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Religion & Spirituality

Frederick Deligne | Stoning World / CagleCartoons.com

A Nation Of Laws: Where's Moses When You Need Him?

Lest you fear this is another rant about the removal of the Ten Commandments from the public square, let me start with the real issue: regardless of your religion or lack thereof, consider what society might look like if we lived our lives--individually and collectively--in accordance with the Ten Commandments.

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Dick Staub, Religion News Service/Huffington Post

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Even in the craziness and social upheaval of the 1960s, Crosby Stills Nash and Young observed a simple truth: "You who are on the road must have a code that you can live by."

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In the midst of today's political, economic and environmental crises, it seems apparent that we no longer agree on a common code that we can live by.

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The Ten Commandments once formed the basis of our communal values: honor your parents, don't murder or lie, steal, commit adultery or covet your neighbor's property. Not that many years ago, many states even had blue laws prohibiting retail activity on the (Christian) Sabbath.

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The Myth Of A 'Christian Nation'

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That the US is not a Christian nation is historical fact--not an opinion--worth remembering.

A. James Rudin, Religion News Service/Huffington Post

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited with saying that "everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

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Some leaders of the religious right would have us believe that America was founded as a "Christian nation." The facts, however, say otherwise.

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While the Founding Fathers, with their diverse Christian backgrounds, had every opportunity to make the fledgling United States into a "Christian nation," the factual record reveals they consciously refused to do so.

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The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing, The Progress Report

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  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
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  • Zero Tolerance
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Mormon-owned paper stands with illegal immigrants

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The newspaper's push for a more liberal embrace of illegal immigrants has led to a collision between its editorial mission and its conservative, mostly Mormon, readers.

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Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times | NY

Tom Smart / Associated Press

Joseph Cannon is nobody's liberal. His résumé reads as if it belongs to a Republican National Convention delegate, which, incidentally, he was in 2004.

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He was an official for the Environmental Protection Agency under President Reagan and chairman of the Utah Republican Party. As editor of the Deseret News, he published editorials condemning deficit spending, same-sex marriage and lenient alcohol laws.

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Texas Textbook Massacre: State Board Suggests Books 'Tainted' With 'Pro-Islamic, Anti-Christian Distortions'

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  • Kathy Miller, a spokeswoman for the religious-liberty group Texas Freedom Network, said, "This is another example of board members putting politics ahead of just educating our kids," Miller said. "Once again, without consulting any real experts, the board's politicians are manufacturing a bogus controversy."
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  • Texas Board of Education Wants to Change History
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Associated Press/Huffington Post

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The Texas State Board of Education is expected to consider next week (Sep 19-25) a measure that would prohibit textbooks from pushing Islam over Christianity, as they claim has happened in the past.

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The Dallas Morning News reports:

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A preliminary draft of the resolution states that "diverse reviewers have repeatedly documented gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions in social studies texts" across the U.S. and that past social studies textbooks in Texas also have been "tainted" with pro-Islamic, anti-Christian views.

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The resolution cites examples in past world history books -- no longer used in Texas schools -- that devoted far more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than to Christian beliefs and practices.

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Texas Board of Education Wants to Change History, Lauri Lebo, Religion Dispatches
Texas is the second largest purchaser of textbooks in the country. If conservative Christians on the Texas Board of Ed panel prevail in their wish to leave Ann Hutchinson (trouble maker!), Cesar Chavez, and Thurgood Marshall out of the social studies curriculum, all US schools could be affected.

There Is No 'Ground Zero Mosque'

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  • Keith Olbermann responds to the American Family Association's declaration: "No More Mosques. Period!"
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  • It's not about the mosque! It's America's war on "the Other."
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  • The GOP's War on Islam and Park 51
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Keith Olbermann / Special Comment, MSNBC

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It's not about the mosque! It's America's war on "the Other." Will Bunch, Media Matters for America
A few months ago, I spent a Sunday morning in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Thomas Road in East Phoenix, just on the cusp of the immigration flare-up over racial profiling and Arizona's repressive law called SB 1070. It was quieter then -- a weathered 39-year-old Mexican in a wool cap with a New York Mets logo named Roberto Valdez who told me of his trek across the desert to seek work in Phoenix as a day laborer. Weeks earlier, Mexican day laborers like Valdez had been harassed on the weekends by angry white nativists, but in March of 2010 the nativists had moved on. Many had joined the Tea Party, and some were campaigning for GOP anti-immigration zealot J.D. Hayworth for U.S. Senate. Why waste time on "the Other" Roberto Valdez, when America now had "the Other" daring to occupy the Oval Office in the person of Barack Obama.

The GOP's War on Islam and Park 51, aka Ground Zero Mosque, JGibson, Daily Kos
This is the latest salvo in the GOP's War on Islam: The Ground Zero Mosque. Over the last month, this issue has reached a fever pitch among the Right-Wingers and the Xenophobic Anti-Islamists. It will not be on Ground Zero itself, but 2 blocks away from it. And still the Rethugs are pissed off about it, claiming that "Ground Zero is sacred." There's nothing sacred about it, except for a memorial honoring those who died in 9/11.

America Needs Repentance: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Atonement Are Not Just for Jews

For all these, we ask each other, and the people of the world, the planet Earth, and the God/Spiritual Reality/Force of Healing and Transformation of the universe to forgive us and support us to do what needs to be done so that we can stop this kind of sinning and begin to be fuller manifestations of the love and goodness that sustains all life and of which we are an intrinsic part.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun

Now that the Iraq war is supposedly winding down, America needs a period of reflection, repentance and atonement before rushing into more of the same mistakes we’ve been making globally and domestically. So I’d like to invite my non-Jewish neighbors and friends and allies in the struggle to heal and transform America to join with Jews to use the ten days of repentance from Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 9) through Yom Kippur (Sept. 18) for that purpose-to create an All-American version of the Jewish High Holidays!

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What makes the Jewish tradition useful in this regard is that it focuses not only on our own individual lives, but on taking collective responsibility for our larger world. The formulations of repentance and atonement use language like “Our father, our king, WE have sinned before you” and “For the sins WE have committed by….” (and then the community fills in the blanks).

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Fellow Americans' suspicions frustrate US Muslims

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There is no simple way for American Muslims to move forward.
Top 10 Myths About Islam

Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, in Washington Examiner | DC

Nine years of denouncing terrorism, of praying side-by-side with Jews and Christians, of insisting "I'm American, too." None of it could stop a season of hate against Muslims that made for an especially fraught Sept. 11. Now, Muslims are asking why their efforts to be accepted in the United States have been so easily thwarted.

"We have nothing to apologize for, we have nothing to fear, we have nothing to be ashamed of, we have nothing that we're guilty of — but we need to be out there and we need to express this," said Imam Mohammed Ibn Faqih in a sermon at the Islamic Institute of Orange County in Anaheim, Calif., the day before the 9/11 anniversary.

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Related:

Top 10 Myths About Islam, Huda, About.com

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  • Introduction to Islam
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  • The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing
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  • Five myths about mosques in this country
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