- You can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.
- Music and television programs pertaining to your religion’s holidays are readily accessible.
- It is easy to find stores that carry items that enable you to practice your faith and celebrate religious holidays.
- You aren’t pressured to celebrate holidays from another faith that may conflict with your religious values.
- Holidays celebrating your faith are so widely supported you can often forget they are limited to your faith (e.g. wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” without considering their faith).
- You can worship freely, without fear of violence or threats.
- A bumper sticker supporting your religion won’t likely lead to your car being vandalized.
- You can practice your religious customs without being questioned, mocked, or inhibited.
- If you are being tried in court, you can assume that the jury of “your peers” will share your faith and not hold that against you in weighing decisions.
- When swearing an oath, you will place your hand on a religious scripture pertaining to your faith.
- Positive references to your faith are seen dozens a time a day by everyone, regardless of their faith.
- Politicians responsible for your governance are probably members of your faith.
- Politicians can make decisions citing your faith without being labeled as heretics or extremists.
- It is easy for you to find your faith accurately depicted in television, movies, books, and other media.
- You can reasonably assume that anyone you encounter will have a decent understanding of your beliefs.
- You will not be penalized (socially or otherwise) for not knowing other people’s religious customs.
- Your faith is accepted/supported at your workplace.
- You can go into any career you want without it being associated with or explained by your faith.
- You can travel to any part of the country and know your religion will be accepted, safe, and you will have access to religious spaces to practice your faith.
- Your faith can be an aspect of your identity without being a defining aspect (e.g., people won’t think of you as their “Christian” friend)
- You can be polite, gentle, or peaceful, and not be considered an “exception” to those practicing your faith.
- Fundraising to support congregations of your faith will not be investigated as potentially threatening or terrorist behavior.
- Construction of spaces of worship will not likely be halted due to your faith.
- You are never asked to speak on behalf of all the members of your faith.
- It is unlikely you will be judged by the actions of other members of your faith.
- You can go anywhere and assume you will be surrounded by members of your faith.
- Without special effort, your children will have a multitude of teachers who share your faith.
- Without special effort, your children will have a multitude of friends who share your faith.
- It is easily accessible for you or your children to be educated from kindergarten through post-grad at institutions of your faith.
- Disclosing your faith to an adoption agency will not likely prevent you from being able to adopt children.
- In the event of a divorce, the judge won’t immediately grant custody of your children to your ex because of your faith.
- Your faith is taught or offered as a course at most public institutions.
- You can complain about your religion being under attack without it being perceived as an attack on another religion.
- You can dismiss the idea that identifying with your faith bears certain privileges.
No… but really you’re “oppressed”.
Dear Jesus, My mom and dad do drugs at home and it scares me. Will you help them stop? Thank you for hearing my prayer.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.”
What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck.
After numerous failed doomsday predictions, Family Radio founder Harold Camping announced this month that he has no plans to predict ever again the day of God’s Judgment. He also issued an apology to listeners, admitting that he was wrong.
“We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours!” a statement on Family Radio’s website reads. “We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.”
Camping, 90, has made predictions about Judgment Day, Christ’s return and the end of the world for the past few decades – with the May 21, 2011, forecast receiving the most media attention. Each time the date passed, he did not admit to mistaking the timing but instead reasoned that the events happened “spiritually” rather than physically.
But once Oct. 21, 2011 – the day Camping said the world would be destroyed physically – came and went, the Christian broadcaster began to reevaluate his views about being able to calculate and know the exact date of the apocalypse.
“Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken,” Camping and Family Radio staff stated in their March letter. “We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking.
“But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man’ (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.”
They went further to say that their “bold” insistence that the Bible guaranteed Christ’s return on May 21 was both “incorrect” and “sinful.”
At the same time, they pointed to the good that came out of all their failed forecasts, which were condemned by evangelical pastors.
“Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible,” the Family Radio letter says.
Though they were wrong, their doomsday predictions directed the world’s attention to the Bible and spurred discussions about the Scriptures among people who might have never heard about Christ, they noted.
Still, that does not excuse them, Family Radio acknowledged.
“We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.”
The letter was intended to be mailed out to Family Radio listeners first before being posted on the website. But the content was leaked, forcing the Oakland, Calif.-based broadcasting network to post the letter immediately.
While there are still doomsday dates currently circulating, Camping and Family Radio said they have “no new evidence pointing to another date” and have “no interest in even considering another date.”
“God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding,” they highlighted.
“[W]e must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance. If it is His good pleasure for us to continue on with our original mission, the proclamation of the Gospel, God’s Word, then we must continue to look to Him.”
A high school in Dunkerton, Minnesota, is facing a backlash from parents after a Christian rock band invited to perform for students used the opportunity to impart their anti-gay views, show images of aborted foetuses, and tell female students they should assume a submissive role in their future marriages.
The band, Junkyard Prophet, are part of the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International Christian youth ministry, and were invited to Dunkerton High School to spread their “very strong anti-violence, anti-drug, anti-alcohol” message. Described as “rapcore-nu metal”, one writer has summarised Junkyard Prophet in the following terms:“Their sound is grease-bucket funky, with miter-saw guitar work over a tight, bass-heavy rap/rock hybrid, in the vein of Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit on the secular side, P.O.D. and Pillar on the Christian one.”
High praise (well, maybe just the Rage bit…), but nothing on what you can learn on the band’s own website:“Controversial, daring, fearless, and honest: these are just a few words that have been used to describe the Minneapolis-based Christian rap, metal outfit - Junkyard Prophet. […]
If you were to look up the word “independent” in the dictionary, one of the definitions would probably say, “Junkyard Prophet.” They truly take the D.I.Y. (do it yourself) concept to the extreme.”
And according to a local news report, the musical part of Junkyard Prophet’s school visit went very well indeed. “The kids were rocking out,” said the local Superintendent, but once the gig was over things started to go awry:“After performing, the group separated boys, girls and teachers in the building.
During the breakout session, the young men learned the group’s thoughts on the U.S. Constitution and what one Prophet referred to as its “10 commandments.” The leader also showed images of musicians who died because of drug overdoses, including Elvis Presley.
Members of the group blasted other performers, like Toby Keith, for their improper influence.
The girls, meanwhile, were told to save themselves for their husbands and assume a submissive role in the household. According to witnesses, the leader in that effort also forced the young ladies to chant a manta of sorts about remaining pure.”
Jennifer Littlefield, mother of 16-year-old Dunkerton student Alivia Littlefield, told her local paper what she had heard from her daughter:“They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgin. I couldn’t even understand her, she was crying so hard. They told these kids that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42. It just blows me away that no one stopped this.”
The local school district is now trying to recover the fee it was charged for Junkyard Prophet’s appearance.
PS: for those of you who are interested in reliving the days of nu-metal and once again asking what everyone was thinking, here’s a Junkyard Prophet video:
[Find video at link below]
The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, took to the media this weekend to launch an attack on the government’s plans to hold a consultation on legalising gay marriage. In an opinion piece for the Sunday Telegraph, O’Brien threw his weight behind the campaign by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M),launched by religious groups last month and spearheaded by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, and echoed C4M’s emphasis on the “redefinition” of marriage:“Redefining marriage will have huge implications for what is taught in our schools, and for wider society. It will redefine society since the institution of marriage is one of the fundamental building blocks of society. The repercussions of enacting same-sex marriage into law will be immense.Having branded proposals for legalising gay marriage as “madness” and “a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”, and argued that gay marriage would “create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father”, O’Brien went on to deploy a bizarre and, you could argue, rather offensive analogy:
But can we simply redefine terms at a whim? Can a word whose meaning has been clearly understood in every society throughout history suddenly be changed to mean something else?”“Disingenuously, the Government has suggested that same-sex marriage wouldn’t be compulsory and churches could choose to opt out. This is staggeringly arrogant.O’Brien continued his attack on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, restating his view that legalising gay marriage will “shame” the United Kingdom. Asked whether his slavery analogy was “inflammatory”, O’Brien defended the words he used in the Sunday Telegraph:
No Government has the moral authority to dismantle the universally understood meaning of marriage.
Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that “no one will be forced to keep a slave”.
Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?”“I think it’s a very, very good example as to what might happen in our own country at this present time, and I feel I’ve a duty, I’ve a responsibility, to preach and to teach, and this is one of the ways in which I do it. … It is a perfectly good example as to what could happen in our own country if we go this way, and as I say I am simply handing on the teaching of the Christian church down through the years.”Asked whether states that have already legalised gay marriage are violating human rights, the Cardinal continued:“Countries where this is legal are indeed violating human rights. We know that, we know what the United Nations declaration states, and we know what follows on from something like this. It seems to me to be the thin end of the wedge, and it’s changing the whole notion of what marriage and what a family is.”Today presenter John Humphries concluded by asking O’Brien whether he is afraid that his views risk creating the impression that the Catholic Church is “way behind society”. The Cardinal responded by suggesting that society may have “progressed” too far:“I think it’s time now to call a halt to what you might call ‘progress’ in society, I don’t call ‘progress’ the things that are happening nowadays, and when we talk about the thin end of the wedge, we remember that Abortion Act in 1967, when we were told there would be clearly-defined ways when abortion might take place, and now we know there is around seven million abortions since that happened, and further aberrations are hinted at at this present time. The same would happen if same-sex unions were defined as marriages. Further aberrations would be taking place, and society would be degenerating even further than it has already degenerated into immorality.”Same-sex marriage looks set to become a key battleground in coming months. Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that the Catholic Church is planning to mobilise its congregations in opposition to the plans, while secular and liberal Christian campaigners have rallied to condemn the recent attacks on gay marriage. Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has condemned O’Brien’s remarks, suggesting that the Cardinal should welcome the fact that gay couples wish to get married:“Cardinal O’Brien is out of touch and intolerant. Opinion polls show that most Christians support gay equality and that 61 of the public support the right of gay couples to have a civil marriage in a register office. Only 33% disagree … If he supports marriage, the Cardinal should welcome the fact that many lesbian and gay couples want to get married. Same-sex marriage does not detract in any way from heterosexual marriage. It does not diminish or devalue marriages between opposite-sex couples.
Cardinal O’Brien has attacked government plans as an attempt to redefine marriage. But the churches have redefined marriage in the past. They no longer oppose divorce and the remarriage of divorced couples. There is no reason why marriage should not be redefined to include lesbian and gay couples.”
Meanwhile, a Coalition for Equal Marriage (C4EM) launches this week, supported by Stonewall, the British Humanist Association, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the LGBT+ Lib Dems, the Pink Triangle Trust and the Metropolitan Community Church of North London. Over 11,000 people have signed a petition supporting gay marriage so far, and you can add your name by visiting the C4EM’s website.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation discovered the shocking extent of petty and vindictive community reactions against 16 year old litigant Jessica Ahlquist when it attempted earlier this week to order a dozen roses to be delivered to the victorious state/church plaintiff in Cranson, R.I. FFRF is in the process of filing a complaint about one of the floral shops with Rhode Island’s human rights division over the civil rights violation.
Working through a Wisconsin flower shop Tuesday, Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, placed what she believed to be a routine order: A dozen red roses to be delivered on Wednesday with the message to Jessica: “Congratulations, and hang in there, with admiration from FFRF.”
Late yesterday, the local florist called FFRF’s office to report she had struck out at three Cranston florist’s shops, including at Twins Florist, which responded to the order in writing with this statement: “I will not deliver to this person.” The other two shops mysteriously produced unusual excuses for refusing the order. Gaylor said when she heard this news, “My jaw literally dropped. Everyone is stunned by the bigotry.”
FFRF was told a Warwick floral shop as of Wednesday had agreed to make the delivery today with no additional long distance charge. This morning, FFRF discovered it too was refusing the order, citing the excuse of unwanted media attention.
Thanks to an FFRF member’s referral, FFRF has placed an order out of state with a friendly shop, Glimpse of Gaia, in Putnam, Ct., which has agreed to deliver a dozen roses.
In addition to sending flowers, FFRF announced, after Jessica’s state legislator had called her “an evil little thing,” that it is re-awarding Jessica its Thomas Jefferson Student Activist award, this time doubling the scholarship to $2,000. “The thicker critics lay on the hate, the more we freethinkers will support Jessica,” Gaylor said.
FFRF, a 501(c)(3) a charity which has run a student activist scholarship fund in an accountable fashion for decades, has also announced a new scholarship, “The Atheists in a Foxhole Support Fund,” and is making Jessica the first recipient. (Donate to the fund here.)
The petite Jessica, who was already a lightning rod at her Cranson high school for challenging an illegal prayer banner in her auditorium, has come under a firestorm of local revilement since winning a federal judgment in her favor on Jan. 11. She has received nonstop abuse, even death wishes, via Twitter and social network sites, including by schoolmates.
“The vicious reaction in Rhode Island, where it seems nearly the entire state has banded together to bully and revile one very tiny and courageous teenager, is out of bounds and out of control. The Cranston school board, by not yet accepting the judge’s ruling, is, by its inaction, egging on Jessica’s abusers and fanning the controversy. It should be over with this strong ruling,” noted Gaylor.
Jessica was named FFRF’s Thomas Jefferson Student Activist awardee last year, wowing and charming the 34th annual national FFRF when she accepted her $1,000 scholarship in person.
“Rhode Island legislators, instead of calling her names, ought to be giving Jessica a commendation for her patriotism in standing up for the precious principle of separation between state and church,” said Dan Barker, FFRF co-president. “The hostility against Jessica is giving Rhode Island a black eye. It is time for reason to prevail and the law to be abided by.”
Wow Rhode Island, just, wow.
You’re just that insecure about your religion that you have to band together, as an entire collection of peoples, to bully one teenager?
That’s fucking sickening.