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Newsbits: UK spotlight on the WBC and a soldier's headstone's controversy

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]amethyst_hunter)

BBC rightfully calls Phelps & co. a hate group

Hate group targeted by lawmakers
By Kathryn Westcott
BBC News

Preacher Fred Phelps' anti-gay campaign is testing the limits of the US constitutional commitment to free speech.
His protests could hardly be better designed to provoke outrage among the great majority of Americans.
Read more )

For Wiccan Nev. soldier, death brings fight

I'm not sure how relevant this one is to this community, but given that there are probably some Wiccans here I thought you'd find this article interesting. Basically, a soldier's wife is trying to have a Wiccan emblem designated on his tombstone (as apparently that was his wish), and the Department of Veteran Affairs is having none of it.

By SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press Writer Thu May 25, 7:14 PM ET

RENO, Nev. - Nevada officials are pressing the Department of Veteran Affairs to allow the family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan to place a Wiccan symbol on his headstone.

Federal officials so far have refused to grant the requests of the family of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, 34, who was killed in Afghanistan last September when the Nevada Army National Guard helicopter he was in was shot down.
Read more )

dogemperor [userpic]
Armageddon for the Religious Right?


This Creative Loafing article talks about the growing backlash against the "Christian" Right:

Global warming and other issues that relate to our stewardship of the planet seem finally to have struck a chord among evangelical Christians.

The ministers, academics and lay activists who, along with Hunter, signed the global warming statement encompassed a wide range of beliefs, including 39 evangelical colleges, the Salvation Army and a cross-section of major denominations and churches. As innocuous and as Christian as such a statement sounds, it was a pointed rebuke of the leadership of the religious right and the Republican Party. Up until the declaration, political preachers had dismissed environmental concerns. In many cases, after all, their power relies heavily on claiming the Second Coming is coming soon: Why worry about Mother Earth when you, Tim LaHaye, Ralph Reed and a few others are about to be raptured up to heaven? Such blitheness fits well with the corporate wing of the GOP, which places profits above prophesies of peak oil and environmental disaster from global warming.

A religious schism among evangelicals began. Those who refused to sign the global warming statement included America's foremost ayatollahs: Jerry Falwell; the Rev. D. James Kennedy of the mammoth Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in South Florida; James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family; the Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University; Donald Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association; and the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition.

"There's no surprise at who didn't sign," said Jim Jewel of Atlanta, spokesman for the evangelical environmentalists. "What we did was signal that the evangelical movement has a new cause, beyond just abortion and gay marriage, to human rights. Evangelicals had been depicted as one voice. This let people know we have more than one voice."

In today's religious terms, that's almost heretical. But it's a heresy that hit home with people such as Tim Wise.

The environment isn't the only wedge issue that is chipping at the GOP religious base. Although Republicans and the religious right have stridently opposed stem-cell research -- asserting that using the cells equates with murder -- three of four Americans support lifting bans on the procedure that could find a cure to Alzheimer's and other illnesses. More significantly, 62 percent of fundamentalists and almost 80 percent of moderate and liberal Christians favor stem-cell research, according to a poll by the Civil Society Institute.

Similarly, Americans (by an overwhelming 82 percent in one poll) disapprove of the political and religious right's frenzied attempt to capitalize off of Terry Schiavo's death last year in Pinellas Park, Fla. Polls show even a majority of evangelicals opposed the Schiavo antics of George and Jeb Bush, Senate Majority leader Bill Frist and then-leader of the House Republicans, Tom DeLay.

Abortion, the most consistently potent weapon of the fundamentalists, may even cause blowback. Two-thirds of Americans oppose overturning Roe vs. Wade.

Mainstream leaders of mega-churches, such as Northlands' Hunter, and Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life and pastor of California's giant Saddleback Church, have declared their emphasis is on ending poverty -- rather than on divisive issues like abortion and gay marriage.

dogemperor [userpic]
Wiccan Solider can't have religious symbol on tomb

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]idragosani)


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