LONDON – The U.K.-based English Defense League has dropped plans to have a Florida preacher who threatened to burn copies of the Quran speak at one of its rallies next year.
Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center had been scheduled to speak about his views on Islam at the right-wing group’s rally in Luton in February.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the EDL said it was sympathetic to Jones’ views on Islam but had decided not to allow him to speak at its rally because of his views on homosexuality and race. more >>
LONDON – Home Secretary Theresa May has said she will be “actively” considering whether to ban the U.S. pastor who caused a diplomatic and media storm when he threatened to burn a Quran to mark 9/11.
According to a news posting on his website, Terry Jones has accepted an invitation from the English Defense League to speak about his anti-Islamic views and the "Islamification" of Europe at an EDL rally in Luton on February 5.
British Conservative politician May expressed her concerns about the pastor’s visit in an interview with Sky News Sunday. more >>
A new public poll reveals that faith communities are split over the best way to resolve the disagreements regarding the Islamic center planned near Ground Zero in New York.
The Gallup poll, released Monday, shows that nearly half of all Protestants prefer the center change location. Over a quarter of Protestants say the mosque should be turned into an interfaith center.
The poll’s results are a reflection of many Americans’ belief that the planned Islamic center represents a religion in whose name the 9/11 terrorist acts were committed. more >>
The Good Book tells us that pride goes before a fall, and with the midterm elections looming perhaps nothing encapsulates the truth of this maxim more than the leadership of the Democrat Party and its constituency of liberal media elites. The Left's inability to engage opposing views with seriousness and respect and their unwillingness to tolerate divergent opinions within their own ranks reveal an ugly intolerance lurking beneath their veneer of open-mindedness, an intolerance that has fueled the continued, rapid growth of the Tea Party and all but sealed the electoral fate of many Democrats come November 2nd.
A new series of advertisements for MSNBC on the airwaves this week capture perfectly the kind of paternalistic condescension that's crippling the Left in the eyes of so many American people. The ads are intended to communicate the spirit of progress that guides the network, and to set MSNBC above and apart from it's chief competition and ideological nemesis, Fox News. In airing these ads, MSNBC is essentially extending an invitation to the American people. "Join us" they say, in our quest to "move forward" towards a better America for all. There's only one small problem. According the ideological litmus test imposed by the network, vast segments of the American population don't qualify to participate in MSNBC's vision.
Among the many images included in the ads is a snapshot of President Obama signing the health care legislation, a picture of two men exchanging wedding vows in a same-sex wedding ceremony, and footage of the First Family celebrating Obama's nomination at the DNC convention in 2008. These are the kind of things MSNBC has in mind when it speaks of American society's "evolution" towards a better tomorrow for all. Therefore, if you voted for John McCain, or opposed the Democrats' health care legislation, or believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman, then you are a heartless, selfish, racist bigot who is anti-progress and anti-American. As anyone who's ever tuned in to watch Chris Matthews or Rachael Maddow or Keith Olbermann knows, MSNBC's vision of a "diverse" America does not include the conservative viewpoint. more >>
The freedom to speak freely is a hallmark of the American constitutional tradition, as is the freedom of religion. These twin liberties are two reasons why so many people have risked – and continue to risk – life and limb to make it to our shores. Not surprisingly, these freedoms often come into conflict with each another in the public arena. No one likes to see their deeply held beliefs insulted, degraded, or mocked, yet the right of free speech includes the right to criticize our neighbor's religious views. The moment we deny our citizens the right to criticize other people or their ideas, we will no longer be truly free.
By all indications however, our government appears to have developed a double standard when it comes to criticism of certain religious traditions – or, I should say, one such tradition. While other religious groups in America (Christians in particular) are expected to tolerate all manner of offenses, debasements, and outright attacks against their beliefs in the name of the First Amendment, Muslim Americans benefit from a government that goes out of it's way to avoid offending their religious sensibilities. In a country that has gone to sometimes extreme lengths to preserve the hallowed "separation" between Church and State, the question is, why?
Many Christians in America today feel that their religion is under attack, and with good reason. An attitude of skepticism and downright hostility towards Christianity has taken hold in many corners of society, resulting in actions that test the charity and tolerance of even the most pious believers. Revered Christian icons have been immersed in urine and smeared in elephant dung in the name of "art" (with the patronage of the federal government, no less), Jesus Christ and his followers have been portrayed as gay lovers in an off-Broadway play, personal faith testimonies and religious groups have been censored on high school and college campuses across America, a veterans' cross memorial in the California desert has been the target of an ACLU lawsuit, and Bibles have been burned by the U.S. government in the name of "diplomacy." more >>
For a long time, the western world has largely accommodated competing religious views with a “whatever floats your boat” mentality. Religious pluralism has been respected, and the right to choose one’s own faith, or no faith at all, has been protected. Occasionally, tensions between competing points of view have run high, but differences have been generally resolved peaceably. As long as one’s religious views didn’t impinge on someone else’s rights or unduly infringe on the sovereignty of the secular civil sphere, most any religious viewpoint has been accommodated. Indeed, in an era that has exalted postmodern individualism and religious relativism, robust criticism of religious views have been generally deemed to be in bad form – unless, of course, you happened to be Bill Maher or a pundit for CNN or MSNBC and were targeting Catholics or Christian fundamentalists.
In the last decade, however, the West’s lassiez faire attitude towards religion has been challenged. On September 11, 2001, Islamic extremists, animated by their faith, committed mass murder in the name of jihad, and the world was changed forever. In the aftermath, the United States has been faced with a challenging conundrum: How to reconcile freedom of religion and religious pluralism with a deep-seated suspicion of a religion that – at least in some theological circles – mandates the murder and/or forced conversion of non-believing infidels?
According to Dictionary.com, religion is defined as “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.” Religion, then, deals with ultimate questions, and every religion purports to hold the key to ultimate truth. But, those keys unlock very different doors. Take the three Abrahamic religions for example. All three believe in one holy and almighty God, but this is where doctrinal unity comes to an end. Jews and Christians both recognize as true and canonical the books of the Torah but part ways with regard to the New Testament account of Jesus Christ, on which point Jews share with Muslims the belief that Christ was a great prophet, but certainly not the son of God. Christianity, for its part, is riven by various doctrinal differences too numerous to mention. Glenn Beck (cable news megastar and darling of the Tea Party movement) and Mitt Romney (former Governor of Massachusetts and current aspirant to the White House) subscribe to Mormonism, a religion that parts ways with orthodox Christianity with regard to the nature of God, the person of Christ, the nature of man, and the way to salvation. Indeed, most Christians view Mormonism as a heretical cult. more >>