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To get love, you give love. Let a woman from San Francisco show you how she does it.

  • Shannon Weber knows a thing or two about the power of a simple love note.
  • Hugs. Gifts. Snuggles. High fives. Smiles. It's often simple gestures that have the power to truly make a person feel special, important, remembered, appreciated.

Mary Rindlesbach, Upworthy

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Med-efe0269d5b6b885f910f03a8bceb19c9.jpgFor Shannon Weber, it all started with a simple love note on a fridge.

A mom of three, Shannon wanted her kids to have a little reminder of her love all the time, so she stuck a note on her fridge. Seeing it every day made her (and her kids!) feel so great that she started placing love notes all over town; she wanted others to feel the same amazing positive mojo. "I feel alive when I do it. I feel connected to myself, to my kids, to the greater world."

Mary Rindlesbach I'm a pug-loving, red-headed feminist who spends her days traveling to the furthest edges of the Internet. I'm a sometimes college instructor, an all-the-time spouse and parent, a running enthusiast, and an armchair movie critic.

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Praying for Peace While Waging Permanent War?

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  • Only when we work for the day when the US is no longer the world leader in war will we have the right to pray for peace on Memorial Day.
  • The Big Dick School of American Patriotism
  • The War Prayer ~ Mark Twain

Bill Quigley, CounterPunch

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Stars%20%26%20Stripes%20Briefs.jpgMay 25, 2015 | Memorial Day is, by federal law, a day of prayer for permanent peace.   But is it possible to honestly pray for peace while our country is far and away number one in the world in waging war, military presence, military spending and the sale of weapons around the world?

Since 1980 the US has engaged in aggressive military action in 14 countries in the Islamic world alone, according to research published in the Washington Post: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. In this hemisphere, US military forces invaded Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), and landed 20,000 military forces in Haiti (1994).

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans.

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Related:

The Big Dick School of American Patriotism, Nan Levinson, TomDispatch

  • America's new military mystique and what we make of it
  • The Washington Post Will Kill Us All
  • War Is Not a Game: The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built

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The War Prayer ~ Mark Twain

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It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fulttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory with stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

Fundamentalism in Christianity and Islam

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  • Excerpted from "The Battle for God" ~ Karen Armstrong
  • Obama, Bush and Carson believe this nonsense?

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c25c90ea52b506700e9ee7abc0baec1d.jpgMay 29, 2015 | Today's selection -- from The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong. Essentially all modern religions have a small subset of fundamentalists, and Karen Armstrong argues that these all come about as a reaction against the rapid modernization of the modern world, and the many crises inherent in that modernization. An even smaller subset of these fundamentalists can be characterized as extremists, given to violence in their battle against the secularizing world. Armstrong argues that these movements are not a clash of civilizations, but instead intra-societal disputes. She also argues that attempts to suppress fundamentalism simply make it more extreme:

"One of the most startling developments of the late twentieth century has been the emergence within every major religious tradition of a militant piety popularly known as 'fundamentalism.' Its manifestations are sometimes shocking. Fundamentalists have gunned down worshippers in a mosque, have killed doctors and nurses who work in abortion clinics, have shot their presidents, and have even toppled a powerful government. It is only a small minority of fundamentalists who commit such acts of terror, but even the most peaceful and law-abiding are perplexing, because they seem so adamantly opposed to many of the most positive values of modern society. Fundamentalists have no time for democracy, pluralism, religious toleration, peacekeeping, free speech, or the separation of church and state. battle_god.jpgChristian fundamentalists reject the discoveries of biology and physics about the origins of life and insist that the Book of Genesis is scientifically sound in every detail. At a time when many are throwing off the shackles of the past, Jewish fundamentalists observe their revealed Law more stringently than ever before, and Muslim women, repudiating the freedoms of Western women, shroud themselves in veils and chadors. Muslim and Jewish fundamentalists both interpret the Arab-Israeli conflict, which began as defiantly secularist, in an exclusively religious way. Fundamentalism, moreover, is not confined to the great monotheisms. There are Buddhist, Hindu, and even Confucian fundamentalisms, which also cast aside many of the painfully acquired insights of liberal culture, which fight and kill in the name of religion and strive to bring the sacred into the realm of politics and national struggle. 

Karen Anderson is a British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic religious sister, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical Christian faith. She attended St Anne's College, Oxford, while in the convent and majored in English. 

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Obama, Bush and Carson believe this nonsense? Jeffrey Tayler, Salon

  • Our faith-addled, God-fearing leaders need to put superstition aside.
  • We expect dimwits like Huckabee to buy into the fire and brimstone. Must President Obama overindulge the faithful?
  • Christian America is an invention: Big business, right-wing politics and the religious lie that still divides us

Obama, Bush and Carson believe this nonsense?

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  • Our faith-addled, God-fearing leaders need to put superstition aside.
  • We expect dimwits like Huckabee to buy into the fire and brimstone. Must President Obama overindulge the faithful?
  • Christian America is an invention: Big business, right-wing politics and the religious lie that still divides us.

Jeffrey Tayler, Salon

carson_obama_jeb.jpgBen Carson, Barack Obama, Jeb Bush (Credit: AP/Reuters/Chris Keane/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/M. Spencer Green) 

Sunday, May 17, 2015 | CNN might wish to rename its show “This Week in Politics” as “This Week in God”; it’s getting that bad.  Just in the days between May 1 and May 7, for example, the Seventh-Day Adventist evolution-denier Ben Carson announced his intention to seek the 2016 Republican nomination, as did the Southern Baptist and onetime pastor Mike Huckabee.  The Episcopalian-turned-Roman Catholic Jeb Bush has puzzlingly refrained from following in their footsteps, but that he gave this year’s commencement address at that stronghold of unreason and superstitious darkness, the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University, the site of the Southern Baptist Ted Cruz’s announcement in late March, augurs ill for rationalists and other sane folk.  Bush will announce, it’s just a question of when.

I note the religious affiliations of these potential contenders for the presidency because all are flaunting their faith, rather than keeping it a private matter of conscience, which in any other developed country it would be.  The gist is, unless you profess a piety befitting the mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, things are going to get much, much more unpleasant for you before one or another God-coddler enters the White House in January 2017 to replace President Obama.

Jeffrey Tayler is a U.S.-born author and journalist. He is the Russia correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a contributor to several other magazines as well as to NPR's All Things Considered.

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Christian America is an invention: Big business, right-wing politics and the religious lie that still divides us, Kevin M. Kruse, Salon

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  • The idea of "one nation under God" is a modern one -- and does not date back to the Founding Fathers
  • Excerpted from "One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America"
  • The GOP’s demonic alliance: How the religious right & big business are dumbing down America
  • Big Bible vs. Big Business

When the Catholic Church owns your doctor

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  • The insidious new threat to affordable birth control
  • Eight of the largest health systems in America are now Catholic-owned. More and more won't prescribe contraception.
  • John Oliver Shows Why It Sucks To Be A Working Mother In America.

Patricia Miller, http://salon.comhttp://salon.com

doctor_church-620x412.jpg(Credit: gualtiero boffi, salajean via Shutterstock/Salon)

Monday, May 11, 2015 | Angela Valavanis had already had one bad encounter with the Catholic health care system when St. Francis Hospital, the hospital in Evanston, Ill., where she delivered her second baby, refused to allow her OB/GYN to tie her tubes because of Catholic restrictions on the procedure. When she went to her doctor’s office for a check-up after the birth and asked about going back on the Pill, since she hadn’t gotten the sterilization she wanted, she got another shock: “My doctor told me that she couldn’t prescribe birth control because she had sold her practice to a Catholic health system,” said Angela. “My mouth dropped open. I was so confused to hear those words coming out of the mouth of an OB/GYN.”

An OB/GYN who can’t prescribe birth control? It’s not some bad joke. It could be a reality if your doctor’s practice is purchased by a Catholic health system that then imposes the Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, a set of rules created by the U.S. Bishop’s Conference that prohibits doctors from doing everything from prescribing the Pill to performing sterilizations or abortions.

Patricia Miller is the author of Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church. Her work on the intersection of politics, sex and religion has appeared in Atlantic, Salon, Nation, Huffington Post, RH Reality Check, and Ms. Magazine.

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Related:

John Oliver Shows Why It Sucks To Be A Working Mother In America, Ed Mazza, Huffington Post

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  • “You can't have it both ways," Oliver said. "You can’t go on and on about how much you love mothers and then fail to support legislation that makes life easier for them."
  • TX Republican Lawmaker Wants Women To Carry Deceased Fetuses - To Full Term

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