Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nikki Haley's Win: A Victory For Assimilation, Not Acceptance

Nikki Haley's Win: A Victory For Assimilation, Not Acceptance

Sacred Terror: How Religion Makes Terrorism Worse

Abu Bakr Ba'asyir, alleged leader of Jamaah Islamiyah in Indonesia, the group responsible for several bombings including the Bali nightclub said "The aim of jihad is to look for blessing from Allah."

The Rev. Paul Hill, who shot and killed a physician and a body guard in front of a women's health clinic in the United States, wrote from prison "I continued to lift up my heart to the Lord, thankful for success. I had not failed in my errand and He had not failed me. The Lord had done great things through me...Soon I was alone in a large, one man cell and could direct all my praise and thanks to the Lord. I repeatedly sang a song...'Our God is an Awesome God': He is..[I] never cease[d] rejoicing in the Lord for all He had done. "

After the Madrid train bombing, the perpetrators issued a statement in which they said, "We choose death as a path to life while you chose life that is a path to death."

All these examples, and there are many, many more, indicate that religiously motivated terrorists experience their violent commitments as a form of spiritual striving: they act in the name of the divine, their goals reflect an ultimate purpose and a concern with ethics, they seek to experience a divine reality in their actions; by giving themselves to a greater cause, they transcend the self and seek an integration with a greater reality. As much as those outside their movements may regard them as evil and criminal, in their eyes through violence and killing they are seeking the highest moral and spiritual goods-the sacred community, the purification of the human race, the kingdom of justice and righteousness, immortality, and union with God.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Public Sees a Future Full of Promise and Peril

Imagine a future in which cancer becomes a memory, ordinary people travel in space, and computers carry on conversations like humans. Now imagine a darker future – a world beset by war, rising temperatures and energy shortages, one where the United States faces a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Freedom of Worship' Worries

"Freedom of worship" has recently replaced the phrase "freedom of religion" in public pronouncements from the Obama administration. Experts are concerned that the new rhetoric may signal a policy change.

"Freedom of worship" first appeared in President Obama's November remarks at the memorial service for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting. Days later, he referred to worship rather than religion in speeches in Japan and China.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the shift in language. In a December speech at Georgetown University, she used "freedom of worship" three times but "freedom of religion" not at all. While addressing senators in January, she referred to "freedom of worship" four times and "freedom of religion" once when quoting an earlier Obama speech.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Call for Papers

*Black Religion and Spirituality (BRS) in the 21st century: Challenges and Opportunities*

OCTOBER 13, 14, 15, 2010
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI–Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center

Throughout our history in the Americas, African Americans have
entrenched/devoted themselves in/to issues of justice and engagement. The 5 th Annual Black Religion & Spirituality (BRS) Conference, to be held in East Lansing, Michigan, October 13-15, 2010, affords opportunities to explore these issues in a public forum. The theme is *Black Religion and Spirituality:* *Implications for Social Justice and Community Engagement*. * *This conference will focus on the diversity of faiths among African Americans and how they are addressing challenges and opportunities in the 21 st century including emphasis on the following:

1. Examine the diversity of faiths in the African American

2. Examine the variety of means by which these diverse
faiths are addressing challenges and opportunities in the 21st century.

3. Provide for a network of academics, practitioners, and
community members.

4. Explore the impact of faith communities on Black people.

5. Develop a research repository of collaborative
partnerships with academic scholars and diverse faith communities.

Abstracts for Papers should be sent to:
Dr. Gloria S. Smith or
301 Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824

The deadline for submissions is July 30, 2010. Individual papers will be
accepted and formed into panels based on quality, critical thought and
relevancy. Request for audio-visual support will need to be received by
August 15, 2010.

Registration fee for presenters is $100.00. Registration fees must be
submitted upon acceptance to be included in the conference program.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa

In little more than a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has changed dramatically. As of 1900, both Muslims and Christians were relatively small minorities in the region. The vast majority of people practiced traditional African religions, while adherents of Christianity and Islam combined made up less than a quarter of the population, according to historical estimates from the World Religion Database.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Religious left, disillusioned with Obama, coming to D.C.

More than 400 religious and secular progressives will meet here in the nation's capitol this weekend (June 11-14) to urge President Obama to be the man "they thought they elected in 2008."

The Network of Spiritual Progressives wants Obama to make good on campaign promises to protect the environment, fight for the poor, rein
in big business, and work for global peace.

"I'm not interested in those who want to be either for or against Obama," said Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, Pa. "I want Obama to join us in the protection of the earth, protection of human beings."

Waskow and about 34 other rabbis, pastors, priests, professors and congressmen are expected to speak at the four day conference, which will rally progressives around causes like a new "global Marshall plan" and a social responsibility amendment to the Constitution.
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