Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links

Links for 2008-10-20 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 21 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links

Links for 2008-10-19 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 20 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

And Religion Taketh

Study Finds Serious Mental Illness Often Dismissed by Local Church:
In a recent Baylor study of 293 Christians who approached their local church for assistance in response to a personal or family member's diagnosed mental illness, Baylor researchers found that more than 32 percent of these church members were told by their church pastor that they or their loved one did not really have a mental illness. The study found these church members were told the cause of their problem was solely spiritual in nature, such as a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement. Baylor researchers also found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church.

In a subsequent survey, Baylor researchers found the dismissal or denial of the existence of mental illness happened more in conservative churches, rather than more liberal ones.

All of the participants in both studies were previously diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider as having a serious mental illness, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, prior to approaching their local church for assistance.

"The results are troubling because it suggests individuals in the local church are either denying or dismissing a somewhat high percentage of mental health diagnosis," said Dr. Matthew Stanford, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, who led the study. "Those whose mental illness is dismissed by clergy are not only being told they don't have a mental illness, they are also being told they need to stop taking their medication. That can be a very dangerous thing."
Let's recap, because I know I had difficulty believing this...

* Nearly 1/3 of those talking to their clergy have their diagnosed mental illness dismissed with a wave of the hand. No, that's not quite true... They are first told the medical diagnosis is wrong, then judged for "a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement", and lastly told to say "Hail Mary" so many times, attend religious services more often, submit to the cat-o-nine tails, or otherwise participate in some ritual.

Anyone else feel like comparing today's clergy to B-movie witch doctors?

* The researchers found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church. The sad thing here is that this does not surprise me at all. In fact, I bet the actual numbers/percents would make me mentally ill possessed by demons, with all the physical symptoms, like vomiting.

But perhaps the real kicker here is that those study participants who had their mental illness dismissed were also those in the study who attended church more than once a week, and described their church as "conservative or charismatic." Maybe those "charismatic clergy" just don't think there's enough room in their church for more than one crazy.

The good news here is that the Baylor study found those who had their mental illness dismissed or denied were less likely to attend church. (But many also stated that their faith in God was weakened; that's the problem with organized religion, people throw the deity out with the bath bad waters. However, at least they got away from the real craziness and now, perhaps, can find spirituality.)

A 32% dismissal/denial of mental illness would explain at least part of the problem of people in the pews. But as I've often seen the born-agains and other bible-thumpers prey on the weak, including the mentally ill, as part of their membership drive practices (i.e. convert quotas), I think we would have to call this prey-convert-dismissial-leaving as a serious turn-over problem management should address. Add it to the list of other serious moral issues churches have.

The study was done, in part, because research consistently showed that it is clergy ~ not psychologists or other mental health experts ~ who are sought most often in times of psychological distress. I guess because those with faith assume they can have faith in their clergy; I hope they (again) see the error of their ways.

The moral of the story: Stay on your meds, but get off the organized religion.

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Religion Giveth, To Believers. Sorta.

National study finds religiosity curbs teen marijuana use by half.
"Some may think this is an obvious finding, but research and expert opinion on this issue have not been consistent," said BYU sociology professor Stephen Bahr and an author on the study. "After we accounted for family and peer characteristics, and regardless of denomination, there was an independent effect that those who were religious were less likely to do drugs, even when their friends were users."

The study, co-authored by BYU sociologist John Hoffmann, also found individual religiosity buffered peer pressure for cigarette smoking and heavy drinking.

The term religiosity as used in the study has to do with people's participation in a religion and not the particular denomination. Hoffmann said the protective effect of church and spirituality supplements the influence of parents.

“Parents shouldn’t force it, but they can encourage spirituality and religion in their families, which in itself becomes a positive influence in their children’s lives,” Hoffmann said.
Researchers also found that religiosity doesn't have the same effect on use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. If marijuana and drinking are seen as 'grey areas', the 'black' areas of more hardcore drugs are, interestingly enough, little impacted by one's personal connection to their deity.

The study also exposed the fact that religiosity within the community as a whole does not play as big a role as thought by many.
"Previously, it was thought that if someone grew up in a religious community and went to church, then the community’s religious strength would make a difference,” Bahr said. “We basically found that this was not the case. Individual religiosity is what makes the difference."
The bottom line here seems to be that if & when a person believes in & practices a religion, that faith is extended into a confidence which combats peer pressure; however, just how to instill such faith (as opposed to indoctrination) is unclear.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links

Links for 2008-10-07 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 08 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Convention Time, So...

Abortion is in the air, or it should be.

The right to have, the very right to make the choice, is a very important issue. It's tied to more than (perceived promiscuous) human sexuality; it's a matter of health, an education issue, and a freakin' human rights issue.

As DeeDee wrote, "The right to choose [is] about more than abortion; not having the right to choose undermines all our choices and our right to live autonomous lives."

Read it and see why; I'm going to take another argument.

When the religious wrong say they want to legislate their beliefs in the name of religious freedom, they are doing the opposite; they enforce their faith on others.

What's more, we don't make our laws based on spiritual practices, especially those which are speculative.

While it should be enough to say that that a fetus isn't an individual being with rights simply because it isn't an individual being, only kept alive by the host (pregnant woman), it apparently isn't. While it should be enough to argue that they cannot prove any claims to "soul" or other "godly" part or intervention, it isn't. The religious oppressors want to us to follow be forced to believe as they do ~ and like intelligent design, we are supposed to buy it not only just on their word but against all scientific proof and reason. They think that their 'word' is 'law' and so it should be my word and The Law. But we don't legislate that way. At least we aren't supposed to.

An example of how we don't fall for such silliness is illustrated in the eating of pigs. The eating of pig meat is (in some religions) a sin; but there is no law making it illegal for me to eat it. Many are wise enough to not legislate the eating of pig, but rather relax in the belief that my punishment awaits me in the afterlife. That's real faith, waiting for that day when the supreme being of that faith will handle things.

The message to not eat pig meat, along with your pro-life message, is out there; I've heard them loud and clear ~ but I just don't buy 'em. So let me make my own choice; I'll be the one to live (or "spend eternity") with the consequences. Leave the law out of it.

"But, Gracie," you whine, "A pig isn't a baby!"

Damn right it isn't.

Eating a pig, even including cooking it, doesn't force a person to serve the same time as pregnancy, let alone the time and dangers of childbearing & child rearing. Yes, I said "dangers." Science, if you care to believe in facts, proves that the eating of pig-flesh has little-to-no physical dangers, especially when compared to pregnancy & childbirth.

And the real point here is that you can't legally stop me from eating pork because the only problem with it is that your 'good book' says there is a problem ~ and that's not enough to warrant any legislation.

If you're thinking this all supports your theory that pregnancy, the fetus, i.e. 'the baby', must be protected, I'm going to accuse of the same supersedence DeeDee did. What makes you presume that the unborn have greater rights than those already here? It's that sort of stupid thinking that got us Israel & into the mess in the Middle East.

Whatever happened to "one in the hand is worth two in the bush"? Don't the living matter? We're here. Now. But you'd rather focus on the fetus & what it might do. We don't legislate & prosecute "mights".

I'm here. I have rights. Or at least I'm supposed to.

Already you deny my freedom, dismiss my need for health care, reject my financial equality & limit means to support myself, and in doing so, remove my autonomy. (You might want to think about those issues and wonder just how much they impact my decision not to have a child.) And now I'm supposed to turn my body over as a host for something or someone you believe in?

And that reminds me, along with your belief in 'the baby', where's your concern for it once it arrives? Where's its health care? Where's its stable home, future financial independence &/or equality? What of its freedom & equality?

I guess in that (lack of) respect, the unborn & I have the same value.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links

Links for 2008-08-12 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 13 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links

Links for 2008-08-08 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 09 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Carnival Of The Liberals

It is my pleasure to be hosting this edition of the Carnival of the Liberals. This is my first time hosting this carnival; it's been both fun and an awesome responsibility to select from the nearly 50 great entries submitted.

Political Bullying, Denial, & Other Errors Of Note:

GrrlScientist does more than share Thoughts on Poverty in America; she's got hardcore facts too.

I'm A Pundit Too announces that Congress Opens Self To Law Suit Over Oil Prices ~ according to the post's poll, readers think it's a good legal action.

Woman Gives Birth Under Torture: Homeland Security Hell, a chilling report by Thinkbridge.

SocraticGadfly says, "Pelosi voted for FISA revisal after knowing THIS?" My question is: "What's going to be done about it?"

Family Values:

McCain's Adultery: Where is the Media?, that's what Atheist Revolution (and I) want to know.

Submitted To A Candid World's The Evangelical Re-Invention of John McCain, and the Sad Paradox of Fundamentalist Family Values:
When a “pro-family” position requires one to sacrifice the best interests of the child at the altar of the Old Testament’s outdated Levitical morality, “family values” cease to be about the family, and become solely about the politics.
At The Republic of T it's even more personal ~ but well debated and equally well-documented: Believing in Our Families.

Religion & Beliefs:

Greg Laden tries to call for 24 hours of silence "as a show of respect for the all those who have suffered at the hands religious zealots around the world and throughout history."

What Is Wrong With Mercy Ministries? Jeffrey Stingerstein at Disillusioned Words will tell you:
Christianity is an oxymoron in that way. On the one hand, it exalts weakness: the meek shall inherit the earth while the Kingdom of Heaven will belong to the poor. On the other hand this is just bait for the predator to trap its prey.
At Bay of Fundie, Reality Denialism and the Limits of Belief:
I have identified two factors at play here. I call them the Technical Limit of Belief (TLB) and the Social Limit of Belief (SLB). When you cross both lines, you have a reality denier.
Rights & Responsibilities:

Human rights; you can curtail them, but you still won't be free of terrorism. The proof is in Terrorism in a police state, at Stochastic Scribbles.

Bound, Not Gagged reports on the Decriminalize Prostitution Initiative on the San Francisco Ballot.

In Hate Speech vs Hate Crime Jason of Washington Interns Gone Bad takes heat for not believing in the lone gunman/nut theory. Echidne Of The Snakes covers the same incident from the point of view of Responsibility.

Toe-to-toe, blow-by-blow coverage of the McCain Healthcare Policy Scam Spam at Home Of The Brave.

Humor & Satire:

One of my favorite areas... Laugh 'til you hurt; laugh because you hurt.

It all may be funny, but Tangled Up In Blue Guy tells us why It’s No Joke.

Virtually everyone's talked about Barry Blitt's Obama New Yorker cover ~ I may be the only exception in this case of folks ~ including liberals ~ not understanding satire. Even if you think you've heard it all, read it all, give A Humorist’s Lament (Covering The New Yorker Cover Brouhaha In Verse) ~ a very funny & creative ode by Mad Kane, who apparently waxes thus on many current events. And if that doesn't inspire a grin, there's Joel Stein's How to make fun of Barack Obama at Against Obama.

Vintage Blasphemy for the Creationists in the Crowd, a must see by GrrlScientist.

Allen at The Whited Sepulchre says, "Brent Rinehart's Comic Book - I need a copy".

(See also Ethan Persoff's George Wallace asks: Is Brent Rinehart an EP.TC Reader? -- or just a natural born stylistic plagiarist?)

I didn't know how else to categorize this one... So how about Honorable Mention:

That long and winding road, by Object Dart.

Talk The Talk & Walk The Walk:

Tonight on Cult of Gracie radio, I'll be talking about some of these very issues; so if they matter to you, listen live and/or call in at 1 (646) 200-3136.

Get ready for the next carnival at Submitted to a Candid World. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of the liberals using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival home page.

UPDATE, 8/5/08: Oops, I forgot to mention that I'll be hosting another edition of the Carnival of the Liberals on September 24th at the XXBN blog ~ so don't forget to submit to me, err, the carnival, then.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Are They Going To Do About Jeffs?

Summer re-run, I wrote this June 15, 2005 ~ but as I know you aren't digging through the old Cult of Gracie archives...

Warren Jeffs is getting attention again. I've written about him before, but the more I learn, the more I am interested ~ in a creepy sort of way. The latest press is all up in arms about the so-called 'Lost Boys', teenage boys split off from the group & left to fend for themselves. By ridding the community of teenage boys, Jeffs lowers the competition of men for claiming multiple wives, sort of like a stallion. Unlike that wild life scenario, it seems none of the strong males came sniffing back around to challenge him... Well, as far as we know. We think he's in hiding somewhere, but if a body shows up, there's a group to consider.

Meanwhile, the law figures the only charge they can file is that of Jeffs arranging the marriage of an underage girl. Never mind they had this knowledge in 2002. And in 2004, others noted the irony: "As Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl go on Sunday talk shows to argue for the rights of women in Iraq, Jeffs ascends the pulpit to tell his followers that a man must have at least three wives to secure a place in heaven, while a woman will get there only if invited by her man, local residents said."

But, they are only women in the USA. So who cares? We need to focus on what other men do to other women. Men in the USA are exempt.


Seems Jeffs hasn't been violent enough. Nor do the problems of his ignored assets etc seem to be enough to warrent any legal action. They are a-scared of Mr Jeffs, they are.

(The idea of acting as if he's a murder victim might be the best approach: "Hey, Jeffs, no harm, no foul, we thought you was dead & we went looking for ya. Now that we see you're a-ok, we'll let you be on your merry way..." Then they can follow him back to his lair & monitor him... or not, I guess.)

But Jeffs' civil liberties aside, what I want to know is, are we going to blame Mormons & religion, or is this another lone gunman?

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Friday, May 16, 2008

High-Five Fridays #16

#1 Sacred Paths - How Do Spirituality and Sexuality Relate, by Vern Barnet:
The more I learn about other cultures and faiths, the more impressed I am with the plasticity of human nature and particularly sexuality. Sex is biological, but sexuality is cultural. Similarly I suspect that the sense of the sacred is a biological capacity but that a particular spirituality arises from within a specific cultural context and personal circumstance.
#2 For the conspiracy lover in all of us (as well as Monroe sleuths): Dorothy Kilgallen, Taking It On The Chin:
If a woman's intelligence, however threatening, is supposed to matter more than earthy beauty, why is Kilgallen the less known? Her valor and strength are not reported and commented upon, even upon the anniversaries of her death. She is not revered -- in fact, she's nearly lost to history already.
#3 Not Your Angel on Giving Out Candy:
My short Daisy Dukes weren't a fashion statement -- or a sign of promiscuity either. They were shorts that were too short but there was no money for better fitting shorts. But I saw the looks. And while I didn't, at first, understand it; I knew there was a wistfulness, a question, a begging in their eyes...

And that's when I began to feel the power shift. Shift to me.
#4 Libby reviews Tristan Taormino's Anal Sex 201:
Now how many of us will ever have the honor of having any sex toy, let alone a butt plug, named after us?
#5 Nikki Nines discusses the Myths Of The Nines from a non-tech POV, regarding people:
The measurements of availability can be misleading.
Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio with Randall Radic Post-Show Notes

Randall Radic was my second guest on Cult of Gracie Radio and he was as interesting as I thought he would be ~ perhaps even more so as he touched upon an area I'm very passionate about, namely the fact that sex and love, while not mutually exclusive, are not the same thing and ought not be confused for one another.

This is something explored in his recently published memoir, The Sound Of Meat (published by Ephemera Bound*), and while Radic is self-effacing, claiming his self-knowledge was gained via lessons as painful and obvious as being hit in the head with a board, this a valuable life-lesson most could use. It's a topic which I hope to explore more with Radic in another interview ~ after I've read his book.

Radic also mentioned upcoming books of his (Dining With Cannibals: A Priest's Memoir of His Six Months in Jail, and a non-fiction book on priests who have embezzled) to be published by ECW Press. Both are presumed to be out in a year or so; keep an eye on ECW for news.

I don't know if it's appropriate to call a convicted felon "charming & intelligent", but I'm going to. Randall Radic was a charming and intelligent guest.

If you missed the show, you can listen to the archived show (and download as a podcast) here.

As mentioned, there will be no Cult of Gracie Radio on May 7th, as I will be on vacation; I recommend giving a listen to SWOP East's XBN.

*Disclosure Note: Gracie Passette is an editor with Ephemera Bound.

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The Trouble With Comparative Religion Studies

You get some of the details wrong.

You know the Bible 65%!

Congratulations! You know a lot about the Bible - the books, the characters, the events. You are able to remember a lot of what you have heard and read!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

If God is in the details... I could be screwed.

Divinity may be in some details; but I believe name & date details are less important than lesson, purpose, cultural setting & motivation... But that's just me.

Now it's up to my death and The Big Reveal to show what sort of god, if anything, awaits me.

Quiz via Bunny.

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Father Felony Joins The Cult of Gracie

Radio, that is. *wink*

Tonight on Cult of Gracie Radio:

Randall Radic, also known as 'Father Felony' or 'Daddy Radic,' is the Ripon, CA pastor who pleaded guilty to embezzlement after he sold the First Congregational Church without the knowledge of his congregation.
About Randall: His recently released memoir, The Sound Of Meat (published by Ephemera Bound*) covers his earlier life as a professional swim coach and priest, including his eight fiancees & two wives. "I used to try and save souls without ever examining my own," says Radic. Now, with this memoir, he puts pen to his mission, voice to his sin, sadism to his redemption.
Just click here & press the orange button to listen live!

Call in at (347) 838-8467

Can't be there live? Watch the blog for post-show info and downloads!

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Abolition And "Saving" Of Sex Workers

The well-intentioned, misinformed, and even the righteous haters all proclaim to save us ~ sex workers and society itself ~ from the sin and abuses of sex work.

On one hand, there are the myths which blame the sex worker for taking ~ nay, making society run this path to ruin. Like the cliched woman who seduces a man away from his family & home, sex workers force uninterested citizens to fornicate. It would be silly if they weren't so loud & insistent in their claims to condemn the lives and livelihoods of those involved. The mere notion that "a sex worker is out there, somewhere" does not induce partaking of her services, nor even having sex in general.

It's the continual misrepresentation of the facts of sex work and the sex industry which perpetuate gross myths.

Just one of which is the matter of rape.

And as Jill and I discussed during my last XBN interview, the claims that sex workers cause & teach men to rape is ridiculous. It's frightening that such out-right lies (and they are out-right lies, not supported by any facts, studies or findings because rape has nothing to do with sex) are still touted as truth.

On the other hand, there's the myth that all sex workers are to be saved from their situations. Some sex workers are victims of trafficking; but that's not all of them. As discussed, some sex workers have drug issues; this can be found in any industry or occupation. And some sex workers have abuse in their pasts. As Jill and I also discussed in my last interview, abuse knows no limits ~ no economic limits, no professional limits. Like drugs, abuse cuts along all layers of society.

The stereotype that "all sex workers are," or have been abused, physically or otherwise, only further stigmatizes and victimizes survivors of abuse. It forces them to remain quiet on the issue; or, for those who admit such things (and by virtue of standing up, become the tallest nail to receive the hardest pounding), it adds to their past pain of reliving via telling the tale (again & again) as well as (and this is what kills me) acts as if the abuse victim had ability to make the choice to become a sex worker.

Now, you may think this sort of well-intentioned absolution is kind, but it's not. This thinking wipes away any notion that the survivor has any ability to think for herself, to evaluate and make choices. It's as if the abuse has now retarded, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, the victim, reducing her to nothing more than an unthinking, unresponsive statistic. How insulting. It would be insulting enough for anyone, but for a person who has survived and overcome? It's horrific.

This proves the need for more sex worker media. And the need for mainstream media to actually interview actual sex workers, in many areas of the industry, in order to begin to glimpse the magnificent differences and the honest realities in our profession. Free speech is supposed to protect all speech, even if it's on taboo topics; and one presumes that those viewing media want the real story.

Since the US is a nation of gluttons, who, feel both entitled to excess as well as duty bound to create laws which will protect them from themselves, the debates on "society" and "culture" should continue.

Even if I believe that we must first become a better parent to our children, monitoring, modeling, and then mentoring them on their way to becoming both educated consumers and tolerant of others, even to the inclusion of the rights of others to participate in things feared to result in damned souls. (Isn't that what god is for, to decide in the end?)

So, leave the judgements of things which do not harm another to your individual deity, please. Laws are to protect us in this world; the afterworld, should you believe there is one, may be what you live your life for, but souls are not what we legislate for or against.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

High-Five Fridays #15

#1 I could just make this week's high-fives all about me and the lovely ladies (that I know of) who helped promote the first Cult of Gracie Radio show, but then I'd be out of fives for the week, and after skipping last week's, I'm behind enough in passing along the positive links... So, I'll cheat a bit here and thank them all in #1 here: Ms. Angela (who also sent me a wonderful card celebrating the event ~ how utterlly charming is she?!), A Slip of a Girl (who also posted a too kind review), Secondhand Rose, Silent Porn Star, and Trailer Trash Angel. (I think that's everyone; if I missed anyone, please let me know!)

#2 I haven't officially met Ren, of Renegade Evolution, yet; but now that I'm officially part of SWOP East I hope to soon. Meanwhile, a high-five to Ren for just being Ren.

#3 Speaking of Ren, at first glance you might think "It's. Not. About. You." is all about Ren. But then you'd be missing the real point.

#4 Of Happy Madmen & Radio gives me pause... On one hand, it's actually amusing to read ~ who doesn't like to mock the idiocracy of yesteryear? On the other hand, have we come a long way in furthering our understanding and treatment of the mentally ill?

#5 Lina's classic post, Why Christianity hates sex (possibly), deserves a high-five ~ even if it's a bit belated.

Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Masks To Unmask

Evan Bryner, a 22-year-old Anonymous member who has become a grassroots leader in the group, is apparently shown here in a photo taken at a March 5th Project Chanology demonstration. According to ASU Web Devil's Christina Caldwell:
Bryner insists his personal problem with Scientology is not with the Scientologists themselves, but with the thought that a follower of Scientology has to pay to learn more about the church doctrine and its stories, he says.

"If someone wants to be a Scientologist, I have no problem with that," Bryner says. "Freedom of religion is a guarantee in this country — as long as Scientology is seen as a religion. If there's one day that it's not, then they lose that freedom."

Losing the status of "religion" in the eyes of the IRS is Anonymous' ultimate goal in taking on Scientology. Currently, Scientology is recognized as a religion and a nonprofit organization, therefore the church does not have to pay taxes.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Of Humor and Spirituality, Historically Speaking

From Ancient Humor: Raunch, Riddles and Religion, by Jennifer Viegas at Discovery News:
Lost in Translation

The link between spirituality and humor may extend to the Bible, but much of the book's sarcasm, irony and wordplay was lost when it was translated into Latin and other languages, according to Brooklyn College's Hershey Friedman, who published related findings in the journal Humor.

"Translating Hebrew into English results in the loss of the imagery and wordplays of the Hebrew," he told Discovery News.

One of Friedman's favorite passages is the "Book of Jonah," which, in the Jewish faith, is read each year on Yom Kippur. Jonah becomes such a successful prophet that people repent, fast and dress according to his guidance. "Even the animals fast," Friedman said.

He explained that Jonah was meant to be a parody for readers.

"In effect, God is saying, 'I sent the worst prophet I could find (Jonah) to the Assyrians, and he did not have to say very much, and they all repented. I sent numerous articulate prophets to the Israelites and they did not wish to change their idolatrous ways."

"There is humor here, but the humor is used to deliver a very potent message," he added. "The humor in the Bible has a purpose. It is used to mock the idolater and the wicked."
Now, if only they could tell me that all the "begatting" was at one time sexy smut too.

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