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Alberta Politics: Church in fight over Alberta LGBTQ policy espouses far-right ideology, has close tie to advocacy group

PHOTOS: The New Testament Baptist Church near Spruce Grove, just west of Edmonton. Below: The vandalized sign, with some of the scrubbed pink spray paint still visible; additional signs on the site promoting the church and school; and administrator Rev. Brian Coldwell and private school advocate Donna Trimble, the latter two shots from the CBC. […]

The post Church in fight over Alberta LGBTQ policy espouses far-right ideology, has close tie to advocacy group appeared first on Alberta Politics.

. . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Church in fight over Alberta LGBTQ policy espouses far-right ideology, has close tie to advocacy group

Alberta Politics: St. Albert Catholic school board has spent more than $367,000 to defend firing of transgender teacher

PHOTOS: Transgender teacher Jan Buterman (Metro Newspapers photo). Below: Duncan Kinney of Progress Alberta, the former Pope Benedict, and David Keohane, Superintendent of Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools. ST. ALBERT, Alberta The St. Albert Catholic… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: St. Albert Catholic school board has spent more than $367,000 to defend firing of transgender teacher

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – Missing Names in Matthew

Most of my readers will be shocked by the glaring inaccuracies in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Could it be that yet another part of the bible just isn’t accurate?

Filed under: Religion Tagged: Genealogy, Jesus, Matthew, The DWR Sunday Religious Disserivce

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – Missing Names in Matthew

Alberta Politics: Bitter Twitter commentators battle Dippers: Apparently size matters after all! Who knew?

Back in February 2013, then-Alberta-premier Alison Redford announced that, “recognizing the impact of falling resource revenues on our bottom line, my government will lead by example with a smaller, more focused cabinet.” At the time, the usual suspects in the provincial news media seemed to think her reduction of the cabinet from 20 to 19 . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Bitter Twitter commentators battle Dippers: Apparently size matters after all! Who knew?

A Puff of Absurdity: If I May But Touch His Garment

I went to see Chris Hedges speak last night.  His words brought forth a mix of devastation and elation, with some in the congregation compelled to applaud after every few sentences.  He’s a brilliant storyteller, and I could have listened to him all night.  It went far too quickly.

I had a chance . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: If I May But Touch His Garment

The Disaffected Lib: Does This Mean No More Chocolate Bunnies?

Cute Little Buggers, Eh?

Hold the presses!  Word out of Israel that the lost tomb of Jesus has been found and it contained the ossuaries (bone boxes) of Jesus; Mrs. Jesus (aka Mary Magdalene), their son, Judah (aka “Junior”); and six others.

Dr Aryeh Shimron says he has carried out new tests that suggest . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Does This Mean No More Chocolate Bunnies?

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – If Jesus Returned – darkmatter2525

Darkmatter2525 is at it again, placing the Jebus back on earth – but of course in this new security conscious era things might not turn out for the best.

Filed under: Religion Tagged: Christianity, DarkMatter2525, Jesus, Religion, The DWR Sunday Religious Disserivce

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – If Jesus Returned – darkmatter2525

The Canadian Progressive: Compassion creates happiness, freedom and better relationships

Kozo Hattori, a writer and counselor, explains how compassion creates happiness, freedom from gender stereotypes, and better relationships with others.

The post Compassion creates happiness, freedom and better relationships appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Chris Hedges: Predatory capitalism’s perversion of Christmas charity

Chris Hedges and Detroit’s Rev. David Bullock discuss predatory capitalism’s perversion of Christmas charity, justice and revolution on The Real News Network.

The post Chris Hedges: Predatory capitalism’s perversion of Christmas charity appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

drive-by planet: Atlanta billboard features Banksy’s mural of West Bank wall: ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference

West Bank Wall and holy family in Atlanta Banksy billboard

This is a two-part post dealing with resistance to the Israeli occupation. The common thread is Christian-related… in one case billboard art with a controversial slant on the the nativity story and in another the growing evangelical resistance to Israeli occupation.

Thanks to ifAmericansknew.org, a billboard in Atlanta is host to the artwork of British mural artist Banksy. It shows Joseph and Mary enroute to Bethlehem, but in this nativity tale the path they are on leads directly to the West Bank wall. In a realistic touch, the rendering of the wall includes a watchtower and graffiti. The disturbing juxtaposition of the Christian nativity story with draconian Israeli security, is underscored by the ironic inscription “O little town of Bethlehem.”

Bethlehem today is a far cry from the biblical version revisited in Christmas pageants. The present day version is ringed with security, not unlike a barricaded fortress.

The motivation behind bringing issues such as the Israeli occupation to the attention of the American public is addressed on the website of ifAmericansknew.org: 

The mission of If Americans Knew is to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.

It is our belief that when Americans know the facts on a subject, they will, in the final analysis, act in accordance with morality, justice, and the best interests of their nation, and of the world. With insufficient information, or distorted information, they may do the precise opposite.

On ifAmericanslknew.org there is also this commentary about the brutal political and social realities underlying the Banksy mural.

Security structures, even Israeli ones, can’t suppress creativity. The West Bank wall features some impressive artwork. Along with spontaneous graffiti there are murals with themes of resistance… for example this mural of the famous Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khalid.

Leila Khalid Palestinain resistance

The mural of Joseph and Mary beneath the West Bank wall is just one of a number of murals by Banksy that deal with Palestinian themes. During time spent in Palestine, he produced a number of murals including some on or near the West Bank wall. Beneath are a few examples of his work… view others here.

Banksy artwork on West Bank
Banksy mural of girl searching Israeli soldier

The Atlanta billboard graphically exposes the brutal reality of Israeli occupation. Although there is no publicly stated connection with evangelical activism, the Christian-themed billboard art appears at a time when many American evangelicals have been openly questioning the unconditional allegiance that their churches have traditionally given to Israel. A number of influential evangelical leaders have been looking more critically at the dehumanizing reality of Israeli occupation, with a number stepping up and expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

This is a development that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Christian Zionist organizations such as Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Its executive director, David Borg, recently made a statement that acknowledges a profound change in the position taken by increasing numbers of evangelicals on the subject of Israel.

Borg: “With every passing month, more evidence is emerging that these anti-Israel Christians are succeeding in reaching beyond the evangelical left and are influencing the mainstream. In particular, they are penetrating the evangelical world at its soft underbelly: the millennial generation. These young believers (roughly ages 18 to 30) are rebelling against what they perceive as the excessive biblical literalism and political conservatism of their parents. As they strive with a renewed vigor to imitate Jesus’ stand with the oppressed and downtrodden, they want to decide for themselves which party is being oppressed in the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

The term “anti-Israel” used by Borg might be considered misleading. Activists I read and likely those also of Christian evangelical persuasion are challenging the system of occupation and systematized oppression that has evolved from a great historical injustice. This is quite different from an anti-Israel position that for example calls for the destruction of the state.

In March of this year a ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference was held by the Bethlehem Bible College. It was a 5-day event and as Electronic Intifada reported: “… attracted major speakers both from within the Palestinian Christian community as well as international evangelicals, including Tony Campolo, Gary Burge, Stephen Sizer, John Ortberg and Shane Claiborne. Messianic Jewish speakers were also invited.”

More about the goals of the conference here. There is also this in-depth article about the conference posted on the Israeli news website 972 Mag.

The Bethlehem conference raised considerable alarm in Israeli media and government circles. The prospect of one of Israel’s most supportive constituencies – evangelical Christians –  showing signs of identifying with the Palestinians has sparked some vitriolic criticism. A number of Israeli media outlets accused the Bethlehem conference of being ‘anti-Semitic.’ An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilize political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.”

The increasingly reactionary, racist and militaristic Israeli state presents a moral dilemma – and not only for evangelical Christians. Religious Jews, particularly of the Orthodox persuasion, understand that tying their identity to Israel involves compromise… a compromise many aren’t prepared to make.

The impact of Zionism on Jewish identity is powerfully addressed by Yakov M. Rabkin – Professor of History at the University of Montreal – in his book Threat Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism.

In this passage Rabkin describes the impact of Zionism on pure Torah-based Judaism:

Worse than the toll of suffering, exploitation, death, and desecration of the Torah, has been the inner rot that Zionism has injected into the Jewish soul. It has dug deep into the essence of being a Jew … It has wreaked havoc among Jews both in Israel and America, by casting us in the role of Goliath-like oppressors. It has made cruelty and corruption the norm for its followers.

. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: Atlanta billboard features Banksy’s mural of West Bank wall: ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference

drive-by planet: Atlanta billboard features Banksy’s mural of West Bank wall: ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference

This is a two-part post dealing with resistance to the Israeli occupation. The first part covers news of a controversial Israel-related Banksy mural in the Atlanta area. The second stays with the Christian theme to discuss the growing numbers of American evangelicals who are openly critical of Israel and expressing increased solidarity with the . . . → Read More: drive-by planet: Atlanta billboard features Banksy’s mural of West Bank wall: ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference

Dead Wild Roses: “Pro Life” Procedure For Men

Role reversal. It’s a fantastic way to check if a situation is horribly wrong. A brilliant example of this is found about 3 minutes in on this pretty great video. It follows the point I made in a previous post, but in a new, wonderfully hilarious way. Watch, laugh, be better equipped to deal with . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: “Pro Life” Procedure For Men

A Puff of Absurdity: Further to York University’s Discrimination Issues…

If you haven’t heard, a York University prof denied a student’s request to work in all male groups for religious reasons.  York’s Centre for Human Rights suggested the student should be granted the request to avoid being with women in public.   I commented with my views here:

I see education as . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: Further to York University’s Discrimination Issues…

Politics, Re-Spun: Merry Christmas!

I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and/or the joy and warmth of the holiday season. Make 2014 a year of more love, more compassion, more sharing and more service.

Three things to mark this day:

Some pictures. Here are 75 amazing pictures from 2013. Some more pictures. Here are 100 of the . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Merry Christmas!

A Puff of Absurdity: On Saying "Merry Christmas!"

I’ve come across a few recent bits of writing from people who think we should do away with “Merry Christmas.”  Even though I’m an atheist, I love Christmas, and I really hope I don’t offend people with the following because it is Christmas and all!

The rules around what’s allowed during Christmas at my . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: On Saying "Merry Christmas!"

A Puff of Absurdity: On John Stuart Mill, Free Speech, and Climate Change

I got caught up in a few arguments about climate change recently that just reinforced to me, that there’s still such a strong bashlash against the entire idea that we’re unlikely to move forward quickly enough to be effective.

Paper is trees!

My school board is fundraising for the Philippines, and I’m totally on . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: On John Stuart Mill, Free Speech, and Climate Change

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The Key of Keys

Egoless divine pride: the most glorious concept I have ever heard – from Tibetan Buddhism. The Uttara Tantra elaborates: There once was a prince, who lost his memory and forgot who he was. Lost in forgetfulness and confusion, he wandered aimlessly, and became a homeless beggar. Years later, a minister to the king came across . . . → Read More: Writings of J. Todd Ring: The Key of Keys

A Puff of Absurdity: Humans: Too Invasive or Too Compassionate to Survive

In my last post, and elsewhere over the years, I went all Agent Smith and suggested that humans are a virus that can’t be contained. All other animals work within their environment to regulate their population.  As long as people don’t mess things up by moving animals around (like bringing rabbits to Australia where they . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: Humans: Too Invasive or Too Compassionate to Survive

Dead Wild Roses: Aww…Jesus!

I was unaware of the meme-status of beast jesus. 🙂

Filed under: Humour Tagged: Funny, Humour, Jesus

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Aww…Jesus!

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Spikey messiah

So does this mean Moses was a stegosaurus? Alltop turns all four cheeks.

Trashy's World: Legitimizing myths and superstitions…

…And I have a Loblaws bag with the remains of a Leprechaun contained therein. Really! I do! An Israeli antiquities dealer has been acquitted of forging relics, including the contentious James ossuary — the casket said to have held the remains of the brother of Jesus. A judge acquitted Oded Golan of the most serious . . . → Read More: Trashy’s World: Legitimizing myths and superstitions…

The Scott Ross: Conservatives Know Protests Don’t Depend On Attendance

Conservatives should know better than anyone that it isn’t the number of people who protest that is important, what matters is why they’re doing it.

Many have attacked the turnout of protests against the government in recent years, from the anti-prorogation rallies to protests over the recent robocall scandal. Conservative critics cite poor showings . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Conservatives Know Protests Don’t Depend On Attendance

Trashy's World: Using FB and Twitter…

…seems to be becoming popular as direct lines to an omnipotent, omnipresent being. And I’m getting quite bored with it all. Specifically, I’ve had quite enough of Facebook updates, Twitter tweets that go something like this: “I know 99% of my friends won’t re-post this, but please do if you believe that prayers work / . . . → Read More: Trashy’s World: Using FB and Twitter…

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Best American Political Poster Ever

Drive-by Planet: Mary calls the crisis line