Category Archives: religious fundamentalism

>Holding Out For Some Royalties

>Kudos to Nashville-based Sony/ATV Music Publishing for suing bigot cult leader Fred Phelps and his band of merry hate-mongers for their unlicensed use of the song “Holding Out For A Hero”:

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Rev. Fred Phelps’ group known for picketing soldiers’ funerals around the country has been accused by a music company of violating copyright laws.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing wrote Phelps, telling him to stop what it called unauthorized use of the song “Holding Out for a Hero.”

Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church produced a parody it calls “There Are No Heroes,” which is on the Internet. Phelps responded Friday in a letter to the Sony saying the video is a parody and not covered by copyright laws.

Last year, another music company accused Phelps of infringing on the song “We Are the World” with a parody it called “God Hates the World.”

I eagerly await the day when the Phelps clan are put out of business.

And please don’t call them a church; they’re not. It’s a family cult, no different from Warren Jeffs’ polygamy cult, except this one is centered around hatred of gays. Phelps’ “church” has 71 members, “60 of whom are related to Phelps through blood or marriage or both.”

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Filed under Fred Phelps, gay equality, religious fundamentalism

>Holy Warriors

>[UPDATE]:

The Marine in question has been reassigned:

The US military confirmed yesterday that a marine in Fallujah passed out coins with Gospel verses on them to Sunni Muslims, a military spokesman in the Iraqi city said. The man was immediately removed from duty and reassigned.

The coins angered residents who said they felt that the American troops, whom they consider occupiers, were also acting as Christian missionaries in a predominantly Muslim nation.

[…]

Yesterday, the US military apologised for the incident, telling McClatchy special correspondent Jamal Naji that action would be taken following an investigation.

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This can’t be productive:

They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand.

Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. “Where will you spend eternity?” it asked.

He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.”

“They are trying to convert us to Christianity,” said Anad, a Sunni Muslim like most residents of this city in Anbar province. At home, he told his story, and his relatives echoed their disapproval: They’d been given the coins, too, he said.

Proselytizing by members of the U.S. military in Iraq has been a consistent problem, and it goes straight to the top. It certainly doesn’t help win hearts and minds to cast our occupation of Iraq as a religious crusade.

To his credit, President Bush has consistently framed the Muslim faith in positive terms. A week after 9/11 the president gave his famous “Islam Is Peace” speech, and he’s continued to to say positive things about Islam since then. Last week the Administration even issued guidelines advising against use of words like “jihadi” and “Islamofascism” in government documents–much to conservatives’ dismay. Hatemongering is no fun when even the torturer in chief isn’t behind you.

So I have to wonder why so many in the military still have the mistaken idea they’re on some kind of holy mission. Why would former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld rally behind a zealot like Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, when he should have been reprimanded?

Why this?

The Anti-Defamation League Tuesday called on members of the U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees to hold hearings on what the group termed “coercive proselytizing and religious activity in the military.”

The organization said the effort was aimed at creating specific guidelines to ensure that the military remains “accessible and welcoming to servicemen and servicewomen of all faiths, and to those of no faith at all.”

The 2007 Department of Defense Authorization bill, approved by the last session of Congress, directed the Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Navy to rescind their existing guidelines on religious activity, the ADL noted.

And this:

A military watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether seven Army and Air Force officers violated regulations by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization.

In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, a group that evangelizes among military leaders, politicians and diplomats in Washington. Some of the officers describe their efforts to spread their faith within the military.

The U.S. military is open to people of all faiths and no faith. We still haven’t adequately explained to the world why we’re in Iraq, but the absolute worst thing that could happen is for the people of the Middle East to successfully cast this as a clash of civilizations.

So, cut it out, people. This is not Christianity-vs-Islam. Making the war look like some holy crusade will only make a dangerous situation much worse. Jesus isn’t going to return just because you memorized every word of the “Left Behind” series.

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Filed under Iraq War, religion, religious fundamentalism

>Some People Need To Find Another Career

>I heard about this on Air America this morning and couldn’t believe my ears.

Yesterday I picked on fundamentalist Christian pharmacists for refusing to fill birth control prescriptions. Today it’s Muslim med school students in the UK:

Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs.

Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity.

A small number of Muslim medical students have even refused to treat patients of the opposite sex. One male student was prepared to fail his final exams rather than carry out a basic examination of a female patient.

Oh for crying out loud. There’s a difference between religious discrimination and WATBs demanding special treatment. I think this crosses the line.

This is news in the UK because recently a large grocery chain agreed to let Muslim check-out clerks refrain from selling alcohol:

MUSLIM supermarket checkout staff who refuse to sell alcohol are being allowed to opt out of handling customers’ bottles and cans of drink.

Islamic workers at Sainsbury’s who object to alcohol on religious grounds are told to raise their hands when encountering any drink at their till so that a colleague can temporarily take their place or scan items for them.

Other staff have refused to work stacking shelves with wine, beer and spirits and have been found alternative roles in the company.

Sainsbury’s said this weekend it was keen to accommodate the religious beliefs of all staff but some Islamic scholars condemned the practice, saying Muslims who refused to sell alcohol were reneging on their agreements with the store.

This is pretty funny to me because one of the stereotypes of American Muslims is that they own all of the liquor and tobacco stores.

So, how would that work here: would Mormons refuse to sell liquor, cigarettes, coffee and tea bags? Mitt Romney didn’t have any problem bringing porn and alcohol into Marriott Hotels. But what if a member of the hotel housekeeping staff refused to restock the mini-bar for religious reasons? Or wouldn’t rent a room to a gay couple? I mean, we could go on and on with this.

On the other hand, is it really that big of a deal for someone who objects to selling alcohol on religious grounds to turn the cash register over to someone who doesn’t? After all, that’s how beer sales are handled when a checkout clerk is underage. What’s the difference?

I think it’s one of those slippery-slope issues. If you tell someone they don’t have to scan a six-pack of Budweiser then you’re also saying it’s OK for someone else to not dispense birth control pills. It doesn’t matter to me if there’s someone else in the store who can handle the sale, because there will come a time or place or situation where someone is denied the healthcare or prescription medicine they need because of someone else’s religious beliefs. No one needs a six-pack of beer, but someone with an STD does need medical treatment–for themselves, and for the health and welfare of the general population. And I don’t see any religious justification for denying that treatment.

I think we getting into cuckoo-bananas territory here. Everyone wants their special needs catered to, and it’s time for it to stop.

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Filed under culture wars, moral values, religious fundamentalism