Church

Who’s ‘Godless’ Now? Russia Says It’s U.S.

Russia under President Vladimir Putin (right) has grown closer to Patriarch Kirill and the church.

Moscow — At the height of the Cold War, it was common for American conservatives to label the officially atheist Soviet Union a “godless nation.”

More than two decades on, history has come full circle, as the Kremlin and its allies in the Russian Orthodox Church hurl the same allegation at the West.

Do read on in The Washington Post here.

 

Church

American Atheists’ Super Bowl Billboard Makes Fun of ‘Hail Mary’ Prayer

 

Wicked atheists:

American Atheists is putting up a new billboard making fun of prayer outside Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, where the Super Bowl is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

The 14 feet by 48 feet billboard features a man in a priest uniform with the text “A ‘Hail Mary’ only works in football. Enjoy the game!” referring to the Roman Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary and also the name of a long-forward pass in football.

“Prayer is superstition, plain and simple,” AA President David Silverman said in a statement.

“It trivializes the dedication of the players and takes away from their achievements. A third of football fans pray in hopes of helping their team. These are adults we’re talking about – people with children, people with careers, people who vote. It’s 2014; it’s time to stop believing that prayer works. Give credit where credit is due and celebrate what this is really about-coming together to cheer on hard-working athletes doing what they do best.”

Managing Director Amanda Knief noted that people of all religions, as well as atheists, come together during the Super Bowl, and noted that the organization, one of the biggest secular ones in the country, is excited to be part of the event.

The atheist group has become famous for putting up billboards that target religion throughout the country. In December 2013, it had a billboard in New York’s Times Square claiming that “nobody” needs Christ during Christmas.

“This year, start a new tradition: Don’t go to church. You hate it, it’s boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated. Instead, spend more time with your family and friends – or volunteer. There are better uses of your time and money,” Silverman said about the Christmas tradition.

The billboard prompted State Sen. Andrew Lanza from Staten Island, N.Y., to run a petition calling for the “immediate withdrawal” of the ad as it lacks “decency, civility and kindness.”

“It seems to me that this is part of a continued ‘War on Christmas’ and also upon the belief and value system of millions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim people who have faith in God,” Lanza commented. “Religious persecution of the kind that similarly led to the Holocaust began with small baby steps of ridicule and hatred of the religious beliefs of others.”

 

Church

Exorcisms Via Skype?

So it would seem:

The age-old practice of exorcism is getting updated thanks to the use of modern technology by a reverend in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Reverend Bob Larson claims he has performed more than 20,000 exorcisms in the past four decades.

Now he is giving possessed people the option of having their demons banished from their bodies via Skype.

A 60-minute Skype exorcism costs $295, and is considered a tax-deductible donation to the International Missions Program.

Skype’s cheap rates allow Larson to connect with allegedly possessed people from all over the world, including one of his most recent clients, a Norwegian man named David, who supposedly had four demons inside him.

During one encounter filmed by ABC15.com, one of the demons mocked Larson by asking, “Are you Bob the Builder,” followed by a maniacal cackle straight out of the “Tales From The Crypt” TV show.

Larson has numerous exorcism videos on YouTube, including this one where he claims to exorcise a gay demon.

Some skeptics think the over-the-top antics by the allegedly possessed souls are a sign that it’s all just a show, but Larson denies those allegations.

“It’s real,” Larson told the station. “There would be no reason to theatrically stage this for any reason. Why would anybody do that? I have no idea.”

However, Larson’s Skype exorcisms are making other religious leaders cross.

Reverend Isaac Kramer, the director of the International Catholic Association of Exorcists, an organization that trains and ordains new exorcists, says exorcisms can’t be done over the Internet.

“If a person is fully possessed, the demon inside of them will not let them sit in front of the computer screen to be exorcised,” Kramer told Vocativ.com. “Chances are, they’re going to throw the computer screen across the room and destroy everything.”

Crazy stuff.

 

Church

Is Hezbollah About to Withdraw From Syria?

One can but hope so…(Photo: wikicommons/ yeowatzup)

Writing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, retired Israeli Brigadier General Shimon Shapira wonders if the ongoing debate inside Iran on the expenditure on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a portent of an upcoming Iranian disengagement from civil war-torn Syria in the form of pulling out Iran’s client terror organization, Hezbollah:

Although Hezbollah’s leaders claim it is fighting in Syria in order to protect Lebanon, Lebanese Shiites are not convinced and Hezbollah’s supporters are dubious. Hezbollah has now lost almost 350 men in Syria, not all of whom have been brought back to Lebanon for burial, while the number of wounded has passed a thousand. This puts into question Hezbollah’s ability to keep sacrificing its fighters in Syria when its target of jihad is Israel.

 

Church

South African Catholic Newspaper Condemns Anti-Homosexual Laws

A Catholic newspaper in South Africa has published an editorial condemning “draconian legislation” against homosexuals in some African countries, the Fides news service reports.

The Southern Cross, a weekly promoted by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (which includes the bishops of South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland), said that new legislation in Nigeria and Uganda, and similar proposals in Cameroon and Tanzania, would be used to “persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

The editorial noted that the laws were not required to outlaw homosexual acts, which are already illegal in most African countries. The Southern Cross argued that the legislation therefore violated the injunction of the Catechism of the Catholic Church against “every sign of unjust discrimination” against homosexuals. The editorial called upon the bishops of Africa to fight “against discriminatory laws and violence against homosexuals, many of whom are Catholics.”

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