March 31, 2012

The Conservatives Hold on Power


Clarence Thomas, George W. Bush and Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas, George W. Bush and Antonin Scalia  (Credit: AP) 
Writing in Salon, Natasha Lennard proposes that with the warm weather we can again expect the Occupy movement to shoot up. Arab Spring, American Spring. She’s right about one thing: Like in the decades before the Arab Spring, it has been a long, cold, American winter. In the 30 years since coming to power here, Republicans have used their initial ascent to power to seal themselves into office as tightly as the pharaohs. Smart commentators have noted how lawless the conservatives are in making substantive decisions, but that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is how they use their tenure to make it increasingly impossible to oust them.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon. Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene  More Alex Pareene

Atlanta } Cab Comp cans driver after faggot slur


Within hours of an Atlanta Checker Cab driver telling a gay man “fuck you faggot” outside two popular gay nightspots in Midtown, the company confronted the driver and fired him.
Matt Sutter, a gay man who lives in East Atlanta, says that as he and friends enjoyed karaoke at Gilbert’s late Wednesday, he stepped onto a sidewalk on 10th Street to warn a motorist that she parked in a taxi stand and could be towed. As he talked to the driver, a Checker cabbie parked nearby confronted Sutter.
“He comes walking up and starts yelling at them,” Sutter says. “I told him I was on top of it and he said, ‘Fuck you faggot.’ I was dumbfounded to have someone call me that in front of two of these popular places.”
Sutter says he then stood nose to nose with the cabbie to warn him against slurring him again. The cabbie returned to his cab and a security officer from nearby Blake’s intervened. He attempted to have the driver apologize to Sutter, who dismissed it as insincere.
“We don’t need people like that in our neighborhood. If that’s how he feels about our community, then he has no business parking his cab in front of the most popular gay bars,” Sutter says.
After the confrontation, Sutter returned to his friends inside Gilbert’s. As they took to social media to report the incident, Sutter called the cab company to complain.
Checker Cab, a family-owned company founded in 1947, took quick action once the incident was reported. President Rick Hewatt says he cancelled the driver’s contract with the company on Thursday.
“We called the driver in, he didn’t deny it and he had his own story that this individual had cussed him out and not acted appropriately. I told him that’s no excuse and I cancelled his lease,” Hewatt says. “Very seldom do we have these sorts of problems. When we do, we take care of them. Obviously, this is proof of that.”
The company’s more than 200 drivers are independent contractors with Checker Cab, Hewatt says. They undergo two days of classes from the City of Atlanta before gaining a permit and that includes some diversity training, he says. Hewatt declined to identify the fired cabbie, but says he drove for the company for about a year.
“Drivers that do not conduct themselves in a professional manner, we cancel their lease. We certainly have standards and if they don’t meet that standard, we don’t lease them vehicles,” Hewatt says.
Hewatt says that he isn’t aware of any openly gay drivers for the company, but that Checker has leased to gay cabbies in the past.
Sutter says he’s pleased that the company took such quick action.
“I think that is a good consequence for him,” Sutter says. “We don’t need attitude like that in our community.”

2 Minute Video Will Show You Thread Mills Can Be Unforgiving

Where Supreme Court justices get their news ? Click and Find Out


Side view of the Courtroom as seen from the Clerk's desk

  -   

Now we know: 

Up host Chris Hayes shares what he and his panel know now (that they didn't know last week), including indications that many conservatives justices on the Supreme Court seem to be getting their news from right-wing blogs.

    Mass.Sues The Fed Gov.on Not That Recognizing Their Gay Marriage Law

    By DENISE LAVOIE
    vs

    BOSTON (AP) - A legal battle over a law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples is headed to a federal appeals court in Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
    The federal Defense of Marriage Act, enacted by Congress in 1996, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman and prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
    A federal judge in Massachusetts declared a key section of the law unconstitutional in 2010 after Attorney General Martha Coakley and the legal group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders sued. Judge Joseph Tauro found that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples an array of federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.
    An appeal by a bipartisan congressional group in both cases will be heard Wednesday by the federal appeals court in Boston.
    For Jo Ann Whitehead and Bette Jo Green of Boston, the law means they are unable to plan for the future the way other married couples can.
    The couple, who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by GLAD, have been together nearly three decades and married for seven years, since shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts in 2004. Green, 69, a labor and delivery nurse, has always earned more money than Whitehead, 70, a garden educator. But because of the law, known as DOMA, Whitehead has been denied the "spousal benefit" usually allowed to the lower-earning spouse under Social Security. They estimate that is a loss of about $3,600 a year.
    They also estimate that they lose about $1,000 a year because they are unable to file a joint federal tax return.
    "Being marginalized for really what I view as no good reason is unfortunate," Whitehead said. "It would be nice to not be so invisible anymore as a married couple."
    DOMA was enacted when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriage and opponents worried that other states would be forced to recognize such marriages. Since the national law was passed in 1996, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved gay marriage: Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland and Washington as well as the District of Columbia. Maryland and Washington's laws are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums.
    In Massachusetts' lawsuit, Coakley argued that the law violates the U.S. Constitution by interfering with the state's right to make its own marriage laws and forces the state to violate the constitutional rights of its residents by treating married gay couples differently than other married couples.
    "We essentially have to keep two sets of books - you're married for state purposes, but you're not married for federal purposes. It requires us, in a way, to discriminate against our citizens because so many federal benefits are distributed through state agencies," Coakley said Friday.
    In GLAD's lawsuit, Tauro found that the law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
    "Massachusetts made this decision to marry these people, and they are married," said GLAD attorney Mary Bonauto. "Now they come before the federal government as married people, as anybody else in Massachusetts does, but only the same-sex couples are denied recognition under federal law."
    In 2011, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Justice would no longer defend the constitutionality of the law. After that, House Speaker John Boehner convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend it.
    Paul Clement, the Washington lawyer who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week on behalf of 26 states that oppose Obama's health care law, will argue on behalf of the bipartisan group in the DOMA case. Clement did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
    In legal briefs filed in court, Clement argues that the challenges to the law appear to be based on the claim that Congress has no legitimate interest in providing a federal definition of marriage and has no choice but to adopt the state definition.
    "Congress has multiple rational bases for preferring a uniform federal definition over a patchwork, so DOMA should survive unless there is something categorically different about marriage. There is not," Clement wrote.
    "Congress has ample power to define the terms used in federal statutes to apportion federal benefits and burdens. Any other rule would turn the Supremacy Clause and our entire constitutional structure upside down.”

    MSNBC Chris Matthews Sides With Anti-Gay Perkins

    CHRIS MATTHEWS TONY PERKINS 390x (GETTY) ADVOCATE.COM
    Chris Matthews from MSNBC’ Hard Ball defends his right to bring to his show anyone he wants . He said he doesn’t believes in “fatwas” and he would bring Rush Limbaugh every day.

    The questions I would ask is 1) Does he possess' the right to bring to his show anyone he wants as long as it brings ratings, sure he does. But just because he has a right does not makes it right. I wonder if he would still believe that if he would bring Rush Limbaugh everyday like he said he would like to do;  I wonder if his ratings went down would he still feel that way.

    The Problem with Tony Perkins is that he bring down a whole group of americans through lies.  Lies that have been proven to be just what they ‘lies’.
    .
    2) Would he bring somebody from the KKK or anti blacks or anti any other group by that would be saying lies like black don't perspire or that polish people are dummies?

     3) Because he would like different points of view, doesn’t he also have the responsibility to at least not bring someone that makes up all this lies foe the pure purpose of denying people their civil rights?

     That is just what  GLAAD,  Faithful America and other media watchers are saying.  It is the unfairness of bringing somebody to attack a whole group of people not necause they dissagre  with them or don’t like them. That is fine and it happens all the time in other shows like on Rachel’s show, Anderson’s 360 and others.

     It’s a matter of keep bringing a personality ( which he brings very often) that brings  along made up lies and present them like they have scientificly proof to be right. The Family council like most informed people on this subject know,  that they have nothing to do with families.
    They are after families alright, preach them in how disgusting and sinners gay people are.
      How employers should not even hire gay people.  This is a group that lately is in financial difficulties because of all the ads they show agains gays. But appearing on that show,  it gives them a legit spot light to spread their hate towards gays.

    The Advocate reports the following on the confrontation on Matthews book signing and Faithful America that has made getting rid in cable television of Perkins a top priority:
    ( just in case MSNBC doesn’t read adamfoxie* this posting has being posted with them) adamfoxie*


    MSNBC most recently had Perkins on to offer his reaction to Rick Santorum's win in Louisiana. But Matthews' show, Hardball, is accused of inviting Perkins on as a guest more than any other.

    GLAAD recently launched its Commentator Accountability Project with Perkins listedprominently as one voice that shouldn't be used to represent evangelical voters on television because while off the air he's pushing antigay rhetoric. 

    "He doesn't pull that homophobic stuff on my show," Matthews claims, though Faithful America doesn't agree. And even so, one of the people confronting Matthews points out: "But when he's on your show, you lend legitimacy to the things he says off your show."

    Just this week, the Family Research Council spoke out in favor of businesses legally being able to turn away LGBT customers. In an email to supporters, the group used the example of a Kentucky T-shirt maker that backed out of an order when it learned it was for a gay pride festival.

    "Just because it sells to the public doesn't mean it has to surrender its private views," the newsletter said, according to Equality Matters. "Like any business, Hands On has the freedom to establish its own criteria of conduct and conscience. The same applies whether the clients are Planned Parenthood, the Ku Klux Klan, or baby seal hunters."

    Matthews was unswayed by the argument that putting Perkins on his show lends any credence to that sort of view. 

    "OK, OK, you made your case," he told the people off camera. "You may be right. But not right now."

    Matthews is an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights and he and his wife were honored guests during a Human Rights Campaign benefit earlier this month in Los Angeles.  



    You can see the confrontation and Matthews on words below:

    The Brain } Republican Brain


    Click here to read more about the science of why we don't believe in science. 

     
    •   
     
    We all know that many American conservatives have issues with Charles Darwin, and the theory of evolution. But Albert Einstein, and the theory of relativity?
    If you're surprised, allow me to introduceConservapedia, the right-wing answer toWikipedia and ground zero for all that is scientifically and factually inaccurate, for political reasons, on the Internet.
    Claiming over 285 million page views since its 2006 inception, Conservapedia is the creation of Andrew Schlafly, a lawyer, engineer, homeschooler, and one of six children of Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-feminist and anti-abortion rights activist who successfully battled the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. In his mother's heyday, conservative activists were establishing vast mailing lists and newsletters, and rallying the troops. Her son learned that they also had to marshal "truth" to their side, now achieved not through the mail but the Web. 
    So when Schafly realized that Wikipedia was using BCE ("Before Common Era") rather than BC ("Before Christ") to date historical events, he'd had enough. He decided to create his own contrary fact repository, declaring, "It's impossible for an encyclopedia to be neutral." Conservapedia definitely isn't neutral about science. Its 37,000 plus pages of content include items attacking evolution and global warming, wrongly claiming (contrary to psychological consensus) that homosexuality is a choice and tied to mental disorders, and incorrectly asserting (contrary to medical consensus) that abortion causes breast cancer.
    The whopper, though, has to be Conservapedia's nearly 6,000 word, equation-filled entry on the theory of relativity. It's accompanied by a long webpage of "counterexamples" to Einstein's great scientific edifice, which merges insights like E=mc2 (part of the special theory of relativity) with his later account of gravitation (the general theory of relativity).
    "Relativity has been met with much resistance in the scientific world," declaresConservapedia. "To date, a Nobel Prize has never been awarded for Relativity." The site goes on to catalogue the "political aspects of relativity," charging that some liberals have "extrapolated the theory" to favor their agendas. That includes President Barack Obama, who (it is claimed) helped published an article applying relativity in the legal sphere while attending Harvard Law School in the late 1980s.

     
    "Virtually no one who is taught and believes Relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold," Conservapedia continues. But even that's not the site's most staggering claim. In its list of "counterexamples" to relativity, Conservapedia provides 36 alleged cases, including: "The action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46–54, Matthew 15:28, and Matthew 27:51."

    IF YOU ARE AN AMERICAN LIBERAL or progressive and you just read the passage above, you are probably about to split your sides—or punch a wall. Sure enough, once liberal and science-focused bloggers caught wind of Conservapedia's anti-Einstein sallies, Schlafly was quickly called a "crackpot," "crazy," "dishonest," and so on.
    These being liberals and scientists, there were also ample factual refutations. TakeConservapedia's bizarre claim that relativity hasn't led to any fruitful technologies. To the contrary, GPS devices rely on an understanding of relativity, as do PET scans and particle accelerators. Relativity works—if it didn't, we would have noticed by now, and the theory would never have come to enjoy its current scientific status.
    It's not that liberals are never wrong or biased. Nevertheless, politicized wrongness today is clustered among Republicans, conservatives, and especially Tea Partiers.
    Little changed at Conservapedia after these errors were dismantled, however (though more anti-relativity "counter-examples" and Bible references were added). For not only does the site embrace a very different firmament of "facts" about the world than modern science, it also employs a different approach to editing than Wikipedia. Schlafly has said of the founding of Conservapedia that it "strengthened my faith. I don't have to live with what's printed in the newspaper. I don't have to take what's put out by Wikipedia. We've got our own way to express knowledge, and the more that we can clear out the liberal bias that erodes our faith, the better."
    You might be thinking that Conservapedia's unabashed denial of relativity is an extreme case, located in the same circle of intellectual hell as claims that HIV doesn't cause AIDS and 9-11 was an inside job. If so, I want to ask you to think again. Structurally, the denial of something so irrefutable, the elaborate rationalization of that denial, and above all the refusal to consider the overwhelming body of counterevidence and modify one's view, is something we find all around us today.
    Every contentious fact- or science-based issue in American politics now plays out just like the conflict betweenConservapedia and physicists over relativity. Again and again it's a fruitless battle between incompatible "truths," with no progress made and no retractions offered by those who are just plain wrong—and can be shown to be through simple fact checking mechanisms that all good journalists, not to mention open-minded and critically thinking citizens, can employ.
    What's more, no matter how much the fact-checkers strive to remain "bi-partisan," it is pretty hard to argue that, today, the distribution of falsehoods is politically equal or symmetrical. It's not that liberals are never wrong or biased; in my new book, The Republican Brain, The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality, from which this essay is excerpted, I go to great lengths to describe and debunk number of liberal errors.  Nevertheless, politicized wrongness today is clustered among Republicans, conservatives, and especially Tea Partiers. (Indeed, a new study published in American Sociological Review finds that while overall trust in science has been relatively stable since 1974, among self-identified conservatives it is at an all-time low.)
    Their willingness to deny what's true may seem especially outrageous when it infects scientific topics like evolution or climate change. But the same thing happens with economics, with American history, and with any other factual matter where there's something ideological—in other words, something emotional and personal—at stake.
    As soon as that occurs, today's conservatives have their own "truth," their own experts to spout it, and their own communication channels—newspapers, cable networks, talk radio shows, blogs, encyclopedias, think tanks, even universities—to broad- and narrowcast it.
    We've been trained to equivocate, to not to see this trend toward anti-factualism for what it is—sweeping, systemic. This is particularly true of reporters.
    Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, and that's precisely where our country stands now with regard to the conservative denial of reality. For a long time, we've been trained to equivocate, to not to see it for what it is—sweeping, systemic. This is particularly true of reporters and others trained to think that objectivity will out. Yet the problem is gradually dawning on many of us, particularly as the 2012 election began to unfold and one maverick Republican, Jon Huntsman, put his party's anti-factual tendencies in focus with a Tweet heard round the world:
    To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.
    The cost of this assault on reality is dramatic. Many of these falsehoods affect lives and have had—or will have—world-changing consequences. And more dangerous than any of them is the utter erosion of a shared sense of what's true—which they both generate, and perpetuate.
    Consider, just briefly, some of the wrong ideas that have taken hold of significant swaths of the conservative population in the U.S:
    The Identity of the President of the United States: Many conservatives believe President Obama is a Muslim. A stunning 64 percent of Republican voters in the 2010 election thought it was "not clear" whether he had been born in the United States. These people often think he was born in Kenya, and the birth certificate showing otherwise is bunk, a forgery, etc. They also think this relatively centrist Democrat is a closet—or even overt—socialist. At the extreme, they consider him a "Manchurian candidate" for an international leftist agenda.
    Obamacare Many conservatives believe it is a "government takeover of health care." They also think, as Sarah Palin claimed, that it created government "death panels" to make end-of-life care decisions for the elderly. What's more, they think it will increase the federal budget deficit (and that most economists agree with this claim), cut benefits to those on Medicare, and subsidize abortions and the health care of illegal immigrants. None of these things are true.
    Sexuality and Reproductive Health. Many conservatives—especially on the Christian Right—claim that having an abortion increases a woman's risk of breast cancer or mental disorders. They claim that fetuses can perceive pain at 20 weeks of gestation, that same-sex parenting is bad for kids, and that homosexuality is a disorder, or a choice, and is curable through therapy. None of this is true.

    Religion As An Excuse To Slavery

     File:Paradiso Canto 31.jpg
    (CNN) - Which revered religious figure - Moses, Jesus, or the Prophet Mohammad - spoke out boldly and unambiguously against slavery?
    Answer: None of them.
    One of these men owned slaves, another created laws to regulate - but not ban – slavery. The third’s chief spokesman even ordered slaves to obey their masters, religious scholars say.
    Most modern people of faith see slavery as a great evil. Though the three great Western religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – disagree on many matters, most of their contemporary followers condemn slavery.
    Yet there was a time when Jews, Christians and Muslims routinely cited the words and deeds of their founders to justify human bondage, scholars say.
    At times, religion was deployed more to promote the spread of slavery than to prevent it.
    “The lesson in all this is we need historical humility,” says Daniel C. Peterson, author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God.” “It’s stunning for us to look back now and say, how can people face themselves in the mirror after doing what they did, but they did.”
    But what did the founders of the three great Western religions do? Did they have slaves and did they condemn the practice? Or were they, at least on this issue, squarely men of their times?
    The answers to these questions are as murky and contradictory as history itself.
    What’s a slave?
    Part of the problem is historical context. Most contemporary people think of slaves as people condemned to a lifetime of bondage, working on plantations and being whipped like oxen.
    That kind of slavery did exist during the lives of Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad. Many slaves were prisoners of war; concubines, gladiators, laborers in salt mines. They could be killed, raped and discarded at any moment.
    Yet there were layers of slavery in the ancient world. Many slaves would be seen today as indentured servants, or people trying to pay off debts; royal bodyguards and entrepreneurs, historians say.
    Sometimes the slaves became masters. In medieval Egypt, Muslim rulers trained and educated slaves to be their bodyguards. One group of slaves grew so powerful that they overthrew the rulers of Egypt and established their own dynasty, says Ali Asani, a professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Languages and Culture at Harvard University.
    “Slavery meant different things in different cultures,” Asani says. “There wasn’t always this sense of powerlessness and oppression. In certain forms, it became an access to power.”
    In other forms, it became access to freedom, says John Dominic Crossan, one of world’s leading scholars on the life and times of Jesus.
    That was the case in the world of Jesus. The Roman Empire was the dominant power of Jesus’ day, and it survived on the backs of millions of slaves. Yet there was only one mass slave revolt against Rome, which was led by Spartacus, a gladiatorial slave, Crossan says.
    The reason there were so few massive slave rebellions against Rome was because some of its slaves had avenues for advancement, dim though they may seem to modern sensibilities.
    Slaves could buy their freedom. They ran businesses for their masters or tutored their children. Greek slaves, in particular, were often valued because of their education and culture, he says.
    Roman slavery was cruel and capricious, but not all Romans saw slaves as subhuman.
    “One of the most extraordinary aspects of Roman slavery,” says Crossan, author of “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus became Fiction about Jesus,” was that the Romans ended up with a huge number of slaves who were smarter than their masters.”
    The uncomfortable historical record
    It’s been said that great religious figures transcend history. They rise above the peculiar customs of their day to show a new path forward.
    It’s a matter of debate if Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad did that with slavery. All three seemed to either ignore or tolerate some forms of slavery, some scholars say.
    The parables of Jesus, for example, were full of references to slaves. Terms like “servants” or “stewards” are what we would call slaves today. Yet Jesus doesn’t seem to make any moral judgments about slavery in his parables, Crossan says.
    The subject may have been irrelevant to him or his audience, says Crossan, the Jesus scholar. Jesus didn’t own any slaves. Neither did his disciples or the crowds Jesus addressed. They were all too poor and lived under desperate economic circumstances.
    “It may well be that the people he talked to were small farmers who would not have the luxury of slaves,” Crossan says. “He [Jesus] doesn’t say anything for or against it.”
    Still, Crossan says that he believes that Jesus would have opposed slavery, given the nature of his teachings. Scholars aren’t so certain about Jesus’ most influential disciple, the Apostle Paul.
    The man whose writings make up most of the New Testament had to deal with slavery. As Christianity spread through the Roman Empire, many slaves joined the church.
    At various parts of the New Testament, Paul seems to accept slavery. He tells slaves to obey their masters. At other times, Paul seems to challenge the morality of slavery. In one New Testament letter, Paul intercedes on behalf of a runaway slave and chides the master for calling himself a Christian and holding a slave.
    Crossan, along with some other biblical scholars, says there are actually two versions of Paul in the New Testament: the authentic, “radical” Paul who opposed slavery and a “Pseudo-Paul” inserted into the texts by early church leaders who were afraid of antagonizing Rome.
    “It’s one thing to say that Jesus is Lord,” Crossan says. “Now if you’re saying a Christian can’t have slaves, then something must be wrong with slaves. So now you’re attacking the Roman system, which is a slave economy.”
    Jesus’ apparent silence on slavery and Paul’s ambiguous statements on the issue had dreadful historical consequences. It helped ensure that slavery would survive well into the 19th century in the U.S., some scholars say.
    American Christians who owned slaves had a simple but powerful defense in the run-up to the Civil War. The Old and New Testament sanctioned slavery and, since the Bible is infallible, slavery is part of God’s order, says Mark Noll, author “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.”
    “The defenders of slavery said Jesus condemned quite a few things that were standard in the Old Testament,” Noll says. “He condemned polygamy, violence, easy divorce, but he never condemned slavery.”
    Let my people go, but keep the others
    Neither did Moses, the founder of Judaism, say other scholars.
    There’s no record of Moses owning slaves, but the Mosaic laws permitted and regulated slavery, says Peterson, the author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God” and a religious scholar at Brigham Young University in Utah.
    Still, under Mosaic law, a master was encouraged to free slaves and forgive debts after a certain period of time that was called the year of jubilee, Peterson says.
    “They were not trying to create a permanent underclass of slaves that went from parents to child and child and grandchildren,” Peterson says of the ancient Israelites.
    But how could ancient Israelites sanction any form of slavery given their exodus from Egyptian captivity? Didn’t their God explicitly condemn slavery when he ordered Moses to tell Pharaoh to “let my people go?”
    The text is not clear on that question, says Brannon Wheeler, a religious scholar.
    He says the Exodus stories suggest that the God of Israel was angry at Pharaoh not for enslaving a group of people, but for unjustly enslaving the “Chosen People” - the people God had promised to give their own homeland.
    “In order to make that promise stick, He [God] has to get them out of Egypt,” says Wheeler, director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the United States Naval Academy in Maryland.
    “It’s not like He [God] says slavery is bad and I want to abolish it.”
    The Prophet Mohammad never explicitly condemned slavery, and actually owned slaves, some scholars say.
    Yet he recognized the humanity of slaves, teaching followers that freeing slaves was an act of piety. He allowed slaves to buy their freedom and demanded that they should be treated with love and respect, says Asani, author of  “Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry.”
    “He himself did own slaves but he treated them as family,” Asani says. “One called Zayd he treated like an adopted son and one of his wives was a Coptic Christian slave.”
    The followers of men like the Prophet Mohammad, though, would take a harsher attitude toward slaves.
    By the time of the crusades, Christians and Muslims were enslaving one another by the thousands. They cited their faith as justification, says Robert C. Davis, author of “Holy War and Human Bondage.”
    “Religion was the defining principle of slavery—this person is another faith and can be enslaved,” Davis says.
    Some church leaders preached that enslaving others was an act of evangelism, Davis says.
    “One pope said that the justification for slavery was that it was important for spreading the faith,” Davis says. “Once they were enslaved, they would more readily take to Christianity.”
    Those kinds of actions may now seem barbaric, but the texts and stories that were used to justify slavery still exist in the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
    Few, though, would quote those scriptures today, and many don’t even know they exist.
    “We shouldn’t be surprised,” says Jonathan Brockopp, a religion professor at Pennsylvania State University. “Religions redefine themselves and people draw on different stories and underplay other stories. This happens constantly.”
    It happened with slavery, and, who knows, perhaps it’s happening again in our time. There may be a religious practice accepted today that future generations will look upon and ask the same question we ask about people who enslaved others in the name of God:
    How could they?



    John Blake - CNN Writer

    Soaps } Will Horton to come out on April 4!

     By Greg Hernandez  

     

    Last night there was what sounded like a super event in Los Angeles with several members of the cast of Days of Our Lives.
    The topic was Will Horton’s coming out story andChandler Massey (Will),Diedre Hall (Marlena) andAllison Sweeney (Sami) were among the cast members there to discuss it.
    Sadly, I could not be there because going on at EXACTLY the same time over at the Beverly Hilton Hotel was The Advocate’s 45th Anniversary party and it was a star-studded affair I could not miss.
    I will look for coverage of the Days event on some other sites and provide you some coverage that way.
    But, I do have some little scoops for you! Sources tell me that Will, who this week told Marlena he didn’t really think he was gay after all, takes the big step and COMES OUT on the episode airing April 4.
    I don’t know the exact circumstances but I do know that the character of Neil, the guy who Will made out with over two episodes last month, will be returning for at least three episodes. (Neil is played byJesse Kristofferson).
    Hopefully, that means we will see some more of those liplocks!
     

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