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Archive for the ‘theocrats’ Category

Rotten hierarchy, great art

Posted by Charles II on February 25, 2013

Despite the seamy authoritarian side of the Catholic Church that was exposed by the sex abuse scandal, there is a lot to love about the Church. Its art represents extraordinary human spiritual exploration.

Our friend Brother John has been doing a pilgrimage to the holy sites of Italy. He has produced a terrific set of photos and posted them online:

Rome

The Vatican

The Vatican Museum

There are more photos and commentary on his site.

Posted in religion, The Vatican, The Vaticant | 2 Comments »

Dirty Money: the Vatican’s bequest from Mussolini

Posted by Charles II on January 22, 2013

David Leigh, Jean François Tanda and Jessica Benhamou:

Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James’s Square and Pall Mall.

But these office blocks in one of London’s most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.

Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church’s international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

Since then the international value of Mussolini’s nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m.

Posted in The Vaticant | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Write your own headlines

Posted by Charles II on April 16, 2011

My friend and co-blogger, Phoenix Woman, thinks that the White House is putting out the meme that Nancy Pelosi is irrelevant. I think it’s one more shiny object thrown out by the Beltway media to keep people’s minds off of what matters. The press did something similar for Bill Clinton in 1995, as we may recall, asking him directly whether he was irrelevant.

What does matter? Well, this story for starters:

Hungerfast, an effort launched March 28 … now has over 35,000 Americans involved in fasting, including 28 Members of Congress. Fasters are demanding that the budget deficit not be resolved by slashing programs targeting the vulnerable at a time of economic distress…

The women Members of Congress fasting this week are Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Susan Davis (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

Now, the guy who started this effort is not exactly a friend of mine. He leads a theocratic, Third way movement. But fasting to protest the budget cuts is a substantive response to wrongdoing by the powerful. It reminds those who fast that they stand in solidarity with the powerless. If the devil himself were leading such an effort, I’d say that it was the right thing to do.

This is the story we should fill our news with: the story of a few good Democrats. This is the story we should be telling our own congressmen, if they aren’t one of those fasting already, that they should join it. As somebody famous once said, “Let the dead bury the dead.” The Beltway journalists who obsess over who’s-up-who’s-down stories are surely among the long-deceased. The people who care about the poor have better things to do than hang around the morgue.

Added. This was my comment to Congress:

I was pleased to see that 28 members of Congress have joined a fast to protest the cuts in the budget deal that will burden the poor while doing nothing substantive to reduce the deficit. If nothing else, fasting reminds those in positions of responsibility that they stand as the only protection that the powerless have.

When will Representative […] join the fast?

Posted in Democrats with spines, priorities, theocrats | 2 Comments »

Unexpected Consequences?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 20, 2010

I am often mindful of the fact that the Magna Carta was intended to, at most, be a sop on the part of a harried Angevin king to a small group of powerful barons interested solely in their own grievances. It wasn’t intended to lead to greater overall freedom for all English subjects.

With that in mind, I think that the effect of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision that condom usage isn’t all bad all the time, especially for gay male prostitutes, may be not what he intends it to be — or maybe it is.

On the one hand, if he seriously thinks he’s going to score points with the medical community, particularly those involved in fighting HIV, for this apparent humanitarian gesture, he’s sadly mistaken. Worse yet, he’s going to inflame the hardcore reactionaries, as they will see this as the first step towards accepting condom use in general.

On the other hand, consider Africa. It’s the last semi-open frontier, as far as the major organized religions are concerned — the last one where a non-trivial number of the indigenous people aren’t already subscribed to one of the big faiths. (It’s one reason why the Mormons, whose faith was built to a large degree on anti-black racism, have opened the door to blacks in the priesthood.) There’s a big problem, though: The spread of HIV, particularly via heterosexual contacts with hookers, threatens to eliminate these potential converts before they can be converted.

What to do? How about preparing the ground for a tacit, if not official, acceptance of condom use among heterosexual couples by allowing it for homosexual contacts? That’s exactly what I’m guessing will result from this announcement of Pope Benedict’s.

Posted in Africa, mistitled Benedict, Pope Ratzinger, religion, The Vaticant, theocrats | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Juan Cole On The Hutaree Terrorists

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 30, 2010

Professor Cole notes that the Nice White Conservative Christians that no one dares call “terrorists” espouse tactics similar to those of the Mahdi Army.

Posted in terrorism, theocrats | 7 Comments »

Could Someone Please Explain…

Posted by MEC on March 29, 2010

… why the “Christian” militia members who were arrested this weekend for plotting to kill law-enforcement officers in order to spark an uprising against the U.S. government are not considered terrorists?

The federal indictment [PDF file] cites five charges against them, including “attempt to use weapons of mass destruction”, but does not mention “terrorist” or “terrorism”.

Is it because they’re grossly distorting the teachings of the Bible, not the Koran?

Posted in terrorism, theocrats | 12 Comments »

So, should we stop electing Catholics to public office?

Posted by Charles II on April 14, 2009

One of the great issues of the day when John F. Kennedy was running for President was whether he would be independent of the Vatican. Prior to that, it had been impossible for a Catholic to serve as president because of the fear, stoked by Protestant bigotry, that the Holy See might use its influence and the threat of excommunication to coerce a president to act at their behest.  When JFK was elected, we thought that issue had been laid to rest.

Now, the Catholic Church is resuscitating those fears by leaning on politicians to trim their political beliefs to suit the church. The latest chapter, which had been furiously denied by all sides, has now been reported by an Italian newspaper, Il Giornale (via Il Guardiano):

The Vatican has vetoed three of Barack Obama‘s potential nominees as US ambassador amid a growing dispute between the White House and the Roman Catholic church over the new administration’s support for abortion rights and the lifting of a ban on stem cell research.

Vatican sources told Italy‘s Il Giornale newspaper that among those rejected were Caroline Kennedy and two other Roman Catholics who were unacceptable to the pope because they have publicly stood against church dogma.

The conservative Il Giornale described the vetoes as part of a “trial of strength between Barack Obama and the US church that involves the Holy See”, amid uproar among the church’s hierarchy after America’s principal Catholic university, Notre Dame, invited the president to give an address and receive an honorary degree next month.

Catholic candidates need to be asked whether their first loyalty is to the United States or to Rome.

Posted in The Vaticant, theocrats | 6 Comments »

Obeying a Higher Law, or Something Like That

Posted by MEC on December 16, 2008

Apparently when doing God’s work, one can ignore Jesus’ admonition to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, as in, for example, obeying the U.S. Constitution, federal law, and military regulations. All of which were violated when Christian missionaries were “embedded” with U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.

Aside from the blatant violation of secular laws, disrespecting the local beliefs by pushing our beliefs at the populace certainly increases hostility toward the United States. Which increases the danger for our troops and for foreign civilians.

Are military leaders aware of these incidents, and what are they doing to stop them?

Posted in Afghanistan, Constitution, theocrats | 6 Comments »

Repeal churches’s tax exemption

Posted by Charles II on November 13, 2008

Understand: I say that knowing it would cost me, personally, extra. But enough of the pulpit being used for what are essentially political goals. The tax exemption is a privilege, not an inherent right of churches, and when the largest church in America abuses its privilege so thoroughly, it’s time to reconsider whether any church should continue to enjoy it.

Patricia Zapor, Catholic News Service:

Fears about laws and changes in regulations on abortion that might advance under a new Democratic-run Congress and White House are the central focus of a statement approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 12 during their annual fall meeting in Baltimore.

The majority of the 830-word, untitled statement focuses on concerns about the possible passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, calling it “an evil law that would further divide our country” and adding that the church “should be intent on opposing evil.”

One of the “evil” things about The Freedom of Choice Act is that it exposes a lie that the Catholic Church, among others, has promulgated, stating as fact that: These decisions have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions…

In other words, legalization has not greatly increased incidence of abortions, just as legalization of alcohol did not greatly increase the incidence of drinking (in both cases, there was probably a modest increase, but there was also a decrease in harm done by illegalization).

In other words, if you are genuinely pro-life and would like to reduce the incidence of abortion, you recognize that trying to illegalize is it the wrong way to go. I count myself as genuinely pro-life, which is why I would never consider joining the Catholic Church as it exists today.

One final point. The article says,

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in abortion, theocrats | 22 Comments »

Beale Clan Update

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 2, 2008

Y’all remember the Beale family, right? I’ve written about them before. They’re the ones with the right-wing Professional Christian scuzzball would-be techie/games guru and his right-wing Professional Christian scuzzball tax dodging daddy.

Well, the short version is that Daddy Beale helped run a company, did bad things, nearly blew up the company with his nuttiness, skipped town to avoid justice, was finally caught and put on trial, and has now been convicted of doing bad things:

A trial that at times seemed to exist in parallel universes, with accepted law in one dimension and Robert Beale in the other, came back firmly to earth Wednesday.

Ignoring Beale’s indignation, religious beliefs and obscure interpretations of the U.S. Constitution and philosophy, a federal jury in Minneapolis took only two hours to find him guilty of all seven counts brought against him for tax evasion, conspiracy and fleeing authorities.

The former millionaire CEO of Comtrol Corp. in Maple Grove now faces up to 10 years in prison.

The trial in U.S. District Court lasted eight days and featured more than 100 exhibits, some about arcane tax laws.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Rank repeatedly told jurors: “This isn’t a complicated case; it is what it looks like, and it looks like tax evasion.”

Rank and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cheever argued that Beale deceived and conspired to hide more than $5 million in income for which he owed more than $1.6 million in taxes.

His greed and arrogance were simply cloaked in anti-tax arguments from the radical fringe, prosecutors argued.

The former North Oaks resident, who said he was once worth $20 million, fled rather than face the government in court when he was originally charged in 2006. He was captured in Florida after 14 months on the run.

Here’s how he did it: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, abuse of power, eedjits, Good Things, Professional Christians, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Silly Republicans, taxes, theocrats, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | Comments Off on Beale Clan Update

 
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