Upsetment
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Upsetment
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Curated by Kenneth Weene
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In Senegal, Iran and Saudi Arabia vie for religious influence

In Senegal, Iran and Saudi Arabia vie for religious influence | Upsetment | Scoop.it

An exterior view of a branch of Iran's Al-Mustafa University which teaches Senegalese students Shi'ite Muslim theology in Dakar, Senegal, May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Edward McAllister

Kenneth Weene's insight:
As the influence of Islam grows in West Africa, which branch of that faith will become dominant and how will theology affect the countries in which Islam predominates? Enter the rivalry between Sunni dominated by our erstwhile friend Saudi Arabia and Shia dominated by our perceived enemy Iran. But, let's not forget that the extreme Sunni views of the Salafists. So which side should we be supporting? Is there a moderate but energizing form of Sunni Islam to which people in countries like Senegal might turn? For some time, I have been pointing out that the United States and the West in general (and even Russia) have failed to take part in the process by which Islam is entering the modern world. Where are the great Islamic thinkers who might oppose the destructiveness of Sharia and support the changes of modernity? Why are the great universities of the Euro-American world not helping to guide the development of the Muslim faith as places like Wittenberg helped to frame Christianity. Perhaps, and I say this with some thought, the problem in American universities is that we cannot see non-Judeao-Christian faiths as equal to our own but rather as esoteric topics. Big mistake. 
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How a Christian movement is growing rapidly in the midst of religious decline

How a Christian movement is growing rapidly in the midst of religious decline | Upsetment | Scoop.it
INC Christianity aims for nothing less than transforming all sectors of society
Kenneth Weene's insight:
For some time I have been talking about Reconstructionist Theology and its threat to America. Here we go again. Same shit, different name. Religious freedom doesn't mean the same thing as religious values at the heart of government. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu: I don't care what faith it is, I have no wish to live in a theocracy. Do you? 
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Trump’s immigration order requires bureaucrats to figure out who is Christian. That’s not easy.

Trump’s immigration order requires bureaucrats to figure out who is Christian. That’s not easy. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Customs officials and visa officers would suddenly become theologians.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When did the land of religious liberty start imposing religious tests on immigrants? 
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A daytime refuge for homeless people: the duo behind the pioneering effort

A daytime refuge for homeless people: the duo behind the pioneering effort | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In San Francisco, Laura Slattery and Tina Christopher open church doors to homeless people during the day. The women’s own lives have taken elaborate twists and turns.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As our economy slowly improvs. there are still far too many left adrift. Homeless, perhaps mentally challenged or ill, perhaps caught in substance abuse. They still need compassion and assistance. These two women have come up with a great method for helping in San Francisco. Of course, it means a church had to open its doors as Jesus would have done for the poor. At this time of year, let's remember that we, too, can make a difference. By the way, there is a list of organizations that really help at the end of the article. 
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Why Israelis flock to small tomb in Nablus at night

Why Israelis flock to small tomb in Nablus at night | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Despite the fact that Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus has been the site of recurring clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews keep coming to the site for nocturnal prayers.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The relics of ancient religions still sway the Middle East. Of course, it would never occur to the Orthodox Jews to build a new tomb, so they will insist on going to venerate what may or may not be a hoax. Did the fleeing Israelites actually take time to dig up a mummy and carry it out of Egypt? I don't think so. And, sadly, there will be Palestinians who resent this intrusion instead of building a tourism industry around these visitor. Meanwhile the few Samaritans who actually still try to practice their ancient ways are at risk form both sides. Shame on humanity. 
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The Salvation of Sinners and the Suicide Bomb

The Salvation of Sinners and the Suicide Bomb | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Salvation of Sinners and the Suicide Bomb « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Finally, another writer gets it. The suicide bomber is seeking redemption. Guilt is a terrible thing to waste, and ISIS has figured out how to use it perfectly. Of course, if you're read my posts over the years, you know I've been saying this all along. 
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Series of scandals rocks Israeli Orthodox Zionism

Series of scandals rocks Israeli Orthodox Zionism | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The gay-hate speech of Rabbi Yigal Levenstein, past statements by IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim and the indictment of Gen. Ofek Buchris on alleged rape must drive Orthodox Zionism to do some serious soul-searching.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When we are condemning Islam for the treatment of women in many Islamic countries, let's not forget our "allies" in Israel; many of whom hold views about sexuality and women that are every bit as offensive. 
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Gathering of Orthodox church leaders 12 centuries in the making falls apart - The Boston Globe

Gathering of Orthodox church leaders 12 centuries in the making falls apart - The Boston Globe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Orthodox Christian leaders meeting for a historic council aimed at promoting unity made a last-minute appeal Friday to the Russian Orthodox Church and three others to attend the gathering, the first such meeting in more than a millennium.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is difficult for most American and Western European Christians to fathom the deep divides that separate many of the Orthodox Church's sects. This article is, however, a good reminder that the ferocity of religious division is not only found in the Muslim world. Of course the vast majority of us believe that if there is a god then god's existence should bring humanity closer together rather than serving as a wedge between us. But, sadly there will always be those who think they alone can know the will of the "Almighty" Yeah, sure you do. 
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Meet the Shomrim—The Hasidic Volunteer ‘Cops’ Who Answer To Nobody

Meet the Shomrim—The Hasidic Volunteer ‘Cops’ Who Answer To Nobody | Upsetment | Scoop.it
New York pols from Mayor de Blasio down have supported the groups, even as accounts of their rough conduct pile up.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While I want our streets safe, the notion of a religious police force offends me as it should all Americans. This isn't a neighborhood watch but a Gestapo. The NYPD should be ashamed of this connection and of playing footsies with such a group. 
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The Dictator of the Vatican

The Dictator of the Vatican | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Francis’s “People’s Pope” persona has always belied an autocratic temperament that is coldly efficient at achieving his aims, if not winning allies to his cause.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
There's nothing more fun to watch than a good cat fight, especially when the yowling critters wear cassocks. Here we have a nasty, screaming, outrage from the political right within the Catholic Church. 
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Does Engineering Education Breed Terrorists?

Does Engineering Education Breed Terrorists? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Nascent terrorists seem to be drawn to engineering. Their education may further radicalize them.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is inevitable that there will be sociological and psychological explorations of what turns people to terrorism. Certainly felt downward mobility and relative deprivation (the sense that one's outcome is lower than one deserves) are two of the factors that can produce rage. However, there is something else that I consider even more important, the rage that results when the world's external values and one's striving towards those values is clearly in conflict with and deprecating of the person's interior values. That discrepancy produces guilt, and guilt displaced is rage incarnate. The ultimate question is how can a person be both worldly and spiritual, can obey the laws of the marketplace and the inner expectations of goodness. Given such guilt driven rage and the need to express it, the individual looks for acceptable ways to scream his pain into the world, for what I call idioms of distress. The media and current events have made the use of terrorism and mass violence the common idiom for those in such pain. And its use is rationalized not only by its commonality but because the authorities who would combat it are equally violent, indeed given the size of their weapons even more so. Perhaps others can accept that we are by nature a violent species, but for my part I think there is hope if we can work towards a more just world in which humanistic and spiritual values are given just reward and in which religious leaders—especially Islamic—help the young to find a comfortable connection between faith and materialism. Of course, that was one of the great contributions of Calvin to Christianity. 
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Prayer Dispute Between Somalis and Plant Reshapes a Colorado Town, Again

Prayer Dispute Between Somalis and Plant Reshapes a Colorado Town, Again | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The conflict offers a case study on what happens when matters of religious accommodation knock heads with the demands of the American assembly line.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There are no easy answers to the balancing of religion and business. If a large group leaves in the middle of a shift to worship, does that mean that the line has to close down—an unreasonable cost for the company? On the other hand, obviously we in America believe that workers should have the right to pray. Everybody loses in this story, especially the town. 
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Ignorant parent shuts down entire school district after complaining about “Muslim indoctrination” in calligraphy assignment

Ignorant parent shuts down entire school district after complaining about “Muslim indoctrination” in calligraphy assignment | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Islamophobia is thick on the ground in Augusta County, Virginia
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What strikes me is not just the bigotry of the parent and the silliness of the uproar but the stupidity of the teacher who failed to come up with an alternative piece of Arabic calligraphy. That suggests that the teaching is being done not from understanding but rote which means the kids won't learn about the topic but only how to parrot. That's like the literature teacher having them copy one of my great short stories rather than writing their own. While it would expose them to beautiful prose, it wouldn't help them learn how to be a creative writer. That comes from beating ones head agains the wall for years. 

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‘If They Kill Even One Hindu, We Will Kill 100!’

‘If They Kill Even One Hindu, We Will Kill 100!’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
‘If They Kill Even One Hindu, We Will Kill 100!’ « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In many ways the state of Uttaar Pardesh is the capital of Hinduism in India. It includes the sacred city of Varanasi, the place where Hindus go to bathe in the sacred River Ganges and Agra where one finds the Taj Mahal. It was also historically very much dominated by Islam, for example the Red Fort, the greatest Islamic fort, was built in Old Delhi. Delhi sits on the state's border. It was, understandable, an area of great tension at the time of Independence. Modi is a sharp politician playing to the ages old resentment against Muslims in this area, but he is also playing with fire. Just as medieval Popes used crusades to unify their power and prove they were righteous pontiffs and Muslim leaders ginned up attacks on Iberia, Constantinople, Jerusalem,  and the Balkans to prove that they were doing Muhammed's work, many of today's demagogues have made the fault line between Islam and other religions a battlecry. To which I say, "A pox on all those who claim to serve their god by attacking the followers of other deities." What do you think, is their one true faith that has the right and even obligation to attack the others?
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A European court's ruling about religious clothing could have unfortunate results.

A European court's ruling about religious clothing could have unfortunate results. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Should an employer be allowed to ban an employee from wearing a hijab?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While this is actually a story from the European Union, it still hits home here in America. If the hijab is banned, what about the Jewish men who wear kippas or Christians who wear crosses. Quite simply is it wrong for companies to take away the right to dress according to or reflective of ones faith or are companies above the right of the individual? What I know is that were I to learn that a company I dealt with insisted on Muslim women not wearing their head scarves, I would no longer do business with them. What is your take? 
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Jewish Community Centers in six states had to be evacuated due to bomb threats

Jewish Community Centers in six states had to be evacuated due to bomb threats | Upsetment | Scoop.it
For at least the third time since the start of the year, Jewish Community Centers nationwide have been targeted
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Black churches, Jewish Community Centers, Islamic mosques: no matter what religious institution is threatened or attacked, every such threat, every such attack is against us all. Hate rips at the fabric of our society. It is an affront to our nation and our values. Any who preach and practice hatred in the belief that they are protecting America are not just wrong but define that which is most evil in our country. If as part of our national policy we must wars on this and that, wars such as the war on terror and the war on drugs, I would have us wage war first on hatred. 
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Pashtana’s Lesson

Pashtana’s Lesson | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A teenage girl resists her arranged marriage so she can stay in school.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This young Afghan woman's story brought tears to my eyes. Every child deserves an education and every person the opportunity to make the decisions that will determine their fates. I cannot believe that a loving god would have created a religion that would treat girls with such little respect. 
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Saudi Arabia says Hajj 2016 receives 1.8 million pilgrims

Saudi Arabia says Hajj 2016 receives 1.8 million pilgrims | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What an amazing annual show of devotion. It demonstrates how central Saudi Arabia is to the Muslim world and why dealing with its mullahs is so important, something which to date the European governments have failed to do. Has anybody learned anything from Iranian debacle? On a different side, one can only wonder when some anti-Islamic terrorist or anti-Saudi terrorist will take advantage of the #Hajj to strap on their suicide vest or worse loose a biological agent. That's a chilling thought. 
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Iran executes 20 Sunni 'terrorists' in single day

Iran executes 20 Sunni 'terrorists' in single day | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Iran said Thursday it had hanged 20 "terrorist" Sunni prisoners, in one of the Islamic republic's biggest mass executions in recent years. The men, who were hanged on Tuesday, were accused of carrying out a string of attacks against civilians and religious leaders in Iran's western
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I am sure that the Prophet is delighted to see Muslims killing Muslims in his name, exactly what the Quran forbids. Meanwhile, the rest of the world can breathe easier knowing that Sunni and Shia hate each other more than they want to spread their faith. If there is a god, that being must be laughing their ass off. Meanwhile, you might find some of that same humor at http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/alpha-omega-an-irreverence-by-kenneth-weene/ ;
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Kabul Bombing Adds New Layers of Agony for Afghanistan’s Hazaras

Kabul Bombing Adds New Layers of Agony for Afghanistan’s Hazaras | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Ethnic Hazaras gathered on a hilltop cemetery near Kabul to mourn nearly two dozen relatives and friends, among at least 80 killed in a bombing claimed by the Islamic State a day earlier.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We seem to live in a world that specializes in creating sadness, often by means of religious bigotry. Until people can understand that no god would want them to destroy the image in the mirror there will never be a true humanity. 
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Jewish woman detained for taking Torah scroll to Western Wall in Jerusalem - The Boston Globe

Jewish woman detained for taking Torah scroll to Western Wall in Jerusalem - The Boston Globe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
JERUSALEM — Israeli police briefly detained a leader of a Jewish women’s rights group on Tuesday for bringing a Torah scroll to the Western Wall, signaling a resumption of the battle over rituals at the holy site here.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I want to remind people that ridiculous sexist attitudes are part of traditional Islam but also of Judaism. Of course, in Catholicism and the Orthodox there are also restrictions on who can play what sacramental roles. At lease, in the US, we may actually have a woman president in the near future. There are many issues in the world that really matter. For me the question of who brings a parchment scroll to an archeological site really isn't one of them. However, the role of ultra-orthodox Jews in the policies of Israel is. Many of these same rabbis stand in the way of peace in the region, a peace that would recognize a Palestinian state and seek reasonable accommodation, especially in Jerusalem. 
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Kansas fundamentalist group tied to Duggars tries to force teens to get hitched

Kansas fundamentalist group tied to Duggars tries to force teens to get hitched | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A bunch of internet activists stopped a Kansas church from a retreat meant to arrange marriages for teenagers
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Did you catch the It Matters Radio show in which we discussed Reconstructionist theology? If you did, this kind of evil dressed in the word of god doesn't surprise you. If you didn't, here's another example of why you should catch our show on Sunday's at 3 PM ET. 
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Lawsuit: Mormons Sexually Abused Navajo Foster Children

Lawsuit: Mormons Sexually Abused Navajo Foster Children | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Two Navajo siblings say a foster program that placed Native American children with white Mormon families failed to intervene and stop years of alleged abuse.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When you sin against others in the name of your own righteousness, your are no less a sinner and certainly no more righteous. It is time for the religious of the world to recognize their capacity to sin in the name of their god. 
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5 robots you should be keeping your eye on. For the sake of humanity.

5 robots you should be keeping your eye on. For the sake of humanity. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Right now we're living in the origin story of a dystopian future.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is time to think about the future of robots. Will they take over the world from humans? When do we consider them having status of s sentient being or even of beings equal in worth to ourselves? Yes, humans, before we play god, we had best think about a better source of morality than a pseudo-history of creation. Ultimately the creation of thinking robots demands that we also think about the role of a god and the meaning of life. 
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Pregnancy Clinics Fight for Right to Deny Abortion Information

Pregnancy Clinics Fight for Right to Deny Abortion Information | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Crisis pregnancy centers in California are in a battle with the state over a new law requiring them to post a notice that free or low-cost abortion care is available.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Would the opponents of this law support the right of clinics that do offer abortions to offer no information about alternatives such as adoption or to discuss supportive services for new borns available from many religious groups? I think not and therein lies my support for this law. The rational way to prevent abortions is not by making them illegal or lying about them but by providing better sex education and less expensive, efficacious contraceptives. 

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