Reassuring news, sort of.

More than 100 prominent evangelical Christian pastors and church leaders have condemned the “perversion” of Christian nationalism and its role in the insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January. In an open letter, the leaders said they were speaking out because they did not want to be “quiet accomplices in this ongoing sin”, and called …

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Racism and religion

Studies have shown that attending church frequently does not make white christians less racist. In fact, the data suggests that the opposite is true. The connection between holding more racist views and white christian identity is actually stronger among white evangelicals who attend church frequently than it is among those who attend less frequently. My …

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Catholics and the US election

Four years ago, according to the Pew Research Center, 52% of Catholics voted for Trump, compared with 44% for Hillary Clinton. And with Biden himself being Catholic, you might expect a change in proportion of Catholic voting. But now this Catholic vote has got a whole lot more interesting. Recently, Pope Francis travelled to Assisi …

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Church bailouts during a pandemic

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act, the 2 trillion dollar bill passed last March, granted forgivable loans to “qualifying businesses and non- profits”. The Small Business Administration, which administered part of the Act, declared (but tried to keep it secret) that houses of worship and religious private schools qualified under the Act, …

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An unacceptable taxpayer bailout

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act, the 2 trillion dollar bill passed last March, granted forgivable loans to “qualifying businesses and non- profits”.  The Small Business Administration, which administered part of the Act, declared ( but tried to keep it quiet) that houses of worship and religious private schools qualified under the …

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“Blasphemy, a way to control the people, and their thought

Late last week Tahir Naseem, an American citizen, was murdered while standing trial for blasphemy in a Pakistani court. Naseem was a former member of the persecuted Ahmadi minority, and was lured to Pakistan in 2018 to be detained on charges of blasphemy. Coupled with the continued detention of Nigerian humanist Mubarak Bala since April …

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Supreme Court and religion

”In two blows to church-state separation, Justices Breyer and Kagan joined the conservative majority on the Supreme Court in granting even more preferential treatment to religious bodies. In one case, the court gave the green light to religious employers to apply the “ministerial exemption” to pretty much any employee; a teacher is a coach is …

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Annexation of the occupied West Bank

(This post is a bit longer than usual, but the injustice is so troublesome that I wanted to reproduce it;  one won’t find it easily in the American media): Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) decries the Israeli government’s intended annexation of significant parts of the occupied West Bank (to start this coming Wednesday), for the …

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Barbarism

Horrific killing Iran’s President Rouhani has ordered his government to speed up new laws to increase the penalties for “honour killings”, following the murder of Romina Ashrafi (pictured), a 14-year-old girl who’d run away with her 29-year-old boyfriend. In a case that has appalled Iranians, Ashrafi’s father is suspected of beheading her with a sickle …

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Epicurus and the swerve

If you haven’t read it Stephen Greenblatt’s book, “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern”, do try to find time to do so.  It a very readable.  It introduces the modern reader to the most famous of Epicurean books, de rerum natura of Lucretius.  Greenblatt’s book, which won several prestigious awards, is contentious because it pictures …

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