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Terry Jones and Free Speech

Terry Jones and Free Speech

Terry Jones has a right to free speech, regardless of how repugnant. Just as I lauded the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Snyder vs. Phelps, I will stand beside Terry Jones (way far away!) to protect his right to free speech. Any limitation on his free speech is a limit on my free speech. The government has no business telling anyone what to say or not to say. The First Amendment to the Constitution explicitly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” How difficult is that to understand?

Averting Your Eyes: The Devastating Consequences of Ignoring Women’s Rights

Averting Your Eyes: The Devastating Consequences of Ignoring Women’s Rights

Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, State of Formation….
Jerusalem’s Old City when a bearded man with narrow eyes reached out his hand and tried to grab my breast. I did not know him. I had not made eye contact. I was not acting provocatively—in fact, despite a heat wave that added insult to the already injurious desert summer, I was burning up in the long-sleeved shirt and ankle-length skirt that’s customary for the region. In response, the man with whom I was traveling reached out and struck the stranger’s hand, causing him to trip sideways into the crowd.

Tennessee bill would jail Shariah followers

Tennessee bill would jail Shariah followers

By Bob Smietana, USA Today….
A proposed Tennessee law would make following the Islamic code known as Shariah law a felony, punishable by 15 years in jail. State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and state Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, introduced the same bill in the Senate and House last week. It calls Shariah law a danger to homeland security and gives the attorney general authority to investigate complaints and decide who’s practicing it.

How Hard The Hearing

How Hard The Hearing

By Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University….
In an interview with Mother Theresa, not long before she passed away, the topic of her own prayer life came up. The interviewer clearly wanted to know how a real spiritual adept prayed–and with such apparent spiritual efficacy. Her answer showed her to be a true adept: “Mostly, I just listen,” she smiled. I’ve been thinking about that strange confluence–of praying, speaking and listening–as I’ve watched current events continue to unfold in Egypt (and Yemen, and Tunisia) in the past week.

The Real News Story

The Real News Story

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, State of Formation….
Here’s a news headline for you: The trial begins in Phoenix today for Faleh Hassan Almaleki, the Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his daughter for becoming too Westernized. The prosecution’s argument goes like this: Almaleki ran over his 20 year old daughter with a Jeep Cherokee because she was abandoning their traditional Muslim values, having moved in with her boyfriend’s family.

In Realm of Religion, Women Lose Out

In Realm of Religion, Women Lose Out

By Nilanjana S. Roy, New York Times….
“Religion is assumed to be the domain of men, and women do not have much role in it,” the Indian feminist writer and publisher Urvashi Butalia said in an interview. “But women generally do not have the right to question religion — this is something men hold on to tightly, and it’s not only in Islam. Look at all those so-called honor killings in India — all of them under the guise of religious sanction and tradition.”
Last week, the blasphemy laws claimed a prominent victim. The governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. Mr. Taseer’s assassin was showered with rose petals by crowds who approved of his act. Mr. Taseer had drawn much criticism in Pakistan for his defense of Ms. Bibi and his demand for changes to the blasphemy law.

With an Honest Heart

With an Honest Heart

By Samantha Kirby, Tikkun Magazine….
My grandmother was many things: a piano teacher, a Chicagoan, a coffee aficionada — and a pioneer.
I added that last part after she passed away, when I learned that she had graduated from Northwestern University in 1944, about twenty years before NU removed its quota for Jewish admissions. By the time I was an undergraduate shivering through my years in Evanston, it was hard to believe that the campus, with its thriving Jewish community, had ever tried to restrict its number of Jewish students. I couldn’t imagine my grandmother walking the same streets as I had but feeling like a second-class student.

This Muslim says, give me that ol' time Judaism

This Muslim says, give me that ol’ time Judaism

By Hesham A. Hassaballa….
These reflections should come as a surprise to no one: As a Muslim, I worship the God of Abraham, the very same God who was worshiped and honored in the Temple in Jerusalem. As a Muslim, I honor and revere the prophet Moses, Aaron, and all the other Hebrew prophets.

Also, my holy scripture speaks with honor and reverence about King David and Solomon. The Quran says: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.” (2:136

Oklahoma’s Prohibition Against Sharia Law: Banning That Which Does Not Exist

Oklahoma’s Prohibition Against Sharia Law: Banning That Which Does Not Exist

By Scott R. Grubman….
But Obamacare was not the only thing that Oklahoma voters spoke up against in 2010. They also overwhelming approved a state constitutional amendment prohibiting state courts from considering Sharia law (or the sacred law of Islam)—as well as international law—when making rulings. The ballot measure passed by an overwhelming 70 percent. Apart from the legal objections to the amendment, which will be discussed more below, the amendment’s passing raises an obvious question—was it really necessary for voters to prohibit Oklahoma courts from considering Sharia law?

"Allah's Tailors" gaining profile in Turkey

“Allah’s Tailors” gaining profile in Turkey

By Alexandra Hudson, Reuters Faith World
Mustafa Karaduman, founder of Islamic fashion house Tekbir in 1982 and nicknamed “Allah’s Tailor” in the Turkish media, sees the changes in society and is hopeful of further growth. “Our work was quite amateur in the first decade. Then in 1992 we organized the very first headscarf fashion show, which brought us global attention. Now Islamic style clothes are on the agenda everywhere around the world,” he said.

The Good News of Star Visitors, Part I

The Good News of Star Visitors, Part I

By Kenny Smith….
The Star Visitor races who have commented on the concept of God… uniformly affirm that they, too accept the reality of what Earthlings call God. However, the God they affirm is not the anthropomorphic or patriarchal figure of many Earth religions, but more of a Supreme Source – a transcendent matrix of Consciousness, which underlies everything, and is that which gives essence and specificity to everything, which in turn is a partial manifestation of the Supreme Source. In more experiential terms, the Star Visitors have taken experiencers [those with have had first-hand contact with ETs] and shown them God. The experiencers typically described being in the presence of intense, overwhelmingly brilliant light from which emanates incredibly intense love, such that the experiencer feels lost in the infinite love.

Three Faiths, Yes, But Out of How Many?

Three Faiths, Yes, But Out of How Many?

The show, which has been assembled entirely out of gorgeous manuscripts from the Library’s own vast holdings, is intended to offset the more regrettable interreligious energies unleashed by this so-called (and somewhat poorly named) Mosque Controversy. The exhibit is designed to remind its visitors that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share a great deal, and it manages to do so while avoiding seeming preachy, or by cheating to making things seem rosier and more peaceable than in fact they are. Instead, the show offers the visitor a remarkable walking tour through sacred geography, religious history, and even the history of the technologies of the written word.

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

By April L. Bogle, Huffington Post
It’s hard to deny that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and the world’s most famous Buddhist, is the also world’s foremost expert on happiness. He clearly states in writings that seeking happiness is the very purpose of life, and he’s dedicated his life to learning how to be happy and sharing this knowledge with others. But what about other major religious traditions? Is happiness a good thing, or bad? To be sought in this life, or the next?

I Ate a Bowl of Soup, and Now I'm a Muslim

I Ate a Bowl of Soup, and Now I’m a Muslim

By Hussein Rashid, Religion Dispatches
According to them, the fact that Campbell’s Soup Canada is a introducing a series of halal soups is a sign that Muslims are taking over the U.S. and imposing shari’ah to make everyone Muslim. The Revealer has a great series on the (mis)uses of the term shari’ah that points out that there is no one thing called shari’ah, and it does not mean what its popular critics think it means.