Friday, April 08, 2016

Will the real religious freedom please stand up?

Religious Freedom
The traditional meaning:
Freedom of belief, speech, practice, proselytizing, etc.

The new revisionist meaning:
Freedom to restrict services against, or to hate, denigrate, despise or oppress others.

That amounts to rewriting language history. It's revisionist. It's ugly … it's wrong.

Bigotry defined
Bigotry [BIG-uh-tree] NOUN
Intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.
Source: The Oxford Dictionary

Bigotry exemplified
Christian bigots are trying to redefine "freedom of religion" to suit their need to discriminate without penalty. Perhaps they need to be reminded that "Do unto others…" is not just a nice catchy phrase to tell our kids to get them to behave well.

True followers of Christ -- the majority of U.S. Christians -- need to speak up. Your silence is taken as agreement with those practicing bigotry. Pilgrims fled to America to escape state-such imposed religion. True Christians need to start standing up and shouting, "Not here! Not now! Not ever! That's not who we are!"

Islam increasing, Christianity decreasing
For those who think an official state religion is just fine, tell me -- what happens when the majority of Americans follow Islam?  Islam is growing; Christianity is shrinking. Think, people; think! In that future, would it be OK for Muslims to legally refuse to serve women who do not wear a hijab? Women not accompanied by their husband? People who are not Muslims? That is … your own descendants?

Our laws protect people and help ensure equal treatment of everyone. They are not to push your own personal agenda or that of your religious sect, no matter how fervently you may hold to your beliefs.

Personal religious freedom!
Believe what you like. Worship as you like. Gather as you like. Pray as you like. But do not -- ever -- try to force your beliefs on others. In the public realm, you have no right to impose your personal beliefs on others who do not agree with you. That's just another form of bullying. Religious bullying causes Christ to weep. It's time we put a stop such actions before they escalate into even more damaging behavior.

"Be careful what you ask for"
Beware -- Payback is a real bummer! When the tables are turned, the results for your descendants could be disastrous! Don't shoot yourself in the foot and then later complain that it hurts.

Millennials shun the church
And by the way … two-faced bigotry makes Millennials cringe and shun the church (not just "church"). They see us as irrelevant. Why would they ever want to "be like that" and join us when they see such bigotry as representing all Christians?

We need to show them that are good examples of followers of  Christ. Those who only claim to be followers but act otherwise can seem in the majority unless … and until … the majority speaks up!

Stand up and be counted!
"Do unto others…" is not just a nice catchy phrase to tell our kids. It's way past time to actually live it!

[Reminder: This is a moderated blog. Posting is not automatic. No "flames," cursing, or similar vicious or offensive vitriol are allowed. Such comments won't be published.]

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Knowing God

Many, many moons ago, I came across a series of small (4" x 6") booklets from the Radio Bible Club (RBC). The Discovery Series included "Knowing God Through ___" and addressed several books of the Bible. Each was only 30 pages or so long and written in easy-to-read English.

The organization is a conservative one, so that bias may come through in a few places, but I found the booklets excellent.

Many (most?) of the booklets are no longer available in print but are still available as a PDF viewable online or downloadable.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Parts of Dead Sea Scrolls up for sale

Here's a story that can tug you two ways ... the family that found the Dead Sea Scrolls is now selling small fragments that they still had in a safe deposit box in Switzerland.

On the one hand, when you find something, you normally get to keep and sell it as you want. On the other the Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient relics. Many governments lay claim to any such relics and then pay the finder for them. The questions are, of course, who determines how much to pay and should such relics be allowed to leave the country -- or even stay in a private owner's hands?

The family that found the scrolls is Palestinian. The Israeli government considers the scrolls a national treasure. Further complicating this situation, Jordanian and Palestinian governments have also laid claim to the scrolls.

The owner says his family offered to sell them to the government but that they could not afford them. Should finders of ancient relics be allowed to put a financial "squeeze" on a country for its national treasures?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Anti-hate Ads Appearing In NYC Subway

The United Methodist Women, Sojourners, and Rabbis for Human Rights, have joined forces to fund subway ads that counter the recent anti-Islam ones in New York City subways. Some ads appear next to the anti-Islam ones.

One pro-tolerance poster reads, "Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed". (The anti-Islam poster had used the phrase "civilized man").

“We think that respectful dialogue is absolutely important and that the work for peace is very difficult,” said UMW CEO Harriet Olson in an interview with Transportation Nation. “Incendiary speech [as in the anti-Islam posters] is not the way to get there.”

We cannot achieve true Shalom with hearts full of hatred.

Friday, October 05, 2012

UMC's path not sustainable

The final report of the Call to Action Interim Operations Team, says that the United Methodist Church's way of doing business is “unsustainable,” and that the changes made during and immediately after the recent 2012 General Conference are not enough to deal with challenges the denomination faces.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

New UMW web site

The new web site design for the United Methodist Women is much nore attractive than prior ones. It's also organized well.

One issue appears to be slow loading of images, especially on the mhome page. Visitors might think that the image link was "bad" and get a negative impression. But the overall design, organization, and information is excellent.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Quote of note

Always keep your words soft and sweet ...

just in case you have to eat them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Quote of note

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."

- Michael Althsuler

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Quote of note

"The highest reward for a person’s work is not what they get for it, but what they become because of it."

-- John Ruskin

Friday, September 02, 2011

Quote of note

“To be a superpower is to be the champion of peace, freedom, and democracy, of human rights, environmental quality, and the alleviation of suffering.”
-- President Jimmy Carter, PBS Newshour Interview, 19 Novemeber 1996.