In G-d we trust

All others pay cash.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that a Utah city that has long permitted a Ten Commandments monument in its city park need not accept the Summum church’s Seven Aphorisms monument.

The justices reversed a lower court decision that said once Pleasant Grove had allowed the Ten Commandments marker and several historical artifacts in its Pioneer Park, it had created a “public forum” where other groups’ markers and messages must be permitted.

Supreme Court justices said that such rationale does not apply in a dispute over permanent monuments.

Because obviously, “park clutter” is against the First Amendment.

‘In Jesus name’

A Sikh American was turned away from a Roanoke Rapids (NC) community center hosting a food drive:

Upon entering the facility, Mr. Khera was told by a receptionist that “this is the United States” and that he needed to remove his Dastaar [the Sikh turban]. When Mr. Khera attempted to explain the religious significance of the Dastaar, the receptionist refused to speak with him. When the Reverend in charge of the facility was summoned, Mr. Khera offered a handshake, but the Reverend reportedly refused to reciprocate and asked Mr. Khera and his wife to leave the facility, saying: “Go donate to some other place; we do not need your donations unless you remove your turban.”

The man, Mr. Gurnam Singh Khera, had also wanted his children to volunteer in the food kitchen.

But wait! There’s more!

Continue reading

Any sense of justice?

He was a father figure to the boy. And he abused that trust. In addition, he threatened the boy and his brothers about what would happen if anybody told.

So nobody told.

Every time I think about this I feel a little bit crazy and I can hear the blood drumming in my ears. Because it is clear to me that the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church is far bigger than any decent human being could comprehend. And the church covered it up. For years and years. You want to see an overwhelming display of how widespread this was? Take a look at the priests involved in the Philadelphia Diocese. This is just Philadelphia, mind you. Continue reading

The cross in the dirt

During the Saddleback Forum, the recounting of this tale produced vigorous applause from the audience. It’s a tale about faith and not giving up hope. It apparently presses all the right buttons for many people.

It’s the story about the covert Christian and John McCain’s renewed faith.

Watch the touching video, December 2007.

Here’s the quote from the Saddleback Forum, August 2008:

The following Christmas, because it was Christmas Day, we were allowed to stand outside of our cell for a few minutes, and those days we were not allowed to see or communicate with each other although we certainly did. And I was standing outside for my few minutes, outside my cell. he came walking up. He stood there for a minute and with his handle [sandal?] on the dirt in the courtyard he drew a cross and he stood there and a minute later, he rubbed it out and walked away. For a minute there, there was just two Christians worshipping together. I’ll never forget that moment so every day …

But is it true? Continue reading

Who owns Europe?

This article lists a number of attempts in European cities to place limitations on the building of mosques. Among them are the following:

• Supporters of the Swiss referendum collected enough signatures two weeks ago to call for a constitutional ban on minarets, the towers used to call worshipers to prayer. No date has been set for the vote.

• Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni announced this month that he wants to close a Milan mosque because crowds attending Friday prayers spill onto the street and irritate neighbors. In April, the city of Bologna scrapped plans for a new mosque, saying Muslim leaders failed to meet certain requirements, including making public its source of funding.

• In Austria, the southern province of Carinthia passed a law in February that effectively bans the construction of mosques by requiring them to fit within the overall look and harmony of villages and towns.

• Far-right leaders from 15 European cities met in Antwerp, Belgium, in January and called for a ban on new mosques and a halt to “the Islamization” of European cities. The group said mosques act as catalysts for taking over neighborhoods and imposing Islamic ways of life on Europeans.

Europe for Europeans. America for Americans. Assimilate (and maybe drop your religion in the bargain) and become one of the big happy melting pot. We’ve defined what the pot should look like, and you’re not in the picture.

‘A great guy and their favorite teacher’

The Ohio school board voted to fire John Freshwater, a middle school science teacher. Freshwater has a history of incidents, including distributing religious materials in the classroom. In the most recent incident he allegedly burned crosses onto the arms of several pupils.

“With the exception of the cross-burning episode. … I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district,” he told The Columbus Dispatch for a story published Friday.

Oh, okay.

Athlete disqualified over uniform

From the New York Times:

A high school track star has been disqualified from a meet because officials said the custom-made outfit she wears to conform to her Muslim faith violated competition rules.

The high school senior wears a one-piece unitard underneath her team uniform.

Rogers said that he knew Kelly was wearing the uniform for religious reasons and that he offered her several options to conform to the rules while still respecting her faith, including placing a plain T-shirt over her unitard and then wearing her team uniform over it.

Kelly’s mother, Sarah, and Roosevelt Coach Tony Bowden disputed that account. They said officials made several demands of her daughter before officials made the decision.

”First, they said she had to take her hood off,” Sarah Kelly said. ”Then, they said she can’t have anything with logos displayed. Then, they said she had to turn it inside out. When I told them that there weren’t any logos on it, they said she had to put a plain white T-shirt on over it.”

Freedom of religion seems to mean “of specific sanctioned religions.” Not those other religions.

WWJD?

About racism?

Harlow’s Monkey mentions the problematic aspect of using religious beliefs to discount the impact of race and racism on adopted children:

In the article, “Transracial adoptive parents’ thoughts about the importance of race and culture in parenting” in International Korean Adoption, the numerous parents who opted to not teach about race to their children in favor of Christian teachings makes me again wonder why a Christian home would have to be at the exclusion of teaching about a child’s race and culture and the importance of eliminating racism. Why are these thought to be mutually exclusive? (One parent’s comment was “The most important message regarding race . . . is the fact that God chose her for our family and our family for her.” Another comment from a parent was “Our daughter knows God has a special plan for her life that racial prejudice will pale in comparison to . . . that [plan] will keep her appreciating the privilege of God rather than her focusing or whining over real or imagined racism.”

This strikes me as just another version of “love is enough” or “Well, isn’t it better to have a family than to be in an orphanage?” Which is simply a way of ignoring the issues. Continue reading

Reasonable, ridiculous or racist?

The “debate” over “reasonable accommodation” of minorities in Quebec has hotted up in recent weeks.

The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, mandated by the provincial government in March, aims to report on the extent of so-called accommodation through consultation with the public and institutions, and make recommendations on what is considered “reasonable” – the benchmark being whether it respects common Quebec values.

The commission was set up following wide media coverage and public outcry at such incidents as the internationally reported “Herouxville debacle” and other incidents including the banning of hijabs on the soccer field.

With public forums allowing everyone to have their say, you would expect a fair amount of ridiculousness. But I honestly did not expect public figures to come up with such gems as these. Continue reading