Vatican Adds to List of Stuff You Shouldn’t Do

March 10, 2008

CNN reports that the Vatican has announced that drugs, pollution and genetic manipulation have been added to the Catholic Churches “you’re gonna have to pay more now to get into Heaven” list.

Catholic Church adds Sins

When asked to list the new areas of sinful behavior, (Monsignor Gianfranco) Girotti denounced “certain violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments, genetic manipulations.”

Also interesting was the fact that:

Girotti said the Catholic Church continued to be concerned by other sinful acts, including abortion and pedophilia.

He said Church authorities had reacted with rigorous measures to child abuse scandals within the clergy, but he also claimed that the issue had been excessively emphasized by the media.

Interesting, considering that some statistics show that 6% of Catholic Priests could be abusive. The Great Realization points out that this would mean 24,000 Abusive Catholic Priests!

Read more about the new sins here!


McCain on Religion

March 5, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:29


Michael Moore Cites Religious Beliefs as Reason to Not Vote for Hillary

February 8, 2008

Why The Ten Commandments Are Unnecessary

February 5, 2008

The Ten Commandments are unnecessary as a moral code. This may seem like a bold statement to a non-secular reader, but hear me out. The Ten Commandments are often used as an argument for a be-all, end-all moral “law of the land” and I argue that not only are the Commandments redundant, they are completely unnecessary to a rational, thinking human.

First let’s take a look at the Ten Commandments as they are stated in Exodus 20:2-17:

2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;commandments

3 Do not have any other gods before Me.

4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

8 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work.

10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 You shall not murder.

14 You shall not commit adultery.

15 You shall not steal.

16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Or, in short:
1.I am the Lord your God/You shall have no other gods before me
2.You shall not make for yourself an idol
3.You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
4.Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
5.Honor your Father and Mother
6.You shall not murder
7.You shall not commit adultery
8.You shall not steal
9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house/wife

At this point, I’m going to propose something about what we know as “the golden rule.” I propose that “the golden rule” is a naturally understood feeling in humans. I think humans naturally know to treat others how they wish to be treated. I further propose that any behavior outside of that is taught behavior. It is my belief that humans have an inborn desire to show compassion and are born as good people. I also believe that our natural understanding of the golden rule is proven by societies’ desire to improve and build communities. So this “golden rule” of treating others how you wish to be treated sort of gives us a pretty good moral compass in and of itself just through guiding us to show compassion.

Now let’s examine how many of the Ten Commandments fall under the scope of The Golden Rule:

1.I am the Lord your God/You shall have no other gods before me
2.You shall not make for yourself an idol
3.You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
4.Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
5.Honor your Father and Mother
6.You shall not murder
7.You shall not commit adultery
8.You shall not steal
9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house/wife

The last six on the list can all be hit with the simple idea of treating people how you would wish to be treated. They’re all “do good, not bad” Commandments. Since I think that showing compassion and treating others how you would wish to be treated are inborn desires, these 6 Commandments can go.

This leaves us with the first four. And you’ll notice that the first four contain NO moral code. They do not contain anything that would determine anyone’s behavior without an accompanying existing law. Let’s look at them separately.

1.I am the Lord your God/You shall have no other gods before me This is the “committment commandment” that all religions have. All religions have something in them that says “You will believe in me and nothing else and if you believe in the other stuff, you’re wrong.” Otherwise, there would be no commitment to the religion and people would be hybrid believers. Any one religion can’t thrive and exist without this one, so as a law of the religion this is necessary. However, as a law of moral code, unfortunately it is not.

2.You shall not make for yourself an idol Sorry, Ruben Studdard. In reality, this is an expansion of #1. If you make yourself an idol, it threatens the authority of the leader guy. Again – necessary for religion, NOT necessary for morality.

3.You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God So I don’t have to say that this one is not necessary for morality in any way. A person can lead a good and moral life using any language they want. This is otherwise known as the “sticks and stones” theory.

4.Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy To be quite honest, I can not think of a single reason why a “holy day” is necessary other than to give people time to commit to the religion. As a moral guide, it does nothing for a person.

Essentially, these first four commandments were never meant to be a moral guide to its followers, but rather a way to honor their creator. The rest of the commandments could be summed up with the words “show compassion.” And showing compassion is an inborn desire.


Real Time: Religion in Politics

January 20, 2008

Christian Poster Child Tom Coburn Endorses John McCain

January 18, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:28

Beliefnet.com reports that Tom Coburn has endorsed Senator John McCain for President. Let’s talk about this endorsement for a second.

coburn

Tom Coburn is a U.S. Senator for Oklahoma with some extremely hypocritical views that are closely linked to his never-faltering Christian beliefs. From calling his fellow Oklahoma citizens “crapheads” to radical pro-life views, he’s a few cards short of a deck. For example, Coburn is ‘pro-life’ and goes with the “sanctity of life” right-wing buzzphrase that “all life is sacred” as if liberals hate life. Meanwhile, Coburn advocates the death penalty for abortionists. Pretty funny for a guy who has admitted to have performed abortions. The list goes on.

So congratulations, John McCain, on picking up thie stellar endorsement from a hypocrite. I’m sure it will ring loud and clear with psycho-conservative Christian people everywhere.


Huckabee Wants to Change Constitution to Include “A Living God”

January 15, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:27

Mike Huckabee, according to the Drudge Report, recently said that The Constitution must change:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’shuckabee wants to change constitution what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

This couldn’t be further from what the founding fathers of this nation intended. Please help put a stop to this man’s political endeavors by letting people know what the founding fathers intended when they purposely did not include a mention of “God” in our Constitution.


South Carolina Students’ Opinions on Evolution vs. Creation Education

January 15, 2008

The Charlotte Observer polled South Carolina students on whether they think Evolution should be taught in school. Here are some of the opinions:

Damien McCorkle, 15, North Stanly High School, New London: Since I come from a Baptist background, of course I believe in creationism. But since evolution versus creationism is such a big deal, I think that the schools should just eliminate it from the curriculum. I know that everyone is arguing over this topic, but people cannot argue without anything to argue about. I also think that if they want to keep this in the curriculum they should teach both sides (since neither one is proven) and let students decide the on the one they believe.

carnival

Andrew Mills, 15, North Stanly High School, New London: In my opinion, evolution should be taught in science class and creationism should be taught in English class. Evolution is a scientific theory, so it should stay in the field of science. Science teachers teach what they have to teach and vice-versa. Creationism should stay in the field of English, because it deals with the Bible, a form of literature. Also, I believe that if you teach one of them you should teach both of them.

Brandon Blake, 16, North Stanly High School, New London: I think creation from the Bible should be taught in school instead of evolution. Evolution is the most ridiculous thing that scientist has ever thought of. If we do decide to teach both subjects in school, then we should keep them separate. Evolution could stay in science and creation goes in history since it deals with the Bible.

Julie E. Flanagan, 17, home-schooled, Charlotte: Truth needs to be taught in the classrooms of today. Evolution cannot be backed up scientifically in any sort of realm. While creation might be hard to explain it does have credible and truthful parts to it. Creation by intelligent design is the one and only truth to how the world was made. It doesn’t have to be taught straight from the Bible. But when you look at the facts and results of tests, creation by intelligent design is the only one that stands true and without any holes. Truth should be taught, therefore, I believe creationism should be taught.

Sean Keady, 10, Sandy Ridge Elementary School, Waxhaw: Choosing religion or science has always been a hard decision for me. I have chosen to treat the Torah as something to learn from. Religion should not be taught in public schools. Teachers will favor one religion over another religion or a different type over another type of the same religion. This is a concern for me because I am Jewish and the teacher might be teach a religion, not my religion. Evolution has solid evidence and it should be taught in schools. America is a diverse nation and we should not let the state indoctrinate a religion to children.

Laura Haerri, 13, Smith Academy of International Languages, Charlotte: I think civilization got started by evolution, but everybody has different beliefs. Personally I don’t think the story of creation from the Bible should be taught in science class. Evolution is the scientific version, therefore suitable for science class. The Bible’s depiction of creation is apart of a religion, therefore suitable for a religion class. It could even be taught in social studies, but in a science class there are students of all religions, and it would not be right to say that something that is against their beliefs is the right way. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion though.

Caley Scheppegrell, 13, home-schooled, Charlotte: Evolution should be taught in science class, since it is a theory supported by facts, which is what science is all about. It is only a class, and the students are not required to change their ideas according to the textbooks. They are still free to think or believe anything they would like to.

Is it me, or are the younger kids more on-the-money here?


American Atheists on Faith and Politics

January 14, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:26

American Atheists President Ellen Johnson has posted a fantastic monologue about Faith in Politics and John F. Kennedy. I’ve transcribed the speech below. I feel that it would be important to spread the transcript and/or video as much as possible, especially in the coming year. She poses the question “Would JFK be electable today with his stance in the issue of the separation of church and state?”

Here is the full transcript:

Welcome, and thanks for visting the American Atheists Web site. I’m Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists. By the time you see this video, the Iowa caucuses will be history. We still have 11 months to go until the 2008 Presidential Election, and odds are, that even right after the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, we still won’t have a clear fix on who will be the nominees for Republican and Democratic Parties. One thing is for sure, however; religion and religious faith are playing a disproportionately large element in the race for the White House. And nearly all of the candidates feel the pressure to declare religious belief as a credential for public office.

Surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of voters are mostly concerned about issues like: the budget deficit, war in Iraq and healthcare. A small but well organized coterie of evangelicals though, exercise a disproportionate amount of influence — especially inside the Republican Party. They vote, and they vote as a block. They’re well organized and when they vote, it’s not the Constitution or secular policies that guide their decisions. They’re convinced that America was, or is, or should be, a so-called “Christian nation” where the Bible is a template for how government and society should operate. We can all learn a lesson from their organizational skills and commitment to their cause.

Could John F. Kennedy be elected President of the United States today? It’s doubtful, given the current theo-political climate. Back in 1960, when JFK won the Democratic nomination for President, religion was a major campaign issue. Kennedy was a Roman Catholic and no Catholic up to that point had been elected to the White House. And in 1960, people were wondering if Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism somehow compromised his ability to serve the United States over the Vatican.

John F. Kennedy was one of the few Presidential Candidates who openly and proudly enunciated his support for the separation of church and state. Today that is almost a taboo phrase, “separation of church and state.” Mitt Romney uses it occasionally — so does Reverend Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul doesn’t even think that it should exist! He says, “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of the founding fathers.”

Most candidates today repeat the myth that the separation of church and state is not in our Constitution or that its a legal fiction or that it simply means that the government cannot tamper in the affairs of religion. But all of those claims are simply wrong. It’s true that the words “separation of church and state” are not found in the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not part of our legal code. The words are an interpretation of what the Establishment Clause means. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which is the free exercise clause. And it guarantees our freedom from imposed or government compelled religion. That’s the Establishment Clause. Our courts have been consistent over the past 50 to 60 years that the First Amendment was intended to erect a wall of separation between state and church.

Unlike Huckabee and Romney and other candidates who want to showcase their religious beliefs as a credential for public office, John F. Kennedy embraced both elements of the First Amendment. He supported the right of people to believe in and practice their faith, so in long as those beliefs were not forced on other people. He also enunciated the principle that the state should not serve the church — any church — including his own. He opposed the official diplomatic recognition of the Vatican, complete with ambassadorial exchanges, fearing that it was unconstitutional and gave his own church too much power. Kennedy declared that if elected to the Presidency, he would put the Constitution first — not private religious beliefs. He also sent a clear message to the Catholic hierarchy that they should not interfere in the political affairs of the United States. Wherever Kennedy went, he was hounded by ads, picket signs and charges that he was a stalking horse for Roman Catholicism. Most of these accusations came from Protestant groups. So Kennedy, true to his style and principles, confronted his accusers during an historic appearance before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association at the Rice Hotel in Houston, TX on September the 12th, 1960. Let me read you some of the quotes from his speech and then ask yourself if any candidate today would have the guts to stand up for these principles.

He began his talk to over 600 Protestant ministers by say that there were “far more critical issues than religion.” He said, “The hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; and America with too many slums, too few schools and too late to the moon and outer space.” And he said, “They are the real issues which should decide this campaign and they are not religious issues for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.”

Kennedy blamed religious sectarianism, especially the obsessive focus on his private Catholicism, as being responsible for obscuring what he called “the real issues” of his campaign. And just minutes into his talk, he put it all on the line. He said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute — where no Catholic prelate would tell the President, should he be a Catholic, how to act; and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”

Kennedy’s enlightened vision of a secular America — a polity free from religious dogma — is like night and day compared to our current political climate. I particularly like these following quotes from JFK.

“Whatever issue may come before me as President on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views — In accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power, nor threat of punishment, could cause me to decide otherwise. But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office.”

We’ve come a long way since the 1960 campaign and yes, there has been progress in defending separation of church and state thanks to groups like American Atheists. But we need to work very hard to make the politicians aware that a quarter of the United States population are not religious. We are a huge voting block. If we non-religious Americans make our issues our primary concern on election day, then we can make our voting power work for us.

Vote your atheism first, and together we can enlighten the vote. Thank you for visiting our Web site, I’m Ellen Johnson.


Update on Presidential Candidates

January 11, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:25

Well it’s 2008 and we’re seeing Presidential candidates dropping like flies. We’re through the first couple primaries and by now we’ve said goodbye to:

Sam Brownback – an extremely religious candidate this blog is sad to see go, simply because he gave us such fun stuff to talk about.

Chris Dodd – Dodd, a Roman Catholic, didn’t have enough support to really be in this race to begin with.

Joe Biden – Biden once said, “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”

Tom Tancredo – Tancredo, along with Brownback and Huckabee, denied a belief in evolution.

Bill Richardson – Bill Richardson is the latest candidate to go. It’s now becoming a time when actual qualified candidates are dropping out of the race. Richardson said to win the war against Jihadism, “the United States must first live up to its own ideals.”

My prediction for the next Candidate to go: Ron Paul. I think true or not, this story is going to bury him!