Stuff I Care About

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote of the Day


I love this. So correct. I know that I tend to use Richard Dawkins alot on this blog, but he is one of the most outspoken people out there. And he is so dead on. Here it is;

It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.
-- Richard Dawkins, The Humanist, Vol. 57, No. 1

One of the Best Articles on Evolution that I Have Read in a Long Time


My best friend from highschool just gave me this great article. It is from National Geographic, and it is discussing how futile it is to argue evolution. This article is suggesting that evolution has accumulated enough evidence to begin transitioning from scientific theory to fact. It is a compelling, but lengthy read. Here is the link:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Catholic Church Will Never Do This


I found this great article today. It is from the Associated Press, and is actually reporting that a Protestant Church is publicly apologizing for the manner in which it has treated Native Americans. What is this? One of the signs of the Apocalypse. The fundamentals better start praying cause this is a miracle. However, I will reserve my optimism that utopia is coming with the Rapture, and they will all be taken away, because it is only one church. Check this out;

Christian church, Native American tribe reconcile

NEW YORK — Members of one of America's oldest Protestant churches officially apologized Friday — for the first time — for massacring and displacing Native Americans 400 years ago.

"We consumed your resources, dehumanized your people and disregarded your culture, along with your dreams, hopes and great love for this land," the Rev. Robert Chase told descendants from both sides. "With pain, we the Collegiate Church, remember our part in these events."

The minister spoke on Native American Heritage Day at a reconciliation ceremony of the Lenape tribe with the Collegiate Church, started in 1628 in then-New Amsterdam as the Reformed Dutch Church.

The rite was held in front of the Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan, where Dutch colonizers had built their fort near an Indian trail now called Broadway, just steps away from Wall Street.

The Collegiate Church was considered the "conscience" of the new colony, whose merchants quickly developed commerce with the world in fur and grains — till then the turf of the natives.

Surrounded by Lenape Indians, the Dutch colonists "were hacking men, women and children to death," said Ronald Holloway, the chairman of the Sand Hill band of Lenapes, who lived here before Henry Hudson landed 400 years ago.

The Indians dispersed across the country, eventually ending up on government-formed reservations. On Friday, some came from as far away as Oklahoma.

During the ceremony, Chase embraced Holloway and, as symbolic gestures of healing, the two sides exchanged wampum — strings of beads used by North American Indians as money or ornament. A boy representing the Lenapes and a girl from the Collegiate Church put necklaces on each other.

While Friday's ceremony exuded warmth and openness, accompanied by an Indian drumming circle and the haunting sound of a wooden flute, the feelings leading up to the reconciliation were mixed.

"After 400 years, when someone says 'I'm sorry,' you say, 'Really?' " Holloway said before the ritual. "There was some kind of uneasiness. But then you've got to accept someone's sincere apology; they said, 'We did it.' We ran you off, we killed you.' "

In New York City, the Collegiate churches are composed of four congregations including the landmark Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue led by the late Rev. Norman Vincent Peale.

The church plans to sponsor educational activities and exhibits to teach children history — including the Indian reverence for preserving the purity of the land taken over by the Dutch colonists.

___

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christian Side Hugs from That Happened! - Video

Christian Side Hugs from That Happened! - Video

This is sooooo funny. Abstinence rules!!!! A nice way to wake up this morning.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Let Us Consult the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms


Today, I was struggling with this whole Christmas thing. While I was wrestling with the whole basic materialism, way too much consumerism type of argument, I felt unable to come to any conclusion about limiting the Christian expression of this holiday. Perhaps, we are too hard on them. Maybe we are actively discriminating against their symbols of religious freedom. So, I thought that the best approach would be too consult our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to settle this conflict. Here is what I found, interesting stuff. First;

Sections 2(a) and 15 of the Charter lay out the right to freedom of religion and equal treatment in Canada. 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a) freedom of conscience and religion; … 15(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Basic stuff. But here is where it got interesting.

Freedom of religion in Canada has also been interpreted as necessitating the reasonable accommodation of minorities. This means that laws must be adjusted if they have even an indirect discriminatory effect on a person or group based on their particular characteristics. In this sense, Canada’s form of religious neutrality is quite different from the stricter version of laïcité adopted in countries such as France. The Canadian approach attempts to make laws receptive to the particular needs of minorities, rather than espousing a more uniform conception of equality. The policy of reasonable accommodation attempts to break from the trend promulgating the norms of the majority as the dominating values in Canadian society.(18 ) However, unlike the interpretation of freedom of religion under the United States Constitution, freedom of religion under the Charter’s section 2(a) is not absolute. Rather, it is a relative concept, with which courts have the power to balance certain countervailing claims. Clearly offensive conduct or symbols that harm or constrain the freedoms or human dignity of others are not tolerated. These limitations are emphasized within the Charter itself. Section 15 highlights the fact that each religion is one of many vying for equality. Section 27 suggests that religion falls under the rubric of culture, and that the Charter seeks to preserve and protect all cultures. Finally, section 1 gives courts the discretion to qualify the fundamental freedom of religion by such reasonable limits as are prescribed by law and can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.(19)

Interesting... So, the next time they cry about taking away Christmas, remind them that it is part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that others have the right to not be exposed to Christmas. It is legal now. I love it.

Here is the link if you are up for the read

http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb0441-e.htm#bthecanadian

Another One of the Many Beautiful Parts about Life Free of God


Here is a pic of a beautiful rainbow I just took. I love life. As quick as it was here, it was gone. Seeing how beautiful life is, I almost do not fault people for misconstruing natural events in the Bible when they did not know better. Life really is wondrous. Today is a good day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Interesting Little Gem


I posted earlier about certain retail outlets banning the Christian messages associated with Christmas for their holiday campaigns. Of course, there has been a reaction, there always is. You know, instead of understanding that they can keep it within the confines of their homes, they will always fight the need to keep it public. So boring. I have included email addresses at the bottom in case anyone out there wants to email them their thoughts. I plan on doing so, and will post my email later for all to see. Here it is, came from the Christian wire.

200,000 Christian Shoppers Wear Buttons That Tell Retailers 'It's OK Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm)'

Contact: Ashley Tarter, Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign, 800-487-7137 ext 709, atarter@wmamc.com

MEDIA ADVISORY, Nov. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- Over 200,000 shoppers are wearing buttons this Christmas season that proclaim a straightforward message to retailers: "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm)." Individuals and churches around the country are partnering with the Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign mobilizing advocates energized for a return to the traditional, convivial greeting, bearing buttons that make a clear statement - "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm) (www.wmamc.com)". Over 200,000 of these buttons have been distributed nationally. With over 200,000 buttons on the streets and in stores this year, local store associates are likely to be presented with the opportunity to deviate from the corporate holiday wishing policy of top retailers like the Gap and Best Buy, and stealthily wish their customer "Merry Christmas" instead of the generic "Happy Holidays". But since 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas (Gallup Poll, 2004), it's likely that the store cashiers would prefer to wish their customers "Merry Christmas" as well. In fact 88% of Americans state that "It's okay to wish 'Merry Christmas'." (Gallup Poll). Pastors across the North America have lined up to support the Campaign. "Our nation needs to return to our Christian roots and values. Trying to remove the name of Jesus Christ from Christmas and from our society must be stopped," says Reverend John Mains of Fountain of Life in Johnstown, PA. In Ontario, Canada Pastor Troy Dingwell says, "I believe it is great that there are still people in North America who still hold to our Christian beliefs and traditions." Even Santa himself humbly gives credit where credit is due, "Christmas is not just about Santa and presents. Christmas is about the baby Jesus." Sue Fairchild and Reverend James Ritter of the Watsontown Baptist Church in Watsontown, PA sees the spirit of the Campaign, "We are using these buttons to encourage our congregation to step out in their faith this holiday season. We are coming together to put Christ back in Christmas." Said Campaign Manager, Ashley Tarter, "National retailers will hearken the public's message that it is okay to wish, 'Merry Christmas,' once again. In the meanwhile local communities are being impacted by the message of the Campaign." The national Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign is appealing to retailers to "put Christmas back in the holidays" with two straightforward petitions: * To actively retract adverse corporate holiday wishing policies, by returning to the traditional and explicit "Merry Christmas" phrase; and

* To restore use of the symbols, language and sounds of Christmas in in-store displays, signage and music, as well as in November and December advertising. From Florida to Alaska and into Canada individuals and churches have purchased hundreds of thousands of the red and green, "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas," ornament-like buttons to wear and share. For more information, visit www.wmamc.com - the first letters in Wish Me A Merry Christmas, or contact Media Relations at 800-487-7137, option 4. Merry Christmas!

* Gallup Poll 2004, PDFs available athttp://wmamc.com/millionbuttongoal/media.html PHOTOS:http://wmamc.com/millionbuttongoal/media.html#images

CONTACTS: Ashley Tarter Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign PO Box 5398 Williamsburg, VA 23188 PHONE. 800-487-7137 ext. 709 E-mail: atarter@wmamc.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Can You Deny Evolution When You Look at the Primordial Features of This Beauty


Look at this beauty. He is A Chinese Water Salamander. If this is not a visual throwback to ancient times, I do not know what is. Another interesting specimen in the beautiful diversity of life. Here is some basic info about him;

"The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest salamander in the world, with specimens of up to six feet (two meters) in length being recorded. Unfortunately for this unusual animal, it is viewed as a delicacy in China, which has led to heavy hunting both in China and Taiwan, where the giant salamander was introduced at some point in history. This in combination with habitat depletion has landed the Chinese Giant Salamander on the critically endangered list, with biologists indicating that immediate action must be taken to save these gentle creatures if we want future generations to enjoy them. Several zoos have Chinese Giant Salamanders in captivity, but a successful breeding program has not yet been established."



Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Look at How Diverse and Wonderful Life Is- A Roar from the Past.


Here is another pic I took of King Shit himself- The T Rex from Montana. I love him. This shot looks at his tail, and how long he was. Beautiful. We owe much to the scientists who worked so hard to recover him and piece him back together. I am going to start posting the pics that I take are relevant to this blog.

Wow.... London is so Progressive.

This comes from the Times Online. Evolution is going to be taught as a compulsory subject in public schools. A feel a sense of pride that we part of the Commonwealth... Well, at least in a symbolic kinda way. Let's hope that some of this progressive thinking trickles to us in the Great White North. Here it is;

Evolution to be compulsory subject in primary schools

Charles Darwin

Campaigners are delighted that Darwin will be on the curriculum

Evolution is to become a compulsory subject for study in all state primary schools. The Government announced yesterday that Darwin’s theory of how life evolved through natural selection would be a legal requirement in science teaching from September 2011, although it will be left to schools to decide how this is done.

The move, which was welcomed by scientists, comes despite a drive to slim down the national curriculum for primary schools and leave teachers greater discretion over what to teach.

British history will also become, for the first time, an explicit part of the curriculum that primary schools must teach, although it makes no reference to which kings, battles, periods or events should be taught.

Church and other faith schools within the state system will have to educate their pupils about the theory of evolution, although officials said it could be taught in a context that reflected a school’s ethos, in a similar way to compulsory sex education for children aged under 15.

“You could do that within the ethos of the school. If as a school, in consultation with governors and parents, you have a particular take on that, you would still be able to do that,” said a spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The change, included in legislation introduced in the Commons yesterday, follows a review of the curriculum for primary schools published earlier this year by Sir Jim Rose.

A consultation on his proposals to loosen the number of formal topics taught in primary schools prompted calls for the curriculum explicitly to include evolution. More than 500 scientists and supporters signed an e-petition to Downing Street.

The new curriculum is to include a requirement “to investigate and explain how plants and animals are ‘interdependent’ and are diverse and adapted to their environment by natural selection”.

The age at which children must be taught about evolution is not specified; it must be included in science lessons “in the later stage of the primary education”.

The Royal Society applauded the decision and said that it would send booklets to all teacher-training colleges with information and advice.

Professor Sir Martin Taylor, its vice-president, said: “We are delighted to see evolution explicitly included in the primary curriculum. One of the most remarkable achievements of science over the past 200 years has been to show how humans and organisms on the Earth arose through evolution.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thank Science For This

A friend told me to check this out today, and I did. The Globe and Mail had this great article today reporting that they have had a breakthrough in the treatment of MS. This is exciting....The study of evolution is the gift that keeps on giving. Here is the link to check out yourself.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Honor of the First Atheist I Knew


My dad. My father was well ahead of his time, and openly disbelieved in God. When I was 17, it used to disturb me. I felt fearful for him because I was scared that he would not go to heaven. I would say to him "Dad, what do you think happens when you die?" and he would point to the ground and say "Food for worms." I love him, and I have most certainly become his daughter.

In honor of his favorite band and the atheism we share. Here it is;

"I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facin' up when your whole world is black..."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the Day


This quote comes to me straight from Tom Harpur, in The Pagan Christ. He describes the writing of the Bible as:

"The earliest Church fathers themselves admit that they took the high, symbolic, esoteric (or secret) wisdom that the Christian movement had inherited from Paganism- from Platonic philosophy and the Mystery Religions- and explained it, or rather downgraded it, by means of vulgar fables for the illiterate mob.... They were soon spreading these inner teachings abroad to the general public, and "in the process reducing the rich and sumptuous feast of wisdom to such a hash and porridge to the ignorant masses could find in some way digestible. Thus came Christianism which was the wreckage of Christianity."

Book Recommendation of the Day


For anyone out there who is interested in expanding their reading collection, here is a nod out to Tom Harpur. For my birthday, a close friend of mine gave me this book. While I would not say that I am learning anything new, I am really enjoying returning to the basics of my liberal university education. I love being brought back to the basic mythology that created the Bible. Here is a basic description of the book;

This is Harpur's most radical and groundbreaking work to date, in which he digs deep into the origins of Christianity and how the early Christian church covered up all attempts to reveal the Bible as myth.

What began as a universal belief system has become a ritualistic institution headed by ultraconservative literalists. As he reconsiders a lifetime of worship and study, Harpur reveals a cosmic faith built on these truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity. Only with a return to an inclusive religion where Christ lives within each of us will we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we are intended to become.


Another Interesting Genetic Discovery Due to Evolution

Here is a great article posted on Science Daily today. They have discovered a gene that determines a person's ability to respond to stress and to practice empathy towards others. I believe, the more that I research about our genetic discoveries, that they are managing to unlock all of the mysteries of life. Awesome stuff, see for yourself;



Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Great Quote of the Day


This quote comes from Alvin Boyd Kuhn, who has studied religion in modern times. This is poignant, and this is why it deserves distinction today.


"Christianity only gained favour and held the allegiance of the masses of the populations of the West for centuries because it succeeded in accommodating its message to the prevalent levels of general unintelligence. In doing so it inevitably distorted its truths into ludicrous caricature and baneful forms of error and falsehood"

Awesomeness Quote of the Day


This one comes to us from Northrop Frye, another reason why us Canadians are so great. I love this. Here it is: In describing the state of modern day Christianity, he likened it to

"a ghost with with the chains of a foul historical record of cruelty clanking behind it...."


Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Really Hate that I Owe My Sight to my Primal Fear of My Biggest Phobia


Here is a rather interesting article from the Toronto Star about Snakes. I LOATHE snakes... I am terrified of them. However, putting all of my fear aside, this article is an interview with a scientist who believes that primates may have developed sight due to fear of snakes. It also suggests that at one time, humans and primates were food for them, and this is why our eyes evolved. Interesting stuff, and may very well answer that evolutionary enigma about why our sight evolved the way that it did.
Here is the link:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Case In Point


In less than 24 hours, I found this article. My last posting talked about the dissemination of Christian "information" to young people, and how the religious agenda could serve to make them more vulnerable towards making less informed decisions towards their sexual health. And, then this unfortunate article shows up on World Net Daily. Sadly, I could not have called it better.



Teen fights vaccination for sexually transmitted virus
Lawyers say forcing treatment violates her religious rights
Posted: November 12, 2009
12:30 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A teenager is entitled to an exemption from a federal requirement that she be given a vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease, because she is a Christian and holds the religious conviction that she must abstain from sex until marriage, according to a brief filed in support of her decision.

The arguments come in a brief filed in support of Simone Davis in her fight with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service by the Alliance Defense Fund.

"Christians shouldn't be forced to violate their faith in order to gain U.S. citizenship," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. "Requiring a young girl to choose between her beliefs and legal citizenship is a clear violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prevents the government from putting a substantial burden on a person's religious beliefs except under extreme circumstances.

"She has met all of the other legal requirements for permanent resident status and has a loving home already in place, but the federal government would apparently prefer to return this girl to abandonment," he said.

(Story continues below)


WND reported earlier when the federal government threatened that if the teen did not give up her religious beliefs against a vaccine that targets only a sexually transmitted disease, she could not become a U.S. citizen.

Davis, born in 1992 in Britain, was abandoned by her parents and adopted at age 3 by Jean Davis, her paternal grandmother, who then married and moved to Florida.

However, her adoption in Britain wasn't recognized in the U.S., so the process was begun again. The 17-year-old was on track for citizenship, attendance at Pensacola Christian College and a career as a teacher until she ran into Gardasil, the vaccine produced by Merck & Co.

The drug was added to the list of vaccinations required for female immigrants in 2008, but the teen has refused it because its purpose is to protect against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus only. Simone has taken a virginity pledge and doesn't see she why she should be forced to take it.

"I am only 17 years old and planning to go to college and not have sex anytime soon," she said. "There is no chance of getting cervical cancer [thought to result from the papillomavirus], so there's no point in getting the shot."

The teen sought a waiver on religious grounds, but the government turned her down.

The ADF brief noted the law permits a waiver of the vaccine requirement based on moral or religious objections, but Davis was denied because her beliefs do not include an objection to all vaccines. Officials also claim her opposition is based more on medical reasons than religious ones.

"Because HPV is passed through sexual activity, receiving the HPV vaccine for protection in case Simone has sex would be the same thing as giving her a condom to put in her purse 'just in case,'" the brief argues.

"It violates her commitment to remain pure until marriage, a commitment she made as part of her Christian faith."

Her pastor, Mike Dunn, who submitted an affidavit, said, "If Simone received the vaccination she would violate her own conscience which is being led by the Holy Spirit, thus becoming sin against God."

"To me, Jesus is a major part of my life. I live my life for Him, and according to His will and His plan," the teen said. "I talk to God about everything that happens to me. I ask for His guidance in what to do every day. I read the Bible to grow in knowing God better."

She said when she was confronted with the government's demand that she subject herself to the vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease, she prayed.

As a result, she became convicted that she should not accept it, citing 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, which says, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?"

Dunn said the teen's interpretation is consistent with the Southern Baptist Church's teachings.

"There is no doubt that Simone's beliefs are religious," the brief said. "Simone is a religious person, and has been since she was seven years old. … [Her] beliefs are rooted in God's commands, as recorded in the Bible. Consequently, taking [this] vaccination would be sinning against God."

The ADF noted in 2008 its lawyers successfully represented a U.S. Coast Guard officer who refused to be injected with a vaccine derived from an aborted baby after the Coast Guard initially refused to grant a religious exemption.

Meanwhile, the ramifications of the vaccinations are being reported. WND has reported recipients have suffered side effects, including "anaphylactic shock," "foaming at mouth," "grand mal convulsion," "coma" and "paralysis."

The results were confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a report obtained by Judicial Watch, a Washington group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.

Deaths also have been reported.

"Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to re-evaluate its safety and to prohibit its distribution to minors. In the least, governments should rethink any efforts to mandate or promote this vaccine for children,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

The document reveals the case of an 18-year-old woman who received the Gardasil vaccine, was found unconscious that evening and died. Another woman, age 19, got the drug and the next morning was found dead in her bed.

Thousands of "Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System" cases have been documented.

WND also reported on the aggressive push by Merck to lobby state legislatures to make the vaccination mandatory for schoolgirls across the nation.

In 2007 alone, Merck's aggressive lobbying campaign and contributions to the Women in Government organization for women state legislators resulted in proposals in at least 39 states to institutionalize such vaccinations.

"I am most definitely surprised [by the immigration requirement], and I would love to know how it ever became policy," Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at St. Luke's–Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, told ABC. "I wonder if the drug company could have had any influence."

A company official told the network it wasn't involved in making the vaccination required.

Quote of the Day- More Christian Based Misinformation


This is a little more complicated than I usually post. I am also going to do something new with this, which is why this is filed under the "Christian Based Gross Misinformation" Quote of the Day category.

I found this interview with an "MD", by the name of Miriam Grossman at Christianity.Ca. She has written a book criticizing current the "myths of sexual education" in Canada. I do not know if she actually said this, or if the author misquoted her to get their own agenda across. Nevertheless, this research apparently comes to us from a "Family Research Health Centre", which could just be a front to have a pro Christian agenda display a credible appearance to mainstream readers. Here is the exact link if you are interested in reading the entire interview.


So, here is her pearl of wisdom;

"A third point is kids aren’t told that oral sex is associated with cancers of the throat. Needless to say this is important, and indeed life-saving, information yet it is withheld from kids, and that is the height of irresponsibility."


So, I had to go see this for myself. I consider myself a fairly informed person, and I wanted to see if this was some new research or something like that. Actually, researchers have managed to discover a link between untreated HPV infection and oral cancer. In fact, the more I researched I found that this doctor had actually said this, and was very misquoted by this publication. So, this Christian publication has this information. Instead of being responsible for the proper dissemination of this knowledge and using it to its full potential- like maybe using it to reinforce the need for an HPV vaccination, they spin it through the religious bullshit cycle, and further scare their youth from a sexual practice that is safer than many others. Perhaps Kirk Cameron was the author. Smells like his stench to me.


This is Exciting- More News from the Study of Genomes


This article was in today's Globe and Mail. Scientists believe that they have found the gene that has caused speech in humans. Or, specifically, the mutated gene that may have triggered speech in humans. I have to say, I get excited when I hear of more of the discoveries that they are finding in genetic research. Here it is:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Think That Most People Can Expect Gift Certificates from the Gap this Year


So, the Christian Post is encouraging Christians to boycott The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic because they are removing the Christian part of Christmas. Good, so on board.... Is Christmas really all about JC? Not anymore. Seems like the epitome of our shallow materialistic culture to me. Anyways, here is the article if anyone is interested. It is a good read.

Christians Urged to Boycott Gap Inc. Over 'Christmas' Censor

By Jennifer Riley|Christian Post Reporter

A conservative pro-family group is urging Christians to boycott Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic from now until December 25 for “censoring” the word Christmas in its ad commercials and promotions.


“Christmas is special because of Jesus,” maintains AFA in its e-mail newsletter. “It’s not just a ‘winter holiday.’ For millions of Americans the giving and receiving of gifts is in honor of the One who gave Himself.The American Family Association said that despite “tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas” and requests by the organization, San Francisco-based Gap Inc. has refused to use the word.

“For the Gap to pretend that isn’t the foundation of the Christmas season is political correctness at best and religious bigotry at worst.”

AFA joins Christian legal group Liberty Counsel in defending the use of the word Christmas for the celebrations that take place at the end of each year.

Earlier this month, Liberty Counsel launched its annual “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign” that pledges to be a “Friend” to those who recognize Christmas and a “Foe” to those who censor it. The campaign offers free legal assistance to anyone who faces criticism for celebrating Christmas.

“Over the past few years the 'Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign' has successfully put the 'grinches' on the run,” commented Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law.

“This year millions of Americans will join us to help save Christmas," he said. "If a government entity censors Christmas in violation of the Constitution, then we will first seek to educate but, if necessary, we will litigate. If retailers choose to profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist, then we will patronize their competitors."

Liberty Counsel also publishes a “Naughty or Nice” list, which categorizes retailers who either censor (“Naughty”) or recognize (“Nice”) Christmas.

The Christian legal group has handled numerous cases concerning Christmas, including those that involved nativity scenes on public property, school officials who censored religious words from Christmas carols, and companies that renamed Christmas trees “holiday trees.”

The “Naughty & Nice List” can be found on the Liberty Counsel Web site: www.lc.org

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Guess that It Is Time to Discuss the Elephant in the Room


Here is an article from Christianity Today. It is talking about the appeals that will ensue because the Italian government is going to have to remove Crucifixes from their walls... BOOHOO. Is faith not supposed to be in your heart? Why does it have to be attached to inanimate objects and symbols invading public space? If you believe, why do you care what is on the wall? Why do people have to insist that everyone visually understands what is tangible to only them? It is insane. Crazy, here it is.

WORLD

Italy government to appeal ruling on classroom crucifixes

by Aaron J Leichman, Christian Post
Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009, 8:11 (GMT)
Font Scale:A A A

Italy government to appeal ruling on classroom crucifixesA crucifix towers over Corleone, Sicily, Italy, Monday, April 24, 2006. (AP)

The Italian government is to appeal a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights last week determining that the hanging of crucifixes in school classrooms violates religious and education freedoms.

Italy's Minister of Public Instruction Mariastella Gelmini and Minister of the Interior Claudio Scajola told media that the state would appeal Tuesday’s decision, arguing that the cross in Italy has become more than a symbol of the Church. They say it has also become a symbol of Italian and European history and tradition.

“The crucifix is a global symbol of love, docility and peace,” Scajola said in an e-mailed statement.

Crosses in Italy are "a symbol of Italian tradition" and their exposure does not necessarily signify affiliation to the Catholic Church, Gelmini added.

According to the European Court of Human Rights, however, the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly when it comes to the right to education and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

The Strasbourg-based court said the presence of the crucifix "could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign and they would feel that they were being educated in a school environment bearing the stamp of a given religion".

“This could be encouraging for religious pupils, but also disturbing for pupils who practiced other religions or were atheists, particularly if they belonged to religious minorities,” it added.

Though the court stopped short of ordering Italy to remove the crucifixes, which are common in Italian public schools, the seven-judge panel’s decision to rule their display as a “violation” has upset many in the predominantly Catholic country. Though Catholicism is not the official religion of Italy, around 90 per cent of the population claims to be Roman Catholic.

For Italy's conservative Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, Tuesday's ruling was "disrespectful" and one that has no legal weight and cannot be enforced.

"Our country can only be described as Christian," he said Friday, according to the Italian news agency Adnkronos International. "Even an atheist has to agree with this."

Berlusconi further noted that eight European countries have the cross on their national flags.

"Should this be changed because there are foreigners of other faiths who have taken citizenship?" he asked.

To appeal the ruling, the Italian government must take their case to the European Court of Human Rights' Grand Chamber of 17 judges, whose decisions are binding.

The government, in the meantime, has been ordered by the court to pay a 5,000 euro fine to Soile Lautsi, the mother of two children who wanted crucifixes removed from her children's classrooms. Lautsi, who is of Finnish origin, filed her case with the European Court of Human Rights in July 2006, after Italy's Constitutional Court dismissed her complaint.


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