
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« Reply #600 on: March 29, 2019, 10:05:17 PM »

AVXO won this round... logical well thought out responses

Listen peanut gallery, nobody wins or loses a discussion on this board.  This isn't a high school debate class.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #601 on: April 04, 2019, 01:42:24 PM »

When the shoe is on the other foot...
Interesting how some paranoid religious extremists want to impose their invocations and prayers on everyone but when it's a "different" invocation that's not to the "one true god" they suddenly feel they're compelled to pray to a god other than their own (the "one true god"). Maybe cases like this could make them re-evaluate the issue of legislative prayer. More realistically, it will probably lead to even more religious, predominantly christian, nonsense in legislatures.

Several North Dakota lawmakers abstain from Hindu prayer

A handful of North Dakota Republican lawmakers abstained from a Hindu prayer that opened the House's floor session Tuesday, April 2, with one legislator describing his actions as a form of quiet protest.

Minot Republican Rep. Jeff Hoverson, a Lutheran pastor, sat in the back of the House chamber during Rajan Zed's prayer while other lawmakers stood at their desks. He told reporters afterward that the state's constitution "does not refer to a Hindu god. It refers to ... the one true God."

Hoverson said he met Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism based in Reno, Nev., and told him of his plans but said it was "nothing personal." Standing on the House floor following the afternoon floor session, he held up a cellphone photo showing the two men smiling and shaking hands.

"I accept him, but I don't want to be compelled to pray to a false god," Hoverson said.

https://www.inforum.com/news/government-and-politics/998299-Several-North-Dakota-lawmakers-abstain-from-Hindu-prayer
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« Reply #602 on: April 05, 2019, 11:12:45 AM »

When the shoe is on the other foot...
Interesting how some paranoid religious extremists want to impose their invocations and prayers on everyone but when it's a "different" invocation that's not to the "one true god" they suddenly feel they're compelled to pray to a god other than their own (the "one true god"). Maybe cases like this could make them re-evaluate the issue of legislative prayer. More realistically, it will probably lead to even more religious, predominantly christian, nonsense in legislatures.

Several North Dakota lawmakers abstain from Hindu prayer

A handful of North Dakota Republican lawmakers abstained from a Hindu prayer that opened the House's floor session Tuesday, April 2, with one legislator describing his actions as a form of quiet protest.

Minot Republican Rep. Jeff Hoverson, a Lutheran pastor, sat in the back of the House chamber during Rajan Zed's prayer while other lawmakers stood at their desks. He told reporters afterward that the state's constitution "does not refer to a Hindu god. It refers to ... the one true God."

Hoverson said he met Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism based in Reno, Nev., and told him of his plans but said it was "nothing personal." Standing on the House floor following the afternoon floor session, he held up a cellphone photo showing the two men smiling and shaking hands.

"I accept him, but I don't want to be compelled to pray to a false god," Hoverson said.

https://www.inforum.com/news/government-and-politics/998299-Several-North-Dakota-lawmakers-abstain-from-Hindu-prayer

Meh.  Pretty dumb for them to draw attention to themselves, but nothing wrong with sitting out.  That's what you should do if it really bothers you.  I've never boycotted a prayer involving some other religion.  Never bothers me.   

But be sure to update this story if those guys file a lawsuit to stop it, claiming emotional distress. 
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« Reply #603 on: April 09, 2019, 10:41:48 AM »

God Help Us: Atheism Becomes Largest Religion In U.S.
As religiosity has declined, social ills have abounded.

Ralf-Finn Hestoft / Getty
By MICHAEL J. KNOWLES
 @MICHAELJKNOWLES
April 7, 2019

For the first time in history, atheists constitute the largest religious group in America. According to the General Social Survey, the number of Americans who have no religion has increased 266% over the past three decades and now account for 23.1% of the population, just barely edging out Catholics and Evangelicals as the nation’s dominant faith. Mainline Protestant churches have suffered the greatest collapse, declining 62.5% since 1982 and now comprising just 10.8% of the U.S. population.

As religiosity has declined, social ills have abounded. Nearly one in five American adults suffers from anxiety disorders, which now constitute the most common mental illness in the country. One in six Americans takes antidepressant drugs, a 65% surge over just 15 years. The problem is particularly acute among younger Americans. While depression diagnoses have increased 33% since 2013, that number is up 47% among Millennials and 63% among teenagers. Coincidentally, suicide rates among American teenagers have increased by 70% since 2006. American life expectancy declined again last year, as Americans continue to drug and kill themselves at record rates.

Social scientists have long since established the link between religiosity and life satisfaction. As social psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky observes, people who attend religious services several times each week are nearly twice as likely as those who worship less than once a month to describe themselves as “very happy.” Such psychologists simply state the obvious: the belief that God loves you and that you will live with him in eternity offers greater consolation than the view of death as a dirt nap that stiffens you into worm food.

Religious people are also significantly more likely to engage in happy-making behaviors, such as getting and staying married. A study released in 2017 affirmed what countless others had already shown: married couples report higher life satisfaction than their single, divorced, and widowed neighbors. That satisfaction tends to last beyond the honeymoon and well into old age.

The misery epidemic threatens not merely American households but also our halls of power. The late Andrew Breitbart observed that politics is downstream of culture, and culture in turn is downstream of religion. “Cult” and “culture” are etymologically related, and a culture is defined by what it worships. A materialistic culture worships wealth; a licentious culture worships sex; a godly culture worships God. But “our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people,” as John Adams wrote to the Massachusetts militia in 1798. “It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

A miserable politics awaits us when the irreligious rot flows downstream. Who but God can help us now?

https://www.dailywire.com/news/45655/god-help-us-atheism-becomes-largest-religion-us-michael-j-knowles
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« Reply #604 on: April 09, 2019, 10:44:38 AM »

What the deuce??   Huh

Pete Buttigieg questions whether Trump believes in God
By Aaron Feis April 3, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg questioned whether President Trump believes in God in an interview published Wednesday.

“I’m reluctant to comment on another person’s faith, but I would say it is hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God,” the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told USA Today.

“I just don’t understand how you can be as worshipful of your own self as he is and be prepared to humble yourself before God.

“I’ve never seen him humble himself before anyone.”

Buttigieg, an avowed Episcopalian, contended that Trump’s largely evangelical Christian base focuses “so much about what Christ said so little about, and so little about what he said so much about.”

“When I think about where most of Scripture points me, it is toward defending the poor, and the immigrant, and the stranger, and the prisoner, and the outcast, and those who are left behind by the way society works,” Buttigieg said.

“And what we have now is this exaltation of wealth and power, almost for its own sake, that in my reading of Scripture couldn’t be more contrary to the message of Christianity.”

https://nypost.com/2019/04/03/pete-buttigieg-questions-whether-trump-believes-in-god/
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« Reply #605 on: April 09, 2019, 10:49:56 AM »

What the deuce??   Huh

Pete Buttigieg questions whether Trump believes in God
By Aaron Feis April 3, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg questioned whether President Trump believes in God in an interview published Wednesday.

“I’m reluctant to comment on another person’s faith, but I would say it is hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God,” the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told USA Today.

“I just don’t understand how you can be as worshipful of your own self as he is and be prepared to humble yourself before God.

“I’ve never seen him humble himself before anyone.”

Buttigieg, an avowed Episcopalian, contended that Trump’s largely evangelical Christian base focuses “so much about what Christ said so little about, and so little about what he said so much about.”

“When I think about where most of Scripture points me, it is toward defending the poor, and the immigrant, and the stranger, and the prisoner, and the outcast, and those who are left behind by the way society works,” Buttigieg said.

“And what we have now is this exaltation of wealth and power, almost for its own sake, that in my reading of Scripture couldn’t be more contrary to the message of Christianity.”

https://nypost.com/2019/04/03/pete-buttigieg-questions-whether-trump-believes-in-god/

Pete "Buttplug" Buttigieg talking about scripture and what it means to him.  I guess he never read about Sodom & Gomorrah.
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« Reply #606 on: April 09, 2019, 03:47:50 PM »

Eastern Kentucky man sues Hampton Inn, accuses boss of trying to force exorcism on him

HAZARD, Ky. (WKYT) - An eastern Kentucky man has filed a lawsuit against Hampton Inn and his boss after he says he was punished for not undergoing an exorcism.

The lawsuit was filed in Perry Circuit Court in March, and the plaintiff is Jason Fields of Leslie County. The defendants are Hampton Inn, Employee Resource Group and Sharon Lindon.

Fields states in the lawsuit he started working at Hampton Inn as a front desk employee beginning in 2016. Sharon Lindon, his manager, learned Fields was going through a divorce and believed his marital problems were because he had demons.

Lindon is accused of telling Fields he had to get cleansed in order to keep working at the hotel. Lindon gave Fields a questionnaire with many questions about religion and intimate activities. Fields said in the Lawsuit he was asked to return it to Lindon before undergoing an exorcism.

Fields accuses Lindon of punishing him for not participating in the questionnaire and exorcism by changing his shift and bringing in people from her ministry to pray for him while he was working. This would happen in front of the guests. This would lead Fields to quit his job.

https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Eastern-Kentucky-man-sues-Hampton-Inn-accuses-boss-of-trying-to-force-exorcism-on-him-507789871.html

Quote


The form given to the Plaintiff, which Lindon demanded that he complete, contained a number of questions, including, but not limited to, the following:

a) What is your church background?
b) Briefly explain your conversion experience.
c) Were you baptized as a child?
d) In one word, who is Jesus Christ to you?
e) What does the blood of Calvary mean to you?
f) Is repentance part of your Christian life?
g) What is your prayer life like?
h) Were you a planned child?
i) Were you conceived out of wedlock? 
j) Have you personally ever had psychiatric counseling?
k) Have you, your parents or grandparents been in any cults?
l) Have you ever made a pact with the devil?
m) Have you ever been involved in Eastern religion?
n) Have you ever visited heathen temples?
o) Do you have any witches, such as “good luck kitchen witches,” in your home?
p) Do you have lustful thoughts?
q) To your knowledge, was their evidence of lust in your family line?
r) Do you frequently masturbate?
s) Have you ever been a victim of incest by a family member?
t) Have you ever committed incest, rape or molested anyone?
u) Have you ever committed fornication, adultery, been with prostitutes, had homosexual or lesbian desires or experience?
v) Have you ever sexually fantasized about an animal?
w) Have you been in involved in oral or anal sex?
x) Have you fathered a child that has been aborted? 
y) Has pornography ever attracted you?
z) Do you have desires of having sex with a child?
 
Under the question “Have you, your parents or grandparents been in any cults?”, the following items, with many others, were listed to be circled:
a) Christian Science
b) Jehovah’s Witness
c) Unification Church
d) Children of Love
e) Buddhism
f) Native religions
g) Mormons
h) Islam
 
Questions were also listed to be answered as to whether Jason, or any close family member, belonged to any of the following:
a) Freemason
b) Shriner
c) Elk
d) Oddfellow
e) Mormon
 
 The Plaintiff was told once he had completed the questionnaire, he would need to meet Lindon at the church and have a cleansing performed.

https://www.scribd.com/document/403515237/Perry-County-Hampton-Inn-Lawsuit
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« Reply #607 on: April 09, 2019, 03:54:06 PM »

Federal grand jury empaneled to investigate Buffalo Diocese

Prosecutors may be looking to build RICO case


A federal grand jury has been seated to investigate sexual abuse cover-up in the Catholic Church -- and Buffalo appears to be the epicenter of the investigation.

That's according to Barry N. Covert and another attorney who spoke with 7 Eyewitness News about the third round of subpoenas issued to Bishop Richard J. Malone and the Diocese of Buffalo.

The Buffalo News first reported the subpoenas were issued last month, but Covert -- an attorney who said federal authorities have requested files related to his client -- said the subpoenas are different than the first two rounds issued by federal investigators because they are the first confirmation of a federal grand jury investigating clergy abuse cover-up in Western New York.

"We think that they could be looking at RICO," Covert said. "The obstruction of justice, which is a predicate act. Moving priests around. Did they destroy any records? Did they withhold any records? Were there any incorrect, untruthful communications to law enforcement? And fraud is also a predicate act."

https://www.wkbw.com/news/i-team/federal-grand-jury-empaneled-to-investigate-buffalo-diocese
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« Reply #608 on: May 02, 2019, 04:43:53 PM »

It seems that aside from tax exemptions, there could also be a religious exemption for money laundering and other crimes. I doubt that many people could launder or embezzle $200,000 and get away with it for "leading a selfless life". This judge should be not be anywhere near a court.

Rabbi found guilty of money laundering won’t go to prison thanks to a ‘selfless life,’ judge says

A New Jersey rabbi found guilty of laundering $200,000 from a private school for children with developmental disabilities was sentenced Monday afternoon to two years probation. As part of his probation, Eisemann cannot be involved with finances at the school or fundraising, must serve 60 days in the Middlesex County Correctional Facility and pay a fine of $250,000.

Osher Eisemann, 62, founded the Lakewood-based School for Children with Hidden Intelligence during the 1990s, inspired by his own son’s special needs. He was found guilty in February of second degree charges of money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official at the close of a four-week trial.

The second degree charges can carry sentences of five to 10 years in state prison, but Judge Benjamin Bucca found the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors in the sentencing, moving him to hand down the rare sentence of probation, which skirted mandatory minimums.

“At this stage in this man’s life, I cannot imagine that this situation could ever occur again," Bucca said. “The seriousness of the allegations and the harm that occurred is much less than what this court typically sees with other second degree crimes.”

Bucca said the letters sent by Eisemann’s supporters “overwhelmed” him, and that he had not seen such a showing of support in his years sitting as a criminal judge.

He said the rabbi’s “selfless life is very clear. In many respects this is a very, very unfortunate situation.”

Bucca also said he hopes Eisemann can return to the school, despite the second degree conviction, and hopes the state Department of Education will consider making an exception, given Eisemann’s decades-long reputation.

“You belong there, you perform a unique skill for that school.”

https://www.nj.com/news/2019/04/rabbi-found-guilty-of-money-laundering-wont-go-to-prison-thanks-to-a-selfless-life-judge-says.html


For more context, this appears to be the judge:

Christie Judge Nominee Stripped of Pension by Fraud & Abuse Unit

Benjamin S. Bucca, a New Brunswick Democrat, was recently nominated by Republican Governor Christopher J. Christie to be a Superior Court judge, despite a pattern of not recognizing when he has a conflict of interest.

If approved by the State Senate Judiciary Committee, and the full State Senate, Bucca would go from being a local land use lawyer who just lost most of his public pension, to securing a seven-year term for the $165,000 per year judge job.

Bucca was recently found to be unlawfully accumulating pension credits for his city government work over the past two decades, thanks to an investigation undertaken by a new fraud and abuse unit created by Christie himself.

https://newbrunswicktoday.com/article/christie-superior-court-nominee-stripped-pension-fraud-abuse-unit
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« Reply #609 on: May 03, 2019, 08:29:55 AM »

'Love One Another': National Day of Prayer Kicks Off With Call for Americans to Follow 'the Golden Rule'
05-02-2019
Abigail Robertson

President Trump Calls on Americans to Use the 'Power of Prayer' to End Violence and Protect Religious Liberty

'Pray Like It Really Matters': Dr. Ronnie Floyd's Urgent Message on the National Day of Prayer

WASHINGTON - Today is the National Day of Prayer and all over the country people are gathering together to pray, even on Capitol Hill.

Each year leading up to the day, a group sets up in front of the Capitol, rain or shine, for a 90-hour Bible reading marathon. This year around 400 people from around the country have participated – including a few lawmakers.
 
Keith Davidson, founder of Seedline International, is leading this year's event. He tells CBN News volunteers are even there reading through the wee hours of the night.  "We had a lady last night that was on standby from Alabama and flew in just to read, and she left back out at 6am this morning," said Davidson.

READ 'Prayer Works Miracles and Prayer Saves Lives': Trump Cites Power of Prayer in Rose Garden Service
 
This annual tradition dates back to 1990. This year they have over 100 Bible translations and versions to choose from and they hope to add even more next year.
 
"We have a Farsi Bible and folks can come by and read that in their language, we also have a Russian Bible and we have a Chinese Bible that a group yesterday, a Chinese church actually here in Washington, DC, brought out," continued Davidson.

The event concludes on the National Day of Prayer when a group gathers to read aloud the final chapter of Revelation.
 
The theme for this year's National Day of Prayer is "Love One Another".
 
"It's an appropriate theme, especially for this time," Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA) tells CBN News.

Johnson is spearheading efforts towards unity in Congress by co-chairing the Honor and Civility Caucus with Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL).
 
"It's a bipartisan effort to just get members to talk to each other, and basically follow the Golden Rule to treat one another with dignity and respect as fellow Americans and part of the American family," says Johnson.
 
Lawmakers and faith leaders like Dr. Ronnie Floyd and Pastor Andrew Brunson will join together inside the nation's Capitol Thursday night to pray.
 
"It's one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had, to be able to come right in Statuary Hall, right in the centerpiece, the epicenter of American government, and to be able to pray and sing and worship and have this kind of service we will have," says Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA), a former pastor who will be speaking at Thursday's event.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a Rose Garden ceremony where the president announced new protections for religious liberty. More about that here.

National Day of Prayer events are happening all over the country. To see if there is one in your area, click here.

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/may/love-one-another-national-day-of-prayer-kicks-off-with-call-for-americans-to-follow-the-golden-rule
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« Reply #610 on: May 03, 2019, 09:10:04 AM »

I was kidding about the ACLU.

I agree the government shouldn't be proselytizing. 

It's not just that this is a free country, it's that faith is really interwoven throughout our society, both in the public and private sectors.  It was fascinating to see this at play yesterday. 

Excellent observation !

GOD aka "our creator" is used in our preamble to the American Declaration of Independence.
" In GOD we trust"is written on our money and a group prayer starts/ends many official public gatherings.

I'm sure you know the establishment clause under our 1st ammendment has 2 parts:
1. The GOV will not restrict (or enforce) religious worship
2. The GOV will not sanction a state sponsored religion

I'm no atheist , but I don't follow any single religion.
I believe in GOD, similar in the way Thomas Jefferson did , free from religeous dogma.

In that light, I see no harm in having a basic group prayer, free from preaching or converting.
The Hebrew bible provides  the origins of morals and laws in Western Civilization.
That's a long and storied history and can't be easily dismissed on the influence of our culture and society.
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« Reply #611 on: May 03, 2019, 09:40:13 AM »

Excellent observation !

GOD aka "our creator" is used in our preamble to the American Declaration of Independence.
" In GOD we trust"is written on our money and a group prayer starts/ends many official public gatherings.

I'm sure you know the establishment clause under our 1st ammendment has 2 parts:
1. The GOV will not restrict (or enforce) religious worship
2. The GOV will not sanction a state sponsored religion

I'm no atheist , but I don't follow any single religion.
I believe in GOD, similar in the way Thomas Jefferson did , free from religeous dogma.

In that light, I see no harm in having a basic group prayer, free from preaching or converting.
The Hebrew bible provides  the origins of morals and laws in Western Civilization.
That's a long and storied history and can't be easily dismissed on the influence of our culture and society.


Good post now
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« Reply #612 on: May 03, 2019, 09:59:17 AM »

Good post now
LOL, but in my opinion, the moral stories and ideals promoted in the Bible are the basis for much of our moral conduct and laws.
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« Reply #613 on: May 03, 2019, 10:39:11 AM »

LOL, but in my opinion, the moral stories and ideals promoted in the Bible are the basis for much of our moral conduct and laws.

For example, if you rape a virgin, and are caught, you must pay 50 shekels to the father and marry your rape victim?

If you beat your slave, male or female with a rod, and the slave eventually recovers, you will not be punished because they are your property?

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« Reply #614 on: May 03, 2019, 11:08:15 AM »

Excellent observation !

GOD aka "our creator" is used in our preamble to the American Declaration of Independence.
" In GOD we trust"is written on our money and a group prayer starts/ends many official public gatherings.

I'm sure you know the establishment clause under our 1st ammendment has 2 parts:
1. The GOV will not restrict (or enforce) religious worship
2. The GOV will not sanction a state sponsored religion

I'm no atheist , but I don't follow any single religion.
I believe in GOD, similar in the way Thomas Jefferson did , free from religeous dogma.

In that light, I see no harm in having a basic group prayer, free from preaching or converting.
The Hebrew bible provides  the origins of morals and laws in Western Civilization.
That's a long and storied history and can't be easily dismissed on the influence of our culture and society.


No, the Establishment Clause does not have two parts. 

The Establishment Clause has one part:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

The Free Exercise Clause has one part:  "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
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« Reply #615 on: May 06, 2019, 08:01:05 AM »

Dos,
I consider them 2 intregal parts of the same thing, but I won't argue with the technical legal merits of your point.

I would like to hear more about your views on this issue.
Thanks


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« Reply #616 on: May 06, 2019, 01:15:21 PM »

Dos,
I consider them 2 intregal parts of the same thing, but I won't argue with the technical legal merits of your point.

I would like to hear more about your views on this issue.
Thanks


They're not the same thing.  I'm not making any kind of technical legal point.  It's a practical, accurate point.  For anyone who might be reading this.

Views on what part of this issue? 
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« Reply #617 on: May 06, 2019, 03:58:19 PM »

For example, if you rape a virgin, and are caught, you must pay 50 shekels to the father and marry your rape victim?

If you beat your slave, male or female with a rod, and the slave eventually recovers, you will not be punished because they are your property?


Those were the Jewish, Old Testament (Torah) laws.  Christ brought a new law.
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« Reply #618 on: May 06, 2019, 05:22:55 PM »

Shocking video of children in Philadelphia Muslim Society: 'We will chop off their heads' for Allah

Disturbing footage of Muslim kids saying they would sacrifice themselves and kill for the "army of Allah" surfaced from an Islamic center in Philadelphia.

The Muslim American Society (MAS) Islamic Center in Philadelphia posted the video to its Facebook page celebrating "Ummah Day" in which young children wearing Palestinian scarves sang and read poetry about killing for Allah and the mosque in Jerusalem.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHXCmEWxMY4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHXCmEWxMY4</a>

https://www.foxnews.com/us/video-philadelphia-muslim-society-children


The irony is rich in their list of "achievements", according to their website:

  • Recipient of a U.S. federal grant as part of the President’s Faith Based Initiative Program.
  • Along with other national organizations, MAS participated in meetings with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to discuss joint efforts against domestic violent extremists, and to work with the government to address community concerns about DHS policies, such as racial, ethnic, and religious profiling at airports and borders.
  • Trained over 1,500 federal, state and local law enforcement officers in an outreach effort to build healthy relations between law enforcement and the American Muslim community; Outreach Director awarded by the Justice Department for the quality of these trainings.
  • Cited by CNN and other media outlets for positive programs dealing with youth on the key issues of extremism, violence, hate and intolerance.
  • Developed and distributed, for congressional staff members and representatives, the first American Muslim “Four Year Legislative Agenda.”

https://www.muslimamericansociety.org/about/
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« Reply #619 on: May 07, 2019, 10:10:22 AM »

Atheist group sues over Bible display at VA hospital in New Hampshire
Caleb Parke By Caleb Parke | Fox News

A Bible donated by a World War II veteran on display in a Manchester VA Medical Center memorial is at the center of a lawsuit filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation on behalf of a New Hampshire veteran. (Courtesy of First Liberty Institute)

An atheist group filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs over a Bible displayed at a VA facility in New Hampshire.

The group called the Bible's presence in the missing veterans and POWs memorial unconstitutional and an “outrage,” but the VA says it won't be "bullied" into removing the Bible from the display.

The Bible was donated to Manchester VA Medical Center by former U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Herman "Herk" Streitburger, of Bedford, who was held captive in a German Prisoner of War camp during World War II.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation said it filed the lawsuit on behalf of a New Hampshire veteran.

“That is stamping it with the approval of raising one faith over all the others,” Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, told USA Today. “From our perspective, it’s a repugnant example of fundamentalist Christian triumphalism, exceptionalism, superiority, and domination, and it cannot stand.”


A Bible donated by a World War II veteran on display in a Manchester VA Medical Center memorial is at the center of a lawsuit filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation on behalf of a New Hampshire veteran. (Office of Public Affairs, Manchester VA Medical Center via AP)

Department of Veteran Affair Press Secretary Curt Cashour told Fox News the Bible, although incorrectly moved earlier this year, stays.

"This lawsuit – backed by a group known for questionable practices and unsuccessful lawsuits – is nothing more than an attempt to force VA into censoring a show of respect for America’s POW/MIA community," Cashour said. "Make no mistake: VA will not be bullied on this issue."

The VA briefly removed the Bible from the display case when MRFF initially complained about it, but put it back following an outpouring of complaints from veterans groups and religious liberty groups, including the First Liberty Institute, the same law firm that argued on behalf of the Bladensburg "Peace Cross" memorial in front of the Supreme Court earlier this year.

The MRFF lawsuit described the New Hampshire veteran, James Chamberlain, as a “devout Christian” who wants the Bible removed from the display.

“As a Christian, he respects and loves all his military brothers and sisters and does not want to be exclusionary by placement of the Christian Bible,” the complaint says.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring that the Bible be removed from the display.

Those in favor of keeping the Bible on display said the lawsuit is frivolous.

“POW/MIA Remembrance displays have a long, cherished history in our nation,” said Mike Berry, chief of staff at the First Liberty Institute. “Veterans organizations like the Northeast POW/MIA Network should be able to honor and remember those killed, captured or missing with a display that includes a Bible donated by a WWII veteran that represents the strength through faith necessary for American service members to survive.”

https://www.foxnews.com/faith-values/atheist-group-sues-over-bible-display-at-va-hospital-in-new-hampshire
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« Reply #620 on: May 07, 2019, 10:49:55 AM »

Good story Dos and this is where the hardcore atheists lose me.
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« Reply #621 on: May 09, 2019, 08:03:25 PM »

The US government just officially recognized the Satanic Temple as a religion
Matthew Bell, PRI's The World May 7, 2019

Lucien Greaves, spokesman for The Satanic Temple, with a statue of Baphomet at the group's meeting house in Salem, MA. Josh Reynolds for The Washington Post via Getty Images
The Satanic Temple has earned the same tax-exempt status as a church by the IRS.
The Satanic Temple is growing rapidly, with around 20 chapters across the US, and affiliate groups in Canada, Australia, Germany, and the UK.
While members of the Satanic Temple see the mythological, and literary, figure of Satan as a symbol of rebellion against tyranny, they do not worship Satan in any way.

There's a new religion in America.

The Satanic Temple has earned the same tax-exempt status as a church by the IRS. The group has been around for a half-dozen years and grabbed news attention for its political activism. But the official US government recognition and a recent documentary film are bringing a new level of attention to the group.

The Satanic Temple headquarters is a handsome, old, New England house — which was also a funeral home — in the center of Salem, Massachusetts.


"This is our primary events room," said Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesman of the Satanic Temple. "We weekly have people get together here; I guess you would say congregate."

Greaves gives a tour of the temple building and art gallery, pointing out some of the ways that the place functions as a religious center.

Besides the gathering area, there is a small library with significant works of Satanic literature and history. A historic relic is on display. It's a 2-foot tall monument for veterans, in the form of a metal cube with a reversed pentagram on the front and an upturned military helmet on top.

The Satanic Temple is suing the city of Belle Plain, Minnesota, for reversing a decision to install the monument in a memorial park.

The main attraction, though, is an 8-foot, 6-inch bronze statue of a goat-headed, winged icon called Baphomet. Asked if the Satanists here consider the monument to be holy, Greaves says it's a loaded term.

"Words like 'spiritual' or "holy," I think — one of the first things that people need to realize about us is that we don't advocate for any supernatural beliefs. We're a nontheistic religion. We don't subscribe to supernatural explanations or accept them as legitimate," Greaves said.

He explains that while members of the Satanic Temple see the mythological, and literary, figure of Satan as a symbol of rebellion against tyranny, they do not worship Satan in any way.

"This idea of worship, it's usually kind of insulting to people who identify with Satanism, because that implies a sense of servility. Satanism is about personal sovereignty and independence and freedom of will," he said.

Read more: What it's like at the world's first Satanic Temple headquarters

The group is also about trolling the religious right.

"I mean, that can be part of the fun, but it's certainly only just part of it," Greaves said.

The trolling, the beliefs and the short history of the Satanic Temple are on vivid display in a new documentary called "Hail Satan?"

"I also assumed it was basically a joke," said the filmmaker behind the documentary, Penny Lane.

Lane spent a few years following the founders of the Satanic Temple as they got their movement up and running with a range of public pranks, social protests, and legal action, many of them centered around issues of separation of church and state. But Lane says she came away from the film believing that there is something deeper going on with the Satanic Temple — something religious.

"I had never understood why people are religious and what they get from it," Lane said. "But it was really doing this project that made me see that religion, in and of itself, is not the problem."

"Religion is a human impulse that has to be satisfied one way or another. We still need to come together in communities organized around values and mythology. I think the Satanic Temple is just showing me a new way."

But what makes a religion legitimate in the eyes of government?

Different countries handle that question differently.

In China, there are just five officially recognized religions, and they're all overseen by the State Administration for Religious Affairs. Some Western countries have official state churches, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Church of England.

The Satanic Temple
The Satanic Temple, a group of political activists who identify themselves as a religious sect, are seeking to establish After-School Satan clubs as a counterpart to fundamentalist Christian Good News Clubs. Josh Reynolds for The Washington Post via Getty Images
The United States has no state church and no religious bureaucracy. That means it's really up to the IRS to decide if a new entity claiming to be religious deserves tax-exempt status and the official recognition that comes with it.

Benjamin Zeller is a religion scholar at Lake Forest College. He says he was not surprised with this IRS decision. But does he think the Satanic Temple is a real religion?

"The way we tend to use the word is really based on a very sort of Protestant Christian understanding about what counts as a religion," Zeller said.

"We tend to think about institutions that have leaders, texts, buildings, adherents, beliefs, rituals. The Satanic Temple actually checks those boxes, at least most of them. We may not like it. We may not think of it as a conventional religion, but it seems to fit the characteristics."

Thanks in part to the IRS decision and the new documentary, the Satanic Temple is entering a phase of rapid growth. It's got something like 20 chapters across the US, and affiliate groups in Canada, Australia, Germany, and the UK, with more seeking approval from the Satanic Temple.

Co-founder Lucien Greaves also gives credit for this to some of his biggest critics.

"In a way, the Satanic Temple has enjoyed such expansive, explosive growth because of the rise of the theocratic right in the United States," he said. "Our expansive membership numbers are a response to the Trump administration and Pence being vice president. People are horrified."

the satanic temple
Chris Bridges holds a sign for The Satanic Temple during a protest outside of an all-day prayer rally. Associated Press/Jonathan Bachman
The core beliefs of the Satanic Temple are laid out in its so-called seven tenets. They mention personal freedom, including the freedom to offend, the pursuit of justice, and the value of scientific understanding. Tenet No. 1 reads, "Strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason."

Greaves says the group is serious about nonviolence. Maintaining ideological consistency could be a challenge the organization faces right now as it grows quickly.

"We're to the point now where we're already big enough and our message has resonated with people strongly enough that we've developed schisms, and people disagree with some of our tactics with how we approach injustice and other types of activism."

No spoiler here, but there's an episode that plays out in the "Hail Satan?" film, when one of the group's leaders does something that crosses the line in the view of some other leaders. Greaves needs to make a difficult decision.

It's the sort of problem comes with the territory, as the Satanic Temple evolves from being a small band of pranksters into something more like an established religious organization.

Read the original article on PRI's The World. Copyright 2019. Follow PRI's The World on Twitter.

https://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-just-officially-recognized-the-satanic-temple-as-a-religion-2019-5?utm_content=buffer9f1e5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer-bi&fbclid=IwAR3qycwgOlq1OgYm787H0G-ttK1HgdsREh1nWh3O27ZqUmLAeU0EV4VE6gc
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« Reply #622 on: May 14, 2019, 01:46:07 PM »

It seems that aside from tax exemptions, there could also be a religious exemption for money laundering and other crimes. I doubt that many people could launder or embezzle $200,000 and get away with it for "leading a selfless life". This judge should be not be anywhere near a court.

Rabbi found guilty of money laundering won’t go to prison thanks to a ‘selfless life,’ judge says

A New Jersey rabbi found guilty of laundering $200,000 from a private school for children with developmental disabilities was sentenced Monday afternoon to two years probation. As part of his probation, Eisemann cannot be involved with finances at the school or fundraising, must serve 60 days in the Middlesex County Correctional Facility and pay a fine of $250,000.

Osher Eisemann, 62, founded the Lakewood-based School for Children with Hidden Intelligence during the 1990s, inspired by his own son’s special needs. He was found guilty in February of second degree charges of money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official at the close of a four-week trial.

The second degree charges can carry sentences of five to 10 years in state prison, but Judge Benjamin Bucca found the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors in the sentencing, moving him to hand down the rare sentence of probation, which skirted mandatory minimums.

“At this stage in this man’s life, I cannot imagine that this situation could ever occur again," Bucca said. “The seriousness of the allegations and the harm that occurred is much less than what this court typically sees with other second degree crimes.”

Bucca said the letters sent by Eisemann’s supporters “overwhelmed” him, and that he had not seen such a showing of support in his years sitting as a criminal judge.

He said the rabbi’s “selfless life is very clear. In many respects this is a very, very unfortunate situation.”

Bucca also said he hopes Eisemann can return to the school, despite the second degree conviction, and hopes the state Department of Education will consider making an exception, given Eisemann’s decades-long reputation.

“You belong there, you perform a unique skill for that school.”

https://www.nj.com/news/2019/04/rabbi-found-guilty-of-money-laundering-wont-go-to-prison-thanks-to-a-selfless-life-judge-says.html


For more context, this appears to be the judge:

Christie Judge Nominee Stripped of Pension by Fraud & Abuse Unit

Benjamin S. Bucca, a New Brunswick Democrat, was recently nominated by Republican Governor Christopher J. Christie to be a Superior Court judge, despite a pattern of not recognizing when he has a conflict of interest.

If approved by the State Senate Judiciary Committee, and the full State Senate, Bucca would go from being a local land use lawyer who just lost most of his public pension, to securing a seven-year term for the $165,000 per year judge job.

Bucca was recently found to be unlawfully accumulating pension credits for his city government work over the past two decades, thanks to an investigation undertaken by a new fraud and abuse unit created by Christie himself.

https://newbrunswicktoday.com/article/christie-superior-court-nominee-stripped-pension-fraud-abuse-unit

And another one... From 72 years max sentence for the repeated rape, over 4 years, of his adopted 14 year old daughter, he only gets 12... Incredible that he has so many "supporters".

Former pastor sentenced to 12 years in prison for repeated rape of adopted daughter

A former pastor convicted of repeatedly raping his adopted teenage daughter was handed an effective sentence of 12 years in prison Thursday by a Knox County judge, who weighed the severity of the crimes against an outpouring of support for the man from friends and family in court.

Forensic testing uncovered the presence of seminal fluid with a DNA profile matching that of David Richards on the girl's bed frame. A Knox County jury found Richards guilty on nine felony counts, including rape, incest and sexual battery by an authority figure following three days of testimony in February.

The judge acknowledged Richards' longtime ministry — he began a Bible study among his fellow inmates while jailed at the Knox County Detention Facility — and the support he still receives as mitigating factors. Sword had wide latitude in his sentencing decision — most of the charges Richards was convicted of, including rape, are punishable by probation alone under state law. Only the charge of sexual battery by an authority figure requires a minimum of three years' mandatory incarceration. Prosecutors sought the maximum term of 72 years behind bars.

More than 30 people sat on the defendant's side of the courtroom in a show of support, including David Thompson, who shared ministry duties with Richards at My Father's House Church of God in Lenoir City.

"I find it impossible for me to believe he's guilty of this," said Thompson, who echoed the call for leniency. "His business needs him. His family needs him. Our church needs him."

https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2019/05/09/former-pastor-nets-12-year-prison-term-rape-adopted-daughter-david-lynn-richards/1143006001/
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« Reply #623 on: May 21, 2019, 01:02:59 PM »

Those were the Jewish, Old Testament (Torah) laws.  Christ brought a new law.

Perhaps, but it doesn't erase the fact, that at some point, this alleged God, instructed men on how to beat a slave, consider them your property, etc. Now honestly, does it sound like a Gods law, or men of that times law?
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« Reply #624 on: May 22, 2019, 01:46:41 AM »

Perhaps, but it doesn't erase the fact, that at some point, this alleged God, instructed men on how to beat a slave, consider them your property, etc. Now honestly, does it sound like a Gods law, or men of that times law?
Baby steps.  That was the consciousness level at that time.  Christ brought a new updated law.  Later we created even higher ethics.  Even if the Bible were totally made up does not mean God or Gods don't exist.
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