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TAG | Fundamentalism

Apr/12

28

Balkanization Watch

Via the Washington Post:

The Hutterites are Protestants similar to the Amish and Mennonites who live a life centered on their religion, but unlike the others, Hutterites live in German-speaking communes scattered across northern U.S. states and Canada. They don’t pay wages, don’t vote and don’t enlist in the military. They make their own clothes, produce their own food and construct their own buildings.

“Their core belief is that they have no property. All the property and labor they have, they contribute to the colony,” Ron Nelson, an attorney for the Big Sky Colony, told the Montana Supreme Court.

The state’s high court on Wednesday heard arguments by the colony and the state on whether Montana’s requirement that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance can be expanded to religious organizations. A state judge has already ruled the 2009 law expanding the workers’ compensation law to force the Hutterites to pay for the insurance violated their right to freely exercise their religion.

The state is asking the high court to reverse that decision, arguing the new law deals only with commercial activities and stays out of the Hutterites religious affairs.

The Hutterites’ argument that everything they do is tied to their religion cannot exempt them from regulation when they voluntarily enter into an outside commercial activity, assistant Attorney General Stuart Segrest said.

“They’re not allowed to become a law unto themselves,” Segrest said

Quite.

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Apr/12

22

Hikikomori (of a sort)

Via Salon:

When I first brought home our sleek, silver, double-deck, Panasonic stereo cassette player during the summer of 1993, my then-wife, Gitty, frowned.

“It has a radio,” she said with an accusing glare.

The device, fresh out of the box, lay on the chintzy oilcloth on our kitchen table, and she stuck her index finger at a spot on the top, near the volume control. Tape, AM, FM, printed in tiny white letters along the ridge of the circular switch. There was no denying it. And in our all-Hasidic village in Rockland County, N.Y., radio — along with TV, movies, newspapers and other sources of secular influence — was verboten.

“We’ll do what everyone does,” I said, slightly annoyed at the suggestion of impiety. Many of my friends had cassette players, and when the device came with a built-in radio tuner, there was a standard procedure for it: Krazy Glue the switch into the tape-playing position, paste a strip of masking tape over the channel indicators, and put the antenna out with the next day’s trash…

That seems sad to me, but there it is…

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Jan/12

28

“A Gift in a Very Broken Way”

Via Think Progress (I know, I know), here’s Rick Santorum explaining why a woman left pregnant should be compelled to give birth:

Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.

We”?

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Jan/12

4

Toeing the Line

The Huffington Post (I know, I know) dredges up this 2002 article by the gift-of-God-to-Obama better known as Santorum, and, yes, it’s worth reading, particularly this:

Like most American Catholics, I have followed the recent sex scandals in the Church with profound sympathy for victims, revulsion over priests who prey on minors and frustration at the absence of hierarchical leadership. Unlike most, I have been visited by the gift of hope; for I see in this fall an opportunity for ecclesial rebirth and a new evangelization of America. This “new evangelization,” advocated strenuously by Pope John Paul II, has the potential for restoring confidence in the priesthood while empowering all American Catholics…

It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning “private” moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

Nonsense, and disgusting nonsense at that.

And then there’s this:

Most importantly, I hope this crisis in the clergy will remind the laity of the call of Vatican II, a call the Pope has re-echoed throughout his incredible papacy. This is not just the hierarchy’s church; it belongs to all the baptized. Pope John Paul II reminds us time and again of Luke’s Gospel: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” We are all called to be “fishers of men.” Both clergy and laity have mutually supportive and indispensable roles in the “new evangelization” through administration of the sacraments and proclamation of the Gospel and all Church teachings.

Even now we witness this “new evangelization” through many ecclesial lay movements such as Opus Dei, the Neocatechumenate, Focolare, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation.

I’ve never heard of most of these groups, but Opus Dei certainly rings a somewhat sinister bell.

And Santorum, it seems, is a fan.

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Nov/11

27

Contagion

Via the Daily Mail:

Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain’s leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.

Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion. Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.

Steve Jones emeritus professor of human genetics at university college London has questioned why such students would want to study biology at all when it obviously conflicts with their beliefs. He told the Sunday Times: ‘I had one or two slightly frisky discussions years ago with kids who belonged to fundamentalist Christian churches, now it is Islamic overwhelmingly….They don’t come [to lectures] or they complain about it or they send notes or emails saying they shouldn’t have to learn this stuff.”

Perhaps the most telling thing about this sorry story is the students’ unwillingness merely to study something with which they disagree. What exactly are they afraid of?

In due course, we can, I expect, see an effort made to allow them to be spared the requirement to attend class on the grounds of “conscience”, the miserable, self-righteous and Balkanizing excuse increasingly being used in the United States to secure exemption for religious folk from this rule or that.

And this is interesting (emphasis added):

Sources within the group Muslims4UK partly blame the growing popularity of creationist beliefs within Islam on Turkish author Harun Yahya who, influenced by the success of Christian creationists in America, has written several books denouncing Darwinist theory

The weird ecumenicism of fanaticism never fails to impress.

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Oct/11

28

Offended (2)

I first came across the French Catholic fundamentalist group, “Institut Civitas’ in a story posted here a month or so ago. Here they are again:

Paris police have arrested around 20 Christian fundamentalists who burst into a theatre and threw stink bombs to protest against a play featuring the face of Christ drizzled with fake excrement. Police made the arrests at the Theatre de la Ville, on the banks of the Seine near Notre Dame cathedral, during a performance of “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God”, directed by Italian Romeo Castellucci. The play, which runs until October 30, is the story of an incontinent man being looked after by his son.A copy of a huge portrait of Christ by Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina hangs at the back of the stage and appears to be covered in excrement towards the end of the performance.

After days of trying to get in, the protesters on Wednesday “entered the theatre and threw stink bombs into the auditorium, shouting: ‘Enough Christianophobia!'” a police source told AFP.

France’s ministry of culture blamed the demonstration on members of the Institut Civitas, which in April protested US artist Andres Serrano’s renowned “Immersion Piss Christ” photograph in the southern papal city of Avignon. Civitas head Alain Escada said: “Our mission is to spread the word about this performance and to organise a response.”

A spectator described the protesters as “very young people who are very angry but very well dressed.” Faced with a police cordon, they throw eggs and oil at the theatre and those going in, chanting in Latin or praying on their knees.

The association of French Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday condemned “the violence perpetrated during recent performances… France’s Roman Catholic Church is neither fundamentalist nor obscurantist (opposed to enlightenment).”

I noted before that the Civitas crowd appeared to have taken a lesson or two from the more extreme followers of another religion I could mention, and so they have in quite a few respects. The use of the ridiculous term “Christianophobia” only underlines that point.

The play itself sounds like a nightmare, but there is no, repeat, no right not to be offended.

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Sep/11

21

Against a Bookshop

To say that there are huge differences between the three great middle-eastern monotheisms is, of course, an understatement, but it’s interesting to see how their extremists, at least, can sometimes resemble each other.

The Guardian reports:

A bookshop in a strict ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Jerusalem has come under attack from religious zealots whose “mafia-like” intimidation tactics have created a climate of fear and resentment among members of the area’s business community. The shop, known as Or Hachaim/Manny’s, has had its windows broken twice, its locks glued shut and has been pelted with fish oil by members of the fringe Sikrikim group, an extremist breakaway faction from the ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta movement, which opposes the modern state of Israel because it was established by man and not God. Since the shop opened in the neighbourhood of Mea She’arim in March 2010, the Sikrikim have been calling for a boycott in an effort to force its managers to remove all English-language and Zionist books, said Marlene Samuels, one of the shop’s managers. They have also demanded the shop shut down its English-language website and erect a sign requesting that customers dress modestly.

“They’re not happy with the large number of tourists that come in here because they feel they’re not dressed modestly enough,” she explained, pointing out that Israel’s English-speaking community and visitors from the US, the UK and other European countries constitute a large proportion of the shop’s clientele.

David Rotenberg, head of Or Hachaim’s English department, said the Sikrikim had also dumped bags of human excrement beside the religious books on display inside the store – “the bottom line on how disgustingly crazy these people are”.

Established in the 1870s by ultra-Orthodox Jews of eastern European origin, Mea She’arim’s residents have retained the conservative customs and dress of the old eastern European ghettos. Life in the insular, densely populated neighbourhood is strictly governed by Jewish law and its patchwork of religious sub-groupings and factions generally resent state interference in their affairs. According to Samuels, while the Sikrikim have no religious legitimacy in the eyes of Mea She’arim’s ultra-Orthodox community – and reportedly comprise just 60 to 100 members – their reach and impact are widespread.

“Everybody suffers from them; this has been going on with other stores for years,” she said. “If people do not toe the line according to their very extreme, anti-Zionist philosophy, they become very aggressive.”

Several shop owners in the neighbourhood told the Guardian they had been harassed by the Sikrikim, but requested anonymity and would not allow their businesses to be named. An employee at a CD and DVD store that opened in Mea She’arim three years ago told how the Sikrikim had held protests outside the shop, blocked customers from coming in, thrown rocks at him and broken the store owner’s car windows because they consider the CD and DVD formats too modern.

Grotesque

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Jun/11

13

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

Cross-posted on the Corner.

Via the Daily Telegraph:

Police have been accused of “covering up” a campaign of abuse, threats and violence aimed at “Islamicising” an area of London. Victims say that officers in the borough of Tower Hamlets have ignored or downplayed outbreaks of hate crime, and suppressed evidence implicating Muslims in them, because they fear being accused of racism. The claims come as four Tower Hamlets Muslims were jailed for at least 19 years for attacking a local white teacher who gave religious studies lessons to Muslim girls. The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered more than a dozen other cases in Tower Hamlets where both Muslims and non-Muslims have been threatened or beaten for behaviour deemed to breach fundamentalist “Islamic norms.” One victim, Mohammed Monzur Rahman, said he was left partially blind and with a dislocated shoulder after being attacked by a mob in Cannon Street Road, Shadwell, for smoking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last year.

“Two guys stopped me in the street and asked me why I was smoking,” he said. “I just carried on, and before I knew another dozen guys came and jumped me. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in hospital.”

“He reported it to the police and they just said they couldn’t track anyone down and there were no witnesses,” said Ansar Ahmed Ullah, a local anti-extremism campaigner who has advised Mr Rahman. “But there is CCTV in that street and it is lined with shops and people.”

…Tower Hamlets’ gay community has become a particular target of extremists. Homophobic crimes in the borough have risen by 80 per cent since 2007/8, and by 21 per cent over the last year, a period when there was a slight drop in London as a whole. Last year, a mob of 30 young Muslims stormed a local gay pub, the George and Dragon, beating and abusing patrons. Many customers of the pub told The Sunday Telegraph that they have been attacked and harassed by local Muslim youths. In 2008 a 20-year-old student, Oli Hemsley, was left permanently paralysed after an attack by a group of young Muslims outside the pub. Only one of his assailants has been caught and jailed.

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Jun/11

11

Annals of the Arab Spring (ctd.)

Cross-posted over at the Corner:

Via the Wall Street Journal:

QENA, Egypt—Five weeks after the fall of the Egyptian regime, Ayman Anwar Mitri’s apartment was torched. When he showed up to investigate, he was bundled inside by bearded Islamists. Mr. Mitri is a member of the Christian Coptic minority that accounts for one-tenth of the country’s 83 million people. The Islamists accused him of having rented the apartment—by then unoccupied—to loose Muslim women. Inside the burnt apartment, they beat him with the charred remains of his furniture. Then, one of them produced a box cutter and performed what he considered an appropriate punishment under Islam: He amputated Mr. Mitri’s right ear. When they were beating me, they kept saying: ‘We won’t leave any Christians in this country,’” Mr. Mitri recalled in a recent interview, two months after the March attack. Blood dripped through a plastic tube from his unhealed wound to a plastic container. “Here, there is a war against the Copts,” he said.

His attackers, who were never arrested or prosecuted, follow the ultrafundamentalist Salafi strain of Islam that promotes an austere, Saudi-inspired worldview. Before President Hosni Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11, the Salafis mostly confined themselves to preaching. Since then, they’ve entered the political arena, drawing crowds and swaying government decisions. Salafi militants also have blocked roads, burned churches and killed Copts.

Read the whole thing….

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May/11

11

Nutabee

If Mike Huckabee decides to run again, I’ll again be waiting excitedly to see if he releases the texts of some or all of the sermons he gave in his earlier years.

In the meantime, (via Mother Jones), there’s this:

…Huckabee has joked that he “answers” to “two Janets.” One is his wife, Janet Huckabee. The other is Janet Porter, the onetime co-chair of Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition. And Porter, the former governor has said, is his “prophetic voice.” But that voice has said some weird things over the years: Porter has maintained that Obama represents an “inhumane, sick, and sinister evil,” and she has warned that Democrats want to throw Christians in jail merely for practicing their faith. She’s attributed Haiti’s high poverty rate to the fact that the country is “dedicated to Satan,” and she suggested that gay marriage caused Noah’s Flood. And there’s this: In a 2009 column for conservative news site WorldNetDaily, Porter asserted that President Barack Obama is a Soviet secret agent, groomed since birth to destroy the United States from within.

Porter’s long history in the Christian right made her a natural ally for Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, as he laid the foundations for his presidential run in 2007. An acolyte of the late televangelist D. James Kennedy, Porter rose quickly through the ranks of the Christian right, first as director of the Ohio Right to Life chapter in the 1990s. Later, she founded and served as president of Faith2Action, a right-wing group that promotes a theory known as Christian Dominionism—in which Christians are duty-bound to control the instruments of government in advance of the second coming of Christ.

Porter, in turn, seemed enamored with the candidate. In WorldNetDaily, she lavished praise on Huckabee. At one point, she composed a medieval ballad in which Huckabee, referred to as “Sir Mike-A-Lot who we all Like a lot,” slayed Hillary Clinton (represented by the “the evil queen and her dragon of slaughter”). Huckabee eventually signed Porter up as co-chair of his Faith and Family Values Coalition, a prestigious group of evangelical who’s-who’s tasked with reaching out to religious voters.

Porter had strong words for Huckabee’s competition, as well. She publicly suggested that former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson might be the anti-Christ. In the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses, she cut an ad attacking Huckabee’s two most serious rivals, Mitt Romney and John McCain. The ad was paid for by RoeGone, a short-lived 527 formed by a Porter deputy with the stated ambition of becoming the conservative MoveOn.org (it fizzled).

Porter’s most dramatic arguments for Huckabee centered on what she believed was the impending prohibition on Christianity—the subject of her 2004 book, The Criminalization of Christianity: Read This Book Before it Becomes Illegal! In her view, the 2008 election represented a make-or-break moment for people of faith. “I’m writing this letter from prison, where I’ve been since the beginning of 2010,” she began one column. “Since Hillary was elected in ’08, Christian persecution in America has gotten even worse than we predicted.”

Her efforts for Huckabee did not go overlooked by the candidate. In his campaign memoir, Do the Right Thing, he calls her a “prophetic voice,” and includes Porter on a short list of evangelicals—including Left Behind creator Tim LaHaye—who made his rise possible. He singles her out for praise for helping to organize the Values Voters Debate and credits her prayers and fasting with his strong performance at a “turning point” in the campaign…

If Huckabee actually believes any of this, he belongs in a straitjacket, not the White House.

Now, about those sermons….

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