Friday, June 1, 2007

Battling presidential canidates, drugs and unions with the Bible; and more

Sun-Sentinel (FL): Florida evangelist Bill Keller says he was making a spiritual--not political--statement when he warned the 2.4 million subscribers to his Internet prayer ministry that "if you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!"

But the Washington-based advocacy group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should revoke the 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt statue of Bill Keller Ministries, nonetheless.

Associate Press: Bobbleheads of Rev. Jerry Falwell holding a Bible are a big hit on ebay. An infamous Bible bender, Falwell will be remembered for statements such as this one, said shortly after 911: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen." There is still time to purchase a piece of the man who said this and so much more.

The Guardian (UK): In the war against drugs that ravages Brazil, some preachers, armed with only a Bible, are willing to fight. Certainly there are worse weapons than telling someone that Jesus loves them, but I can think of better ones as well--off the top of my head, reforming a corrupt government that has failed to address the largest economic inequality in the world (according to the Gini coefficient) and educating the more than 15 million illiterate civilians come to mind. (Thanks to Simon for the tip.)

ABC (AUSTRALIA): An outspoken Australian union activist accused the political leadership of preferring to send workers to Bible study rather than negotiate wages. Western Australian Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) secretary Kevin Reynolds has said Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is out of touch with workers and wants them all to go to "bible class".

At the risk of revealing an ignorance of Australian politics, what does "wants them all to go to 'bible class'" mean? Does it mean that since workers are not going to get the wages they are demanding through negotiations, they have no choice but to pray for them instead? Is Reynolds suggesting that there is something in the Bible that they should explore in greater depth to help them resolve their differences? Is "bible class" a euphemism something? Or does this mean that in Australia, it is insulting to suggest that someone is somehow relying on the Bible? In any case, the deputy Labor leader, Julia Gillars, has said that her party will take these critical comments "on the chin."

New York Times (NY): In an editorial, US Senator and GOP presidential hopeful Sam Brownback clarifies his position on evolution. In the first presidential debate, Brownback was one of three candidates who raised their hand when asked, "is there anyone on stage who does not believe in evolution?" (YouTube clip here.)

Predictably, Brownback distinguishes between "creationism" (a literal interpretation of Genesis) and Intelligent Design (a more pliant Bible bending position that combines the biblical god with evolution). Brownback explains how he determines what "aspects of evolutionary theory" do and do not receive his approval: "Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science."

Chicago Tribune (IL): Readers discuss whether the newspaper the usage of "Old Testament" in their articles with "Hebrew Testament."

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