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Some Things Said… (August 06)

Scientologists Win Tax Battle With British Government

London — The Church of Scientology has won a tax fight with British authorities, a victory that means the government will be forced to reimburse the millions of pounds in past payments the church has made. –by Al Webb for the Religious News Service as found at the PBS religions and ethics website here

(No religion is granted or guaranteed any tax break or any accommodations by God through the hands or governments of men. But, what this serves to do is to legitimize the church of Scientology which has no merit or legitimacy of its own. RAV)

Evolution Opponents Lose Kansas Board Majority

Topeka, Kan. — Conservative Republicans who approved new classroom standards that call evolution into question lost control of the State Board of Education in Tuesday’s primary election.

A victory by pro-evolution Republican candidate Jana Shaver over conservative Republican Brad Patzer, who supported the standards treating evolution as a flawed theory, meant conservatives would at best have five of 10 seats on the board.

Five seats were up for election in the primary, the latest skirmish in a seesawing battle between faith and science that has opened Kansas up to international ridicule.

Conservative Republican John Bacon kept his seat by besting two pro-evolution challengers. But Shaver’s win split the makeup of the board between evolution supporters and opponents. She won a seat that was vacant because a conservative Republican evolution opponent was retiring.

Besides Bacon and Shaver’s races, the seats of two conservative Republicans who oppose evolution were up for grabs, along with that of a Democrat who favors evolution.

Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat who opposed the new standards, defeated a more conservative Democrat who favored the anti-evolution language with 65 percent of the vote.

One conservative incumbent, Ken Willard, held on to his seat, but another, Connie Morris, was losing to a pro-evolution candidate.

Morris’ race in western Kansas was the most closely watched. The former teacher has described evolution as ”an age-old fairy tale” and ”a nice bedtime story” unsupported by science… –excerpted from an Associated Press article in The New York Times, 08.02.06

Pedophile Says Sex With Boys Is Sacred Religious Ritual

Cleveland — An admitted pedophile offered a bizarre defense this week to 74 charges of rape, drugs and pandering obscenity to minors. –by James F. McCarty, from the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly site

The Evangelical Left – Reverend Gregory Boyd goes after the Religious Right.

The New York Times gave prominent coverage to a Minnesota mega-church pastor who disavowed the Religious Right (“Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock”). The Rev. Gregory Boyd, ostensibly fed up by the political pressures of the 2004 presidential race, gave a sermon series denouncing the shibboleths of politically conservative religionists. In response, 1,000 of his 5,000 member congregation ended up leaving the church… –excerpted from an article by Mark D. Tooley at The Weekly Standard website 08.10.06 here

Spreading the Word — Fast

At one of his recent Sunday services at the Heavenly Vision Center in the Bronx, N.Y., the Rev. Salvador Sabino asked all the “leaders” in the room to rise. He was shocked to see an elderly woman named Sonia among those who stood up. She was one of the quietest people he had ever known — he had once even wondered whether she was mute. Mr. Sabino then asked: “Will all the heads of a cell rise?” The woman remained standing. He later found out that, despite her withdrawn personality, Sonia had at least 48 people under her guidance. Beneath that shy exterior was a true passion for leadership.

For the other 1,400 (mostly Hispanic) attendees at the Heavenly Vision Christian Center, a nondenominational evangelical church, leadership has become a key concept in their lives. Not only are the congregants expected to mentor 12 disciples — newcomers to the church — but they must also encourage the disciples themselves to become leaders.

This cascading structure, called G-12 — or Government of Twelve — has proved to be a good way of gaining members while keeping the old ones engaged. The idea is to imitate the delegated leadership of Jesus’ 12 disciples… –excerpted from an article by Andrea Tunarosa in The Wall Street Journal 07.28.06

From “The Religions of Peace Department”

The morphine drip of official reassurances

In a fine post on how liberalism has seeded its own nest with the virus that will kill it, Joseph Pearce gives us this handy list of placards brandished at a recent Religion of Peace® “peace” demonstration in London:

“Slay those who insult Islam”
“Behead those who insult Islam”
“Massacre those who insult Islam”
“Butcher those who mock Islam”
“Europe you will pay, demolition is on its way”
“Europe you will pay, extermination is on its way”
“Exterminate those who slander Islam”
“Europe is the cancer, Islam is the answer”
“Islam will dominate the world”
“Freedom go to hell”
“Europe take some lessons from 9/11”
“Be prepared for the real Holocaust”

Found at The Iconoclast from The New English Review 08.12.06

Can you spot a difference or two?

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you are thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there until you have paid the last penny…

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:21 — 26, 43 – 48

(Mark Zaveson provided some of the material included in this column.)