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Let this church have their gay choir director back

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Let's show the Indiana Methodist bishop that Christians across the country are standing with the pro-equality congregants who 'want their church back.'

Faithful America

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Faithful America logoJan. 22, 2014 | The gay choir director at an Indiana church can't get his job back because the new pastor 'doesn't want to work with someone like [that]' -- so the congregation is voting with their feet.

The newly appointed pastor of Alexandria United Methodist Church won't allow Adam Fraley, a beloved former choir director who served for six years, to return. What's more, when the church's elected lay leader stood up for Fraley, the pastor removed him from his leadership position.

Sign_the_Petition graphicSign this petition: Please listen to the congregation of the Alexandria United Methodist Church and allow Adam Fraley to return to his position as choir director. The loving support of church members should outweigh the pastor's personal agenda -- if he can't set aside his anti-gay views, he should be reassigned.

Faithful America is a fast-growing online community dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right and putting faith into action for social justice. 

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Biblical Birth Control: The Surprisingly Contraception-Friendly Old Testament

Reproductive Justice & Gender

  • Think conservative objections to birth control are enshrined in the Bible? Think again.
  • 5 Reasons You Need To Care About The Texas Abortion Law (And 1 Reason You Don’t)
  • Texas anti-abortion law forces women to make tough choices

 Elissa Strauss, Salon

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bible_birth_control-620x412.jpg (Credit: bogdan ionescu, Jacob Kearns via Shutterstock/Salon)

January 5, 2014  |  When the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases about the conflict between new healthcare mandates and religion, it sparked a heated conversation on the religious rights of for-profit corporations.

In Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, the Court will decide whether these corporations can refuse to cover as part of their employee health care plans certain types of contraception, which they allege prevent fertilized eggs from implanting and therefore object to on religious grounds.

Elissa Strauss is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Salon, the Village Voice and the Forward, where she is also a contributing editor to the Sisterhood blog.

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Related:

5 Reasons You Need To Care About The Texas Abortion Law (And 1 Reason You Don’t), Kate Winick, Elle

  • Because doctors shouldn’t have to pay to play.
  • Because even conservatives feel marginalized. 
  • Because the leadership that made this happen won’t stop at here—they're coming for your birth control, too.
  • Because this is a real problem, for real women, right now.
  • Because the ultimate cost will be paid in women’s health.
  • And the one reason you don’t?

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Texas anti-abortion law forces women to make tough choices, Lindsay Beyerstein, Aljazeera America

  • On Jan. 6, an appeals court will hear a challenge to the measure, which has led clinics to close.
  • MI Senator Shames GOP Over ‘Rape Insurance’ Law

Church doctrine, gay marriage colliding in Catholic workplaces

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  • Increasingly, as states legalize same-sex marriage, gay employees of Catholic institutions are finding themselves at odds with the doctrinal teachings of the church and morality clauses contained in the contracts they sign.
  • The shame of the Catholic workplace

Lornet Turnbull, Seattle (WA) Times

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Seattle Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni heads inside after talking publicly for the first time about Eastside Catholic’s dismissal of vice principal Mark Zmuda for marrying his male partner. Magnoni said the decision was the school’s but that the diocese supported it. Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times

January 15, 2014 | In a Philadelphia suburb last month, a gay French and Spanish teacher lost his job at a Catholic prep school after telling school officials he planned to marry his partner.

In October, the principal of a Catholic school in Little Rock, Ark., called a lesbian teacher on her wedding day, giving her the choice to quit or be fired. The teacher and her partner of 14 years, who had dined on the principal’s houseboat and considered her a friend, had married in New Mexico.

 Lornet Turnbull  is a Seattle (WA) Times staff reporter.

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Related:

The shame of the Catholic workplace, Jim Smith, Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune

Sex & Relationships

  • Even as the pope moderates, discriminatory practices continue.
  • Can Pope Francis Change the Church?

This is your brain on religion

  • From Pope Francis to Phil Robertson: Why are some people of faith generous — while others are nuts?
  • Uncovering the science of belief
  • Noam Chomsky | What Is the Common Good?

D.F. Swabb, Salon

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pope_neuroscience-620x412.jpg Saturday, Jan 4, 2014 | As far as I’m concerned, the most interesting question about religion isn’t whether God exists but why so many people are religious. There are around 10,000 different religions, each of which is convinced that there’s only one Truth and that they alone possess it. Hating people with a different faith seems to be part of belief. Around the year 1500, the church reformer Martin Luther described Jews as a “brood of vipers.” Over the centuries the Christian hatred of the Jews led to pogroms and ultimately made the Holocaust possible. In 1947, over a million people were slaughtered when British India was partitioned into India for the Hindus and Pakistan for the Muslims. Nor has interfaith hatred diminished since then. Since the year 2000, 43 percent of civil wars have been of a religious nature.

Almost 64 percent of the world’s population is Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, or Hindu. And faith is extremely tenacious. For many years, Communism was the only permitted belief in China and religion was banned, being regarded, in the tradition of Karl Marx, as the opium of the masses. But in 2007, one-third of Chinese people over the age of 16 said that they were religious. Since that figure comes from a state-controlled newspaper, the China Daily, the true number of believers is likely at least that high. Around 95 percent of Americans say that they believe in God, 90 percent pray,We Are Our Brains cover 82 percent believe that God can perform miracles, and over 70 percent believe in life after death. It’s striking that only 50 percent believe in hell, which shows a certain lack of consistency. In the Netherlands, a much more secular country, the percentages are lower. A study carried out in April 2007 showed that in the space of 40 years, secularization had increased from 33 to 61 percent. Over half of the Dutch people doubt the existence of a higher power and are either agnostic or believe in an unspecified “something.” Only 14 percent are atheists, the same percentage as Protestants. There are slightly more Catholics (16 percent).

D.F. Swabb is a Dutch physician and neurobiologist who is renowned as a brain researcher.

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Related:

Noam Chomsky | What Is the Common Good? Noam Chomsky, Truthout 

  • Concern for the common good should impel us to find ways to cultivate human development in its richest diversity.
  • Are We Being Driven Like Cattle?
 

Noam Chomsky | What Is the Common Good?

  • Concern for the common good should impel us to find ways to cultivate human development in its richest diversity.
  • Are We Being Driven Like Cattle?

Noam Chomsky, Truthout

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2014.1.7.Chomsky.Main.jpg (Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Brian Hillegas, Reigh LeBlanc, abrinsky)

This article is adapted from a Dewey Lecture by Noam Chomsky at Columbia University in New York on Dec. 6, 2013.

Tuesday, 07 January 2014 | Humans are social beings, and the kind of creature that a person becomes depends crucially on the social, cultural and institutional circumstances of his life.

We are therefore led to inquire into the social arrangements that are conducive to people's rights and welfare, and to fulfilling their just aspirations - in brief, the common good.

For perspective I'd like to invoke what seem to me virtual truisms. They relate to an interesting category of ethical principles: those that are not only universal, in that they are virtually always professed, but also doubly universal, in that at the same time they are almost universally rejected in practice.

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. He is perhaps best known as a critic of all forms of social control and a relentless advocate for community-centered approaches to democracy and freedom. Over the last several decades, Chomsky has championed a wide range of dissident actions, organizations and social movements. 

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Related: 

Are We Being Driven Like Cattle? John Scales Avery, Countercurrents.org

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  • So the people, the driven cattle, have been made to fear terrorism. How was this done? It was easy after 9/11. Could it be that the purpose of the 9/11 disaster was to make people fear terrorism, so that they could be more easily manipulated, more easily deprived of their civil rights, more easily driven into a war against Iraq? 
  • There is strong evidence that many highly placed governmental figures knew well in advanced that the World Trade Center would be attacked, and that they made the disaster much worse than it otherwise would have been.
  • Scared to Death
  • Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics

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