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Religion Archives

  Religious Freedom: Only for Christians?

Bryant in Kansas, responding to a couple of recent stories that touched on religion, says: "I've grown weary of your newsletter, and your anti-Christian bent. I always wonder why anything 'Christian' gets blasted and not any other religion? Don't tell me that it's because Christians are so narrow minded. I won't buy into that one."

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  Scenes from Last Week, or: Religious Freedom II

Last week I blasted yet another yahoo that railed against me as "anti-Christian". Before I go on, let me say something: I think people calling someone "anti-Christian" is just as bad as accusing someone of being anti-Semitic. I think it's a very serious thing to do, since it implies I work against their religious freedoms. In fact, I work for true religious freedom.

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  Spawn of Satan

I’m “anti-Christian” again (darn it!) — according to a few Catholic readers, anyway. I refer to the story in the 28 July 2002 issue about the fastest-growing religion in Australia:

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  Evangelical = Hatemonger?

A few letters as a denouement on the popularity of the Get Out of Hell Free products (after my essay on the topic, which is still up on the GOOHF site). Pastor John in Oregon: "As a Christian Pastor (Lutheran-ELCA) I too find it interesting how so many who call themselves Christian practice Hate over anything else first. So much so, that when I am asked what I do, for example when riding on a plane, I want to answer something like 'Lawyer'. You made a comment about the 'Christians' that picketed a funeral. A friend of mine, who is a Lutheran pastor and lesbian, felt honored enough to have her church picketed by [the minister who led them]. It truly is a sad day when you judge how 'Christian' you are by how many Fundamentalists you piss off."

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  Happy Politically Correct Holiday

Last week's issue included this story, which naturally brought an incredibly whiny complaint by someone who clearly didn't understand the concept at all:

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  Peace Sign

In the 3 December 2006 issue I led with this story:

Peace On Earth

Lisa Jensen hung a Christmas wreath on the outside wall of her home in Pagosa Springs, Colo. The pine boughs were arranged into a peace sign because she "wanted to put a message of peace out there," Jensen said. But Bob Kearns, the president of her homeowner's association, ordered her to remove the wreath on the grounds that "signs, billboards or advertising structures of any kind" are banned, and subject to a $25-per-day fine. The HOA's entire architectural control committee resigned in protest, and Jensen refused to remove the wreath. "The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it," Kearns claimed. "It's also an anti-Christ sign. That's how it started," he said, calling the peace sign "Satanic". After a local -- and national -- outcry, Kearns backed off. He apologized and said the wreath could stay. (Durango Herald) ...Chalking up another win for that darned peace-loving Satan.

There was, of course, reader reaction, virtually all of it readers finding it hard to believe there are such nutballs out there. But....

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  Super Bowl vs. Churches -- NFL Loses

This week's lead story brought a fair amount of mail from the Premium subscribers, many of whom were surprised by my take on the story. Here it is:

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  True Milestone: Issue #666

I started getting notes last month about whether I had "special plans" for issue #666. "Not that the number actually means anything, but it tickles me to have noticed the landmark," noted one, Jordan in S.A., Australia. Indeed, I do consider it as much superstition as being afraid of the number 13. Wikipedia has a good article on the many variations -- it addresses how the number came to be regarded with such disrepute; or should that be 616 that's feared? The irrationality over the number is so great that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pushed through a change of U.S. Highway 666 due to its "infamy brought by the inopportune naming of the road." It's now known as U.S. Highway 491. Americans laugh at "primitive" and "superstitious" people, then tremble in fear over an arbitrary number.

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  Jerry Falwell, American Taliban

Jerry Falwell died this week. There's quite a bit of traffic coming into my page where I dubbed Falwell one of the American Taliban in disgust over his using the 9/11 terrorist attacks to further his own agenda. I followed some of those links back to the blogs which were quoting me, with titles such as "JERRY FALWELL IS DEAD. Good." and I'm glad he is dead. Indeed there were so many that I Googled the combination of "Cassingham" and "Falwell" ...and got a couple of hundred hits.

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  Why is a Touch of Equal Time a Problem?

As I put this week's issue to bed, I thought I had done a terrific job of handling what could have been a very controversial story. But let's go to the start -- here's the story from the 3 June 2007 issue:

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  A Wise Man

I got a thoughtful letter on Thanksgiving Day from Ken in Massachusetts. He writes:

On [your page about religious freedom] you wrote, "Americans tend to think religion is the exact same thing as Christianity. Of course, it isn't." It was years ago that I visited that page and was exposed to that idea for the first time.

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  They Have a Confession to Make

I just know I'm going to get a lot of comments on this story, so I may as well just post it now, from the start, with comments open so you can do your job. It's from the 8 June 2008 issue and I expect to hear from Christians and atheists alike:

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  "False, Crude and Offensive!"

An angry Premium subscriber, after reading a story in this week's issue, wrote to proclaim "That is not only false, crude, and offensive, it is an obvious, kneejerk response that would occur to many people looking for a cheap shot." Let's start with the story, from the 6 September 2009 issue:

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  Merry Secularmas, Then?

This weekend, while watching the “War on Christmas” fights going back and forth on Facebook, I decided to research a specific line that I remembered using as a tagline ...sometime awhile back. I couldn’t remember when, so I looked for it — and was quite amused to find that it had been 10 years ago exactly.

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  A Hex on ABC News

This week several readers sent a story suggestion, and it’s a pretty outrageous story: a school accused a 15-year-old student of “putting a hex” on a teacher, making him ill. The assistant principal brought the girl in for “aggressive interrogation” and then suspended her for 15 days. No, this wasn’t in Salem in the late 1600s, but rather “modern” Oklahoma. The link was to a page on ABC News, and it was the same link from each reader.

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  Freedom of Religion, Alabama Style

I Have a Few Comments on Mike Straw’s story this week. Let’s start with the story; it’s from the 18 January 2015 issue:

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