1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28  |  29  |  30  |  31  |  32  |  33  |  34  |  35  |  36  |  37  |  38  |  39  |  40  |  41  |  42  |  43  |  44  |  45  |  46  |  47  |  48  |  49  |  50  |  51  |  52  |  53  |  54  |  55  |  56  |  57  |  58  |  59  |  60  |  61  |  62  |  63  |  64  |  65  |  66  |  67  |  68  |  69  |  70  |  71  |  72  |  73  |  74  |  75  |  76  |  77  |  78  |  79  |  80  |  81  |  82  |  83  |  84  |  85  |  86  |  87  |  88  |  89  |  90  |  91  |  92  |  93  |  94  |  95  |  96  |  97  |  98  |  99  |  100  |  101  |  102  |  103  |  104  |  105  |  106  |  107  |  108  |  109  |  110  |  111  |  112  |  113  |  114  |  115  |  116  |  117  |  118  |  119 

December 16, 2012

Religious groups furious that kids are doing yoga in school

Read the italicized paragraph at least. School Yoga Class Draws Religious Protest From Christians - NYTimes.com
A small but vocal group of parents, spurred on by the head of a local conservative advocacy group, has likened these 30-minute yoga classes to religious indoctrination. They say the classes — part of a comprehensive program offered to all public school students in this affluent suburb north of San Diego — represent a violation of the First Amendment. After the classes prompted discussion in local evangelical churches, parents said they were concerned that the exercises might nudge their children closer to ancient Hindu beliefs. Mary Eady, the parent of a first grader, said the classes were rooted in the deeply religious practice of Ashtanga yoga, in which physical actions are inextricable from the spiritual beliefs underlying them. “They’re not just teaching physical poses, they’re teaching children how to think and how to make decisions,” Ms. Eady said. “They’re teaching children how to meditate and how to look within for peace and for comfort. They’re using this as a tool for many things beyond just stretching.” Ms. Eady and a few dozen other parents say a public school system should not be leading students down any particular religious path. Teaching children how to engage in spiritual exercises like meditation familiarizes young minds with certain religious viewpoints and practices, they say, and a public classroom is no place for that.

December 05, 2012

Atheist cadet quits West Point over endless proselytizing

Joe. My. God.: NEW YORK: Atheist Cadet Quits West Point Over Christian Proselytizing
Saying he can no longer stomach incessant proselytizing by his Christian commanders, an atheist cadet at West Point has resigned. "Countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution," wrote Blake Page, who was slated to graduate in May. "These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation." Page has learned from his superiors at West Point that he will be given an honorable discharge and not be required to pay "recoupment" costs for three and a half years at West Point. He told NBC News that when out-processing is finished, he will move to Minnesota and "continue the work I've started in whatever way I can." Page had established a chapter of the Secular Students Alliance to support non-religious cadets. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates on behalf of atheist and non-religious service members, praised Page: This kid just torched his career in the Army, and his degree at West Point. People should recognize courage when they see it."

November 18, 2012

On the abortionist saints of medievil Ireland

Research examines the ‘abortionist saints’ of medieval Ireland
A recent article on sexuality and childbirth in early medieval Ireland reveals some surprising attitudes towards abortion held among the Christians during this period, and that hagiographical texts recount four Irish saints performing abortions. Of Vanishing Fetuses and Maidens Made-Again: Abortion, Restored Virginity, and Similar Scenarios in Medieval Irish Hagiography and Penitentials, by Maeve Callan, appears in the latest issue of the Journal of the History of Sexuality. Callan examines a wide range of hagiographical works and other sources from medieval Ireland. She writes, “these accounts celebrate saints who perform abortions, restore female fornicators to a virginal state, contemplate infanticide, and result from incest and other ‘illegitimate’ sexual unions. Moreover, the texts themselves generally reflect a remarkably permissive attitude toward these traditionally taboo acts, an attitude also found in Irish penitentials and law codes.” The saints who took part in these abortions were Ciar�n of Saigir, �ed mac Bricc, Cainnech of Aghaboe, and Brigid of Kildare – who are thought to have lived during the fifth and sixth centuries. In Ciar�n of Saigir Life, it is explained that a beautiful nun named Bruinnech had been raped by a local king. The story continues: “Ciar�n, despising the enormity of such a crime and wishing to apply a cure, went to the house of sacrilege to seek the girl from there.” After learning “that she was pregnant. Then the man of God, led by the zeal of justice, not wishing the serpent’s seed to quicken, pressed down on her womb with the sign of the cross and forced her womb to be emptied.” In later texts this story was changed to where Saint Ciar�n simply blessed Bruinnech’s womb with the sign of the cross and the fetus disappeared. In the other saints’ lives this was the same way that Ireland’s three other saints had put an end to pregnancies. Callan adds, “Saints were not the only ones performing abortions in early Ireland. The sixth-century Penitential of Finnian, the seventh-century Irish Canons, and the eighth-century Old Irish Penitential include abortion among the sins to be repented. Comparatively speaking, it was a low-ranking sin. For Finnian, its atonement required less than half the time assigned to penance for childbirth.”