How do you separate harmless belief in religion or superstition and … well, harmful belief in religion or superstition? We have been having a bit of a go-round* between some of my regular blog readers, including my Catholic but not anti-Evolution niece whose daughter recently acted in a commercial for the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Sondrah and I respectfully agree to disagree about certain issues, but clearly do agree on the importance of having real science, and not creationism, taught in public schools. That is what a lot of people who think of themselves as religious prefer, although we have seen a severe erosion of that pro-science form of religiosity over recent decades. My question is, how does a religious community (or populace) stop itself from going over what are, at least to me, some pretty clear lines that divide believing in God and a few other religious concepts from doing something that is just plain, and specifically harmful?
Christians fear werewolves and wizardry. Oh, and vampires. A Canadian Salvation Army center throws away Harry Potter and Twilight toys that are donated to them, rather than passing them out to kids for Christmas or even giving them to a different charity with less hypocritical standards. “The Salvation Army is based on Christian principles, so these things are not in line with those” says a Salvation Army officer, though guns and other toys of violence are, if the local ministry likes. People who work in the local ministry where this was discovered throw the Potter and Twilight toys away, but the official policy of the Salvation Army is to give the toys to a different charity unless, instead, they throw them away. Yes, yes, it is in fact rather contradictory and confusing. And or someone is lying. Just read the original story. Continue reading Christians fear werewolves and wizardry.→
I did a little (very little, very short) newsroom debate on Fox 9 with a guy named Tom who appears to represent conservative Christians regarding the question of “Does Christmas have place in schools?” I quickly add that even though that was the planned focus of the discussion, it was quickly revised to be “Oh, no, not just Christmas, but Kwanza and Hanuka and stuff too.” That particular bit of backpedaling is, of course, ingenuous and annoying, because nobody from Hanuka or Kwanza is trying to force their religious holidays into public schools, only the conservative Christians. So if we were to have an ecumenical touchy-feelie “all the religions are equal” thing in the schools, you know it would consist mainly of Christmas, a nod to Hanuka, and a few snarky remarks about Kwanza. And it would probably not address in a valid way the 30 million Americans who are basically religon-free. You know this because that is how it always turns out.
Americans and citizens of some of the most Islamic countries tend to agree that it is a force acting on the side of good. Many Europeans say the opposite. There is a rough correlation between the religiosity of a country and how much religion is revered (duh) as a primarily good thing.
This is interesting at so many levels, but I thought you might find it pertinent to the ongoing discussion of whether or not we should assume that a person is good because they are very very religious, or check our wallets frequently and wear body armor when near them because they are very very religious.
Michael Brea is a bit actor who has had roles in TV shows you may have heard of (“Ugly Betty” being one of them). He was heard by a neighbor chanting religious phrases at his mother and demanding to know if she believed in god while he hacked at her with a ceremonial Freemason’s sword.
The police arrived and found Yannick Brea alive and bleeding, severely injured with multiple stab wounds to the head. She did not live.
When police first arrived they waited 45 minutes to attempt an entry to the apartment. Later, when asked why they took so long to attempt a rescue, they mumbled something about it being a “barricaded situation” and then whined for a while about how dangerous police work is.