Friday, October 20th 2017

Spiritual Surf: Commandments beat Aphorisms, Obama—Antichrist or Hitler? Why Islam, and more

10-commandments-tabletsSupreme Court: Ten Commandments trump Seven Aphorisms

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court determined that Summum, a religious group that blends Egyptian practices like mummification with Gnosticism, could not place a monument in a Utah public park inscribed with its Seven Aphorisms, even though a tablet inscribed with the Ten Commandments already stands in the park. In his opinion for the court, Justice Samuel Alito noted that such monuments are erected “for the purpose of presenting the image of the city that it wishes to project to all who frequent the park.”  Maybe next time the court should just decide with a game of “rock, paper, scissors.”

obamaanti-christObama: Antichrist or just the Hitler 2.0?

It would be tragic if it wasn’t so funny. In a pair of jaw-dropping interviews on a recent episode of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with John Stewart, comedian Jason Jones talks with two preachers, one white (Rev. Daniel W. Blair), one black (Dr. James David Manning). The first thinks Obama shows many signs of being the antichrist. The second thinks he’s a new, bi-curious Hitler. We’re used to this kind of nonsense from cracker religionists like Blair, but what’s up with the brother?

Why Islam?

The blogosphere is of mixed opinion when it comes to the Islamic Circle of North America’s ad campaign, “Why Islam?” which you may have seen decorating a bus or subway train near you. It’s easy to see why, because many of the powerful poster ads include the word “Submission” in bold letters. While we understand that in Islam this literally refers to submission to God and God alone, one could see how less informed people might construe it as a call for submission to radical Islamist ideals and strict Sharia law. In faith — as in public relations — words are everything.

Praying for dollars

With the economy in the tank there’s been a lot of chat in recent weeks about how prayer and spirituality might help attract cash, health and other good fortune. BeliefNet recently ran a piece on prayers for jobs and money. Time magazine ran a cover package, “How Faith Can Heal.”  And, as the recession appears to deepen, the San Francisco Chronicle offers up a report on how some gurus, including the S.F. Zen Center’s Paul Haller, cash consciousness raiser, Spencer Sherman, and Esalen’s Richard Glantz, are helping people deal with the money crunch. We’re just praying the stimulus works, and that our prayers will be enough to counter all the negativity coming from the so-called religious right.

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