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August 09, 2012

A religious sect has been discovered in Russia tht has been living underground in the darkness for twenty years

How did they eat? Underground sect found after nearly a decade in Russia's Kazan | Reuters
(Reuters) - Seventy members of an Islamist sect who have been living in an underground bunker without heat or sunlight for nearly a decade have been discovered living on the outskirts of the city of Kazan in Russia, local media reported. The sect members included 20 children, the youngest of whom had just turned 18 months. Many of them were born underground and had never seen daylight until the prosecutors discovered their dwelling on August 1 and sent them for health checks. A 17-year-old girl turned out to be pregnant. Religion was suppressed in the Soviet Union which collapsed in 1991, prompting various cults and sects to flourish in the vacuum that opened up. The group - known as the "Fayzarahmanist" sect - was named after its 83-year-old organiser Fayzrahman Satarov, who declared himself a prophet and his house an independent Islamic state, according to a report by state TV channel Vesti. Satarov was described as a former deputy to a Sunni Islamic cleric in the 1970s. His followers were encouraged to read his manuscripts and most were banned from leaving their eight-storey underground bunker which had been dug in the basement of a building, Vesti said.

August 08, 2012

"In Judaism, Sodom stands for economic injustice, selfishness and refusal to redistribute wealth"

Republicans and libertarians have the "quality of Sodom." I've always enjoyed discussions of the story of Sodom that don't involved the anal sex canard. Because if you live in a desert-ish area, of course hospitality and providing basic services to travelers is going to be incredibly important. Republicans and the 'Quality of Sodom' - The Daily Beast
When Isaiah denounces the leaders of his country as the "captains of Sodom," he's talking about how they treat the powerless, personified by widows and orphans. Ezekiel, more pedagogically blunt, says that "the sin of your sister Sodom" was that the city-state "had plenty of bread and untroubled tranquility, yet she did not support the poor and needy." Both prophets were referring to cultural knowledge that they shared with their audiences: the original story of Sodom in Genesis. A couple of strangers show up in town. In the previous chapter they had arrived at the tent of Abraham, who hurried to put out the best meal he could provide. His wealth, he understood, was merely a trusteeship, something he'd been granted in order to share. In Sodom, the mob comes to get the strangers and the bleeding-heart liberal who tried to put a roof over their head. The threatened gang-rape is the means of aggression, not the point of it. Sodom is the original ungodly city, whose customs are the opposite of the justice that Abraham will teach his descendants. Lest you think that Sodom was only stingy with outsiders, an ancient rabbinic tradition (preserved in Breshit Rabba) explains why the divine inquiry commission was sent to investigate the city in the first place: Sodom had a law against giving to the poor. This is meant as hyperbole; the point is that "what's mine is mine" was public policy in Sodom. Sodom, in short, was a polis run by the philosophy of Ayn Rand, where redistribution of wealth was regarded as immoral, where government had the responsibility to protect private property but not to insure the well-being of the people. Upstanding Sodomites would not have accepted a decision by the city elders requiring them to put coins in the kitty to pay healers who might treat people besides themselves. They would have argued that "I'm responsible for myself and I'm not responsible for other people… I should get the fruits of my labor and I shouldn't have to divvy it up with other people." The city elders would not have asked people to pay for more teachers to educate other people's children, and certainly not to pay for food for those who couldn't afford it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but in Sodom there would have been no problem passing the Ryan budget plan.

The American Family Association calls for its followers to kidnap the children of gay couples

It's pretty insulting that he calls this an "underground railroad." And it should be noted that the Soverty Poverty Law Center lists the AFA as a hate group. Bryan Fischer: Children Of Same-Sex Couples Must Be Saved Through 'Underground Railroad' Kidnapping | ThinkProgress
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has sunk to a new, disturbing low with his anti-gay statements. In two separate tweets last night, he called for an “Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households.” In one tweet he was referring to the sad story of Lisa Miller, who, after declaring herself ex-gay, kidnapped her daughter away to Central America to prevent her former partner from having any custody. (She is still being tracked by federal agents as a fugitive of the law.)