Democrats remove specific reference to ‘God’ from official platform but retain numerous references to “faith,” “religion,” and “church.”

CNN Political Ticker

(CNN) – Democrats omitted the word “God” from their 2012 platform, a change from the party’s 2008 document and a noticeable split from Republicans, who mention God ten times in their official party stance.

In 2008, Democrats wrote, “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

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From Franklin to . . . Bachmann. Sigh.

Earlier today I wrote about Benjamin Franklin and his practical view of religion and rejection of unreasonable dogma. Reading Franklin gives me hope that it’s possible to elect brave, reasonable people — after all, this is the man that seized lightening from heaven.  But then I open CNN and am reminded of what kind of people we elect instead.  At an event for the Florida Family Policy Council, Bachmann linked weather to religion (again):

“At this moment in time we’re quite literally looking at a hurricane here in Florida. We’re looking at a political hurricane in this country. We are looking at a spiritual hurricane in our land. And it is time for each one of us to show up and suit up and stand up and realize that in this time and in this day we pour it out for Him.”

Someone’s walking in a fog, but it’s certainly not Franklin. Sigh.

The Religion of Benjamin Franklin

Lost month I read Walter Isaacson’s amazing biography, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.  I enjoyed that book so much that I went out and bought a copy Franklin’s own Autobiography, which is even better.  In addition to reading about Franklin’s life in his own words, the Autobiography provides fascinating insights into Franklin’s religion.  Today, many people would have you believe that the Founders were a group of super-powered politicians-slash-evangelical-Christians, but Franklin’s own words prove that false, like this statement: “My indiscrete disputations about religion began to make me pointed at with horror by good people as an infidel or atheist.”  Just imagine a modern politician saying that! Continue reading

Ben Franklin: Awesome

I’m stuck this week with yet another round of revisions on my last dissertation chapter, so more posts about science and books will have to wait.  I doubt too many of you are disappointed, but I do want to share one quick thing.  I am currently reading Walter Issacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin.  Not only is it highly entertaining, it reminds me that Franklin is undoubtedly the Founding Father of Badassery. Continue reading

Mormonism is a cult. All religions are.

Recently, several people have criticized Robert Jeffress, a Texas pastor,  for calling Mormonism, the religion of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a “cult.”   Jeffress added, “Those of us that are evangelicals have every right to prefer and select a competent Christian over a competent non-Christian.”  You might be surprised if I said that I agree with Jeffress, at least on one point: Mormonism is a cult.  But then again, that’s only because all religions are. Continue reading

Book Review: The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

Last week I finished reading The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie.  The book is Rushdie’s fourth novel, and largely deals with the issues of isolation and integration among Indian-born immigrants in England.  However, the book also includes two sections that depict the prophet Muhammad.  Some considered Rushdie’s depiction of Muhammad blasphemous, and as a result,  in 1989 the Supreme Leader of Iran issued a death sentence against him.  If you pick up this book hoping to learn more about this controversy, you’re bound to be disappointed.   But you should pick it up anyway, because this is an amazing — albeit daunting — read. Continue reading