Saturday, February 7, 2009

More bugs from Bill Gates

In this strange story, Microsoft founder turned disease-battling philanthropist Bill Gates released a swarm of mosquitoes at a technical conference to spread awareness of malaria.

All Mac lovers will appreciate the irony of Bill Gates releasing more bugs into this world! We speculate that when you have billions of dollars, one afford to do crazy stunts like this without fear of going bankrupt in penalties and lawsuits!

Regardless, kudos to Bill and Melinda Gates for charitable works, especially those suffering from illness directly linked to poverty.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Victory for suspended Christian nurse

TimesOnline reports on a Christian nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for the health of a patient.

"The nurse who was suspended without pay for offering to pray for a patient's recovery has been reinstated and will return to work in the next few days. "

If this nurse had been using her faith in an intrusive manner, this would have been a different issue. But suspending her for merely offering to pray?? Unbelievable.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stimulus Money to Go to Pretty Much Everything But Religion

Why stop when you're on a roll?

According to the bill, which the Democratic-controlled House passed despite unanimous Republican opposition, funds are prohibited from being used for the "modernization, renovation, or repair" of facilities that allow "sectarian instruction, religious worship or a school or department of divinity."

Critics say that could include public schools that permit religious groups to meet on campus. The House provided $20 billion for the infrastructure improvements, of which $6 billion would go to higher education facilities where the limitations would be applied.

"What the government is doing is discriminating against religious viewpoints," said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that works to advance religious freedom.

full article, Fox

First of all why is school renovation and rebuilding part of an "economic" stimulus package? Is that going to stimulate the economy today, tomorrow, or next week. It's kind of a reach, isn't it?

Secondly, my problem isn't with a government bill not promoting a particular religion. My problem is that these things do and have left the door open to such situations as denying funding to schools which support religious groups meeting on campus. Haven't we already stretched the wording of the First Amendment far enough in creating a "wall" between Church and State.

Actual Wording of 1st Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

No state religion, no prohibition on the free exercise of it. Simple enough?

How about facilities which give equal access to all religious groups? Does an atheist or secular humanist group count as religious?

-Steve K.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

White House to Form Faith Advisory Board

Wasn't the NCC useless enough already??

The advisory council is scheduled to be introduced Thursday with the formal announcement of the new White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, according to a religious leader familiar with the details. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the details have not been announced.

The religious leader with knowledge of the advisory group said representation from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is also anticipated.

"Certainly, they'll be encouraged to voice their individual voices," the leader said.

full article, Newsvines/AP

Now I'm not sure exactly what an advisory board does, but I can say that this seems likely to be HEAVILY politicized. Is the LGBT community entitled to a token slot in such a committee? I'm sure there are people who can reconcile both being gay and being Christian, but by the same kind of logic, if there are as many gays as there are Orthodox (or vice versa), would the Orthodox be entitled to a slot on this religious all-star team?

Is social service something that can be done by religious ministries without reference to religious dogma? If not, than how can a committee apportion funds to anti-homosexual faiths (err...most of them) as well as to LGBT-friendly groups?

Here's an interesting article
I read a few years back about the state of affairs in Canada that came to mind.