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In Defense of Helen Thomas: Scholarly Pitfalls of “Everything is Religious”

In Defense of Helen Thomas: Scholarly Pitfalls of “Everything is Religious”

Recently Helen Thomas was asked to comment on Israel. Her response was to “tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.” She followed up this statement with: “remember, these people [Palestinians] are occupied and it’s their land, it’s not German, it’s not Poland.” When asked what the Jews living in Palestine should do, Helen suggests that they “go home, … Poland, Germany… and America, and everywhere else.”

Europe's Battle of the Burqa

Europe’s Battle of the Burqa

The veil, Islam’s most controversial symbol, is not the primary issue but has come to symbolize the clash between western secular society and the determined attempt of Muslims to push back against secular cultures that are uncomfortable with public and political displays of religious devotion. Let’s face it, the veil makes many of us uncomfortable; especially for those from secular societies.

The Muslims Are Coming!

The Muslims Are Coming!

Whether intentional or not, “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” plugged into an already existing anti-Muslim sensibility in America that has been smoldering after its initial wave following 9/11. The issue at the heart of these challenges is identity. For many people, America is a heterosexual, white Christian male. When that image begins to change, people begin to react in opposition to that change, while others embrace it.

Religion In The Supreme Court (Part II)

Religion In The Supreme Court (Part II)

Since I wrote that article, President Obama has nominated current Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. If Kagan is confirmed by the Senate, she will be the eighth Jewish Justice and the third Jewish member of the current Court. Significantly, Kagan’s confirmation would bring with it something that has never occurred in the history of this country – a “Protestant-less” Court. Assuming Kagan is confirmed, the Court will soon be comprised of six Catholics and three Jews, religious groups that make up only around twenty four and two percent of the country’s population, respectively.

Religion In The Supreme Court (Part I)

Religion In The Supreme Court (Part I)

Many have called on President Obama to replace Justice Stevens with a fellow Protestant, thereby creating a so-called “Protestant seat,” to go along with the “African American seat” and the “Jewish seat” already in existence. There is a significant chance that Justice Stevens will be replaced with a non-Protestant, thereby creating a “Protestant-less” Supreme Court for the first time in American history. This is particularly striking considering that, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in 2007,

Salazar v. Buono

Salazar v. Buono

On April 28, 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Salazar v. Buono, No. 08-472. The plaintiff in Salazar, Frank Buono, claimed that the “Mojave Cross,” a Latin cross placed on federal land in the Mojave National Preserve by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in 1934, violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Buono sought an injunction (an injunction is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “[a] court order commanding or preventing an action”) requiring the government to remove the cross.

Scientology: Religion or Space Opera?

Scientology: Religion or Space Opera?

These body-thetans are said to have been ‘killed’ in a vast explosion instigated by the galactic tyrant Xenu many millions of years ago. In New Religions: A Guide, Andreas Grunschloss classifies Scientology as a “non apocalyptic Ufology” movement based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. Religious ufology movements are religions that incorporate

Rapture

Rapture

An encounter she had with the Left Behind Series which a neighbor had given her in a book exchange. As a Catholic, my friend had never been exposed to the concept of the rapture and was curious about its origins. She posed the following questions: Which branch of Christianity believes in the rapture and where did this teaching come from?

“Christian Militias” and the Unpredictable Nature of Religious Diversity

“Christian Militias” and the Unpredictable Nature of Religious Diversity

Religions are also constantly changing, developing, becoming something new, and, to some degree, one can never step twice into the same church, synagogue, mosque, or temple, or religious tradition. Meanwhile, the Hutaree (pronounced Hu-TAR-ay)… was going in the other direction, with increasing talk of violence.”

Westboro Baptist Church: Religion Gone Wrong

Westboro Baptist Church: Religion Gone Wrong

Westboro “demonstrations” are in reality acts of emotional and religious terrorism cloaked in the guise of a distorted Christian worldview and protected by the first amendment. Religion Nerd is adding a new category called Hall of Shame which is reserved for those who use/manipulate religion for their own benefit regardless of the cost to others. Fred Phelps is the first inductee.