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NEWS
December 27, 1990
We Americans preen when we lecture other nations about human rights. We are especially proud of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, as we should be. Let's hope nobody looks too closely. We're a lot better at words than we are about applying them. This is especially true when it comes to questions that cause the state the slightest discomfort. Take religion, for instance, tucked firmly into the First Amendment as a seemingly inviolable right. Once the rationalizers in robes get going, that right becomes dependent on how much power a religion has. Any religion can look absurd from the outside.
NEWS
July 20, 2006
IN HIS LETTER ON the difference between cults and religions, Larry Lueder asked an interesting question: What the difference is between a cult and a religion? Speaking as an atheist, it strikes me that a fine line distinguishes religions from cults. In fact, some may argue that religions and cults are the same thing. I don't know what the difference is. But I do know that Lueder is mistaken if he thinks that only religions that call for the death of nonbelievers must be cults. If our government banned any religion that called for the death of nonbelievers, both Christianity and Judaism would be affected, based on what's in their scriptures.
NEWS
December 20, 1994 | By DEAN J. SNYDER
It would be wrong to resurrect religious ceremonies in public school classrooms. Yet, neither should the sentiments of those who are urging a return to prayer in schools be dismissed out of hand. Even if their solution to the problem is misguided, they are right to sense that there is indeed a problem. Barely more than 30 years ago school children in Pennsylvania began their day by listening to 10 verses from the Bible and reciting together the Lord's Prayer. It was the U.S. Supreme Court's 1963 ruling in School District of Abington Township v. Schempp that decisively put an end to such religious exercises in public schools here and throughout the nation.
NEWS
January 10, 2005
GOD HAD NO part in the recent tsunamis. Religion is the problem with this world. Too many people believing in too many gods that don't exist. My theory about the Bible is that if the first story (Adam and Eve) is made up, why wouldn't the rest of it be phony, too? The Bible says own slaves. OK, give me one to do some house chores. One person (Jesus) was born without semen, walked on water and rose from the dead, all in 30 years? Sounds like a crock to me. If a person goes to church every Sunday for 70 years, he wastes a full 151 days of his life and thousands of dollars that will go to pay for lawsuits for perverted priests.
NEWS
August 28, 1987
As if Jim Bakker's shabby demise wasn't grief enough, the politicized Christian right is getting the wind knocked out of its high-flying campaign to reshape the public school classroom. Three times fundamentalists' lawsuits have inched up the federal-court ladder, only to get knocked off - twice this week alone. That's good news for the republic. The first defeat came in June when the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional for Louisiana to require the teaching of the pseudo-science of "creationism" - basically the book of Genesis - in public classrooms.
NEWS
December 12, 2003 | By CHRISTINE M. FLOWERS
SEVERAL months ago, in a modest courtroom at 16th and Callowhill, a young man from Lebanon was granted asylum. A Maronite Christian, he successfully convinced an immigration judge that he had suffered persecution at the hands of his native government on account of his religion and was entitled to the protection of the U.S. How fitting that his chosen refuge is a city which was itself established as a haven for those fleeing religious persecution....
NEWS
October 7, 1996 | By Marianne Williamson
There is an important distinction to be made between a religiously based vs. a spiritually based political impulse. While religion is a force that either creatively or noncreatively separates us, spirituality is a force that unites us by reminding us of our fundamental oneness. The religionization of American politics is dangerous; the spiritualization of our political consciousness is imperative. When violence erupted last week over the Israeli opening of a tunnel near the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the clear difference between religious passion and spiritual passion was obvious.
SPORTS
May 24, 1999 | by Paul Domowitch, Daily News Staff Writer
Several hundred people packed the Cherry Hill meeting house of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to listen to Eagles coach Andy Reid. The subject last night was salvation rather than football. The West Coast offense never came up. Reid and his wife, Tammy, both of whom are Mormons, were invited to speak by Channel 10 sportscaster Vai Sikahema, who is a bishop in the church's south Jersey branch. Reid spoke to the mesmerized gathering for more than 30 minutes. He told them of his conversion to the Mormon religion at Brigham Young, and the important role his religion plays in his life.
NEWS
January 29, 2006 | BY RICHARD DAWKINS Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University
Imagine, sang John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Kashmir dispute, no Indian partition, no Israel/Palestine wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no Northern Ireland "troubles. " Imagine no Taliban to blow up ancient statues, no public beheadings of blasphemers, no flogging of female skin for the crime of showing an inch of it. Imagine no persecutions of the Jews - no Jews to persecute indeed, for, without religious taboos against marrying out, the Diaspora would long ago have merged into Europe.
NEWS
October 11, 1999 | BY RICHARD IACONELLI
The controversy over the Brooklyn Museum's exhibition of "Holy Virgin Mary" (with pictures of female sex organs and animal excrement pasted on the canvas) shows us more than art. It more clearly shows the media's contempt for religious people. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been accused of censorship. He says artistic license must be balanced against community values. The media have instead framed the issue as freedom of expression vs. "narrow-minded" conservative politics.
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NEWS
September 13, 2016
ISSUE | CHURCH & STATE Jefferson was clear President Thomas Jefferson was extremely cogent of what he was writing when he used the term "wall of separation" in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Church in 1802 ("Twisted meaning," Thursday). The second paragraph reads: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
NEWS
April 13, 2016
The 2016 election is transforming the religious landscape of American politics. It's hard to imagine a Democratic presidential candidate receiving a mid-campaign invitation to speak at the Vatican. But on Friday, Bernie Sanders put out word that on April 15, he'll attend a gathering of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Both Sanders and Hillary Clinton, his front-running rival, have regularly praised Pope Francis. And on the day of Sanders' announcement, Francis released "The Joy of Love.
NEWS
February 13, 2016
By John Nivala The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has said that any historic designation of any church property without its consent "allows the government to place undue restrictions on religious structures and property, which in effect interferes with the free practice of our religion. " If Philadelphia were Seattle, that position would be spot on. The Washington state Supreme Court, using the state's constitution, has found that even initiating the designation procedure violates a church's right to free exercise of religion.
NEWS
January 20, 2016
WHEN I CONSIDER the link between race, religion and terror in America, my thoughts go well beyond the actions of Edward Archer, who told investigators he was acting "in the name of Islam" when he was caught on video shooting Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett three times. For me, issues of race, terror and religion are more often connected to the religion I happen to practice - Christianity. From Baptist preachers who doubled as Klan leaders in the darkest days of Jim Crow, to Bible-thumping Aryan Nation leaders who carried on the legacy of religiously inspired bigotry, self-proclaimed Christians have committed numerous acts of terror in this country.
NEWS
December 10, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
The terrorist attacks this fall that killed 43 people in Beirut, 130 in Paris, and 14 in San Bernardino were not the work of "Islamic extremists," a panel of speakers told an audience at Rutgers-Camden on Tuesday. "The term Islamic extremists is a contradiction in terms," said Imam Shaheed Muhammed of the United Muslim Masjid in Philadelphia. Most Muslims, he added, "are just as much in fear for our lives from ISIS" and other terrorists "as anyone else. " His views echoed those of the two other panelists, who spoke before a gathering of about 100 students in the student center.
NEWS
October 5, 2015 | By Lisa Scottoline, Inquirer Columnist
They say you should never talk about politics or religion. But these days, politics is religion. And I think that's a wonderful thing. This way, instead of not talking about two things separately, you can not talk about two things together. This is much more efficient. It's like if you were going to have dinner of spaghetti and salad. In the old days, we ate them separately, but these days, we mix the spaghetti and the salad together and eat them that way. Doesn't that sound delicious?
NEWS
September 25, 2015
FROM THE TIME he arrived at the Vatican two years ago, Pope Francis has enjoyed wild popularity among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and the reasons for this popularity are worth contemplating as he makes his way to Philadelphia after stops in Washington and New York. The timing of the pope's arrival couldn't be better, not just for the city but for the United States - to remind us that religion can be a positive force, one that builds rather than divides, that comforts rather than afflicts, and that can remind of us our better selves.
NEWS
September 25, 2015 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
As Pope Francis addresses political leaders Thursday at the Capitol before making his way to Philadelphia, another event is playing out that for decades has prompted a public examination of faith in America: the Republican presidential campaign. During the 2012 campaign, GOP nominee Mitt Romney's Mormon faith drew attention, while runner-up Rick Santorum, a Catholic, surged as a social-issues crusader. In 2008, Mike Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor, carried the Iowa caucuses after stirring fervor with evangelical Christians.
NEWS
September 16, 2015 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Emil A. Ralbusky, 65, of Collingswood, who taught religion classes at Gloucester Catholic Junior Senior High School and Camden Catholic High School after becoming a deacon in 1988, died of complications from cancer at his home Friday, Sept. 11. A friend, Bina Marino, knew Mr. Ralbusky because she and his wife, Marie, were youth ministers at St. John's Church in Collingswood in the late 1980s. "He stopped at our home, right after my husband, Frank, had surgery," Marino recalled of a 2004 visit.
NEWS
August 28, 2015 | By Helen Ubinas, Daily News Columnist
THE TV in the middle of the newsroom is broadcasting the latest about a local shooting, which it always seems to be doing. This one in West Philly. At the same time I'm reading an article about a teenager who held students and a teacher at gunpoint in a West Virginia classroom, while I'm also obsessively scanning my Twitter feed for anything, everything about the horrific shootings of a Virginia reporter and cameraman on live television as they filmed a feature on tourism. When the gunman's name was released, I went looking for his Twitter feed and watched the shocking shootings that he recorded and later posted, and that now a huge part of me wishes I could unsee.
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