Churches Have No Role in Making Policy

church-and-state3.jpgby Eric Jayne

It's sadly ironic that the same election that gave America its first black president is the same election that denied equal treatment for gays and lesbians in three states. A Nov. 16 Star Tribune article mentioned that representatives from "Join the Impact," who organized several rallies across the United States, including one in Minneapolis, asked protesters to refrain from targeting faith groups that supported the marriage ban.

But it seems to me that that's exactly who should be targeted. It's shameful, but not surprising, that churches and faith groups continue to use their influence and money for efforts that deny civil liberties and equal treatment for certain minority groups. Progress and religion have been incompatible throughout history, and it's not healthy for our naturally progressive democracy to be so easily influenced by religions that follow archaic dogma.


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Christ, You Know It Ain't Easy

jamesz.jpgby James Zimmerman

On November 22nd, the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reported that the Church has decided to forgive John Lennon for statements he made forty-two years ago.  If this seems a long time to hold a grudge, compare this to the 359 years it took the Vatican to make peace with Galileo.

Lennon's offending words were spoken during a March 1966 interview: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink... We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first-rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."  This comment, typical of Lennon for its sarcasm and honesty, touched off a mini-crusade, particularly in (where else?) the bible belt, where piles of Beatles albums and memorabilia were publicly burned and Christian leaders exhorted their flocks to shun Lennon and his blasphemy.  Radio stations banned his music, and some concert bookings were cancelled.

This statement appeared on the fortieth anniversary of the release of the Beatles' White Album; fitting, considering the White Album is to the Beatles catalogue as Catholicism is to Christianity: the biggest, most self-indulgent, most violent in the collection.


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Merry, Merry Christmas!

Crystalby Crystal Dervetski

I am one Atheist who is absolutely not involved in any kind of war on Christmas. I personally enjoy the holiday season very much and am very involved in spreading holiday joy!

Why do I love Christmas even though I consider myself a militant atheist? Most of all, I'd say it's because the glow of loving all humans is such a great feeling, and around the holiday season there seems to be so much of this. I do my part to get and give that glow at all times of the year. It seems like such a waste when people are only giving and loving during the holidays.

I don't really believe the war on Christmas exists. Even if it did, we would never be able to win the battle; it would be as futile as the war on drugs. I think certain religious groups, who somehow feel threatened by the idea that there may be other notions of the holidays or what they mean, have invented the war on Christmas as part of their great persecution myth.


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A Cold Slap of Reality

proph8.jpgby Robin Anderson

Many of us undoubtedly celebrated the winnings of certain candidates on Election Day. It was a long time coming.

But, come morning, a cold slap of reality came with the new day. In three states, voters approved constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage. And one of them, Proposition 8, approved in California, stripped same-sex couples of the rights granted them judicially. 

Voters decided not only to strip these couples of their rights, but by enshrining this discrimination into their constitution, sent a message to gay and lesbian people in California and the country:  You are not full citizens.  We don't respect your lives or your loves.  In other words, these people threw lesbians and gays under the bus.  "To hell with you," this vote said, "we don't care." 

What really stings about this loss was the fact that it was primarily religious and racial minorities-who should have had empathy with a fellow, discriminated-against minority-who were primarily responsible for this defeat. 

The major donor in the campaign to strip gay and lesbian people of their rights was, of course, a church; in this case, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The Mormons spent, by some accounts, 20 million dollars to get this amendment passed.  How ironic that a minority, who had experienced religious persecution, and are still victims of it, used their financial clout to inflict discrimination on another. 

And whom did they woo in their quest to legislate discrimination?


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"Christ the Magician" Explains His Tricks

christ_the_magician.jpgby Vic Tanner

Recently an ancient bowl with the engraving, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," or "Christ the Magician" was found at a sunken archaeological site off the coast of Alexandria. Most intriguing wasn't the bowl itself, but a collection of scrolls that were found near it. Once translated, it was found that the scrolls contained the words of none other than Jesus himself. However, the text is not a religious statement as one might expect. Rather, it was a commentary on stage magic. As it turns out, Christ was not only a magician but perhaps the world's first magician to break the sacred magicians' code by revealing his secrets. This ancient "Magic's Greatest Secrets Revealed" is giving a newfound insight into the New Testament and the miracles reported within it.


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