Recently in Cults Category


James has the full details on his blog, but I wanted to make sure my readers knew about this too. We'll be there on Sunday.


Sunday December 19, 2010, 1:00 PM

GATHER on the Metropolitan Museum steps Fifth Ave. & 82nd Street

Then MARCH to the Cooper-Hewitt/Smithsonian FIFTH Ave. & 91st Street

Wear your free expression best and be part of the message.

Art+ is a New York City-based art action group - fighting censorship and homophobia


I see today that The Civilians are listed in Time Out New York as one of eight Off-Off Broadway companies to watch. This reminds me to write about their benefit coming up on April 18, titled Resurrection Vaudeville. James and I are big supporters, and have seen nearly everything they've done in the last four years in NYC. Join us for some drinks and entertainment!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Arena Nightclub
135 West 41st Street
Between 6th Avenue & Broadway
New York, NY 10036
8pm to 1am, Performance at 9pm

Enjoy drinks and dancing in this new Midtown club, surrounded by The Civilians’ artists, friends, and supporters. Includes complimentary drinks from event sponsors Tequila Corazón, Smithwick’s Ale, and Red Stripe Beer; full cash bar; silent auction; and raffle.

Members of The Civilians will perform songs from the company’s new show about Evangelical Christianity—along with a few favorites by Michael Friedman.

In a lucky bit of timing, they were in Colorado Springs visiting Ted Haggard's church as part of their research when all the excitement broke.

From the BBC:

Downing Street has said there will be no exemption from anti-discrimination laws for Catholic adoption agencies.

But Tony Blair said they would get 21 months to prepare for change, calling this a "sensible compromise".

Adoption agencies had warned they would close rather than place children with gay couples, saying that went against their beliefs.


The proposed measures are likely to face a vote in Parliament next month before coming into effect on 6 April.

Mr Blair said he believed ministers had found a "way through" to prevent discrimination and protect the interests of children, which all "reasonable people" should be able to accept.

"There is no place in our society for discrimination. That's why I support the right of gay couples to apply to adopt like any other couple.

"And that way there can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering public funded services from regulations that prevent discrimination."

This sort of thing seems pretty unlikely in the USA, and we don't even have a head of state who is also the head of the official church!

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy

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A priest who says gays are ruining society and the church shows up in a divorce case. He has a house in Amagansett? So much for that humble servant of God concept. That's for losers. Msgr. Clark hung out with the rich Catholics. See the quote from Newsday below.

From a NY Times article, titled Accusation of an Affair Leads Priest to Resign:

The rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Msgr. Eugene V. Clark, resigned yesterday amid accusations that he was having an affair with his longtime personal secretary, a married woman who is 33 years his junior.

"It appears to me," he said in a statement released by his lawyer, "that events and circumstances have been portrayed in such a false and sensational manner that I will no longer be able to effectively serve the archdiocese."

Monsignor Clark's employer, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, said in a statement that he had resigned "for the good of St. Patrick's and the archdiocese."

On Monday, Philip DeFilippo, who is married to Monsignor Clark's secretary, Laura DeFilippo, filed court papers alleging the relationship as part of his divorce case against his wife, who has worked for Monsignor Clark for more than 25 years. Since then, newspapers and newscasts have carried videotape images provided by Mr. DeFilippo that show Monsignor Clark, 79, and Ms. DeFilippo, 46, entering a motel in the Hamptons last month and walking out five hours later in different clothing.


In the pulpit, Monsignor Clark has sometimes been outspoken. In 2002 in a Sunday homily at St. Patrick's, he attributed the epidemic of sexual abuse by priests in part to the immorality of American popular culture and to the willingness of seminaries to admit homosexuals into the ministry.


Mr. DeFilippo, 46, an insurance investigator who lives in Eastchester, in Westchester County, said his wife frequently spent weekends with Monsignor Clark at his beach house in Amagansett on the South Fork of Long Island, sometimes bringing the DeFilippos' two children along. She would sometimes accompany her boss on vacations out of the country, even skipping vacations with her family, Mr. DeFilippo said.

From Newsday:

The charges have been particularly devastating since Clark has used the pulpit at St. Patrick, as well as his frequent appearances on Eternal World Television Network, to rail against a "sex-saturated" American culture and to defend the idea of mandatory priestly celibacy. He is a top player in the archdiocese, with close connections to Legatus, a group of wealthy Catholic businessmen, as well as to the Knights of Malta, and has worked as the private secretary of Cardinal Francis Spellman, as well as a spokesman for Cardinal Terence Cooke.

Religious theme park? Tax-exempt.

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What a silly country we live in. Via Newsday (it's in Florida of course):

The Holy Land Experience may seem like just another theme park, with its $30 admission charge, $5 parking fee and souvenir shops.

But, ending a four-year legal battle, a judge has ruled that the religious-themed attraction deserves the same tax-exempt status given to churches and museums. The ruling spares its owner from paying a delinquent property-tax bill that would have climbed to more than $1 million by the end of the year.


From the start, The Holy Land Experience was controversial. Local rabbis greeted it with trepidation, given its parent company's stated mission of converting Jews to Christianity.


In her ruling, Circuit Judge Cynthia MacKinnon sided with Zion's Hope, pointing out that the nonprofit company produces and distributes biblical cassettes, videos, books and CDs; publishes a religious magazine; broadcasts a syndicated radio show and supports missionaries in Israel.

"The property appraiser has failed to direct the court's attention to any evidence that Plaintiff is using The Holy Land Experience to make money or for some other purpose than evangelizing and worshipping," MacKinnon wrote.

If you use Google to find the home page, turn down your computer's speakers before clicking on the link.

My final Pope post

I've had it with all of the "well, I didn't agree with him on everything, but I respected him" blog posts I've seen.

The next time a politician is refused communion for voting for a war or supporting the death penalty, rather than not being anti-gay or anti-women enough, get back to me.


The Vatican launched a holy war against homosexual families yesterday, decreeing that any moves to license same-sex marriages or gay adoption are "legalizing evil."

"Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law," the Catholic Church said. "Under no circumstances can they be approved."

In a toughly worded salvo aimed primarily at Catholic politicians, the church branded gay sex "serious depravity," gay marriage "deviant" and adoption by lesbians and gays as "doing violence" to children.


Catholics must fight against the spreading tolerance of gay sex, the Vatican declared in its policy statement, which was approved by the pontiff.

Such tolerance exposes children to "erroneous ideas" and violates Christian duty to speak out against immorality, it said. ."The legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil," the church said.

-- source


The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by AIDS not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.

The church is making the claims across four continents despite a widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to HIV.

A senior Vatican spokesman backs the claims about permeable condoms, despite assurances by the World Health Organisation that they are untrue.

-- source

This seems like an appropriate time to re-post some of my disco MP3s

Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

Thelma Houston - Don't Leave Me This Way

Vicky Sue Robinson - Turn The Beat Around

I haven't posted much about politics lately, since I don't think there is much point in doing so. However, I can't keep quiet on how revolting religion is in America (and elsewhere). There are those that argue I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater whenever I refer to banning religion, but I don't see any positive aspect of religion at this point. Items:

  • Jesse Jackson gets involved on the side of Terri Schiavo's parents. Sure, Jesse - go chase those television cameras, and don't bother picking an issue like the death penalty, or the drug laws, or the fact that one in five adults in America live in poverty.
  • Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry (as cosponsor with Santorum!) support a law that makes it easier for religious organizations, and religious people in general, to be anti-gay. We already give these people tax subisidies. Do we have to make it easier for them to avoid anti-discrimination laws too?

I see no good use for religion in America. Other civilized countries use the government to provide for the poor. They don't give large subisidies (and actual tax dollars directly) to have them provide a lot of services and healthcare for the less fortunate.

The next time I see a crowd like this:


Protesters pray during a mass outside the Woodside Hospice where Terri Schiavo is a patient on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 in Pinellas Park, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

outside of a prison about to execute someone, or at a Army recruiting station, or protesting the war in Iraq, maybe I will reconsider, but at this point religion exists primarily as a reactionary force to be battled by all decent people.

Bishops-salute-Hitler.jpg Catholic Bishops giving the Nazi salute in honor of Hitler

From Common Dreams

Antonin Scalia, the man most likely to be our next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, turned history on its head recently when he attended an Orthodox synagogue in New York and claimed that the Founders intended for their Christianity to play a part in government. Scalia then went so far as to suggest that the reason Hitler was able to initiate the Holocaust was because of German separation of church and state.

The Associated Press reported on November 23, 2004, "In the synagogue that is home to America's oldest Jewish congregation, he [Scalia] noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never publicly use the word 'God.'"

"Did it turn out that," Scalia asked rhetorically, "by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America?" He then answered himself, saying, "I don't think so."

The article, by Thom Hartmann, goes on to provide some useful history of church and state in Germany and the USA.

[photo from]

Coen / Xmas ?

coen-xmas.jpg Brooke Coen sang Christmas carols on Saturday during the Parade of Lights in downtown Denver.
Steve Peterson for The New York Times

I was reading an article about people outraged over the PUBLIC holiday displays in Denver not being Christian enough.

For many years, this city's annual Parade of Lights was as bland as butter and content to be so. Organized by the local business community, the event shunned politics and anything remotely smacking of controversy, including openly religious Christmas themes that might offend.

The star was Santa, not Jesus, and the mood was bouncy, commercial and determinedly secular.

This year, Jesus came anyway. A local evangelical Christian church called the Faith Bible Chapel sought but failed to get permission for a religious-themed float with a choir singing hymns and carols. By coincidence, Denver's mayor chose this year to change the traditional banner on the roof of the City and County Building. "Merry Christmas" was out. "Happy Holidays" was in.

Like a spark in dry tinder, the result was a flare-up that caught even some church leaders by surprise. A holiday rite that had drawn thousands of paradegoers annually suddenly became a symbol, for many Christians, of secular society run amok.

I was struck by the name in the caption. I don't know anyone named Coen that sings Christmas carols.

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