Religion

Republican values, past their expiration date

The ongoing imbroglio over the construction of a mosque on private property in lower Manhattan has proven two things: 1. Cable news has something to get it through the doldrums of August, and 2. The Republican Party will use even the U.S. Constitution as a weapon of hate.

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Conservatives should denounce bigotry that hurts American troops

Regarding the president's comments about the Muslim center and mosque near the site of 9/11, let’s have some straight talk about exactly what is happening.

Obviously this latest example of the president's instinct to say whatever is on his mind, despite the damage it does to Democrats running for reelection, was damaging to Democrats.

But whether one believes the president was intrinsically right or wrong (I believe he was right) and politically smart or stupid (I believe it was stupid), the larger truth of this important matter is the open appeal to racism, bigotry and fear by a vocal minority of Republicans.

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Let's stop the charade

In his blog entry of Aug. 3, Armstrong Williams writes, "The Boston Tea Party, in which colonists dumped the usuriously taxed products of Britain into the Boston Harbor, was an act of defiance inspired by Christ’s repudiation of the money-changers."

This is a stretch or, if true, is a serious misunderstanding — at least on the part of the first Tea Partiers — of the event described in all four Gospels.

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What happened to Manifest Destiny?

If we fast-forward a couple of millennia or so to the birth of the American nation, we once again see the influence of Christ as a central tenet in the political equation.

Many of the early European settlers in this land were willing to uproot themselves from their homes in hope of finding a place in which they could practice their religion without interference from the government. In 16th-century Europe the Church had become wealthy and corrupt, and was in bed with the monarchies in wielding political power. Established religion had ceased to be a source of liberty and was used to enslave the masses.

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A cry for leadership

Full disclosure: I'm not Catholic, practicing or otherwise. This South Carolinian from the Bible Belt was raised more along Protestant lines.

But Catholic and Protestant alike believe in and serve a living God. Still, I am well aware of the major importance and influence the Catholic Church wields in this country, and the role it must and should play as this nation plunges headlong into the 21st century.

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Endangered Jews

Helen Thomas is either willfully ignorant or just an out-and-out bigot.

Facts are facts. The Jewish people have inhabited the land of Israel since before the birth of Jesus. There are 6 billion people in the world and fewer than 13 million Jews left. If there had been no Holocaust, there would be 100 million Jews in the world. Now there are fewer than 6 million left in their historic homeland — the Land of Israel.

Will we do more to save the spotted owl than we will the last remaining Jews in their natural habitat?! The Jews are an endangered species who deserve the world's protection and not their persecution. To hear Iran, Hamas or many other groups tell their side of the story, the Jews would have been wiped from this earth a long time ago.

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What is a Jewish state?

My recent Pundits Blog essays on Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) as a rising political phenomenon in Israel have brought much interesting mail and commentary. To the neurosis that has crippled forward progress in an Americanized Israel at least since 1993, highlighted now by the Gaza incident, a singular soldier with a moral compass like Feiglin’s brings clarity. He calls for Israel to be a religious state: “a Jewish state” instead of “a state for Jews.”

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Whither the Protestant elite

For the first time in our nation’s history — should Elena Kagan get confirmed by the United States Senate — not one Supreme Court justice will be a mainline Protestant (or any kind of Protestant, for that matter).

This is historically significant.

The first Catholic Supreme Court justice was Roger Taney, who served on the court from 1836 to 1864. The second Catholic Supreme Court justice was Edward White, who was sworn in 30 years later.

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Maybe Howard Dean needs a Tea Party

I would have no objection if Texas wanted to hold a “state day of prayer” but here in northern New England we pray different or not at all and we consider that to be a sublime spiritual path; what Emerson, Bronson Alcott and Theodore Parker called “natural religion.” So it is good for us that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb didn’t demand that Rick Perry sit through a Tibetan chant up here or that Howard Dean hold hands during that cry that comes pure from the heart of Free Church Appalachian, by ruling this week that The National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

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Secrets of the Catholic Church

The plague of the predatory pedophile priests in the Catholic Church worldwide has reached the Vatican. Litigation dealing with child molestation by priests already has bankrupted many American dioceses. The world press has recently reported scandals in Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, and Ireland. Disclosure of over sixty cases in Switzerland has prompted the Swiss Conference of Bishops to finally address the problem. In Germany, the Pope’s brother has been connected to choir boy abuses. The current Pope himself has been charged with keeping abuses confidential and sheltering abusive priests when he was a Cardinal, permitting a “wall of silence” to avoid prosecutions (the Vatican denies his role in any cover-up of the abuses). 

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