The entrance to St. Mary Elementary School in Janesville, Wisconsin has two identical archways with contrasting inscriptions. One entrance says, "For God." The other says, "For Country." That is where Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, first merged his studies of government and religion as a young student.
The Center for Media and Democracy has signed onto a letter with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and 26 other civil and human rights groups urging Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) director Robert Mueller to reform intelligence tools that express an anti-Muslim bias.
The letter addresses FBI intelligence guidelines for law enforcement that purport to identify when a religious convert becomes a "Homegrown Islamic Extremist," but the list of "indicators" are behaviors protected by the First Amendment. The FBI has publicly declared that "strong religious beliefs should never be confused with violent extremism," but these guidelines contradict that message.
Harold Camping poured millions of dollars into his global PR campaign to convince people around the world that Earth as we know it would end on Saturday, May 21. Some believers who took his prediction to heart gave up their homes, their jobs and liquidated their worldly assets to buy more advertising to advance his message. But the biggest sacrifice that occurred as a result of Camping's prediction is a 14 year old girl from Russia who reportedly hanged herself to avoid being left behind with the nonbelievers Camping claimed would suffer on Earth after the rapture. The Christian Post reported that in the days leading up to May 21, Nastya Zachinova of Central Russia's Republic of Mari El wrote entries in her personal diary that revealed she was terrified of the suffering Camping predicted would come, and that she didn't believe she was one of the "righteous" who would rise up to heaven and be saved. On Monday, May 23 -- two days after the world failed to end as he predicted -- Camping faced the media and gave a statement acknowledging his "error." After he was finished speaking, a reporter informed Camping that a mother who had believed his prediction had attempted to kill herself and her two children, but did not succeed. Camping said he was relieved she did not succeed. But when a reporter pressed Camping about whether he would accept any responsibility for the mother's attempt, Camping answered he would not. "I don't have any responsibility. I can't take responsibility for anybody's life. I'm only teaching the Bible," Camping responded. Presumably he accepts no responsibility for Nastya Zachinova's death, either.
The world is scheduled to end on May 21, 2011. At least that's the hysteria being spread by Harold Camping, the 89 year-old fundamentalist Christian radio preacher and president of Family Radio, Inc., based in Oakland, California.
Camping claims to have calculated that on May 21, Jesus Christ will return to Earth and save his true believers. The unsaved will be victimized, he says, by a world-wide earthquake that will "throw open all graves." The "saved" will then rise up to heaven and the unsaved will be left to rot. A subsequent, massive tsunami will wreak five months of havoc upon those remaining on Earth until finally the entire Universe blows up on October 21, 2011, according to Camping.
Two signs that indicate the end is near, according to Camping's website, are the arrival of same-sex marriage and Israel gaining nationhood in 1948.
The U.S. Army is administering a mental health and fitness test to soldiers that civil rights groups say unconstitutionally requires active-duty soldiers to believe in "God" or a "higher power" in order to rank as "spiritually fit" enough to serve in the military. The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) initiative, first used in 2009, is a "holistic fitness program" used to help reduce the number of suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases among military enlistees. Suicides and PTSD cases among troops have reached epidemic proportions in the last year as a result of multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the poor quality of care soldiers get when they come home. The CSF test utilizes a "Soldier Fitness Tracker and Global Assessment Tool" that measures soldiers' emotional, physical, family, social and spiritual "resilience." Soldiers fill out a 100-plus question survey, and if poor results put them in the red zone in any area, they must take remedial courses in the discipline in which they received the low score. Over 800,000 soldiers have taken the test so far, and more than 100,000 of them have gotten remedial training. Non-religious soldiers say the test's spiritual component asks questions written predominantly for soldiers who believe in God, leading atheists and other non-believers to score poorly and be forced to take remedial courses which employ religious imagery to "train" troops up to a satisfactory level of spirituality.
Back when he was a reporter for the Washington Post, Juan Williams wrote a short piece about group perceptions for a social psychology course. At issue was the question of what dangerous people look like, and when and under what circumstances -- if ever -- people are justified in being nervous around people of other races.
The anti-abortion group Personhood Colorado, now known as "Personhood USA," is once again pursuing a ballot initiative in Colorado -- Amendment 62 -- that would change the state's constitution to declare a fertilized human egg a human being.
One hundred church pastors across the U.S. participated in the Alliance Defense Fund's third annual "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," an overt campaign in which pastors deliberately break the law by endorsing candidates for public office from the pulpit. Federal tax law prohibits tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, including churches, from endorsing candidates for political office.