Archbishop Dolan in, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin out. The pope has named 22 new cardinals and has begun to re-Italiante the College; seven are Italians.
Just What Rome Needs: A Really Dumb Gopher
Gay Marriage will lead to polygamy: Are you listening Mitt? Santorum continues to spout and to porve he’s really not the sharpest knife in the rack: “Santorum’s logic provoked an outcry from the audience, which was made up primarily of local college students but also a number of local conservative voters who were there to support the surging presidential candidate….” Surging is a nice word. Big families and all.
Here’s the Deal: Thinking Makes my Head Hurt. OK?
“The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate questions, is minimal,” said Mark Silk, professor of religion and public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Read on.
You went, girl!
Joan of Arc (no relation to Noah) turns 700!
‘I received a lovely email recently from one Bonny Fetterman. “I wonder if you are aware of the etymology of the word ‘brouhaha’ because if you were, you probably wouldn’t have used it in this title,” she wrote (I had typed it in reference to, of all things, the ADL). She continued, citing her high school teacher: “It was an anti-Semitic term in France, based on the words of Hebrew prayer, ‘Baruch atah … ’ which sounded like a confused mess to Frenchmen passing synagogues and came to signify a loud, confused mess.” Wait, really?’
Whoa, We didn’t say the Arab Spring smelled like Irish Spring
The Islamists are way out in front in Egypt. Let’s see: Iraq, Afghanistan, probably Libya, Morocco–who feels that surfy breeze of liberation?
Islamists claimed a decisive victory on Wednesday as early election results put them on track to win a dominant majority inEgypt’s first Parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the most significant step yet in the religious movement’s rise since the start of the Arab Spring
The Vatican is reportedly preparing to create a new commission to crack down on the building of ugly churches. Yes!
Atheists, borrowing a page from the gay rights movement, have launched a campaign to urge nonbelievers to come out of the closet.
Cardinal McCarrick to State department: Get some Religion
Citing his own experience in negotiating for the freedom of two hikers held in Iran as suspected spies, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick suggested in a Monday night speech in New York that U.S. diplomats need to do more to develop “religious channels” to other nations.
Does God need a lobbyist? Apparently. Religious lobbying in Washington has increased five-fold in the last few decades, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
It’s OK Mr Cain. You won’t have to take your trousers down.
Herman Cain was SO relieved when his nurse told him that one of his doctors, who had an Arabic-sounding name, was not a Muslim:
She could see the look on my face and she said, ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Cain, he’s a Christian from Lebanon.’”
“Hallelujah!” Cain says. “Thank God!”
The bad news is, he doesn’t like stupid people.
A pretty girl is like a malady….
Moroccan officials are canceling the swimsuit portion of the country’s 2012 beauty pageant and say contestants can wear veils instead.
Now thank we all our God. No our God. No OUR God…
The Georgia Supreme Court sided by a 6-1 vote with the national Episcopal Church in a property dispute with a historic Savannah church that tried to break away – and take $3 million worth of buildings with it – after the election as bishop of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man.
How ’bout Them Apples?
Of course, this is the kind of things kibbeh-loving Egyptians hope to attain in paradise, but the foretaste of an undraped almond-eyed houri could send a true believer to the ER. “Aliaa Magda Elmahdy apparently thought she was striking a blow for sexual equality and free expression in Egypt when she posted nude photographs of herself on a blog.” Maybe she needed Feminism 101–at least the chapter on sexual exploitation–before launching out on her own? Or is this a new strategy designed to confuse the west? Clever Islamists.
Round yon Virgin…
Pamela Anderson to play the Blessed Virgin Mary. ”And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, No Way.”
Making a difference:
There were about 100,000 Christians in Baghdad before the U.S. invasion, and there are only 4,000 today. [RNS]
Look, Billy: Another one of those black and orange signs…
David Silverman, et al: The Real Proof Against Intelligent Design
The British Humanist Association started it with their Atheist Billboard Campaign and an associated bus campaign in 2009. Never willing to take a backseat in anyone else’s bus, American atheists and humanists soon followed suit.
Ignorant, banal, artificially pugnacious, insipid, and howlingly lacking in conceptual value. No, not just the Republican primary campaign. The American Atheists have decided to waste a few hundred thousand more dollars making a difference to absolutely nobody. Warning: this HuffPost newsreader’s voice may damage your sensibilities. Why not try, Happy Load of Shit Morons! for next year?
Maybe Catholics aren’t so smart after all…
The Archbishop of Louisville is worried that the First Amendment is being interpreted merely as the freedom to worship. Is he absolutely daft? That is exactly what it is. Be glad you aren’t rounded up by observers when it exceeds that mandate you mitred nincompoop: that comes from freedom of speech, loc. cit. as we used to say.
Hey Faddah: what’s in the cup, huh?
A bishop mis-read instructions on making the precious blood available to the faithful. Looking for remedial course on the Real Presence.
As to the rest of Christianity:
Amy Sullivan writes well, and here she warns, “Evangelicals find ways and reasons to say why they would vote for the nominee–even John McCain.”
We miss, you Jeff!
Well, Killing the Buddha is in steep decline, but this isn’t bad.
On the other hand, this Mormon reporter for Religion Dispatches finds good Mormonism in everything. Who the fuck cares what Harold Bloom thinks?
Football isn’t religion unless you think it’s important that the butt-obsessed coaches at Penn State were all Catholics. Oh my, you do?
Oh, and they pray:
What’s an old joint like your doing a place like him?
Lucky Jesus died in 33 AD at 3 on a Friday. 3-3-3 right? No osteoarthritis. No debilitating hip dysplasia. No Jesus-mobiles when he does a comeback tour of Nazareth at age 90. Yes, the Pope is 85 in a world when most reporters are 15. What else can they focus on? Certainly not his piquant mind. Complex ideas about ethics and social issues. Maybe his hips. But do me a favour: don’t call him Benedict, and if you don’t know why, don’t cover the story.
Jesus Found: Leonardo’s, Maybe
On Nov. 9, London’s National Gallery will open a highly anticipated exhibition, “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan.” While Leonardo shows are reliable blockbusters, this one will have a particular appeal because it will feature what many believe to be a “lost” Leonardo painting of Jesus called Salvator Mundi.
China Worries Over New Interest in Buddhism
“Sheng is far from her home — and from the bars where she used to drink and the ex-boyfriends she says cheated on her. She is here with 2,000 other Han Chinese at the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Serthar, Sichuan province, the rain-soaked mountainous region of southwest China.
Mississippi Zygote Amendment Fails
America never ceases to surprise me. Just when you think the country and especially the southern end is butt dumb, they do something intelligent. Today Mississippi voters decisively defeated a proposed ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to define a fertilized ovum – a zygote, an embryo – as a legal, rights-bearing person. Of course, this would have implications not just for legal abortion under any circumstances, but also potentially for in vitro fertilization and hormonal contraceptives.
Bernard Cardinal Law is 80!
That means he can’t vote in the next papal election, but the old boy knows how to party!
This could be the start of something big:
While the Vatican opposes embryonic stem cell research because embryos are destroyed in the process the conference and partnership with New York-based NeoStem is part of a recent $1 million, five-year initiative to promote adult stem cell therapies and research, and in the process shift popular attention away from embryonic research
“Clearly the two men [Eliot and Groucho] found a mesmerising bond in each other’s very alienness. That is not so surprising when you think about it. They had both, in their ways, spent their lives following Edgar’s brave, if dangerous, exhortation at the end of “King Lear” to: “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” Or as Groucho famously put it—and it could serve as an epigraph to “The Waste Land”—“Whatever it is, I’m against it.” It takes one strange god to know another.”
Just so you know a person’s a person no matter how small, but this is ridiculous
Ominous silence from the twelve Mississippi Catholics….
I did not have sex with those women. I wanted to, of course….
Preacher Cain not able?
A good smack never hurt anyone. Some people just die easier’n others.
A spare the rod spoil the child preacher tells it like it used to be. Daddy, get me the belt: junior here needs to learn some manners.
Men hate Church
Oh God, someone named Stack and she isn’t even a Mormon. Leave Utah, babe.
Everybody’s an Expert–even Librarians!!
A useless book on the heretic Marcion by a certain Sebastian Moll has the blogmeister at Vridar named Godfrey something convinced. Until tomorrow. You anti-Mythtics are all alike–and we hate you. We realllly hate you.
Poor Nigel and Phil
I do hope the Church of England won’t invoke all of that nancy talk about it being unbiblical and such. It just upsets mother. Odd, though: this on the heels of the statistic that the Episcopal Church USA is becoming extinct. What is the future of homosexual celibacy as a new trend? Hint: ask the Vatican. David Virtue, whose words I often admire, opines here on the US situation.
Jung understood the need to believe – in religion, mysticism, even in quasi-Nazi flimflam. He wanted to be a prophet but couldn’t shake his faith in science…
Soothsayers have been around as long as recorded history, probably longer—after all, knowing what’s to come has always been accorded more value than knowing what’s already happened. What makes a good prophet?
Gonna get dat Man
I’ve often thought that anthropologically speaking the defining character of a religion is whether the violence it dramatizes is rationalized or explicit. In Christianity, in Catholicism especially, the violence of the crucifixion is ritualized in the mass–an “unbloody” sacrifice, which the Reformers went a step further to insist was merely symbolic. Travels to saints’ shrines and holy places–like Jerusalem–were usually peaceful, apart from the danger of highwaymen. Islam on the other hand is at that point in its hajj (pilgrimage) where the devout get to hurl stones at the devil to commemorate a trope associated with Abraham and the prophet Muhammad. The annual event has often claimed hundreds of lives, until pragmatic Saudi authorities streamlined the ancient enclosure to reduce the threat of trampling. I wonder whether the mullahs might decree ping pong balls or cotton pellets and a moving staircase where pilgrims have to queue for their turn?
Out of Egypt I have called my son.
That was before the transitional government took away my microphone: things are not going well.
Initiative 26 would amend the state constitution to declare life begins at fertilization.
From RSS: “Episcopal gay-rights activist Susan Russell thanked Kim Kardashian for a “gift that keeps on giving” in showing the world that the real threat to matrimony comes from 72-day marriages, not the gays.” Maybe the threat to marriage is that it’s just so yesterday and heterosexuals have known this for a century.
At last: we learn that the word science doesn’t sound like the words Richard Dawkins
“Maybe we should be open-minded about the obverse possibility – that we hit the buffers because our brains don’t have enough conceptual grasp,’ Lord Rees said. ‘Einstein averred that “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible”. He was right to be astonished. Our minds, evolved to cope with the life of our remote ancestors on the African savannah. It’s amazing these minds can comprehend so much of the counterintuitive microworld of atoms, and phenomena billions of lightyears away.’
This just in from the Catholic Guinness World Record Office:
- A German Catholic priest has been indicted on 267 counts of sexual contact with children, prosecutors said on Tuesday. Presumably Father Hans as he is affectionately known will be replaced in his position as diocesan vocations director.
And They said this was a do-nothing Congress:
The United States House of Representatives “confirms” In God We Trust as the National Motto. The endorsement of this cherished bulwark against tyranny and oppression will long stand as one of the finest moments in our national legislative history, approved for the first time fifty years ago. As to the dime, there are no small coins, just small people. Ex uno plura?
But there’s always violence at the Hajj; it usually comes from pilgrims trampling each other to death in the flurry to throw stones at the devil pillars. In fairness, deaths have been greatly reduced with the hiding of the pillars behind a concrete wall.
Sixth century match box, portable reliquary, toothpick case?
Maybe this one is real. But the date (estimated to be “6th century”) is off by at least two centuries.
“When the lid is removed, the remains of two portraits are still visible in paint and gold leaf. The figures, a man and a woman, are probably Christian saints and possibly Jesus and the Virgin Mary.”
Finally, something from a real neuroscientist–with a job.
“For another, new knowledge about neural processes is raising important questions about human responsibility. Scientists now know that the brain runs largely on autopilot; it acts first and asks questions later, often explaining behavior after the fact. So if much of behavior is automatic, then how responsible are people for their actions?” Alas, however, that is St Augustine you see agreeing.
I’m going to communion, Betty, and nobody better try to stop me:
Wisconsin’s five Catholic bishops issued a statement Monday saying they won’t mandate churches prohibit concealed weapons but want parishioners not to carry them into churches as a sign of reverence.
On this day in history:
“On this day in 1512, Michelangelo finished painting the Sistine Chapel. (This day in 1513, he finished cleaning his brushes.)” (David Gibson)
Never having to say you’re sorry? But it does require a stopwatch.
But how sad is this?
I just don’t get it. They were on the right side of history: gay bishops, women priests, same-sex matrimony.
And the people all said, Sit down.
Herman Cain develops sexual amnesia. Apparently a common problem in evangelical-preacher-CEO types.
“There are, indeed, only two kinds of music: German music and bad music.”
Prejudices, Second Series (1920) Ch. 1: “When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men.
As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron…” [80 years later, anno domini 2000, the prophecy fulfilled]
” … I have maintained for years, sometimes perhaps with undue heat: that pedagogy in the United States is fast descending to the estate of a childish necromancy, and that the worst idiots, even among pedagogues, are the teachers of English. It is positively dreadful to think that the young of the American species are exposed day in and day out to the contamination of such dark minds. What can be expected of education that is carried on in the very sewers of the intellect? How can morons teach anything that is worth knowing.” On “teachers of English” in “The Schoolmarm’s Goal” in The Lower Depths (1925)
Women to the back of the bus
“It never bothered me,” said Rachel Freier, a lawyer from Boro Park who rides another segregated bus to Manhattan from her summer home in the Orthodox enclave of Kiryas Joel. “It is not that I feel I am being segregated. As a woman, it is my own sphere of privacy.”
Finally, the phone rings at the Center for Inquiry. A New York city bus commandeered by squeamish orthodox Jewish groups who like their women from behind. It’s a scandal. It’s an outrage. There oughta be a law.
We can play together, but no praying…
The pope has rebuffed the possibility of interfaith praying when he meets with leaders of Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Taoist communities next week in Assisi. It’s not a question of what would Saint Francis do (a man who talked to birds is not a good model) but of the some of the excesses of his predecessor whom Benedict regards as a little iffy on the subject of sola ecclesia catholica. I say, good for the pontiff. This is Coke and Pepsi, not softdrinks in general, Toyota versus Mitsubishi, not Japanese cars. In the marketplace of religious ideas, standardization has to be avoided at all costs, and prayer just takes you to the slippery slope of deeper discussion.
Jefferson speaks from beyond the grave to California Atheists:
Well, he might have said it. We just don’t know. heh.
Bruce Gleason, a member of the group Backyard Skeptics told the Orange County Register that he should have done a bit more research before putting the words on the sign. The billboard was unveiled on Wednesday, the newspaper reports. Gleason explained that the purpose of this sign and others around the city was to “expunge the myth that this is a Christian nation,” as well as to “share the idea that you can be good and do good without a religion or god.” Awesome, groundbreaking really.
Pinker does Battle Glorious in Our Better Angels:
But you have to buy his rationalization of Hiroshima, the Holocaust and “Endless” War and I can’t spare the cash.
“Pinker’s argument recalls many similar efforts by modern philosophers since Immanuel Kant to develop a rigorous case for morality.” More disturbingly his calculus doesn’t seem to take us beyond Hobbes, Hume and Bentham (can’t actually smell Kant here as such). But never judge a book by its mainly brilliant reviews… On the other hand, anything that gets us talking about morality has to be good.
Letting go of Satan?
Why? There is much more evidence for the existence of human evil than for human good. The devil is the last thing I want to get rid of, since otherwise I would be forced to think that human beings are the actual source of evil and the Republican party. Wait, that doesn’t work. Let me start again….
Here is a perfectly awful review of a worse book that actually might have been good if only it had been written by somebody else. It’s most stunningly dumb conclusion is that Satan arose as a “solution” to the philosophical dilemma of theodicy, when in fact the dear old devil predates the crisis by almost a millennium. Cart…horse.
Ah! Mary Beard; an iconoclastic classicist–my favourite kind!
What’s new in Pompeii–not very much actually.
“show up everywhere these days. Cooperative apes, grief-stricken elephants, empathetic cats and dogs crowd our bookshop shelves. It’s all the rage to plumb the cognitive and emotional depths of the animal world, rejecting sceptics’ sneers of “anthropomorphism” to insist that we’re finally coming to see animals for who they really are: not so different from us.”
A brilliant piece in TLS (courtesy Tom Kellie) that I find completely enticing. For two centuries now the phrase human exceptionalism has been in decline, maybe because we like the comfort of biological likeness and despise the burdens of difference.
I’ll just have the noodles and some sparkling water, thanks. Ok, some wine, but just one glass.
Kiss me, Father.
But I thought it was part of the curriculum in an English boy’s school. The Vatican wants to make it so complicated.
Pat Robertson on GOP extremism:
Maybe I have lived too long, or maybe there’s a lot to be afraid of.
Finally, the spirit of Leo XIII and the needs of the poor grab some attention…
“Medical alert: Right-wing Catholics—and that includes everyone from Paul Ryan and John Boehner to the majority of the US Supreme Court—it is urgent that you stay on your meds because Pope Benedict’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has just issued a stroke-precipitating document that will break your conservative heart…”
Play Mythty for Me?
…Paddy, said Fergus, I was just reading a book by some American who says Jesus didn’t exist. Ah, said Paddy, It doesn’t surprise me. The Americans are very good at finding things out. But at least we still have his blessed mother.
I was trawling through a Google search for “Did Jesus exist?” and was a little surprised to see that the Mythtic Underground now has its own official experts: Zindler, Price, Carrier, Doherty, and a wholly questionable man, now one of their key intellectuals, named Rene Salm. Their audience seems to consist mainly of ex-Christians and bored junior varsity scientists, especially of the “applied” variety. Not quite enough to constitute a persecuted minority like atheists in general, though oddly most of them are atheists in general. Sometimes, though, the lukewarmity of “professional” biblical scholars on the subject make the mythtic stream tantalizingly appealing.
In the true spirit of science, Richard Dawkins pronounces foregone conclusions undebatable.
“Ironically, there is nothing substantively new about the New Atheists either. Despite its self-congratulatory tone, The God Delusion contains no original arguments for atheism.”
Sad really: the new Atheists as they sputter out of gas and ideas needed God. That way they could have pronounced themselves his crowning achievement.
Vat a mensch, I tink I knew his vater! Zay, vate azekond: vere’s dis pictcha coming vrom? He done look chewish ‘atall.
The prevailing image of Jesus as the grumpy, dour, depressed prude who spent most of his life suffering is inaccurate, says Father James Martin.
Sharia and sharia alike:
I am totally skeptical of the Arab spring. This proves me half-right in the one country considered really springy. Now we move to Cairo, to Libya, to Yemen, where the picture isn’t roses. Did anyone really think these uprisings were all about a grand push for secularism?
Yes. American secularists did, and their malinforming Arab informants who have a knack for wanting change at any price. Especially if the price is being paid by a naive and bumptious foreign power. God Bless America!
Remember: Once they supported Bush because, while clearly no secularist, he hated sharia. Now sharia-hating liberals will have to do the math.
Message to exiled Iranians: Yes, your country is really farked up: and No, the United States should not send in the marines to pave the way for a new Peacock Throne.
Oh Please Let This be satire:
Two views: Christopher Hitchens who is right about Mormons being sinister and a Mormon who says he’s wrong: “But it’s not that glib dismissiveness I want to address here. It’s the fact that in depicting Mormons as “sinister” Hitchens is not trading in snarky cosmopolitan cool. Rather, he’s dusting off a century-old Anglo-American tradition of anti-Mormon caricature, that vests his below-average essay with a specific value and intensity.” Yes, I agree, that sentence does not parse. A little like Mormons.
Get thee behind me, Satan. No there, a little to the left….
Perry’s dumbguy Christian revenge against Mr Clean:
This from America:
“Voters need to look at a presidential candidate’s religious beliefs and practices to make sound political choices. Yes, I know; in America, thanks to God and the Constitution, no religious test can be applied for any office.” –See I’ve always thought the Mother Country had it all right: Impose religious conformity, let two hundred years go by–and the churches will empty out.
New competition between Catholics and Muslims will focus on young men.
Such a nice young man. So quiet and all…
You’d always see them around town, volunteering for stuff,” Ronnie Speakman said. “He worked for Frito-Lay, and you would always see him stacking chips in the aisle, always a smile on his face.” –Because he used the money for ammo.
Except for that little matter of Palestine and Israeli aggression…
A Center for Inquiry spokesman recommends Alan Dershowitz on secularism, soon to be followed by Mullah Omar on religious tolerance.
But it helps…
You don’t have to be a Mormon to hope, to love, to care, to live…
Tu es Petrus. Non–Tu es…
The last pope to quit resigned in the 13th century, Celestine V. Jon Sweeney thinks that beginning next year as Pope Benedict XVI is about to turn 85 years old, there will be rampant speculation within the Catholic Church as to his future, his effectiveness, and whether or not he may retire. When a US president leaves office, presumably he turns over the briefcase and the Code to his successor and goes out the front door a diminished man. Is the Infallibility potion kept in a safe?
Searching for good articles at Religion Dispatches is a bit like searching for wise virgins by lamp-light, but I did find this a few days ago on how a wobbly agnostic feels at an atheist spirit-fest in Des Moines, Iowa. I remember visiting a (seriously old time) tent revival once in New Brunswick, Canada, thinking I wouldn’t be noticed. A dozen saints could not unfix me from their contemptuous gaze. I finally removed myself outside, sweating profusely. The atheist revivals seem to be on track for producing the same effect. What they need is better music.
How far right can you move on the abortion issue before you fall off the edge of the Tea Party flat earth?
“Stupid people are ruining America,” businessman Herman Cain thundered in a well-received address before about 1,000 activists at the Iowa Faith Freedom Coalition’s annual dinner.
“As long as I’ve got memory, I had something to go hunting with,” Perry told a small gaggle of reporters at the Loess Hills Hunting Preserve.” Presumably Mr Perry was talking about rifles and not blue pills, but given his newly robust insistence on keeping barefoot women pregnant, we can’t know for sure…
Jesus Spring will be a little late(r) this year…, No later than that…
Earlier this year, Camping claimed Judgement Day was coming May 21. Then, when it did not, he said the actual day of reckoning would be October 21. He’s now 0 for 3 and most people aren’t paying attention anymore:
Dear Mr Christian Piatt: I know you think your Banned Questions series is cutting edge but it suffers from the same problem you moan on about in fundamentalism: Seen any sacrificial lambs recently? Read any good metaphors? With burning questions like this, I’m guessing no…
“Why would God send Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God, dying for the sins of the world, instead of just destroying sin, or perhaps offering grace and forgiveness to the very ones created by God? Why does an all-powerful being need a mediator anyway?” This is the why did Jesus have to die question, isn’t it–so young and promising and all that. Shame he didn’t marry.