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Groups Upset Over New Exhibit Set To Open At Brooklyn Museum
Gay-Themed Art With Controversial Video
Clip Draws Ire Of Catholic Leader
CBS News: November 10, 2011
NEW YORK — Is it art, or is it
sacrilege? There’s a controversy at the Brooklyn
Museum over an upcoming exhibit.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said a sacrilege is about to go on
display at the museum with the debut next week of “Hide/Seek,”
an exhibit focused on gay-themed art. “You
take any sacred thing, and make fun of it or treat it with disrespect,
DiMarzio said. “Since the population
of Brooklyn is a good percent, Catholic, 40 percent, I think we should
object,” DiMarzio said.
was shown last year in Washington D.C., it included a video called
“A Fire In My Belly,” which
briefly shows ants marching across a crucifix.
But it’s not just Catholic leaders who are complaining.
“There has to be lines of respect
that are drawn. And like someone said, they
wouldn’t do this to Mohammed.
It’s just that Christians haven’t, you know, expressed
outrage the way that some other communities would,” Christian
Cultural Center Pastor A.R. Bernard said
FIRE IN MY BELLY
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In Georgia, Some
Vote to Stay Dry on Sundays
By ROBBIE BROWN
The New York Times: November 11, 2011
ELBERTON, Ga. — The joke in Georgia after Tuesday’s election
was that the most popular
name on the ballot was Jack Daniel’s.
After years of
debating whether to do away with a century-old law that banned selling
alcohol on Sundays, Georgia politicians decided to let the people
vote, city by city and county by county, on what they preferred in
their communities. The results were resounding: 105 of the 127 communities
that voted chose to end the Sunday restriction, often by huge margins.
And before polls closed, supporters were announcing celebrations at
But here in Elbert County, a rural, deeply religious region of northeast
were not raising a toast. They voted to keep Sundays alcohol-free.
“The Bible says no to strong drink, and I’m proud that
people around here agree,” said Jerry Beggs, 70, a retired machine
technician, as he spelled out a message on Thursday on the marquee
at Forest Hill Assembly of God Church, where he is a member. “Thanks
for voting no to sell alcohol on Sunday,” it read.
blue laws were once common across the Bible Belt. But over the
decades, they have been struck down as anachronistic or unfriendly
to business. Georgia was the last Southern bastion of a statewide
all-day ban on Sunday alcohol sales in package or grocery stories.
Religiously motivated blue laws were once common across the Bible
Belt. But over the decades, they have been struck down as anachronistic
or unfriendly to business. Georgia was the last Southern bastion of
a statewide all-day ban on Sunday alcohol sales in package or grocery
“This nation has a trend of turning away from good morals,”
said Patsy Scarborough, a retired secretary and a church pianist.
“Americans need to be in church on Sunday, not out buying alcohol.”
Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate
By ERIK ECKHOLM
The New York Times: November 6, 2011
PLEASANTVILLE, Tenn. — After services at the
Church at Cane Creek on a recent Sunday,
a few dozen families held a potluck picnic and giggling children played
pin the tail on the donkey.
The white-bearded preacher, Michael
Pearl, who delivered his sermon in stained work pants,
and his wife, Debi, mixed warmly with the families drawn to their
including some of their own grandchildren.
The pastoral mood in the hills of Tennessee offered a stark contrast
to the storm raging
around the country over the Pearls’
teachings on child discipline, which advocate systematic use of “the
rod” to teach toddlers to submit to authority.
The methods, seen as
common sense by some grateful parents and as horrific by others, are
modeled, Mr. Pearl is fond of saying, on “the
same principles the Amish use to train their
Debate over the Pearls’ teachings,
first seen on Christian Web sites, gained
new intensity after the death of a third child, all allegedly at the
hands of parents who kept the Pearls’ book, “To
Train Up a Child,” in their homes.
On Sept. 29, the parents were charged with homicide by abuse.
May, Hana Williams, who
was adopted when she was 11, was found
face down, naked and emaciated in the backyard of her home in Sedro
Wooley, Wash. Her death
was caused by hypothermia and malnutrition, the coroner determined,
and a sheriff’s report said that she had been beaten often,
including on the day of her death.
Hana’s mother had praised the
Pearls’ book and given a copy to a friend, the report said.
More than 670,000 copies of the Pearls’ self-published book
are in circulation, and it is especially
popular among Christian home-schoolers,
who praise it in their magazines and on their Web sites.
The Pearls provide instructions on using a switch
from as early as six months to discourage misbehavior and describe
how to make use of implements for hitting on the arms,
legs or back, including a quarter-inch
flexible plumbing line that, Mr. Pearl notes, “can
be rolled up and carried in your pocket.”
The furor in part reflects societal disagreements
punishment, which conservative Christians
say is called for in the Bible
and which many Americans consider reasonable up to a point, even as
many parents and pediatricians reject it. The issue flared recently
when a video was posted online of a Texas judge whipping his daughter.
Control, Marauder Style
By BILL MARSH
The New York Times: November 5, 2011
Last week, the United Nations announced
that the world’s population had reached seven billion, but there
have been times when it headed in the opposite direction, and not
in pleasant ways. The savagery of the
Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan may have culled the
global population by about 11 percent; two bloody upheavals in China
— the An Lushan Rebellion
and the collapse of the Xin Dynasty
— each may have felled about 6 percent of humanity. Those are
but 3 of the 100 worst atrocities in history, as cataloged by Matthew
White in “The
Great Big Book of Horrible Things,” an
amusing (really) account of the murderous ways of despots, slave traders,
blundering royals, gladiators and assorted hordes. Estimating
the tolls from such horrors is an inexact science, given war’s
nature and the mysteries of antiquity. The
deadliest “multicides” are
more plentiful in recent centuries, given that there
were more people to kill and better ways to kill them on a grand scale.
Even so, killings as a percentage of all humanity are probably declining.
Here is a look at the sweep of human brutality presented in a timeline.
on image to enlarge
Following the ‘Leader’
By LINDA GREENHOUSE
THE NEW YORK TIMES: November 2, 2011
Monday of this week, when the Supreme Court ducked yet another case
on the constitutionality
of the display of religious symbols on public land. This case (actually
a pair of petitions appealing the lower court’s judgment) concerned
the placement of a dozen 12-foot-high crosses along state highways
in Utah to commemorate the deaths of state highway patrol officers
in the line of duty.
A private group, the Utah Highway Patrol Association, erected and
owns the crosses, each of which carries the name, rank and badge number
of an officer along its six-foot-long crossbeam. The state permitted
their placement along the public right of way so that they could be
seen by passing motorists. A federal appeals court ruled that because
the crosses “convey to a reasonable observer that the state
of Utah is endorsing Christianity,” their placement amounted
to an unconstitutional “establishment” of religion.
The Supreme Court doesn’t explain itself when it turns down
a request for review.
So the only way to know whether a petition even got the court’s
attention before being automatically denied (denial is the court’s
default mode, the fate of any petition that at least one justice doesn’t
ask to discuss at the justices’ private weekly conference) is
when someone publishes a dissent from the denial. In this instance,
Justice Thomas published
a 19-page dissent from the denial of review in Utah Highway
Patrol Association v. American Atheists, Inc.
The dissent was a vivid tour through the incoherent landscape of the
court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence.
I had been watching this case since the summer, and I thought the
court would find it hard to resist. That was a prediction, not a wish;
unlike Justice Thomas, I think the lower court got this one right,
and I find the argument for regarding a collection of 12-foot-high
crosses along a state’s highways as anything other than an official
endorsement of Christian belief to be almost laughably weak.
In fact, not that it matters, but just to be clear, Justice Thomas
and I would disagree across the entire range of Establishment Clause
cases. He holds a view that
is unique among the justices (there’s that leadership thing
again), namely that the Establishment Clause applies only to the federal
government and not, as the court has maintained since 1947, to the
states as well. He also believes that the clause prohibits only “actual
legal coercion,” and not the kind of implicit official endorsement
of religious practice that makes members of minority faiths, or nonbelievers,
feel like outsiders.
The actual target of Justice Thomas’s dissent on Monday was
not so much the denial of review in the Utah case as the court’s
continued adherence to the approach it has evolved in recent years
for discerning a line between the permissible and the forbidden in
official recognition of religion. The current “endorsement”
test was the creation of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired
nearly six years ago. Justice Thomas is probably correct in his speculation
on Monday that this approach no longer commands majority support on
The problem is, neither does anything else. Unless the court accepts
either his view that anything goes, which it won’t, or the view
advocated by another retired justice, John Paul Stevens, that almost
nothing goes, which it also won’t, those determined to claim
a corner of the public square in which to display their religious
devotion will keep on doing it, and we appear doomed to be ruled in
this realm, as in so many others, by the case-by-case exercise of
scary thought – perhaps one that scared the justices themselves
as, contemplating whether to grant the Utah case, they stood on the
brink with Clarence Thomas and decided not to jump.
Birth Control Solution
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, OP-ED COLUMNIST
The New York Times: November 2, 2011
What if there were a solution to many of the global problems that
confront us, from
climate change to poverty to civil wars? There is, but it is starved
of resources. It’s called family planning, and it has been a
victim of America’s religious wars.
Partly for that reason, the world’s population just raced past
the seven billion mark this week, at least according to the fuzzy
calculations of United Nations demographers. It took humans hundreds
of thousands of years, until the year 1804, to reach the first billion.
It took another 123 years to reach two billion, in 1927. Since then,
we’ve been passing these milestones like billboards along a
highway. The latest billion took just a dozen years.
In 1999, the United Nations’ best projection was that the world
wouldn’t pass seven billion until 2013, but we reached it two
years early. Likewise, in 1999, the U.N. estimated that the world
population in 2050 would be 8.9 billion, but now it projects 9.3 billion.
Traditionally, support for birth control was bipartisan. The Roman
Catholic hierarchy was opposed, but Republican presidents like Richard
Nixon and George H.W. Bush provided strong support. Then family planning
became tarnished by overzealous and coercive programs in China and
India, and contraception became entangled in America’s abortion
wars. Many well-meaning religious conservatives turned against it,
and funding lagged. The result was, paradoxically, more abortions.
When contraception is unavailable, the likely consequence is not less
sex, but more pregnancy.
Contraception already prevents 112 million abortions a year, by U.N.
estimates. The United Nations Population Fund is a bête noire
for conservatives, but its promotion of contraception means that it
may have reduced abortions more than any organization in the world.
Republicans are seeking to cut more money from global family planning
— which, in
poor countries, would mean more abortions and more women dying in
childbirth. Conservatives have also sought to slash Title X Family
Planning programs within the United States. The Guttmacher Institute
estimates that in a year these domestic programs avert 973,000 unintended
pregnancies, of which 406,000 would end in abortions.
Guttmacher calculates that these family-planning centers in the United
States actually save taxpayers roughly $3.4 billion annually that
would otherwise be spent on pregnancies and babies.
Finally, a ray of hope: A group of evangelical Christians, led by
Richard Cizik of The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good,
is drafting a broad statement of support for family planning. It emphasizes
that family planning reduces abortion and lives lost in childbirth.
“Family planning is morally laudable in Christian terms because
of its contribution to family well-being, women’s health, and
the prevention of abortion,” the draft says.
Amen! Contraceptives no more cause sex than umbrellas cause rain.
So as we greet
the seven-billionth human, let’s try to delay the arrival of
the eight billionth. We should all be able to agree on voluntary family
planning as a cost-effective strategy to reduce poverty, conflict
and environmental damage. If you think family planning is expensive,
you haven’t priced babies.
for ‘Personhood’ Amendment Represents New Tack in Abortion
By ERIK ECKHOLM
The New York Times: October 25, 2011
A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8,
and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including
Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal
person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control
With this far-reaching anti-abortion strategy, the proponents of what
they call personhood amendments hope to reshape the national debate.
“I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer
and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for
the Mississippi proposition. “Personhood is bigger than just
shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to
say that we’re made in the image of God.”
Many doctors and women’s health advocates say the proposals
would cause a dangerous intrusion of criminal law into medical care,
jeopardizing women’s rights and even their lives.
The amendment in Mississippi would ban virtually all abortions, including
those resulting from rape or incest. It would bar some birth control
methods, including IUDs and “morning-after pills” that
prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also
outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories.
The amendment has been endorsed by candidates for governor from both
major parties, and it appears likely to pass, said W. Martin Wiseman,
director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi
State University. Legal challenges would surely follow, but even if
the amendment is ultimately declared unconstitutional, it could disrupt
vital care, critics say, and force years of costly court battles.
“This is the most extreme in a field of extreme anti-abortion
measures that have been before the states this year,” said Nancy
Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal
Opponents, who were handing out brochures on Saturday
to tailgate partiers before the University of Southern Mississippi
football game in Hattiesburg, said they hoped to dispel the impression
that the amendment simply bars abortions — a popular idea in
Mississippi — by warning that it would also limit contraceptives,
doctors afraid to save women with life-threatening pregnancies and
possibly hamper in vitro fertility treatments.
The drive for personhood amendments has split the anti-abortion forces
nationally. Some groups call it an inspired moral leap, while traditional
leaders of the fight, including National Right to Life and the Roman
Catholic bishops, have refused to promote it, charging that the tactic
is reckless and could backfire, leading to a Supreme Court defeat
that would undermine progress in carving away at Roe v. Wade.
The New York Times: October 27, 2011
A ballot measure going before voters
in Mississippi on Nov. 8 would define the term “person”
in the State Constitution to include fertilized human eggs and grant
to fertilized eggs the legal rights and protections that apply to
people. It is among the most extreme assaults
in the push to end women’s reproductive rights.
The aim is to redefine abortion and
some of the most widely used forms of contraception as murder, obliterating
a woman’s right to make childbearing decisions under the 1973
Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest or when a woman’s
life is in danger, and banning any contraception that may prevent
implantation of a fertilized egg, including birth control pills,
the amendment carries many implications, some quite serious.
It could curtail medical research involving
embryos, shutter fertility clinics and put doctors in legal jeopardy
for providing needed medical care that might endanger a pregnancy.
Pregnant women also could become subject to criminal prosecution.
A fertilized egg might be eligible to inherit money or be counted
when drawing voting districts by population. Because
a multitude of laws use the terms “person”
or “people,” there would
be no shortage of unintended consequences.
A similar ballot measure was handily rejected by Colorado voters in
2008 and 2010. But, in Mississippi, which has already imposed so many
burdensome restrictions that the state has only one abortion clinic,
there is a real possibility that voters will not react as wisely.
Voter approval could energize similar “personhood” initiatives
in half a dozen other states, including Florida and
Both the Republican and Democratic candidates
for governor in Mississippi have endorsed the measure,
even though some traditional leaders in the anti-abortion battle,
including National Right to Life, have declined to do so, viewing
it as a reckless strategy that could lead to a defeat in the Supreme
Court. This extreme measure would protect
zygotes at the expense of all women while creating a legal
quagmire — at least until the courts rule it unconstitutional,
as they should.
Won, Top Libyan Official Vows a New and More Pious State
Abdel-Jalil Promises a Role for Islam
in a New Libya
By ADAM NOSSITER and KAREEM FAHIM
The New York Times: October 23, 2011
BENGHAZI, Libya — The leader of
the transitional government declared to thousands
of revelers in a sunlit square here on Sunday that Libya’s revolution
had ended, setting the country on the path to elections, and he vowed
that the new government would be based on
The most powerful force in the fledgling state, the
armed groups remain a law unto themselves. The threat they pose was
underscored with the discovery Sunday of at least 53 bodies, people
who appeared to have been executed, possibly by anti-Qaddafi
Two strands — a
new piety and all-purpose, freewheeling happiness —
ceremony. When Mustafa
the chairman of the Transitional National Council, pronounced the
end of the uprising, the crowd reacted with shouts of “God
“We are an Islamic country,”
he said as the sun descended. “We take
the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution
will be based on our Islamic religion.”
Among other things, he promised that
Islamic banks would be established in
the new Libya. He also talked of lifting restrictions
on the number of women Libyan men can marry, The Associated
The comments reflected not only the
chairman’s personal religious conservatism and the country’s,
but also the rising influence of Islamists
among the former rebels. The Islamists,
who include some influential militia commanders, have warned
that they will not permit their secular counterparts in a new government
to sideline them.
Some of the secular former rebels contend that the Islamists have
successfully exploited the country’s power vacuum, infusing
the conflict with religion and criticizing those not considered sufficiently
pious, including women who do not wear the head scarf.
Qaddafi's Body |
a form of celebration, camels were slaughtered
Weird but true
By KATHIANNE BONIELLO
POST WIRE SERVICES: October 23, 2011
A Washington state woman will probably be more careful about whom
she takes in as
a roommate after her last one kidnapped
her young sons because he believed the home was “infested
Shane Soares allegedly
grabbed the 3- and 4-year-old boys from their beds after midnight
one day last week. When he was caught, he
told Grant County sheriff’s deputies that “the
Lord told him” to do it, police said.
Front of Brooklyn Bus, a Clash of Religious and Women’s Rights
By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY
The New York Times: October 19, 2011
It does not take long to recognize that the B110
bus in Brooklyn is not like others in the city.
The exterior colors are different: red,
white and blue. The price for a single ride is the same, $2.50, but
MetroCards are not accepted. The bus does not run Friday
night or most of Saturday.
But the most obvious
sign that the B110 is different was demonstrated Wednesday
by Gitty Green, a 30-year-old mother who boarded the bus on Wednesday
with her three children and a stroller and headed
straight to the back.
As her two older sons perched on the seats behind her, she looked
ahead at the men seated in front, mostly Hasidic Jews in wide-brimmed
hats, and said, because her religion
dictates the separation of the sexes, she never wondered
what it would be like to sit with them.
“It’s such a normal thing for us that women and men are
separate,” she said. “Most of the ladies go to the back.”
The B110 bus, which runs between Williamsburg
and Borough Park, has been run by Private Transportation
Corporation since 1973, under a franchise with the city. And to many
in the area, the bus’s tradition of separation comes with little
surprise or indignation.
But this week, the bus’s practices gained widespread publicity
after The New York World,
a Columbia Journalism School publication, reported
that a female rider was told by other
riders that she had to leave the front. The story
was quickly picked up by bloggers and even came
to the attention of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, the mayor said that segregating
men and women was “obviously not permitted” on
public buses. “Private people: you can
have a private bus,” he added. “Go
rent a bus, and do what you want on it.”
photographer found it difficult to visit the
back of the bus, filled with Hasidic
riders loaded down with packages and the scent of
freshly baked bread before the Jewish holiday Shemini Atzeret. The
bus driver told him that only women were allowed there.
posted in the front and the back, said that
“when boarding a crowded bus with standing passengers in the
front, women should board the back door after paying the driver in
the front” and that “when
the bus is crowded, passengers should stand in their designated areas.”
The women riding in the back included several full-time mothers and
an accountant who commutes into Manhattan each day. One
woman who would identify herself only by her initials, M. M., said
other buses that cater to the Hasidic community sometimes separate
men and women by having one sex sit on the left and the other on the
right. She said women could not sit in the front
and men sit in the back because “they’re not allowed to
see the women.” But she acknowledged
that the B110 bus was not just for members of the Hasidic community
and other Orthodox Jews.
While no male passengers sitting at the front of the bus explicitly
told a female reporter to move, several
riders said women did not belong there. One father who sat
in the front with his son and daughter and declined to give his name
said men and women “need to be separated.”
He looked down at his daughter dressed in a bright red raincoat, with
her blue eyes frozen in amazement, and said: “She’s
small. When she’s big, she will sit in the back.”
Even if the buses allow women to sit
in the front, it may take longer for male riders to feel comfortable.
As Asaf Amitay, a 35-year-old regular rider on the bus, rode home
to Borough Park, he made it clear that
he did not believe that women should be seated in the front.
“I don’t like it,”
he said. “The women is in the back. The men are in the front.”
Sam Mullet, Lester Mullet, Johnny Mullet, Levi Miller
Renegades Are Accused in Bizarre Attacks on Their Peers
By ERIK ECKHOLM and DANIEL LOVERING
The New York Times: October 17, 2011
BERGHOLZ, Ohio — Myron
Miller and his wife, Arlene, had been asleep for an hour when
their 15-year-old daughter woke them and said that people were knocking
Mr. Miller, 45, a stocky construction worker and an Amish bishop in
the peaceful farmlands of eastern Ohio, found five or six men waiting.
Some grabbed him and wrestled him outside as others hacked
at his long black beard with scissors, clipping off six inches.
As Mr. Miller kept struggling, his wife screamed at the children to
call 911, and the attackers fled.
For an Amish man, it was an unthinkable
personal violation, and all the more bewildering because those accused
in the attack are other Amish.
The attackers, the authorities said, had traveled from an isolated
splinter settlement near Bergholz,
south of the Miller residence. Sheriffs and Amish leaders in the region,
home to one of the country’s largest concentrations of Amish,
had come to expect trouble from the Bergholz group. It
is said to be led with an iron hand by Sam Mullet,
a prickly 66-year-old man who had become bitterly estranged from mainstream
Amish communities and had had several confrontations
with the Jefferson County sheriff.
But the violent humiliation that men from his group are charged with
inflicting on their perceived enemies throughout this fall, using
scissors and battery-operated clippers, came as a bizarre shock.
The assaults — four are known to the authorities — have
stirred fear among the Amish and resulted in the arrests, so far,
of five men, including three of Mr. Mullet’s sons, on kidnapping
and other charges. Officials say that more arrests are possible.
In the first incident, on Sept. 6 in the town of Mesopotamia, a married
couple who had left the Bergholz community four years ago, Martin
and Barbara Miller, were attacked at night by five
of their own sons and a son-in law, along with their wives,
all of whom had elected to remain with Mr. Mullet, according to the
The gang left the father with a “ragged
a sheriff’s report described it, then
turned on their mother — who is Mr. Mullet’s sister
— and chopped off large patches of her hair.
“The beard is a key symbol of
masculine Amish identity,” said
Donald B. Kraybill, a sociologist and expert on the Amish at
Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. The women
view their long hair, kept in a bun, as their “glory,”
Dr. Kraybill said, and
shearing it was “an attack on her personal identity and religious
By JOE MACKALL
The New York Times: October 20, 2011
Ashland, Ohio — BY
the time I made my way to Mr. Stutzman’s farm to ask for his
on the renegade Amish of Bergholz, Ohio
— a splinter group that includes several members recently arrested
after participating in assaults on other Amish — I was
too late to break the news. I knew I would be. Several of
my fellow English (that is, non-Amish)
residents of Ashland County had been to see Mr. Stutzman earlier that
morning. All were eager to tell him
of yet another Amish incident. And this was
the best kind — a case of Amish-on-Amish violence.
English always stop by Mr. Stutzman’s
place with news of the outside world, especially if the news reveals
Amish indiscretion, or worse. A few years ago an Amish
man in an adjacent county was sent to prison for sexually abusing
his daughters. Traffic at Mr. Stutzman’s produce stand was heavy
that day, he told me. Folks he’d never seen before stopped by
to pick up a head of lettuce or a bushel of peppers. They stared hard
into his face as they asked if he’d heard about the abuse. Springing
bad news on our Amish neighbors is just something we do around here.
I live surrounded by the Swartzentruber
Amish, widely considered
the most conservative of all Amish. Around
here, people seem either to love or hate them. Unlike
those parts of America without large Amish populations that tend to
romanticize the community, here things take
on a more fundamental, some might even say practical, prejudice.
Around here people love to poke holes in the fabric of Amish solidarity.
The assaults and arrests in Bergholz seem to fit a convenient narrative
for people seeking to discredit the Amish. There’s
evidence of a doctrinal split, which
is as common in the community as straw hats and hay wagons. Schisms
and splinter groups are prevalent among the Amish that I know.
Mr. Stutzman’s neighbor, Mr. Gingerich,
also a Swartzentruber, recently broke off from
Mr. Stutzman’s group over the issue of adding a second lantern
to buggies. Mr. Gingerich is set to move to Maine later this
month to start his own settlement.
All Amish seem to fall into the trap
of believing their way is the true Amish way. So it
comes as no surprise that the attacks in Bergholz, which included
the forced cutting of hair, were the work of a splinter group that
believed somebody had betrayed the true cause, if the attacks can
be credited with such lofty motives.
the case, I know a few things for certain. The Swartzentruber
Amish will continue taking baths only on Saturdays, believing this
deliberate inattention to hygiene is evidence of living the true Amish
way. I know that there will always be splits and schisms among the
Amish. I know that many of
the rural English of Ashland County
will continue to dislike the Amish in general, even
while maintaining genuine friendships with a few. I
know that many Americans will continue to see the Amish as a backward
cult of religious fanatics, but that many more will persist in mythologizing
them, seeing in them what they need to see. I know that, as the writer
Wendell Berry says, America’s view of
the Amish is a “perfect blindness.”
Mackall, a professor of English and creative writing
at Ashland University, is the author of “Plain Secrets:
An Outsider Among the Amish.”
of an Animated Film Roils Tunisia Before Elections
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
The New York Times: October 17, 2011
TUNIS — In the final week of the first election
campaign of the Arab Spring, political
discourse here in Tunisia has been all but consumed by contention
over the television broadcast of an animated film,
“Persepolis,” which touched
off accusations of heresy and censorship.
The episode began when a relatively
small group of ultraconservative Islamists
attacked the television station that had broadcast the 2007 film,
about a Muslim girl growing up in post-revolutionary Iran, because
of a scene in which she rails at God. He is
depicted as she imagines him, violating an Islamic injunction against
But it soon became clear that ultraconservatives
were hardly the only ones offended. The broadcast has touched a nerve
among a far broader section of Tunisia’s Muslims,
even in the coastal regions where many pride themselves on their cosmopolitanism.
“It is true we do not all fast, and we do not all pray,”
said Saleh Mohamed Khoudi, 53, a director of technology at a
private company. “But this is too much.”
Semiha Sehli, 33, who
works in finance, said she wanted nothing to do with the Islamists
and did not trust Ennahda. But even she
was shocked when she saw the offending scene on Facebook.
Sure, she acknowledged, all little children
imagine a personified God. “You can imagine
it, but you shouldn’t put it in a movie,” she said.
The liberal standard-bearer, the Progressive
Democratic Party, sometimes known here as the
Western party, raced to distance itself
from the film. “We are against blasphemy,”
said Ahmed Bouazzi, a member of the party’s
executive committee. “And we respect
the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of creativity.
And we are against violence.”
Jersey High School Teacher Posts Anti-Gay Entry on Facebook
By WINNIE HU
The New York Times: October 13, 2011
A New Jersey high school teacher became the center of a Facebook controversy
after writing on the site that “homosexuality is a perverted spirit
that has existed from the beginning of creation” and complaining
about a school display recognizing October as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender History month.
The teacher, Viki Knox, posted a photo of a display from the school,
Union High School in Union Township, on her personal Facebook page last
week. It included photos of Virginia Woolf, Harvey Milk and Neil Patrick
Harris. When a friend asked if the school had really put it up, Ms.
Knox wrote that it had, and “I’m pitching a fit!”
In subsequent posts, Ms. Knox, who teaches special education classes,
defended her views in lengthy exchanges with other Facebook users, referring
at times to God and her Christian beliefs.
In her Facebook posts, Ms. Knox wrote that while she had friends and
loved ones who were gay, she believed that the way they lived was “against
the nature and character of God” and that the high school was
“not the setting to promote, encourage, support and foster homosexuality.”
Edward Barocas, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union
in New Jersey, said in a statement, “Although we do not agree
with the sentiments expressed on Ms. Knox’s personal Facebook
page, her beliefs and comments are protected by the First Amendment.”
But Mr. Barocas added, “Because her postings raised questions
about her conduct within school, the school district can and should
investigate whether she is performing her job in accordance with school
policies and the state’s Law Against Discrimination.”
Members of Garden State Equality, a statewide civil rights organization
that advocates gay rights, sent hundreds of e-mails and made phone calls
to the district on Thursday demanding that Ms. Knox be dismissed because
of her comments.
Steven Goldstein (right), chairman of the group, said, “If these
Facebook posts are from Ms. Knox, she should not be teaching our children
in public schools.”
John Paragano (left), a lawyer and former member of the Union Township
Committee, said he had been offended by Ms. Knox’s comments, and
questioned her ability to enforce the state’s tough new anti-bullying
“Teachers are at the forefront of that, enforcing that,”
Mr. Paragano said. “My concern is that if this teacher has these
feelings, is she going to call out the bullying of a gay, lesbian and
Words You Can Never Say On Television”
Pastor: Comedian Carlin Said Too Many ‘Dirty Words’
To Get Street Name
Head Of Corpus Christi Church In Morningside
Heights Frowns On Legend's Act
CBSNewYork: October 10, 2011
YORK — There is a controversy brewing in Morningside Heights
over renaming a street in honor of the late comedian George Carlin.
The local Catholic priest says it dishonors his church.
The late Carlin was a thinking man’s comedian and so some here
where he grew up think it’s fitting to rename a stretch of 121st
Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam, in his honor.
However, the pastor at the Catholic church and school Carlin attended
“Certainly he made his early work a mockery of this particular
place — certainly a lot of people by name,” said Pastor
Raymond Rafferty of Corpus Christi Church.
Rafferty said he does not want his school children, who would read
Carlin’s name on a street sign directly across the street, to
be exposed to his often profane brand of humor. “He also was
an extremely vulgar person,” Rafferty said.
Carlin’s 1972 monologue “Seven dirty words you can never
say on television” set new standards. Not only did Carlin’s
seven dirty words make comedy history, they made legal history.
Broadcast in 1973 by New York radio station WBAI, the routine made
it all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1978 effectively established
the regulation of indecency in American broadcasting.
Indecent or not, many here say Carlin deserves the honor.
“George Carlin in another way spoke with an angry but very precise
voice,” graduate student Rosalind Gnatt said.
“God always said you have free will. So George had some free
will — voiced his opinion,” educator Tom Gilmore added.
“If overall he did more good than not good, then I see no harm
in having a street named after him,” education administrator
Fred Schnur said.
Rafferty is not having it. “My response to that? It would be
fine, but not on this street,” he said. Rafferty said putting
it here would be a slap in the face of the church.
The community board promises not to make a decision on renaming the
street until it officially hears the church’s position in a
Georgia, a Lawsuit Over Guns in Church
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS : October 8, 2011
States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta,
last week on a lawsuit brought by a central Georgia church and the
gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org
claiming that a state law banning firearms
in places of worship violates their constitutionally protected religious
State lawyers said it was a small price to pay to allow others to
pray without fearing for their safety. The
panel of judges roundly criticized the suit after hearing arguments
but did not immediately make a ruling.
Georgia is one of a handful of states with such restrictions —
court papers say Arkansas, Mississippi and North Dakota have adopted
similar laws — and court observers, religious leaders and Second
Amendment groups are closely watching this case.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of
the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston,
where the Rev. Jonathan Wilkins
said he wanted to have a gun for protection while working in the church
office. The judges also questioned how banning firearms in a place
of worship violates religious freedoms.
The lawsuit involves a longstanding fight between gun owners and state
over where firearms should be allowed. Most advocates for gun owners
in 2010 when Georgia lawmakers lifted restrictions that had long banned
them from taking weapons to public gatherings.
But the overhaul left intact restrictions that banned guns from government
buildings, courthouses, jails and prisons, state mental health facilities,
nuclear plants and houses of worship. It also restricted owners from
taking weapons into bars without permission from the owner.
Critics of the law argue that
churches should not be included in the restrictions.
“We’re not trying to force
churches to allow guns in their sanctuary,” said Kelly
Kennett, a gun
owner and president of GeorgiaCarry.org.
“Churches should be treated like
any other private property owner. Why are you treating people at churches
differently than how you’d be treated at a store, at a bank,
at a club?”
let them pay TAXES.
devotees lead a buffalo to sacrifice at the Dashain festival,
of Jui Tui shrine, Phuket
Jew prepares to slaughter a chicken in
Kaparot ritual, Tel Aviv
Bomber Opposed Secular Studies
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: October 6, 2011
suicide bomber who killed more than 100 people, including
students seeking scholarships, in an
attack near the Education Ministry on Tuesday was
a dropout who had declared that young
people should forget about secular education and instead wage jihad.
The bomber, Bashar
Abdullahi Nur, had given an interview before the attack,
later broadcast on a militant-run radio station, saying that college
students who study abroad “never think about the harassed Muslims.”
Jesus die for Klingons too?
By Clara Moskowitz
Space.com/CBS News:October 3, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The discovery of intelligent
aliens would be mind-blowing in many
respects, but it could present a special
dilemma for the world's religions, theologians pondering interstellar
travel concepts say.
in particular, might take the news hardest, because the Christian belief
system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe,
Christian thinkers said Saturday at the 100 Year Starship Symposium,
a meeting sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) to discuss issues surrounding traveling to other stars.
In other words, "Did Jesus die for
Klingons too?" as philosophy professor
Christian Weidemann of Germany's Ruhr-University
Bochum titled his talk at a panel on the philosophical
and religious considerations of visiting other worlds. "According
to Christianity, an historic event some 2,000 years ago was supposed
to save the whole of creation," Weidemann
said. "You can grasp the conflict."
Here's how the debate goes: If the whole of creation includes 125 billion
galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each, as astronomers
think, then what if some of these stars have planets with advanced civilizations,
too? Why would Jesus Christ have come to Earth, of all the inhabited
planets in the universe, to save Earthlings and abandon the rest of
and religion can still coexist
a self-described protestant Christian,
suggested some possible solutions.
Perhaps extraterrestrials aren't sinners, like humans, and therefore
aren't in need of saving. However, the principle of mediocrity --
the idea that your own example is most likely typical unless you have
evidence to the contrary -- casts doubt on this, he pointed out.
"If there are extraterrestrial
intelligent beings at
all, it is safe to assume that most of them are sinners too,"
Weidemann (right) said.
"If so, did Jesus save them too?
My position is no. If so, our position among intelligent beings
in the universe would be very exceptional."
Another possibility is that God incarnated multiple
times, sending a version of himself down to save each inhabited
However, based on the best guesses of how many civilizations we might
expect to exist in the universe, and how long planets and civilizations
are expected to survive, God's incarnations
would have had to be in about 250 places simultaneously at any given
time, assuming each incarnation took about 30 years,
Religious food for thought
If God truly became corporeal and took
human form when Jesus Christ was born, this wouldn't have been possible,
Rev. Thomas Hoffmann
protestant pastor in Tulsa, Okla., said that the issues Weidemann
raised were "really on target."
"If life is discovered elsewhere,
unfortunately we need to have more discussion about it,"
Hoffmann said. "I think this is
a very robust conversation we need to have."
While the discovery of extraterrestrial
intelligence would likely spur profound soul-searching for people
of all faiths, many of the world's religions
might have an easier time accommodating the knowledge than Christianity,
said theologist Michael Waltemathe,
also of the Ruhr-University Bochum.
"It seems to be only a problem
of Christianity," Waltemathe said.
for example, Muhammad was a prophet, or messenger of God, not God
incarnate, so additional prophets could have simultaneously
visited other planets to save extraterrestrial species, he said. And
Hindus already believe in multiple deities,
so accommodating more to guard over alien civilizations may not be
"Ultimately, though, the discovery
of intelligent aliens isn't likely to pose a serious crisis for Christianity,
either," Hoffmann said. "After all, the religion has survived
challenging scientific revelations before."
"Religion is essentially conservative," Hoffmann told
SPACE.com. "You can put almost anything in its
face and it's going to shake out a little bit, and then it's going
to drop right back down. We've seen this happen historically."
By MAUREEN DOWD, OP-ED COLUMNIST
The New York Times: October 1, 2011
WASHINGTON - MAYBE it’s the Mario Lanza in him. But
relishes being operatically imprudent.
The Supreme Court justice’s latest
supreme lapse of judgment involves poking his nose in
a local legal wrangle about the place where I slept for four years:
the Catholic University dorms.
In a speech last weekend at Duquesne University
Law School, a Catholic institution in Pittsburgh, Justice
Scalia defended religion in public life.
“Our educational establishment
these days, while so tolerant of and even insistent on diversity in
all other aspects of life, seems bent on eliminating the diversity
of moral judgment, particularly moral judgment based on religious
views,” the devout Catholic said.
As an example, he cited the lawsuit
filed by the “notoriously
litigious” George Washington University
law professor John Banzhaf (left)
against Catholic U.’s new ban on coed
In June, the president of Catholic
U., John Garvey (right),
wrote an op-ed
piece in The Wall Street Journal explaining
why, as a father of five, he
felt the need to resort to a “countercultural” and “slightly
old-fashioned remedy,” ending 25 years of coed dorms. He said
he believed single-sex dorms would “improve the practice of
virtue,” reducing binge drinking and “the culture of hooking
Using a formula that’s the inverse of “Sex and the City,”
Garvey wrote: “Rates of depression
reach 20 percent for young women who have had two or more sexual partners
in the last year, almost double the rate for women who have had none.
Sexually active young men do more poorly than abstainers in their
He made note of the sad slide from proud feminism to proud sluttiness.
“I would have thought that young
women would have a civilizing influence on young men,”
he wrote. “Yet the causal arrow
seems to run the other way.”
Banzhaf, who calls
Garvey’s arguments “totally secular,” pronounced
himself “astonished that a justice of
the nation’s highest court would single out and prejudge a legal
proceeding which could set an important precedent, and could one day
even come before the U.S. Supreme Court.”
As the Supreme Court gets ready to go
into session on Monday, its six Catholic justices
were set to merge church and state by attending the traditional first-Sunday-in-October
Red Mass at St.
Matthew’s Cathedral. (It’s hard
to believe there’s no Protestant on the Supreme Court.) Through
the years, the presiding clergy have aimed their homilies against
abortion, gay marriage and “humanism.”
Justices of other faiths have attended; but as
Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Slate,
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right)
stopped attending the Red Mass altogether after hearing her
very first homily, which she has described as ‘outrageously
In 2007, there was a kerfuffle about Catholic dominance on the court
because the five justices who pushed to uphold the ban on “partial-birth
abortion” were all Catholic men appointed by conservative presidents.
The church has
aggressively meddled in politics on abortion, trying to defeat
candidates who support abortion rights and prevent some liberal politicians
from receiving Communion. But American bishops
have been inconsistent in preaching their values.
They do not try to bring down politicians
who supported the Iraq war, even though Pope John Paul II spoke out
against it and sent a Vatican cardinal to warn W. that the war would
be a “disaster” that would “destroy human life.”
They do not express outrage at Republican audiences that cheer for
executions, or target pols who brag on the death penalty, even though
John Paul issued an encyclical against “the culture of death,”
saying modern states have so many ways to protect citizens that the
necessity for executions is “very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
Scalia, confident in his own infallibility,
dissented. As he wrote in a religious journal in 2002,
he does not find the death penalty
immoral, and he believes that as the “minister
of God,” government has powers to get “revenge”
and “execute wrath.” He’s clearly more an Old
Testament guy than New, or he
would know that some prisoners get falsely accused
and nailed to the cross (Matthew 26:59-66).
Now Scalia has dissented from the opinion
of a second pope on the issue. Pope Benedict
Georgia state officials a letter last month asking
for clemency for Troy Davis (left),
but the very Catholic Supreme Court denied a
last-minute stay of execution.
In his Duquesne speech, Scalia said:
“If I thought that Catholic doctrine held
the death penalty to be immoral, I would resign. I could not be a
part of a system that imposes it.”
My family priest, Father Kevin O’Neil,
teaches about “cooperation in
evil” in Catholic
moral theology. If you facilitate something
that has been deemed wrong, like taking a human life, are you cooperating
Maybe the Supreme
Court should ask itself that question.
you “cooperating in evil,” Justice Scalia?
Collide as Town Clerk Sidesteps Role in Gay Marriages
By THOMAS KAPLAN
The New York Times: September 27, 2011
N.Y. — Rose Marie Belforti is a
57-year-old cheese maker, the elected town clerk
in this sprawling Finger Lakes farming community and a self-described
Bible-believing Christian. She believes that God
has condemned homosexuality as a sin, so she does not want to sign
same-sex marriage licenses; instead, she has arranged for a
deputy to issue all marriage licenses by appointment.
But when a lesbian
couple who own a farm near here showed up at the town hall last month,
the women said they were unwilling to wait.
Now Ms. Belforti is at the heart of an emerging test case, as national
advocacy groups look to Ledyard for an answer to how the state balances
a religious freedom claim by a local official against a civil rights
claim by a same-sex couple.
Ms. Belforti, represented by a Christian
legal advocacy group based in Arizona, the Alliance Defense Fund,
is arguing that state law requires New York to accommodate her religious
“New York law protects my right to hold both my job and my beliefs,”
she said in an interview last week, pausing briefly to collect $50
from a resident planning to take 20 loads of refuse to the town dump.
“I’m not supposed to have
to leave my beliefs at the door at my government job.”
But the couple, Deirdre
DiBiaggio and Katie Carmichael of Miami, are arguing
that the law requires all clerks in
New York to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The couple are being represented by
a liberal advocacy organization, People for
the American Way, based in Washington.
Arabia: 10 Lashes for Driving
By LIAM STACK
Published: September 27, 2011
Two days after
King Abdullah (right with Pope
Benedict} granted women the right to vote and run for
starting in 2015, a court on Tuesday sentenced a woman to 10 lashes
for violating religious rules prohibiting women in the kingdom from
driving, activists and local news media said. The woman,
Shaimaa Ghassaneya, was found guilty of driving in Jidda in
July. Her sentence was unusually severe for the crime,
which typically results in several days of detention. Activists said
she planned to appeal. More women have
been encouraged to violate the driving ban in recent months, as part
of the social media-driven Women2Drive
campaign. At least two more were expected to stand
trial in the coming months.
battle on subways
By JENNIFER FERMINO
New York Post: September 21, 2011
A holy war is brewing
on the city’s subways.
An controversial activist -- incensed at a slew of underground billboards
Israel -- is threatening to sue the MTA if it doesn’t run her
counter-ads likening enemies of the Jewish state to “savages.”
“This is an absolute free-speech issue,” said Pamela Geller.
“We’re preparing the paperwork as we speak.”
Her inflammatory ad was sent to the MTA a week ago, but she has yet
to receive a response. From past experience, Geller -- co-founder
of the American Freedom Defense Initiative -- said it usually takes
a matter of hours for approval. But this isn’t just any advertisement.
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support
the civilized man,” the ad states. “Support Israel. Defeat
The ad is meant as a response to more than a dozen subway-stations
anti-Israel billboards put up in by a group called WESPACK since the
beginning of the month.
Those ads feature pictures of smiling children with the message, “We
are on the side of peace and justice. End US military aid to Israel.”
A less controversial rebuttal to those ads has already been approved
by the MTA.
On Monday, the group Stand With Us will begin running its ads reading,
“Israel Needs a Partner for Peace.”
The MTA declined comment.
Clergy at 9/11 Ceremony Prompts Protest
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
The New York Times: September 8, 2011
The second Sunday after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, New York clergy members of many faiths joined elected
officials at Yankee Stadium in a city-sponsored memorial ceremony
that melded the sacred and the secular, replete with flags, prayers
Ten years later, any consensus that
existed about the appropriate role of religion in public ceremonies
marking a monumental American trauma has fallen apart.
R. Bloomberg has come under attack by
some religious and political leaders for not including clergy members
as speakers at Sunday’s official ceremony at ground
zero on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
Richard D. Land (left),
president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty
Commission, which is the public policy arm of the
Southern Baptist Convention,
said in an interview that the planned
ceremony only proved that New York was the “epicenter
of secularism,” out of step with the rest of America.
“We’re not France,”
he said. “Mr. Bloomberg is pretending we’re a secular
society, and we are not.”
Randy Forbes (right),
a Republican representative from Virginia and a co-chairman
of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, sent Mr. Bloomberg a letter
on behalf of the caucus members urging him to include prayer in the
At the same time, some evangelical
Christian leaders said they were outraged that an interfaith
prayer service planned by the Washington National
Cathedral did not include a Southern
Baptist or other evangelical minister.
“In miniature, this is what’s happening to the whole country,”
said Alan Wolfe
director of the Boisi Center for Religion and
American Public Life at Boston College. “9/11
was this moment that we came together, and it lasted about three-and-a-half
minutes. The country went from a brief
moment of something like unity, to complete Balkanization, and
now we’re seeing it in religion and in politics, like in everything
In a nation of unprecedented religious diversity, the United States
once managed to navigate religion in public life with relatively generic
acknowledgments of the sacred — a tradition often referred to
as civil religion.
Ten years ago, the event at Yankee Stadium and a prayer service at
Washington National Cathedral attended by President George W. Bush
were conducted in that tradition, and they were held with no controversy
to speak of. But now, Professor Wolfe
said, “the civil
religion, those informal kinds of agreements, can’t work if
everyone is going to be litigious.”
“The structure for this program
was designed 10 years ago, with the consultation
of a lot of families of those who died, and it is primarily for the
Mr. Bloomberg’s press secretary, said.
It is wrong to say the ceremony excludes
prayer or clergy members, Mr. Loeser said. Chaplains
for the Fire and Police Departments and the Port Authority police
often attend, and “we think most people use
those moments of silence for reflection and prayer,” he said.
But these explanations have not prevented
the controversy from becoming a
galvanizing issue for conservative religious
groups and media outlets and Christian talk radio.
On Thursday, the Family Research Council,
a conservative Christian lobbying group in Washington, and City
Councilman Fernando Cabrera (left),
who is a pastor in the Bronx, delivered what they
said were 62,000 petition signatures to Mr. Bloomberg’s office
calling on him to include clergy members in the ceremony.
The parallel controversy over the interfaith
prayer service in Washington proves that it
is difficult to avoid criticism even when religious leaders are included
in a public ceremony.
The controversy was fueled this week
on Fox News when Gretchen Carlson (left),
co-host of “Fox
and Friends,” said that because of “political correctness,”
the cathedral had included “fringe groups”
like Buddhist nuns in the prayer service, but not
“We’re going to have a
Buddhist nun, which we didn’t even know existed,”
Underlying the Washington debate is
the divide between mainline and evangelical
cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington,
and some conservative evangelical figures say
they are uncomfortable that the cathedral is often the site
of major events in the national spotlight.
On Clergy-Led Prayer At 9/11 Anniversary Draws Criticism
CBSNewYork/AP: September 2, 2011
NEW YORK — Christian
conservatives are condemning Mayor Michael
Bloomberg’s decision to
bar clergy-led prayer at the 10th
anniversary commemoration of the terrorist attacks, calling
the program an insult. Others wonder whether the mayor
is trying to dodge the potentially thorny
issue of including a Muslim
The mayor’s office says the annual
event focuses on relatives of Sept. 11 victims and has never included
clergy invocations. Bloomberg has said it would be
impossible to include everyone who would like to participate.
Evelyn Erskine, a Bloomberg spokeswoman,
said the program was designed in
coordination with 9/11 families and included readings that
were “spiritual and personal in
moments of silence were planned for personal reflection and prayer.
and fire chaplains who work with the 9/11 families will attend.
than have disagreements over which religious leaders participate,
we would like to keep the focus of our commemoration
ceremony on the family members of those who died,” Erskine
“I just think a decision was made to give priority to the families.
If this means more families will be attending, I think all of us can
accept that,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president
of the New York Board of Rabbis.
Critics including the Catholic
League and the Family
Research Council, argue
the program reflects prejudice against religion and
ignores the central role religious groups played in the city’s
“Nobody was turning religious leaders away from the scene 10
years ago. Why are they being banned from the 10th anniversary?”
said the Rev.
Richard Land, who leads the public policy arm of the Southern
Baptist Convention. “The
only answer pure and simple is anti-religious prejudice.”
Donohue (left), head of the Catholic League,
said the Bloomberg administration seems to be arguing that clergy
would detract from the event. The Washington-based Family
Research Council, a conservative Christian public policy group,
has posted a petition demanding Bloomberg reverse his decision.
Family Association, based in Tupelo, Miss., whose policy
director [Bryan Fischer - right]
argues that freedom of religion applies only
to Christians [and claims that, not only was
Adolf Hitler gay, but all his “Brownshirts” were too],
called the exclusion of prayer an insult to
“the faith of Americans and indeed to God himself.”
Are Killed in Muslim-Christian
REUTERS: September 6, 2011
Nigeria - At least 14 people have been
killed in violence between Christian and Muslim
youths in central Nigeria’s volatile Plateau State
since Sunday night, the authorities said. With the latest deaths,
at least 50 people have been killed in the ethnically and religiously
mixed area in the last week. The authorities said
the violence began when Christian
youths attacked some Muslims as
they gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan
in Jos, the capital of
Plateau State. Plateau State straddles
Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and
largely Christian south.
holy hog: Hasidic bikers spread word
By REUVEN FENTON
New York Post: September 6, 2011
Hells Angels they ain't. A tough-looking,
leather-clad gang of Hasidic bikers
who call themselves
are cruising the tri-state area, bringing God's word to other motorcycle-riding
Jews they meet on the road.
The Riders -- members of the Brooklyn-based
Lubavitch sect -- say their love of choppers
gives them something in common with Jews
who might have strayed onto the Highway to Hell.
"[Some fellow Jews] make comments that what we do is not a Jewish
thing. They say, 'How can you ride bikes
as Jews and say it's for a Jewish purpose?'" said Jonah
Halper, 30, who founded the Riders earlier this year.
The Riders' moniker was inspired by the late Lubavitcher
Rabbi Menachem Schneerson,
whose thousands of disciples proselytize around the world.
"I get that the Hells Angels have
a negative connotation, but there's not
something inherently wrong with a motorcycle gang
if there's a higher purpose," Halper said.
"That's a good thing. Debauchery
is a bad thing."
Issue Warning Over Water Fights
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: September 5, 2011
Iran - Iranian officials warned Monday
that “counterrevolutionaries” from
abroad were behind
the flash mobs of young people who have been
holding boisterous water gun fights in
public parks across the country. Gen.
Ahmad Radan, the acting Iranian police commander,
was quoted in newspapers on Monday as saying that a number of people
were arrested at an Tehran park on Friday, and he vowed
that police would act to prevent future water fights.
Hard-liners see the water fights as
unseemly and immoral, breaking taboos
against the social mixing of men and women,
and they worry that the gatherings
could weaken adherence to Iran’s cleric-led Islamic rule or
even build into outright protests against the ruling system.
MAMADOU CUSPERT |
Officials Alarmed by Ex-Rapper’s New Message: Jihad
By SOUAD MEKHENNET
The New York Times: SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
BERLIN — The
man German security officials call a major security risk looks like
from a rap video, especially with the
tattoos on his hands. The right one says “STR8,”
and the left one “Thug.”
“This is from the days when I lived the
life of an unbeliever,” said the man,
Denis Mamadou Cuspert, as he clenched his fists
and looked at the tattoos. “Allah will erase them from
me one day.”
Mr. Cuspert, once a popular rapper in Germany, today is one of the best-known
singers of nasheeds, or Islamic devotional music, in German. Security
officials say, though, that he is an influential figure who incites
violence and unrest through inflammatory videos and fiery speeches that
praise terrorists and attack the West.
Rules on Scarves Are Cited in a Melee
By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS and JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
The New York Times: August 31, 2011
A scuffle broke out at an amusement
park in Westchester County on Tuesday when a
group of Muslims there to celebrate the end of Ramadan
were told that women could not wear their head
coverings on certain rides, park officials and witnesses said.
Fifteen people were arrested.
The Muslim American Society of New York
had arranged the trip to Playland Park
in Rye, which was expected to bring some 3,000 people
to the site from New York City, as well as surrounding suburbs like
Yonkers and parts of Long Island.
About 2:30 p.m., the day took a sour turn when some
of the female Muslim visitors, most of whom arrived in head scarves,
were told they could not get on certain rides —
including the Catch-a-Wave ride, the Crazy Mouse roller coaster and
the Dragon Coaster (left)
— because their heads were covered
by the Muslim hijab.
Ola Salem, 17,
of Coney Island, Brooklyn, was visiting with the group and wearing
a pink and gray head scarf. She said
she asked a park employee if she could join her 8-year-old sister
on a ride.
“They said no because my of my ‘headgear,’ “
Ms. Salem said.
said, ‘It’s not my headgear, it’s my religion.’"
Ms. Salem said
she asked to speak with a supervisor and was presented with a list
of rides that would require her to remove
her scarf. More than a dozen of the park’s rides,
she said, were on the list.
According to park officials, disappointed
customers were then offered a refund, and several people proceeded
to the park’s main entrance to get back the $20 each member
of the group had paid.
Then, the Parks Department said, about
20 members of the Muslim American group started fighting among themselves,
there was pushing and shoving, so some park rangers intervened.
Some people who
came to the park with the group said the fight began when a
park employee touched a Muslim woman, at which point
tempers flared. “We don’t
have any knowledge of that at all from the police end or from the
parks end,” said
Peter Tartaglia, the deputy commissioner of the Parks Department.
County officials say that the ban
on headgear [of any sorts] for some rides is a longstanding
safety policy and that the organizers had been warned about it
[and] blamed the trip’s organizers for not informing the guests
that they would have to remove their headscarves.
The New York Times: September 8, 2011
Four years ago, the Bush administration issued a regulation to
protect families of veterans distressed by the intrusion of
volunteer honor guards offering unsolicited prayers and recitations
at national cemetery funeral rites. The administration
chose the only sensible course, directing that the family of the deceased
— “and only they” — would identify any text
to be read, not outside groups, however much they invoked God
That regulation is being challenged in the Texas
courts by some honor guards and a conservative legal group, the Liberty
Institute. They have backed it up with a video and propaganda
assault via the Internet against President Obama, not Mr. Bush. They
claim, falsely, that the Obama administration has banned
the mention of God and decreed “Jesus is not welcome”
at veterans’ burials.
The truth is that all manner of ritual — from religious to secular
— is being honored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but
only according to each family’s preference. Yet the lawsuit
oddly invokes religious freedom in challenging the Houston National
Cemetery’s attempt to follow policy.
The Veterans Affairs procedure under the regulation is to have funeral
directors tell families that volunteer honor guards are available
for services but that they are free to decline. Other veterans groups
do not quarrel with this, as James Dao reported in The Times.
No one denies that honor guard volunteers, marching as dedicated veterans
themselves, have offered great comfort to many families over the years.
But the honor guards enjoy no claim to primacy at graveside. The
wishes of a grieving family should never be overridden by outsiders,
however well intentioned.
• • •
Resting Place, and Battleground
By JAMES DAO
The New York Times: August 30, 2011
Every week, thousands of veterans are buried at national cemeteries,
often to the sorrowful
sound of a bugle. Yet even for families
that quietly mourn their dead, these can be the most public of private
affairs, taking on deep meaning — about
politics, war and religion — to others, particularly
it is that in Houston, with one of the
nation’s busiest national cemeteries, controversy
exploded when the new cemetery director began enforcing a little-noticed
2007 policy that prohibits volunteer honor guards from reading recitations
— including religious ones — in their funeral rituals,
unless families specifically request them.
The new enforcement outraged members
of local veterans organizations who have long infused their ceremonies
with references to God. This summer,
they filed a lawsuit against the Department
of Veterans Affairs that has turned the national cemetery into
a battleground over the role of prayer in
The plaintiffs, aided by a conservative
legal group, the Liberty Institute, contend
they should be allowed to use a Veterans of Foreign Wars script dating
from World War I that refers to the deceased as “a brave man”
with an “abiding faith in God”
and that seeks comfort from an “almighty
and merciful God.” The institute has
publicized the dispute nationwide with slick videos and a Web site
declaring that “Jesus is not welcome
lawsuit, which alleges religious discrimination
by the government, and the videos have generated angry
letters and Internet commentary against the Department
of Veterans Affairs, as well as demands from
members of the Texas Congressional delegation,
mostly Republicans, that the Obama administration fire the Houston
cemetery director, Arleen Ocasio.
Department of Veterans Affairs officials say that the
original policy, enacted under President George
W. Bush, resulted from complaints about religious words or
icons being inserted unrequested into
veterans’ funerals. They noted that active-duty
military honor guards, including the teams that do funerals at Arlington
National Cemetery, say almost nothing during their ceremonies.
“We do what the families wish,”
said Steve L. Muro,
the under secretary for memorial affairs. “I
always tell my employees we have just one chance to get it right.”
message was that the people in Houston should not do this V.F.W. ritual
uninvited, and they did not want to hear that,” said
Jim Strickland (right), a Vietnam-era veteran who
runs a blog called VAWatchdogtoday.org.
He Sold Fakes. They Are Supposed to Be Fake
By JEFFREY E. SINGER and COREY KILGANNON
The New York Times: August 24, 2011
The items, mostly copies of luxury objects,
inside the little shop in downtown Manhattan
are made of thin cardboard and might not even pass muster deep in
the background of a movie set.
But that did not deter the police from arresting a shop worker on
counterfeiting charges for selling several items, including Louis
Vuitton and Burberry handbags.
There is just one problem: the items
are supposed to be fake.
The store, Fook
On Sing Funeral Supplies, on Mulberry Street
along what is known in Chinatown as Funeral Row, sells traditional
objects of mourning, mostly copies of luxury objects. The items are
made of cardboard, paper and plastic, to be used at funerals as symbolic
gifts for the deceased. The cardboard
models are burned as part of traditional Chinese funeral practices.
The store sells a cardboard mansion for $400 and a cardboard flat-screen
television for $40. There are stacks of money ($10,000 bills) for
sale, as well as miniature sports cars, cellphones, double-breasted
suits and even smiling dolls to act
as servants in the hereafter.
“When people die, they feel they are going
to need things in the next world,” explained one of the
store’s owners, Amy Mak-Chan, who
is the arrested man’s aunt. “They
might want a car and a house and other nice things. People buy these
things here, to give them as gifts at the funeral.”
Fabricated Swashbuckling Tales of Saving Holocaust Torahs
By JAMES BARRON
The New York Times: August 24, 2011
described himself as a risk-taking rabbi who had been “beaten
up, thrown in jail and gone $175,000 into debt” on “expeditions”
to Eastern Europe.
He said his mission was to rescue and restore
Torahs that had been “wrenched from their communities during
the Holocaust” and place them with congregations that
would look after them.
“I guess you could call me the Jewish
Indiana Jones,” he wrote in 2004.
But on Wednesday, the rabbi, Menachem
was arrested in Manhattan on fraud
charges. Court papers said he had never gone to the far-flung
places he talked about and had made up the stories he told about discovering
Torahs at the sites
of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps — or
in Iraq in 2007.
Instead, prosecutors accused him of
selling fake Torahs and pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars
through Save a Torah, the nonprofit organization
he co-founded in 2004. A postal inspector who investigated
Rabbi Youlus’s dealings also challenged
his tale of financial troubles, saying in court papers that the rabbi
had never been deeply in debt.
The postal inspector,
Greg Ghiozzi, said that Rabbi
Youlus had taken more than $340,000 of
the $1.2 million collected by the charity,
including at least $145,000
he had diverted into his own bank account. Mr. Ghiozzi spelled out
how Rabbi Youlus had used the money
to pay for private school tuition for his children and for personal
expenses, including meals and health care.
Psychic and Her Family Cheated Clients of $40 Million
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
The New York Times: August 22, 2011
MIAMI — The promise of good karma did not come cheaply
for devotees of a South Florida psychic
whom federal prosecutors have portrayed as the matriarch of a fortune-telling
family with a lust for luxury.
The government has charged the psychic,
Rose Marks, 60, and nine others with cheating
customers, including a best-selling author, of $40 million in cash,
goods and property since 1991 by preying on them at vulnerable moments.
Operating four shops in well-heeled Broward County neighborhoods, the
family told clients that they should hand over their cash and goods
to help wash away curses, cure health problems and change their fortunes.
But first the money and valuables had to be freed from evil spirits,
prosecutors said clients were told. If the clients didn’t pay
up, the government charged on Friday, they were told that terrible things
would befall them. The Marks family then assured clients that all money
and goods would be returned, a promise that was seldom, if ever, kept.
Instead, jewels were stashed away and millions of dollars were used
to create a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said. When federal agents
searched the Marks family’s main house, they discovered hundreds
of fancy rings (some with diamonds), watches and necklaces bearing brand
names like Tiffany and Cartier. They found a trove of gold coins and
seized about a dozen expensive cars, including a Bentley.
Ms. Marks and seven other suspects are in custody in Florida and New
York, and face charges that include conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud
and money laundering. A ninth suspect was scheduled to be in court in
West Palm Beach this week, and the 10th was still at large.
Their lawyer argued in court that they were running a legitimate business
and that they provided counseling for distraught people.
Very Good Sense
The New York Times: August 19, 2011
Gov. Chris Christie
of New Jersey often goes too far, whether it’s
bullying teachers or
rejecting much-needed federal financing for a tunnel under the Hudson.
Last month, however, the bluster was
aimed at the right targets: ignorance and religious
erupted in outrage at critics who attacked his decision to nominate
Sohail Mohammed, a Muslim lawyer, to
be a state judge.
The nastiest commentary came in January when Mr. Christie announced
his choice. One anti-Muslim blogger
wrote that it meant New Jersey had “taken
its first step toward becoming the Shariah state.” Another
wrote that Mr. Christie (who insists he isn’t
running for president) was “off
Some of New Jersey’s state senators
bought into this irrationality, grilling Mr. Mohammed during his June
confirmation hearing about his views on “jihad.”
Fortunately, rationality finally prevailed and the Senate approved
him as a Superior Court judge in Passaic County.
Mr. Christie’s response to all
this, like a lot of his pugnacious moments, is available on YouTube.
“This Shariah law business is
crap,” he fumed. “It’s
just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”
He praised Mr. Mohammed for his work
as an attorney after Sept. 11, 2001, helping to free Muslims unfairly
caught in the F.B.I.’s sweep of arrests. And he praised him
for later working with law enforcement to combat future terrorist
attacks, adding, “I’m
happy that he’s willing to serve after all this baloney.”
We hope those words will shame his friends
on the Republican right and finally quiet
all the candidates who are cynically trawling
for votes claiming, absurdly, that Muslim
religious law is threatening to take over the American legal system.
Mr. Christie said, it’s baloney.
O'Donnell walks out on Piers Morgan
CBS News: August 18, 2011
If you want to sell a book,
and you seek out live television platforms to do so - particularly television
news chat shows hosted by former tabloid editors - you had better
be prepared to discuss the most contentious themes in that
was not, and the tea party
darling of Delaware was prepared to leave CNN
host Piers Morgan in the lurch and call him rude to avoid discussing
the hot-button issue of gay marriage
on Wednesday night.
O'Donnell... is touting her new book,
Her publicists clearly laid out ground rules for the interview with
Morgan - the former editor of one of Britain's biggest
tabloids who's carved a tidy career out of spilling stars' salacious
secrets - which likely banned any discussion
of topics not in the book.
But Morgan either
chose to ignore those ground rules, the rules
failed to specify that only certain topics from the book were
fair game, or O'Donnell's team failed to
realize the book does, in fact, address the theme of gay marriage.
the "warm-them-up-first" trajectory, Morgan let O'Donnell
speak about her topic of preference, the state of America's
finances, before getting at the social issues which he knew would make
for more compelling television. But it
wasn't long before Morgan brought up O'Donnell's previous remarks about
masturbation and her Catholic-rooted
beliefs regarding homosexuality and marriage.
want to talk about the issue that I talk about in the book,"
she warned Morgan.
"Do you answer that question in the
book?" Morgan fired back.
"I talk about my religious beliefs,
yeah," she said,
before quickly attempting to re-shift the focus onto her book's goal
of bolstering tea party members in their effort to "bring
America back to the second American revolution. That's my goal, that's
my focus right now."
It was not, however, what Morgan wanted
to focus on, so he tried
again on the gay marriage theme by asking
O'Donnell whether she agreed with Michele Bachmann's
stance on the military's soon-to-be-repealed "don't
ask don't tell" policy.
At this, O'Donnell became visibly annoyed,
but forced a laugh and refused to answer the question, again pointing
out the fact that she was "not talking about policies"
(at least, not the policies she didn't
want to talk about) as she's not running for office.
Morgan's next question likely
marked the beginning of the end of his interview:
you being so weird about this?"
"I'm not being weird about this,
Piers. I'm not running for office, I'm not promoting a legislative agenda.
I'm promoting the policies that I lay out in the book, that are mostly
fiscal, that are mostly constitutional. That's why I agreed to come
on your show, that's what I want to talk about. I'm not being weird,
you're being a little rude," she told the host.
"I think I'm being rather charming
and respectful," retorted a seemingly confused
Morgan, in a way that only an Englishman could.
"Don't you think as a host, if I
say this is what I want to talk about, that's what we should address?"
"Have you read the book?" asked
"Yes, but these issues are in your
book, that's my point. You do talk about them," he
pleaded, but by this stage it was too late.
The camera on O'Donnell had pulled away,
she was taking her microphone off, and the interview was over.
the video. Please click √
Say Brooklyn Tent Revival Volume So Loud,
They’re Praying To God It Stops
Called In To Measure Decibel Levels Of Gospel Tabernacle Church
CBS New York: August 17, 2011
YORK — A church group in Brooklyn says they set
up a tent in Flatbush to spread the word of God. But
neighbors say the message is so loud, it’s keeping them up at
night. Every night for the entire month
of August the Gospel Tabernacle Church
hosts a spiritual revival.
Some neighbors say they’re not bothered by the message. They
are bothered by the volume of the message.
with the windows closed, AC running, TV blasting, I feel like I’m
sitting in the middle of the revival,” Stacie
Williams told CBS 2’s
“My son who is 4 years old, says
at night ‘I can’t go to sleep because
I can hear the church,’” Janee Harvey added.
Harvey has complained to the church group, police, city officials,
and even started a neighborhood petition to get the group to quiet
down. Bishop Kingsford Bloomfield
said his Gospel Tabernacle Church is addressing the problem.
“We have tried to keep our levels
down, but still enough so the community can hear us,” Bishop
Parks measured illegal levels on her meter. “Every night
if this is what you had to face when you’re trying to go to
sleep or you’re trying to have dinner with your family and you
know you’re hearing noise coming out, you know it definitely
starts to invade all parts of your life,”
The Dutch of the Golden Age (XVII c.), who gave us
oil paint, the art gallery, genre painting and still life,
letter writing, the postal service, international trade, the
stock market, the tulip and gin, also embraced religious tolerance,
“freedom of religion” … and FROM it. While
the they were free to believe or not in whatever got them
through the night, it was to be done so privately. Banned
were all outward manifestations and religious symbols.
No proselytizing, no problem, no noise.
KEEP YOUR FAITHS OUT OF MY FACE!
August 17, 2011 at 9:08 am
caught you. Blatant plagiarism! Give credit where it is due
(even if this is only a comment blog on a news site). Mark
Oppenheimer from the Times wrote your entire seemingly extemporaneous
prose in Oct, 2010. I read your post and remembered reading
those exact words somewhere….thus
Shame on you…
I’ve read your comments many times thinking
you were as cerebral as me… oh well,
another “Google smarty pants.” I’ve
lost my respect for you.
August 17, 2011 at 9:55 am
GOT ME!!!!! I’ have been
OUTED! I must confess.
Plagiarism it is NOT.
THAT IS ME, that comment is mine and all the links
are from MY WEBSITE.
I am with my Schnauzer, RODIN,
who lets me use his e-mail address because his paws don’t
allow him to type.
August 17, 2011 at 10:42 am
doc in NJ
my apologies, dear knowledgeable Sir.
as an aside, your erudite writing
is most refreshing.
August 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Apologies accepted. No hard feelings.
Friendly advice: you shoulda done a search of my name. There
are about 35,600 results on Google. I’m not exactly
Good without god.
August 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm
I’m NOT erudite. I don’t
know more than others. I just question more …
August 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm
IN THE GARDEN OF HEATHEN
not see this coming:
Psychic frauds busted after raking in $40M over 20 years, feds say
BY BOB KAPPSTATTER AND MIKE JACCARINO
DAILY NEWS: Wednesday, August 17th 2011
psychics who the feds say are swindlers running a fortune-telling biz
near The Plaza hotel didn't see this one coming.
The Secret Service busted
nine of the Marks clan
Tuesday - two in New
York and the rest in Florida
- after a probe revealed mystic skulduggery stretching from New York
to Florida, prosecutors say.
The feds, who dubbed their investigation Operation
Crystal Ball, say the family ran a psychic conoperation
and raked in about $40
million over 20 years, according to
The Miami Herald.
According to a 61-count indictment, the
Marks clan offered tall tales of divine help
a cost of a pretty penny.
Nancy Marks, who lived
on W.58th St., squeezed a client for the
partial cost of a Cartier watch, telling
her she would use the timepiece to "turn
back time and bring love back" into her life,
The Herald reported.
The client wound up with an empty
Assault Victim Gets Harsher Sentence Than His Attackers
By AUBREY BELFORD
The New York Times: August 16, 2011
DENPASAR, Indonesia — An Indonesian
man who survived a deadly mob attack by Muslim
was sentenced Monday to six months in prison,
prompting outrage from rights groups over a sentence harsher than those
received by some of his assailants.
a member of Ahmadiyya, a
minority Muslim sect that many conservative
Muslims consider heretical,
was found guilty
by a district court in Banten Province on charges stemming from the
attack in February. Judges said that he had refused police orders
to leave the scene and that he had wounded one of the attackers.
The judges rejected a charge of incitement leveled by prosecutors,
who had sought a sentence of nine months.
The clash, in the remote district of Cikeusik,
caused outrage after a graphic video of it surfaced online. It showed
the police offering little resistance
as more than 1,000 villagers descended on a home where 21 Ahmadis
were staying, killing three of them
and then beating and stomping on their mud-covered
The attack and trial that followed were
widely denounced as evidence
of declining religious tolerance in Indonesia, where the police,
government officials and the justice system have often appeared reluctant
to punish — and, in some cases, are accused of having colluded
with — Islamic hard-liners, who have engaged
in increasingly frequent attacks on Christian churches and on properties
owned by Ahmadiyya.
Last month the same court sentenced 12 villagers, including
a 17-year-old seen in the video bashing a man’s skull with a
rock, to three to six
months in jail for their involvement in the attack.
did not seek charges of murder or manslaughter.
Views of Imelda Marcos' closet with 2700 pairs of shoes
was a shameful exhibit"
Philippine Art Exhibit Is Closed
By CARLOS H. CONDE
Yhe New York Times: August 9, 2011
MANILA — Officials shut down a controversial
art exhibition on Tuesday after a storm of
public protest that included criticism from President
Benigno S. Aquino III (left), who called the artwork offensive
to the country’s Christian majority.
One of the artists whose work was on display at the Cultural
Center of the Philippines, Mideo Cruz (above right), criticized
the action, saying in an interview that
it would “become a freedom of expression
issue” with far-reaching implications for artists and government-financed
venues like the cultural center.
The exhibit, which opened in June, had been scheduled to close Aug.
21. Critics called it an affront
to Christianity in a country whose population of 94 million is
predominantly Roman Catholic. Among the
works on display was a wooden cross with a protruding
Although the cultural center’s board cited vandalism and threats
as the reasons for the closing, Mr. Aquino
said on Tuesday that he had told board members that the exhibition was
inappropriate for a center that relies on public financing.
While he respected freedom of expression,
the president said,
that freedom is not absolute.
The center’s board said
in a statement on Tuesday that it would
“continue to act as catalyst for free expression of Filipino artists”
but that it had “reviewed its policies” and that it was
“taking steps to enable its officers and staff to make more informed
decisions in the future.”
On Monday, Imelda Marcos
(below), the country’s former first lady, visited
the exhibition and expressed
her disgust at Mr. Cruz’s work, which featured
and icons mixed with images of pop culture figures. In
one part of the installation, a used condom was
draped on a cross.
who oversaw construction of the center during the rule of her husband,
Ferdinand Marcos, said she had persuaded
the board to close the exhibit. “It was a shameful exhibit, especially
since it was placed in the Cultural Center of the Philippines,”
Mrs. Marcos told reporters on Monday. “We
built that to be the sanctuary of the Filipino
soul and a monument to the Filipino spirit.”
Mr. Cruz is
known for his irreverent installations, which he says are meant to raise
questions about the “culture of
idolatry” in the Philippines.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: August 5, 2011
- The polygamist sect leader Warren
S. Jeffs was convicted of child sexual assault on Thursday,
in a case involving two girls he took as brides in “spiritual
used DNA evidence to show he fathered a child with a 15-year-old and
played an audio recording of what they said was him sexually
assaulting a 12-year-old girl. They also played recordings
in which he was heard instructing young women
on how to please him sexually. Mr. Jeffs, 55,
head of the Fundamentalist Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, claimed
that his religious rights were being trampled on and that
God would seek revenge if the trial continue.
Leader Gets Life in Prison for Assault
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: August 9, 2011
Texas — Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs
recorded everything he said. Thousands of pages, written with Biblical
flourish, about God wanting him to take 12-year-old wives. About those
girls needing to sexually please him. About men he banished for not
building his temple fast enough.
Facing his last chance to keep his freedom, Jeffs didn't say a word.
was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for sexually assaulting
one of his child brides — among 24 underage wives prosecutors
said Jeffs collected — and received the maximum 20-year punishment
on a separate child sex conviction. Jeffs, 55, will not be eligible
for parole until he is at least 100 years old.
The head of the Fundamentalist
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints made no plea for
leniency. He ordered his attorneys not to call witnesses
during the sentencing phase, and forbade them from making a closing
argument Tuesday. Less than half an hour later, jurors returned with
the harshest punishment possible.
"He's a pervert, and the crazy
thing is, he perverted his own religion,"
his sister, Elaine Jeffs, said after
the sentencing. Nearby, police escorted her brother
into a waiting patrol car.
Despite the convictions and life sentence,
Jeffs remains in control of the FLDS
and its roughly 10,000 followers. His
most devoted consider him God's spokesman
on earth and a prophet, but his followers were absent
in court for the bulk of the trial.
Prosecutors suggested that the polygamist
leader told the girls they needed to have sex with him — in
what Jeffs called "heavenly" or "celestial"
sessions — in order to atone for
sins in his community. Several times in his
journals, Jeffs wrote of God telling
him to take more and more young girls as brides "who
can be worked with and easily taught."
Balance on the Mideast
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, OP-ED COLUMNIST
The New York Times: August 4, 2011
Congress periodically showcases the
warts of democracy, occasionally even the deformities and disfigurements,
and it might seem difficult to top the latest debt ceiling horrors.
But there’s one area where Congress
has been even more obstructionist: the Middle
Next month, Palestinians are expected
to seek statehood at the United Nations. It’s
a stunt that won’t accomplish much for anybody, but it’s
more constructive than throwing rocks at Israeli cars — or,
on the Israeli side, better than expanding illegal settlements. A
prominent Israeli politician, Isaac Herzog,
has shrewdly suggested that Israel actually offer, with conditions,
to vote in favor of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.
Yet the American
House of Representatives voted 407 to 6 to call on the Obama administration
to use its diplomatic capital to try to block the initiative,
while also threatening to cut the Palestinians’ funding if they
proceeded to seek statehood.
Similarly, when Israel stormed into
Gaza in 2008 to halt rocket attacks,
more than 1,300 Gazans were killed, along with 13 Israelis,
according to B’Tselem,
a respected Israeli human rights group. As
Gazan blood flowed, the House, by a vote of 390 to 5, hailed the invasion
as “Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Such Congressional tomfoolery bewilders our friends and fritters away
our international capital. It also encourages the intransigence
of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and reduces the chance of a peace settlement.
the last few years, a former government official named Jeremy
Ben-Ami has been trying to change the political dynamic in
Washington with a new organization
— J Street — that presses Congress and the White House
to show more balance. Ben-Ami has just published a book, “A
New Voice for Israel,” that is a clarion
call for American reasonableness in the Middle East.
“If things don’t change pretty soon, chances are that
the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will slip
through our fingers,” Ben-Ami writes. “As that happens,
the dream of the Jewish people to be a free people in their own land
also slowly disappears.”
Ben-Ami, who worked
in Bill Clinton’s White House, comes from a long line of Zionists,
and his ancestors helped found Tel Aviv. But he’s
aghast at the way the United States is enabling hard-line Israeli
policies that make peace less likely.
American Jews have long trended liberal,
and President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008. Yet
major Jewish organizations, like the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, embrace hawkish positions.
That’s because those Jews who vote and donate based on Israel
are disproportionately conservative (the same
is true of Christians who are most passionate about Israel issues).
“What happens as Israel continues to become more religious and
conservative, more isolated internationally and less democratic domestically?”
Ben-Ami writes. “What happens to the relationship
between American Jews and Israel as the face of Israel shifts from
that of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres to that of the national religious
settlers and the ultra-Orthodox rabbis?”
Whenever I write about Israel, I get
accused of double standards because I don’t spill as much ink
denouncing worse abuses by, say, Syria. I plead guilty.
more of Israel partly because my tax dollars supply arms and
aid to Israel.
hold democratic allies like Israel to a higher standard — just
as I do the U.S.
half of Americans approve of God's job performance
By MARK DUELL
The Daily Mail: 2nd August 2011
IS YOUR GOD?
A survey says only
half of Americans who believe in God approve of how he is handling
the universe. Two in
five said they were ‘unsure’
and nine per cent ‘did
not approve’ in the pol. More than half support
His animal kingdom governance.
Only half of Americans approve of God's
job performance... but at least the Lord polled better
than Murdoch and Boehner.
The Deity did better than both political
parties, each of which got a god awful rating of just
33 percent. A
third back Boehner
and Murdoch gets 12
Swirls Around Bronx Catholic School Principal Accused Of Having Racist
CBSNewYork: August 1, 2011
NEW YORK – A Catholic school principal
is the focus of controversy in the Bronx after
a published report revealed his writings and
views were tied to white supremacy.
Frank Borzellieri was
hired as the principal of Our
Lady of Mount Carmel School in 2009 by Rev.
Eric Rapaglia. The two
had previously worked together at St. Barnabas.
In 2004, Borzellieri authored a book
Take it Personally: Race,
Immigration, Crime and Other Heresies.”
“diversity is a weakness” and claims
increasing black and Hispanic populations in the United States will
lead to what he calls a “new dark
Borzellieri has also written for the
white supremacist publication
“It offends me. I’m Puerto Rican and my children are half
black — It offends me,” parishioner Ann Joseph told CBS
As a school board member in District
24 from 1993 to 2002, Borzellieri reportedly tried to ban
literature he called “anti-American” which included a
biography on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and fire
an openly gay teacher.
“Honestly, I don’t know how he managed to slip through
the cracks,” Carol Ann Joseph said.
“It’s ridiculous, I can’t understand why the church
would allow this,” a parishioner said.
A day after the report was published, churchgoer Juan Varela, of Queens,
was arrested after interrupting mass Sunday at the church to call
for Borzellieri’s ouster. Varela was charged with disorderly
conduct and possession of a weapon because he was carrying a knife.
Spokesman for the Archdiocese, Joe Zwilling,
said there have been no complaints about
Borzellieri during his two-year tenure at the school.
“The superintendent of schools
office has been reviewing his books and discussing the matter with
him and the pastor of the parish that hired him. The
process is still ongoing,” Zwilling said.
Borzellieri could not be reached for
which says Mount Carmel is known for its diversity, will now have
to decide what the principal’s beliefs
are regarding diversity and whether they conflict
with church teaching.
Flood Square in Cairo in Show of Strength
By ANTHONY SHADID
The New York Times: July 30, 2011
protester from a Salafist group, among the most conservative and puritan
Islamist movements, shouted Koranic verses and held an Egyptian flag
at a rally on Friday in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
demonstration Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square
NASER JASON ABDO
Pfc. NASER JASON ABDO
Held Amid Claim of Terror Plot at Fort Hood
By J. DAVID GOODMAN
The New York Times: July 29, 2011
private who had been absent without leave since earlier this month
this week near Fort Hood with a gun and suspicious materials in what
local law enforcement officials described on Thursday as a
“terror plot” to kill other soldiers.
During questioning after his arrest, the soldier, Pfc.
Naser Jason Abdo, admitted that he specifically planned to
attack Fort Hood, The Associated Press reported Thursday night. An
F.B.I. spokesman said that he could not provide further details because
it was a continuting investigation.
The police in Killeen, Tex., arrested
Private Abdo in a motel room near the southern
edge of the base on Wednesday, one day after a clerk at a local gun
store alerted the police about a suspicious purchase,
the police said.
According to a law enforcement official, among
the items found in Private Abdo’s room at the time of his arrest
were a military uniform with Fort Hood patches, a pistol, shotgun
shells and an article on “how to make
a bomb in your kitchen” from the English-language Qaeda
magazine Inspire. He also had more than
one wall clock, a cellphone, duct tape and a shopping list for what
appeared to be explosive components, the official
At an afternoon news conference, Dennis
M. Baldwin, the Killeen police chief, underscored
what he felt was the seriousness of the situation: “We probably
would be here giving you a different briefing had he not been stopped.”
who joined the Army in April 2009, gained national attention last
summer when he refused to deploy with his unit
to Afghanistan, insisting that his Muslim faith prevented him from
serving. He fought his deployment since 2010
and gave multiple interviews.
“I was under the impression that
I could serve both the U.S. Army and my God simultaneously,”
he said in a television interview with CNN last summer.
“As the time had come near to deployment, I started really asking
myself and taking the question more seriously whether God would accept
what I was doing and whether I was really meant to go to war as opposed
to the peace that Islam preaches.”
Army officials said that Private Abdo
was granted conscientious objector status in May, but his
discharge was put on hold after the Army said it had discovered at
least 34 images of child pornography on his computer.
Arrested in Suspected Bomb Plot Had
Series of Disputes With Army
By MANNY FERNANDEZ and JAMES DAO
The New York: July 29, 2011
KILLEEN, Tex. — The 21-year-old
Army private arrested
here this week made his first
appearance in federal court on Friday, two days after telling investigators
he planned to detonate explosive devices
at a restaurant frequented by soldiers from nearby Fort
Hood, the culmination of a series of disputes between the private
and the military over his Muslim beliefs and
his pending deployment to Afghanistan.
The private told F.B.I. officials that he planned to assemble two
bombs in the hotel room “using gunpowder and shrapnel packed
into pressure cookers to detonate inside” the restaurant, according
to the federal complaint.
And while the legal papers gave no indication of Private
Abdo’s motive, he offered a window into his
thinking at his court appearance in United States District Court in
Waco. At one point, Private Abdo shouted
several remarks, including a supportive reference to
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist
accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens of others at Fort
Hood in November 2009.
He had been charged with possession
of child pornography and was facing a trial in military court.
He had sought and received conscientious objector
status from Army officials, insisting
that his Muslim faith prevented him from serving in Afghanistan. His
discharge, approved in May, was placed on hold after the Army discovered
the images of child pornography on his government-issued computer.
In an interview with The New York Times
several months ago, Private Abdo said that when he joined the Army
he had different beliefs. In February
2010, his brigade at Fort Campbell — the First Brigade Combat
Team of the 101st Airborne Division — was deployed to Afghanistan,
but Private Abdo stayed behind to attend language school to learn
Pashto, one of the national languages of Afghanistan.
He said he was eventually told he would join his brigade in June 2010.
“Preparing for deployment made
me investigate my religion,” he
said. He said he had decided that “the
price of refusing to go is much lower than facing my God,” adding
that the only war justified by God is a just war.
“If there is no divine inspiration, it is murder,”
he said in the interview
Thomas Collins, a spokesman for the Army, said the
deputy assistant secretary concluded that Private
Abdo had “satisfied the burden of establishing that he
was a conscientious objector. The standard is that he was opposed
to war in any form.”
The captain who initially reviewed Private Abdo’s application
at Fort Campbell, James
Bredeman, recommended in a 2010 memo that he receive objector
status because he showed “a firm and fixed
objection to participation in war in any form” and showed “sincere
regret” for putting the Army before his religion.
Quoting the private, Captain Bredeman
wrote that Private Abdo felt at the time that serving in the wars
would “bring justice to those who were
giving Islam a bad name.”
During basic training, Private Abdo
said that his rapport with his peers was “horrible”
and that he was harassed because of his religion.
He also complained that he was unable to fast
during Ramadan or say his prayers five times a day. By the
time he reached Fort Campbell, he had developed
“serious questions about his place in the Army,” the
September 2004, the police in Garland, a city about 13 miles north
of Dallas, arrested Private Abdo’s father
after he tried to solicit sex from a detective posing over the Internet
as a teenage girl. He was charged with solicitation
of a minor with intent to commit sexual assault of a child,
a police spokesman said.
DARUL ULUM |
Seminary Chief in India Is Fired for Pro-Hindu Interview
By HARI KUMAR
Published: July 24, 2011
NEW DELHI — India’s
best-known Islamic seminary ousted its reformist leader on Sunday,
less than seven months after he assumed the post, because
he was quoted as speaking favorably of a Hindu
nationalist suspected of fomenting deadly anti-Muslim
The reformer, Mullah
Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi (right),
was appointed in January to lead the
seminary, Darul Uloom, in the city of
Deoband in Uttar Pradesh State. He had become popular
in part because of the success of his madrasas, or Islamic schools,
in the western Indian state of Maharashtra that
bridged traditional Islamic education with the needs of the modern
world by teaching students secular subjects like science and computer
programming. He had hoped to bring those innovations
to Darul Uloom.
But the effort was almost immediately
derailed when he was quoted in an Urdu newspaper as saying that Muslims
in Gujarat State needed to move beyond the 2002
sectarian riots there, one of the worst eruptions
of religious violence since colonial
India was partitioned in 1947. Hindus rampaged through Muslim areas
of Gujarat, leaving about 1,000 people dead and leading to reprisals
in some areas.
English-language newspapers and television stations
in India portrayed Mullah Vastanvi’s remarks as implicitly condoning
the actions of Narendra Modi (right),
the controversial leader of Gujarat’s government.
Many Muslims blame Mr. Modi for the 2002 violence.
Say Oslo Suspect Admits to ‘Facts’
By STEVEN ERLANGER and ALAN COWELL
The New York Times: July 25, 2011
— The Norwegian man charged
with attacks in and near Oslo, killing over 90 people,
has admitted “to the facts” of the case, the police and
his lawyer said on Sunday, and claims to have acted alone in a strike
eerily foretold in a detailed manifesto
calling for a Christian war to defend
Europe against the threat of Muslim domination.
But, acting police chief Sveinung
Sponheim told a news conference, “he
is not admitting criminal guilt” and his claim
to have acted alone contrasted with “some of the witness statements,”
The attacks on Friday — a huge bombing in central Oslo closely
followed by a bloody rampage against young people on nearby Utoya
island — was the
deadliest attack in this Nordic nation since World War II,
and stunned many in a population of some five million used to seeing
their land as a haven of peace.
The police said on Sunday that the toll
had risen to 93 from 92 with the death
of one of the 97 earlier reported as injured. Most of the bodies were
found on Utoya island, where young people from the dominant Labor
Party had gathered for an annual camp.
Police identified the suspect as Anders
Behring Breivik, 32, a right-wing fundamentalist
Christian, while acquaintances described him as a
gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what
he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and
Police divers were still searching the lake around
Utøya island for bodies, and said there were
fears the death toll could rise.
On Sunday, muted and shaken by the magnitude of the killings, many
people gathered at the Lutheran cathedral here to mourn. King
and Queen Sonja (center
left), both dabbing away tears, joined
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
(bottom left)and other dignitaries who attended a service inside while
In a 1,500-page manifesto, posted on
the Web hours before the attacks, Mr. Breivik recorded
a day-by-day diary of months of planning for the attacks, and claimed
to be part of a small group that intended
to “seize political and military control
of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative
He predicted a conflagration that would
kill or injure more than a million
people, adding, “The time for dialogue
is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has
The manifesto was signed Andrew Berwick,
an Anglicized version of his name. A former American
government official briefed on the case said investigators believed
the manifesto was Mr. Breivik’s work.
manifesto, entitled “2083: A European
Declaration of Independence,” equates liberalism
and multiculturalism with “cultural Marxism,” which
the document says is destroying European Christian
document also describes a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to
reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader
military order. It says the meeting was attended by nine representatives
of eight European countries, evidently including Mr. Breivik, with
an additional three members unable to attend, including a “European-American.”
Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at
the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the
manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and
other Al Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim
point of view. Like Mr. Breivik’s manuscript, the major
Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced
sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to
defeat the religious and cultural enemy.
“It seems to be an attempt to mirror Al
Qaeda, exactly in reverse,” Mr. Hegghammer
Besides the manifesto, Mr. Breivik left other hints of his motives.
A Facebook page and Twitter account
were set up under his name days before the rampage. The Facebook page
cites philosophers like Machiavelli, Kant and John Stuart Mill.
His lone Twitter post, while not calling
for violence, paraphrased Mill — “One
person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only
“Breivik feels that multiculturalism
is destroying the society and that the
enforcing authority is the prime minister and the Labor Party, the
lead party of contemporary Norwegian politics,” said Anders
Romarheim, a fellow at the Norwegian
Institute for Defense Studies.
But the attacks, along with what appear
to have been years of preparation, raised questions about whether
the Norwegian security authorities, concentrating
on threats of Islamic terrorism, had overlooked the threat from the
[Mr. Breivik had been known as a polite
and conscientious man by former colleagues. But his writings in the
right-wing web site, Document.no,revealed another side, an abiding
obsession with Marxists, Muslims and Norway's
Though he did not call for violence in the postings,
he denounced the demographic change that he said had undermined Christian
communities in Kosovo and Lebanon. Mr Breivik wrote: "Can
you name ONE country where multiculturalism is successful where Islam
“This is the Norwegian equivalent
to Timothy McVeigh (left),”
the right-wing American
who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, said
Marcus Buck, a political scientist at
the University of Tromso in northern Norway.
the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, said in some ways the
homegrown nature of the attack made it harder for Norwegians to accept.
“With 9/11 in America, people could ask,
‘Who are they?’ and could pour their rage out on someone
else,” he said. “But we can’t
disavow this person, he’s one of us. [That's a sobering thought.”]
"It was international
jihadism we feared, but what we have now is more painful in terms
of a re-evaluation of ourselves."
] Barckets mark additions from the NYT hard copy
TO NEXT ARTICLE
the Norway killings, Representative Peter
T. King, the New York Republican who is chairman of the
House Homeland Security Committee, said he had no plans to broaden
contentious hearings about the radicalization
of Muslim Americans and would hold the third one as planned
on Wednesday. He said his committee focused on terrorist
threats with foreign ties and suggested that the Judiciary Committee
might be more appropriate for looking at non-Muslim threats.
in Norway Spotlight Anti-Muslim Thought in U.S.
By SCOTT SHANE
The New York Times: July 25, 2011
The man accused of the killing spree
in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American
bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from
Islam, lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations
from them, as well as copying multiple passages from the tract of
In the document he posted online,
Anders Behring Breivik,
who is accused of bombing government buildings and killing scores
people at a Labor Party camp, showed
that he had closely followed the acrimonious American debate over
His manifesto, which
denounced Norwegian politicians as failing to defend the country from
Islamic influence, quoted Robert
Spencer (right), who operates the Jihad Watch
Web site, 64 times, and cited other Western
writers who shared his view that Muslim immigrants pose a grave danger
to Western culture.
More broadly, the mass killings in Norway,
with their echo of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred
P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by an antigovernment
militant, have focused new attention around the world on the subculture
of anti-Muslim bloggers and right-wing activists and
renewed a debate over the focus of counterterrorism efforts.
In the United States, critics have asserted
that the intense spotlight on the threat from Islamic militants has
unfairly vilified Muslim Americans while dangerously playing down
the threat of attacks from other domestic radicals.
The author of a 2009 Department of Homeland
Security report on right-wing extremism withdrawn
by the department after criticism from conservatives repeated
on Sunday his claim that the department had
tilted too heavily toward the threat from Islamic militants.
A LIBERAL, FIND A FASCIST
2009, when the Department of Homeland
Security produced a report, “Rightwing
Extremism,” suggesting that the recession and the
election of an African-American president might increase the
threat from white supremacists, conservatives
in Congress strongly objected.
Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, quickly
withdrew the report and apologized for what she said were its
The revelations about Mr. Breivik’s American influences exploded
on the blogs over the weekend, putting Mr. Spencer and other self-described
on the defensive, as their critics suggested that their
portrayal of Islam as a threat to the West indirectly fostered the
crimes in Norway.
Mr. Spencer wrote on his Web site, jihadwatch.org,
that “the blame game” had begun, “as if killing
a lot of children aids the defense against the global jihad and Islamic
supremacism, or has anything remotely to do with anything we have
ever advocated.” He did not mention Mr.
Breivik’s voluminous quotations from his writings.
The Gates of Vienna,
a blog that ordinarily keeps up a drumbeat of anti-Islamist news and
commentary, closed its pages to comments
Sunday “due to the unusual situation in which it has recently
Its operator, who describes himself
as a Virginia consultant
and uses the pseudonym “Baron
Bodissey,” wrote on the site Sunday that “at
no time has any part of the Counterjihad advocated violence.”
name of that Web site — a reference to the siege
of Vienna in 1683 by Muslim fighters who, the blog says in
its headnote, “seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe”
— was echoed in the title Mr. Breivik chose for his manifesto:
“2083: A European Declaration of Independence.”
He chose that year, the 400th anniversary of the siege,
as the target for the triumph of Christian forces in the European
civil war he called for to drive out Islamic influence.
[Mr. Breivik] quoted the American and
European counterjihad writers by name, notably
Mr. Spencer, author of 10 books, including “Islam
Unveiled” and “The Truth
Mr. Breivik frequently cited another
Shrugs, and recommended the Gates of Vienna
among Web sites. Pamela
Geller, an outspoken critic of Islam who runs Atlas Shrugs,
wrote on her blog Sunday that any assertion that she or other antijihad
writers bore any responsibility for Mr. Breivik’s actions was
“If anyone incited him to violence,
it was Islamic supremacists,” she
Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism,
said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence
to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time,
he said the counterjihad writers do
argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the
infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged.
they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik
“This rhetoric,” he added,
“is not cost-free.”
ANDERS BEHRING BREIVIK
Suggests Suspect in Norway Attacks Is Insane
By STEVEN ERLANGER
The New York Times: July 27, 2011
OSLO — The Oslo police on Tuesday evening began
a gradual release of the names of
the dead in the Norway massacre, as the lawyer representing the man
who admitted responsibility said he thought his client was insane
and would spend the rest of his life incarcerated.
The lawyer, Geir Lippestad (left),
declined to say whether his client, Anders Behring
Breivik, 32, would plead insanity as a defense when
his case finally reached the trial stage. But
he described Mr. Breivik as “very cold,”
distanced from the real world and believing that he was a warrior
destined to die for the eventual salvation of
European Christian values.
“This whole case has indicated
that he is insane,” Mr. Lippestad said.
can’t describe him because he’s not like anyone.”
LEADS THE WAY
Jim David Adkisson
Motivated by a desire to kill liberals and Democrats, fired
a shotgun at members of the congregation at Knoxville Unitarian
John Patrick Bedell
Anarcho-capitalist libertarian, shot two Pentagon police officers
at a security checkpoint in the Pentagon station of the Washington
Metro mass-transit system in Arlington County, Virginia.
1978 to 1995
Sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines,
killing three people and injuring 23. Authored a 35,000-word
essay Industrial Society
and Its Future.
Part of Anders Breivik's manifesto
was taken almost word for word from the first few pages.
Jared Lee Loughner
Charged with the January 8, 2011 Tucson, Arizona shooting
that killed six people and left 14 others injured. He was
known to believe, and to say, that women should not hold positions
of power and instead conspiracy theories had a profound effect
Infamous for detonating a truck bomb in front of the Alfred
P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. He was
a militia movement sympathizer, sought revenge against the federal
government for its handling of the Waco Siege and hoped to inspire
a revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal
Terry Lynn Nichols
Conspired with McVeigh in the planning
and preparation of the Oklahoma City bombin Developed anti-government
views, attended meetings of anti-government groups, experimented
with explosives and got more radical over time. McVeigh
and Nichols were enraged by the attack on the the Branch
Davidian compound in Waco, Texasand began to plot revenge
on the federal government.
Anti-abortion activist shot and killed
George Tiller, a physician from Wichita, Kansas who was
nationally known for being one of the few doctors in the United
States to perform late-term abortions, because "preborn
children's lives were in imminent danger" during a Sunday
morning service at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.
Flying his Piper Dakota, crashed into Building I of the Echelon
office complex in Austin, Texas, killing himself and Internal
Revenue Service manager Vernon Hunter. Thirteen others were
injured, two seriously. In a suicide note, he begins by expressing
displeasure with the government, the bailout of financial institutions,
politicians, conglomerate companies, unions, drug and health
care insurance companies, and the Catholic Church.
James von Brunn
A white supremacist and Holocaust denier who had written numerous
antisemitic essays, created an antisemitic website called The
Holy Western Empire, and is the author of a 1999 self
published book, Kill the Best Gentiles.
Perpetrated the United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum shooting in Washington, D.C. on June
10, 2009. Security guard Stephen Tyrone
Johns was killed in the shooting.
Qaeda magazine pokes fun at fall of sexting pol Anthony Weiner
Thursday, July 21st 2011
- Even terrorists are making Weiner jokes.
In Al Qaeda's
latest edition of its chilling e-magazine, "Inspire,"
the terror network's Arabian Peninsula syndicate
settles a score with former Queens Rep. Anthony
Weiner, gloating about the sexter's salacious downfall.
A faux full-page ad in the summer issue
bears a photo of a feisty Weiner speaking before the House of Representatives
under the banner, "An angry Weiner head."
The fake ad in the Al Qaeda mag was "brought to you by a Cold
Diss" (at bottom of page).
Weiner landed himself on Al Qaeda's radar screen last year when he
joined the chorus
calling on YouTube to remove more than 700 videos featuring radical
American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (left),
still hiding out in Yemen.
magazine's suspected publisher, former
Queens resident Samir Khan (right),
25, apparently didn't forget what Weiner said about his boss.
Carolina couple claims to possess Wal-Mart receipt with the face of
BY MIKE JACCARINO
NY DAILY NEWS: Thursday, July 21st 2011
A South Carolina couple claims to possess
one heckuva of a saintly sales slip--a
Wal-Mart check-out receipt with the face of Christ on it.
Gentry Lee Sutherland
and Jacob Simmons got the blessed bill
of sale upon paying for the development of 11 photos June 12 at a
Wal-Mart store in Travelers Rest, S.C.
"People are going to believe what
they want to believe," said Sutherland.
"There's tons of people who will say, 'Oh, we're in the Bible
Belt,' but here's my question to the doubters,
who else has the power to put their face on a check-out receipt but
It wasn't until three days after they paid for the photos that Sutherland
and Simmons divined the two eyes and bushy beard and hair that is
now so evident when they look at the receipt.
"When I got home, I laid the receipt for the film on the kitchen
counter and three days later we went to church like we usually do
on Wednesday night," said Sutherland.
The theme for that night's service at College Park Worship Center--a
Christian church--in Berea, S.C., she said, was intimacy
with God. "The message was getting
to know God," Sutherland recalled. "The
question they asked was, 'Would you know Jesus if you saw him?'"
After the service, the couple returned to Sutherland's home to watch
"Right before we were about to start I
noticed Jacob standing beside the counter. I said, 'What's wrong with
"He said, 'Look at this receipt.'
I just looked at it and it looked kind of brown, and he said, 'No,
Look at it.' So I took a second look and then I saw the face. The
message we had just heard at church an hour before went through my
Sutherland, 21, who attends North Greenville University and is engaged
to Simmons, says that she was initially
scared of the image.
"I always wondered why in the Bible when someone saw an angel
they were afraid, but now I know," she explained. "We're
human beings and we're not used to seeing that kind of thing.
"We're just sharing it with family
and friends," Sutherland added. "To
be honest, I'm just glad it's gotten out this
fast. It's worldwide. We don't know what we're going to do with it.
We'll pray about it. For now, we'll just share the love and
Sues a Vermont Inn for Rejecting Gay Wedding
By KATIE ZEZIMA
Published: July 19, 2011
BOSTON — A lesbian
couple is suing a Vermont inn, claiming it refused to host their
fall wedding reception because of their sexual
Kate Baker and Ming Linsley filed
the suit on Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court, accusing the Wildflower
Inn of Lyndonville (left) of abruptly turning them away
after learning they are lesbians.
They claim the inn violated Vermont’s
Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which prohibits inns,
hotels, motels and other establishments with five or more rooms from
turning away patrons based on sexual orientation.
The law makes an exemption for religious organizations.
Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia have similar laws.
Greg Johnson, a law professor at Vermont Law School, said the suit could
set a precedent as more states legalize same-sex marriage. Currently,
same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia,
all of which protect gay men and lesbians in their public-accommodations
“I think this case could set an important precedent not only for
Vermont but for other states with marriage equality,” Professor
Johnson said, noting that lawsuits like this are rare.
In 2008, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights
ruled that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association,
a Methodist group, violated the state’s fair-accommodation
law by refusing to allow a lesbian couple to hold a civil union ceremony
on its beachfront pavilion.
The current lawsuit alleges that in October
Ms. Linsley’s mother, Channie Peters, spoke
with the events coordinator at the inn.... Ms. Peters
said the coordinator referred to a
bride and a groom while discussing the bridal suite; Ms. Peters
said she corrected the woman and they continued their conversation.
“After our conversation,” the e-mail reads, according to
the lawsuit, “I checked with my innkeepers and unfortunately
due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our
The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil
Liberties Union, claims the inn turned away at least
two other same-sex couples.
Islip pastor convicted of sex abuse dies behind bars
12: July 19, 2011
CENTRAL ISLIP – A
Central Islip pastor who sexually abused young congregants
has died while serving time.
Cops say John
Gargano claimed to be the Archangel Gabriel
to convince young people at the Eternal Tabernacle
Church to have sex with him.
Gargano’s victims included a 14-year-old
girl. Gargano was convicted of sex abuse in 1991.
Gargano died Saturday at a Westchester hospital.
in Syria Tied to Rift Between Sects
By NADA BAKRI
The New York Times: July 19, 2011
BEIRUT, Lebanon — At least six
people have been killed in a wave of sectarian
bloodshed in the central province of Homs,
including three people whose bodies were mutilated, activists and
residents there said Monday.
violence signaled a dangerous turn in the four-month-old antigovernment
uprising, as tensions seem to mount among segments of Syria’s
religiously mixed society. Although
most Syrians are Sunni Muslims, President
Bashar al-Assad and his ruling clan belong to the minority
Alawite sect, an offshoot of Islam.
Residents and pro-democracy activists said the government has been
enlisting thousands of plainclothes
security men, known as shabiha,
since March to help quell dissent. Most of the shabiha are Alawites,
and resentment against them runs high: many people accuse them of
killing thousands of unarmed civilians.
On Sunday, residents of Homs, Syria’s
second-largest city, discovered the bodies of three Alawites
mutilated and dumped in a deserted area, according
to Omar Idlibi of the Local Coordination
Committees, a group that helps organize
and document protests. All three were
armed government loyalists, he said.
News of the deaths enraged other Alawites,
who went on a rampage, according to residents and
activists. Three people were killed,
including a mother of three, and scores of shops owned by Sunnis were
burned and vandalized, Mr. Idlibi said.
“The reaction was so violent and quick that we suspect the regime
had a hand in the killings,” Mr. Idlibi said.
Opposition figures have accused the government of fomenting
sectarian tensions in
order to present itself as the only authority that
can maintain stability and protect minorities, which
include religious groups like Shiites,
Christians and Druze and ethnic
groups like Kurds and Circassians.
Many Syrians have voiced fears that the uprising could ignite sectarian
“It’s like a time bomb,”
said a protest organizer.
“Sectarianism is the regime’s
Befitting a Democracy
The New York Times: July 17, 2011
Israel’s reputation as a vibrant democracy has been seriously
tarnished by a new law intended to stifle outspoken critics of its
occupation of the West Bank.
The law, approved in a 47-to-38 vote
by Parliament, effectively bans any public call for a boycott —
economic, cultural or academic — against Israel or its West
Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense.
It would enable Israeli citizens to bring civil suits against people
and organizations instigating such boycotts, and subject violators
to monetary penalties. Companies and organizations supporting a boycott
could be barred from bidding on government contracts. Nonprofit groups
could lose tax benefits.
The law has rightly drawn fierce criticism
in Israel. The newspaper Haaretz called
it “politically opportunistic and antidemocratic,”
and warned that it and other recently enacted laws were “transforming
Israel’s legal code into a disturbingly dictatorial document.”
In the United States, the
Anti-Defamation League — which strongly supports
Israel and opposes boycotts against it — warned
that the law impinged on the “basic
democratic rights of Israelis to freedom of speech and freedom of
We are also opposed to boycotts of Israel,
but agree this is a fundamental issue of free
conservative government is determined to crush a growing push by Palestinians
and their supporters for boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions against
Israel. Since last year, many Israeli artists and intellectuals, as
well international artists, have canceled performances and programs
in Israel and the West Bank to protest the settlements. The
bill’s sponsor, Zeev Elkin (above),
said his concern was that the calls for a boycott “increasingly
have come from within our own midst.”
With peace talks stalemated, Palestinians
are searching for ways to keep alive their dream of a two-state solution,
including a push for United Nations recognition
this fall. Israel risks further isolating itself
internationally with this attempt to stifle critics.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right)
should have exercised leadership and urged lawmakers
against doing their country serious harm. While Mr. Netanyahu was
absent for the vote, he eagerly insisted
that it would never have passed
“if I had not authorized it.”
Advocates said the law was needed to prevent efforts to “delegitimize”
Israel, but no country can be delegitimized if it holds true to its
democratic principles. Opponents are
already challenging the law in court. We hope they
succeed, for Israel’s sake.
Church Bars Gay Priests With Partners From Being Bishops
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS : July 2, 2011
of England bishops said Friday that they had temporarily barred
priests in civil partnerships from being appointed as bishops.
The church’s policy is that gay
male priests who are celibate are eligible to become bishops.
The statement from the House of Bishops
said a review of civil relationships would be completed next year.
left: Canterbury Cathedral / right :Rowan Williams, Archbishop of
Marriage: Where’s Mr. Obama?
The New York Times: June 27, 2011
On Thursday night, when same-sex marriage in New York State was teetering
on a razor’s edge, President Obama
had a perfect opportunity to show the results of his supposed evolution
on gay marriage.
Unfortunately, he did not take it, keeping his own views in the shadows.
The next night the Republican-led New York State Senate, of all places,
proved itself more forward-thinking than the president on one of the
last great civil-rights debates in this nation’s history.
Speaking to the Democratic Party’s LGBT Leadership Council at
a fund-raiser in New York, Mr. Obama ran through the many efforts
he has made on behalf of gay rights, including his decision to end
the government’s legal support of the Defense of Marriage Act,
which forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The act should
be repealed, he said, since marriage is defined by the states.
Mr. Obama’s legal formula suggests
he is fine with the six states that now permit same-sex marriage,
and fine with the more than three dozen other states that ban it.
By refusing to say whether he supports it (as he did in 1996) or opposes
it (as he did in 2008), he remained in a straddle that will soon strain
public patience. For now, all Mr. Obama promised was a gauzy new “chapter”
in the story if he is re-elected, and his views remain officially
Fundamental equality, however, is hardly
the equivalent of a liquor law that can vary on opposite sides of
a state line. Why is Mr. Obama so reluctant to say the words that
could lend strength to a national effort now backed by a majority
In the 2008 campaign, when Mr. Obama said he supported civil unions
and believed marriage should be between men and women, he may have
wanted to appeal to slightly more conservative voters who were wary
After he took office, it became evident that Republicans intended
to portray him as a radical, out-of-touch leftist no matter what he
did. Supporting same-sex marriage at this point is hardly going to
change that drumbeat, and any voter for whom that is a make-or-break
issue will probably not be an Obama supporter anyway.
Firm support for gay marriage is, on
the other hand, likely to help him among his cheerless base.
Mr. Obama opposes the Defense
of Marriage Act and is presiding over the repeal of “don’t
ask, don’t tell.” He signed the United
Nations declaration on gay rights, and allowed
the Census to count same-sex relationships.
he has been absent from the biggest and most difficult drive of all.
Public opinion has swung toward acceptance of gay marriage since 2008;
five more states and the District of Columbia have lifted marriage
bans. Thousands of gay men and lesbians
now possess marriage certificates and many former skeptics have come
to realize that the moral foundation of the country has been strengthened.
It is long past time for the president to catch up.
He often criticizes discrimination with the memorable phrase, “that’s
not who we are.” Favoring this discrimination should
not be who he is.
Suit Says Arrests Are Retaliation for Atheism
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
The New York Times: June 25, 2011
MIAMI — An atheist in Central
Florida filed suit in Federal District Court in Tampa
on Friday, accusing the Polk County sheriff,
an evangelical Christian, of harassing and unnecessarily arresting
her as retaliation for not believing in God and for her efforts to
keep prayer out of public meetings.
(left), the legal coordinator
for the group Atheists of Florida,
asked the court to prevent the sheriff,
Judd (right), from conducting any new investigations, arrests
or complaints resulting from her “nonreligious,
atheist viewpoint in the predominantly Christian-oriented Polk County,
Fla.” The sheriff’s actions, including
two arrests and searches of her house, violated her First Amendment
rights and her right to due process, the suit states.
A vocal advocate
for the separation of church and state, Ms. Wachs has attended
several school board meetings where sessions began with prayer and
asked that a moment of silence be observed instead.
The sheriff is equally committed, to
Christian values. He has received national
attention for his focus on rooting out pornography as well as pedophiles
and other sexual offenders. The suit
states that the sheriff used Scripture in an agency newsletter, among
The imbroglio between Ms. Wachs, 48, who lives in Lakeland, and Sheriff
Judd dates to last year when the sheriff
removed the basketball hoops from the Polk County jail and donated
them to several local churches.
This angered Ms. Wachs, who filed several public-records requests
on the matter. A nonpracticing lawyer, she signed the requests with
the designation Esquire after her name. Sheriff Judd sent a team of
officers to arrest her and charged her in March with illegally posing
as a lawyer, a felony.
does not violate any bar rules,” said her
lawyer, Lawrence G. Walters (left).
“She is allowed to use esquire.”
Ms. Wachs was arrested a second time, in May, for moaning repeatedly
in a sexual manner from an open window in her house, saying, “Oh,
John,” in a crescendo, as a ploy to stop neighbors, including
a young boy, from playing basketball. The moans followed a dispute
with the neighbor. The sheriff’s office arrested her on a felony
sex charge. The police searched her house and took away a safe, among
Later that month, the police arrested her again and charged her with
possession of marijuana, after saying they had found drugs in the
The sheriff’s office declined
to comment on the lawsuit.
“We are asking a federal judge
to put a stop to this madness,” Mr. Walters said. “We
want to try to stop a rogue sheriff who is abusing his authority as
a law enforcement officer to punish a vocal atheist in town for her
viewpoint and political beliefs.”
Gets Probation After
Chicken Sacrifice Ritual
CBS New York/AP: June 25, 2011
A Pennsylvania woman who made her daughter observe a bloody religious
ritual in New Jersey has been sentenced to 18 months probation.
Yenitza Colichon (left) of Jamesburg
pleaded guilty last month to child neglect and cruelty charges stemming
from the May 2007 incident, in which she
made her 7-year-old daughter watch an initiation rite in Paterson
that included a chicken sacrifice and feeding the girl its heart.
Passaic County prosecutors say Colichon was about to start Army basic
training and wanted to protect her daughter
in the Palo Mayombe religion before she left. The religion
originated in central Africa. The girl later told
a teacher that she was having nightmares and child welfare officials
The couple who performed the ritual was allowed to enter a pre-trial
program on Friday.
Wang' fined for false prophecy
By News Desk in Taipei/The China Post | ANN: Fri, Jun 24, 2011
Taipei - The Nantou District Court has
slapped Wang Chao-hung, known as "Teacher
with a NT$40,000 (US$1,400) fine for
causing widespread panic with his false doomsday prophecy last month.
The judge ruled that Wang, 55, had violated the Social
Order Maintenance Law with his prediction that on
May 11, 2011, mass devastation would
consume Taiwan in the form of a deadly earthquake.
The entries were made on his blog as early as November 22, 2010; two
more were added on February 13 and March 15.
The blog posts were detailed and troubling, especially for the gullible.
Wang "foresaw" a calamity-plagued
Taipei City, with a death toll of 153,402 and 287,410 more injured.
By the portentous May 11, "between
one-third to one-fifth" of the world's population will be gone.
In a press interview, Wang claimed that at 10:42:37 on May 11, a magnitude
14 earthquake followed by a 170-meter tsunami would consume Taiwan,
taking with it 1 million lives.
While the predicted "doomsday" came and went, one would
not describe May 11 as "unceremonious;" by then, hundreds
of Wang's followers had migrated to Nantou County's Puli Township,
camping out in shelters made out of cargo containers.
When nothing, aside from a few temblors,
occurred after a countdown, Wang was forced to admit that he made
the premonitions under the influence of alcohol.
Although the false teacher tried to blame news media for hyping up
his claims, the judge ruled that Wang maliciously fed upon the nation's
fear of earthquakes and tsunamis. The baseless "prophet"
had severely disturbed the social order, especially when one takes
into account the numbers of plastic containers purchased upon Wang's
was fined NT$40,000; he may appeal the case within five days of the
Nantou District Court verdict.
door on church weddings
By JOSH SAUL and LEONARD GREENE
New York Post: June 21, 2011
Don't book the minister just
across the state are divided over whether they'll perform same-sex marriages
if they become legal.
The Catholic Church adamantly opposes
gay marriage and would not perform same-sex nuptials.
"One has to wonder why the proponents
of this radical redefinition, who claim overwhelming popular support,
would not consider a referendum on such a drastic departure from traditional
values?" Archbishop Timothy Dolan
wrote on his blog.
The Catholic Church is joined by Greek
Orthodox leaders, who have voiced opposition
to same-sex marriage and last year supported a marriage-protection amendment
to the Constitution.
The nation's Methodist
churches are also against gay marriages, although some
ministers have risked defrocking in defiance of the ban.
churches in the state have expressed support for the legislation, but
it wasn't immediately clear if they'd actually allow same-sex nuptials
in their churches.
"The attitudes are much more varied
about that than whether civil service takes place," said
a spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of New York. "There
are people among us not in support of church ceremonies to celebrate
In New York's Jewish
communities, Orthodox groups have almost
unanimously oppose same-sex marriage, while reform
rabbis have been mostly supportive. Conservative
groups are divided.
The bill does not compel clergy members
to conduct same-sex marriages, but some Republican
lawmakers are concerned the legal protection is not strong enough.
Republican Senate leader Dean
Skelos said he wants churches to be protected from discrimination
suits if they refuse to perform ceremonies or provide
accommodations for gay weddings.
Rev. Stephen H. Phelps (right), interim senior minister at Manhattan's
Riverside Church, an interdenominational congregation,
said, "The state must not continue
to use its barriers and its laws to keep people from enjoying the privilege
of marriage. It's flat-out discriminatory. There's no other word for
Even so, Phelps said he could not speak for the other ministers at his
church. And, although he said he would officiate at same-sex marriages,
he said he would prefer couples with strong Christian beliefs.
Sen. REVEREND Ruben Diaz Sr.
supports Anthony Weiner's perv sexting, yet is against gay marriage
BY MICHAEL DALY
DAILY NEWS: Thursday, June 16, 2011
to Ruben's World, where it's okay to be a perv congressman so long
as you are heterosexual.
Just don't be two upstanding and loving gays hoping to get married.
The prospect of that has state Sen. Ruben
Diaz Sr. at the forefront
of the opposition as the state Senate comes within one vote of legalizing
"A slap in the face to millions of
New Yorkers who support the moral, legal and traditional view of marriage
as between man and woman," Diaz has declared.
At the same time, Diaz (D-Bronx) seems
to think it's no big deal for a man who is
married to a woman also to be a lying perv with any number of other
Take Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Sure, he sent an unbidden
photo of his crotch to a young woman. Sure,
he lied about it. Sure, he
insulted reporters who dared to press him for forthright answers.
But, since Weiner
(D-Queens, Brooklyn) is married to a woman and not a man, he gets Diaz's
full sympathy and support.
is what Diaz had to say after Weiner made his self-pitying sexting confession:
"The Bible teaches us to take care
of others and to help others when they are down. ... It is shameful
to see how many of Congressman Weiner's supposed friends have abandoned
him as the media makes a total mockery of him."
Note that last bit.
In Ruben's World, a heterosexual
congressman who sends around photos of his weewee is not making a mockery
of himself. It's the media's doing.
Also note the bit about the Bible.
In Ruben's World, the Good Book commands
the faithful to help and take care of a perv but shun gays who seek
only to live in a relationship sanctioned by the law as well as by love.
Sexting young women, so what?
Gay marriage, never!
Diaz cited his opposition to gay marriage as a pretext for joining three
other state senators in hijacking the Legislature in 2009.
Of this quartet known as the Four Amigos,
three have run afoul of the
First, Sen. Hiram Monserrate (right)
(D-Queens) was expelled from the Senate after he was
convicted of abusing his girlfriend.
Then, Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. (left)
(D-Bronx) was voted from office after he was indicted
for theft. As the charges only involved siphoning money from the Soundview
Health Center and not gay marriage, Diaz
held a rally supporting Espada.
"Keep politics out of Soundview!"
A third Amigo, Sen. Carl Kruger (right)(D-Brooklyn),
was indicted for taking some $1 million
in bribes. Diaz held no rally for Kruger, perhaps because it came out
that this particular Amigo was living with a man prosecutors termed
"an intimate associate."
week became one of another Four Amigos - the state senators who previously
opposed legalizing gay marriage but now pledge to vote for it.
"What we're about to do is redefine
what the American family is," Kruger
said. "And that's
a good thing. The world around us evolves."
The world around us is not to
be confused with Ruben's World, where you can be a perv or a thief -
so long as you don't want to marry somebody of your own gender.
Many Immigrants, Marriage Vote Resonates
By SAM DOLNICK
The New York Times: June 27, 2011
the debate over legalizing same-sex marriage, arguments against it were
often articulated most forcefully by the single voice, in a thick Spanish
accent, of State Senator
Rubén Díaz Sr.
Some may have seen Mr. Díaz, a
Democrat and a Pentecostal minister, as the Latino representative
on the issue, but several same-sex couples in Queens — from Colombia,
the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — would debate that, if
they were not so busy planning their weddings.
“He pretends to speak for all of
us, for Latinos, and I really do not think he
does,” said Ana
Maria Archila (right),
a Colombian who decided on Friday night to marry her longtime partner
after the State Senate voted to make same-sex unions legal.
The news was celebrated over the weekend by gay immigrants just as it
was by other gay groups. On Monday, after
the dancing had slowed, many immigrants outside the gay
community said that the victory carried a special resonance for them,
as well, for they understood discrimination better than most.
Their relationship with gay advocacy groups is complex, even as some
see similarities in their struggles. And because it is a state law and
not a federal one, some of the benefits being sought, like citizenship
for same-sex spouses, will not be forthcoming, and that has somewhat
muted their response.
“Both groups are used to having
to hide,” said Ms.
Archila, co-executive director of Make the Road
New York, an immigrant advocacy group. “Each
one of these movements is able to understand oppression in ways that
other groups may not.”
Advocates for the two groups say that
immigrants and gay people are among the last still fighting for basic
civil rights. Progress for one, they say, will help the other.
Dromm (left), a gay city councilman
from Jackson Heights, Queens, who is chairman
of the Council’s immigration committee, said,
“Immigrants’ rights and gay
rights are integrally related.”
“I used to say that the last vestige
of acceptable discrimination was against the L.G.B.T. community,”
he said, using shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
“I’ve come to feel that the
last vestige of discrimination is against immigrants.”
Organization for Marriage crusading against
gay nuptials in NY
BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN
DAILY NEWS: Sunday, June 12th 2011
A shadowy group run by religious fundamentalists
is bankrolling a pitched
crusade against same-sex marriage in New
Secretive and flush with cash, the National
Organization for Marriage is igniting a culture war
as it battles Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg
in their campaign to legalize gay wedlock.
"If marriage is redefined, then New
York schools will soon be teaching that it's
just as good for Jimmy to grow up and marry Johnny as it is to marry
Mary," says the group's
$172,100-a-year president, Brian Brown.
He warned of dire consequences if Albany, which nixed same-sex nuptials
in 2009, reverses course.
Based in Princeton, N.J., and Washington D.C., the tax-exempt group
was founded in 2007 to defend traditional heterosexual marriage. Since
then, its treasury has grown
from $637,000 to $8.5 million in 2009 as it attacked
same-sex unions across the country. In
the last 18 months, donations have swollen to more than $13 million,
Where the cash comes from isn't clear. One
backer is the Knights of Columbus, whose
lobbying in the 1950s put the phrase "under God" into the
Pledge of Allegiance. The Knights raised $1.9 million
for the group in 2008-09.
Square Arson Victim Blames Attack On Community’s Religious Intolerance
CBS2 New York: June 8, 2011
NEW SQUARE, N.Y. — After being the victim of
a frightening arson attack, New
Square resident Aron Rottenberg
spoke from his hospital bed on Wednesday.
Rottenberg told CBS 2 that he blames the leaders of an Hasidic sect
for creating the intolerant atmosphere that led to his injuries.
Rottenberg talked about the attack on his home that left him burned
over half of his body on Wednesday. He told an investigator hired
by his attorney how he tackled the masked intruder behind his home.
is a dissident in a community that values conformity. The Hasidic
Skver sect under Grand Rebbe David Twersky
(right) controls the village of New Square, and Rottenberg
described his act of defiance.
“I’m going to pray outside
New Square, to pray with the elderly and the sick,”
Rottenberg said harassment followed his split with the rabbi, including
the breaking of windows on his car and his home. It got so bad, in
fact, that he installed infrared cameras to alert his family of danger.
The lights never came on at the property, and the arsonist –
who was initially
scared away – may have felt it was safe to return. That’s
when, Rottenberg said, he came outside and hid behind a tree, then
jumping the intruder and sparking an explosion of flame.
Police arrested 18-year-old
Shaul Spitzer, described as a butler who lives in the grand
rebbe’s home. He was hospitalized for burns
to his hands, and is now free on $300,000
bail. Additional arrests
said that in the days leading up to the attack, the community ostracized
his family. “They actually kicked
my…daughter (Malki, right) out of school, also. Everything for
the same reason,” Rottenberg said.
The girl found her desk and papers left
on the front porch. Like the rest of the Rottenberg
family, she said she’s terrified.
Within 24-Hours of this terrible tragedy, there
were flyers all over town of New
Square proclaiming that the man that was burned was
not of the best quality.
The main points of the letter
1. He had marriage problems, his wife
wanted to leave him, and only the community leaders saved the marriage
2. The man is not really religious, he never cared what his kids look
like, and there for his kids look the way they do (off the Chasidic
3. While his father passed away, he did not say “Kadish”
for his father and didn’t daven at all.
Family Shouted Down at Press Conference
A press conference held today by family members
of a man badly burned in an arson attack turned into a shouting match
when a village man called the family's
lawyer an anti-Semite for going against the grand rabbi.
Rottenberg's son-in-law, Moshe Elbaum,
was interrupted several times at the press conference by village resident
refuted the family's claims and during a heated exchange said Sussman
When Elbaum asked what his father-in-law had done wrong, Shulem
replied: “It's the wrong thing to do against the rabbi.”
√ to watch news conferemce video
say selling 'sexist' Queens statue on craigslist would be a civic
BY LISA. L. COLANGELO
NY DAILY NEWS : Friday, February 25th 2011
A controversial Queens statue, featured
as an "Eyesore Next Door" in
the Daily News, should
be sold through an online classifieds site, according to a group of
Rep. Anthony Weiner said the city should
ditch the statue, "Triumph of Civic Virtue"
[by famed turn-of-the-century
American sculptor Frederick MacMonnies
(1863-1937) depicting a nude man representing 'civic virtue' trampling
the twin sirens of 'vice' and 'corruption,'] because it is "sexist."
Some community leaders have tried for years to get the city to pay
for the restoration of the decaying statue.
and City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Jackson Heights)
- who want to sell the statue on craigslist
to raise funds - said it is offensive
because it depicts a nude man stepping on two women.
Some leaders don't want to tear the statue down.
"It's been one of the board's top priorities for years to have
that statue restored," said Mary
Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9 in
not looking to destroy art."
Anthony Weiner says crotch photo posted via his Twitter was work of
BY ALISON GENDAR
DAILY NEWS ;Sunday, May 29th 2011
WASHINGTON - Weiner jokes apparently never grow old.
Twitter followers of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) got an eyeful
late Friday night when a hacker posted a lewd crotch-shot photo from
his Twitter account.
The photo of a man's bulging gray briefs - no face visible - was sent
to only one female Twitter user, but was visible to all 45,000 of
the lawmaker's Twitter followers.
His staff-taking the matter seriously-said both his Facebook and Twitter
accounts had been hacked.
"This is intended to be a distraction, and we're not going to
let it become one. Anthony's accounts were obviously hacked. He doesn't
know the person named by the hacker, and we will be consulting on
what steps to take next," said Weiner's spokesman Dave Arnold.
congressman noticed the hack almost immediately and removed the photo
himself. But it had already been retweeted and grabbed by several
followers and appeared on Conservative websites.
Weiner soon posted his own tongue-in-cheek response.
"Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next?"
he joked, later adding: "Touche Prof Moriarity. More Weiner Jokes
for all my guests!"
The web hijinks continued as Weiner's alleged "member" now
has its own Twitter page and followers.
The congressman's rise and fall
resembles Shakespearean tragedy
BY LARRY MCSHANE
DAILY NEWS:Thursday, June 16th 2011
rise and fall of Anthony Weiner is the stuff of Shakespearean tragedy
- if the Bard had owned a laptop.
The congressman's two-decade trip from outer borough obscurity to
front-page infamy ended badly Thursday, as his resignation capped
his precipitous fall from grace.
fault, as Shakespeare sagely observed
in "Julius Caesar," was not
in the stars but in Weiner himself.
The nerdy son of a city schoolteacher
was born and raised in Brooklyn. The skinny, ambitious kid became
a protegee of then-Congressman Chuck
Schumer, spending six years working with the