Seyran Ates – Someone you should know

This woman has tremendous courage. Despite threats, woman who opened liberal mosque in Berlin keeps fighting for religious freedom | Fox News

Since founding a liberal and controversial mosque in Berlin last month, Ates has been constantly targeted by those who have a strict interpretation of Islamic law. She vows to fight for religious freedom and challenge radical Islam – even if it puts her life in danger.

Read the whole thing. Her life has been one long struggle for change.

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[repost] Read This Before Patheos Deletes it.

religion and politicsPatheos was once a place where various religious views came together. Mainstream and not so mainstream. Recently however, they have been purchased by an evangelical Christian organization, and apparently have not taken kindly to some of the not-so-mainstream folks who were there. [repost] Read This Before Patheos Deletes it. – GODS & RADICALS

don't be stupid I never agreed with most of the things at Patheos, but as a firm supporter of the First Amendment, I believe that there should be room for all beliefs in this country. Or at least any belief that is compatible with the first amendment to the constitution. Voltaire is credited with saying, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." That should sum up the position of anyone who holds that Freedom of Speech matters. (Instead today we get riots on college campuses because they don't want to hear anything that might upset the tender babies.)

The following is a repost of an essay deleted by Patheos Pagan detailing the changes they’ve made and their intention to censor their writers. The essay was written by John Halstead on his Patheos-hosted wordpress blog, Allergic Pagan.

We are republishing this because it was deleted by Patheos and the author was locked out of his account, effectively censoring it from the internet.

Please consider reposting this widely, and even hosting it on your website in case of legal threats to us.

The deleted post follows. You can find John Halstead back at his blog, Allergic Pagan.
___________________________________________________________

I’ve been writing at Patheos for 4 years now (blogging for 6 years in all). In that time, Patheos has changed in some significant ways. The three editors of Patheos Pagan that I’ve known — Star Foster, Christine Hoff Kraemer (who hired me on), and Jason Mankeywere each very different in their own way.

The biggest change, though, is that in the last couple of years, there has been increasing pressure to make Patheos profitable, and that has resulted in changes like increasing use of invasive ads (I still can’t read my own blog on my iPhone 4) and pressure (albeit of the soft variety) from the editor to post more frequently. Most recently, Patheos was purchased by Beliefnet, which is owned by an evangelical organization.

Today, the other shoe dropped. Our editor, Jason Mankey, gave me the heads up late last week that a new contract would be coming with a different pay structure, but what he didn’t say was what else was in the contract.

Under my original contract I make $50 a month. Twice in the 4 years I have been writing here, I made $100 because of especially high page views. (Incidentally, neither of those posts was anything to be proud of.) Fifty dollars is not much, but I know it is a lot more than most writers at Patheos Pagan make. I have it on good authority that only three of us at Patheos Pagan make that much. Under the new contract, I would make a little less, but since I’m not reliant on the income from Patheos, I really don’t care about that.

Others Patheos Pagan writers would make a little more, which I am glad for. But while five or ten dollars a month is more than nothing, it is still a pittance. Jason has repeatedly told me that Patheos is suffering financially, the implication being that we should be happy with what we get. Of course, we haven’t seen their books, so we don’t know how much revenue Patheos receives from ads and other sources, or where it is going. Needless to say, it is common for miserly employers to claim poverty when employees demand a living wage. (I do find it interesting, though, that Patheos can afford to fly its editors out to visit their corporate headquarters and to other events, but they say they can’t afford to pay their writers more than third-world wages.)

The new contract also requires writers to post with a certain frequency, two to three times a week. While I don’t care that I will be earning less, it does irk me to have my income cut and then be told I have to write more in order to earn it. Jason has assured us this provision of the contract will not be enforced, but in my experience as a lawyer, the only reason to include a provision in a contract which you say you don’t intend to enforce is so you can later spring it on the person. It’s a classic way for employers to fire someone for a discriminatory reason, for example: They decide to suddenly start (selectively) enforcing a contract provision which was not previously enforced so they can claim to have a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the termination.

But the real problem with the new contract is the increased editorial control. The new contract reserves the right to edit any of our posts, and even to change the format of the post or to use the content to create a quiz (?). We are explicitly prohibited from using profanity (with some minor exceptions) and the “tone” (a very subjective term) is expected to resemble that of other online media with which Patheos compares itself, like Slate or Huffington Post. The contract also prohibits advertising or self-promotion. We are also barred from posting a “farewell” post without approval, and even approved farewell posts will be deleted after 7 days. (What is that about?) And Patheos can delete any post it deems, in its sole discretion, to be “offensive”another subjective term.

Now, here’s the thing: In the contract, Patheos compares itself to Slate and Huffington Post. But I write for the Huffington Post, and I didn’t have to sign anything like this to write for them. Nor did I have to sign anything like this to write for Witches & Pagans. Or Gods & Radicals.

Finally, we are prohibited from “disparaging” Patheos “or any of its related companies”. This is potentially the most problematic part of the contract. For example, one of the other writers here brought to my attention that the American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a group founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, is a partner with Affinity4, which is itself listed alongside Beliefnet and Patheos on the BN Media page. The ACLJ lobbies for the death penalty for gays in other countries. Under the new contract, ACLJ could be considered a “related company” that we’re not permitted to disparage. (And that’s just one related company that we’ve discovered in less than 24 hours.) Well …

FUCK THAT SHIT!

Oops, I used profanity. Actually, this whole post would probably be considered “disparaging” of Patheos. So don’t be surprised if this post is deleted soon.

[UPDATE: Here’s a list of some of the groups that may be considered “related” to Patheos and whom we cannot “disparage” under the new contract: National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, Concerned Women for America, American Family Association. Citation here.]

While some of these contractual provisions are common in the industry, I’ve learned that “standard in the industry” is code for “we can screw you over and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And while some of these changes might be dismissed if considered in isolation, the fact that it all comes at once, the fact that it was sprung on most of the writers with little to no notice, the fact that it was written unilaterally by Patheos corporate without input from the writers, and the fact that it goes into effect tomorrow, makes it all seem pretty suspicious (not to mention draconian).

It’s difficult to avoid the observation that the situation at Patheos is a microcosm of some of what has been happening on the national stage recently, with the power of corporations expanding and those same corporations (through their political lapdogs) trying to put limits on our freedom of speech. It makes me wonder if the timing isn’t coincidental: An evangelical company acquires Patheos. Trump is elected and sworn in. A number of Patheos bloggers are critical of Trump. And now, the new owners of Patheos want to exercise more editorial control. Coincidence? Maybe.

Jason has assured us that Patheos will not be censoring its writers. But you know, it usually doesn’t happen … until it does.

The Washington Post Defends Chip and Joanna Gaines (Amazing I Know)

Buzzfeed doesn’t like Evangelical Christians because they MIGHT not like same sex marriage. (They don’t know how the Gaines feel, but that didn’t stop the attack.) BuzzFeed’s hit piece on Chip and Joanna Gaines is dangerous – The Washington Post

So it seems that the Washington Post, at least has learned some of the lessons of the Trump campaign. You can’t just attack people for being conservative or religious out of hand.

A gay man is writing for the WaPo, on the subject of respecting other people’s religious convictions. And well.

A few years ago, gay activists decided the best way to win arguments in favor of same-sex marriage was to shut up their opponents. All they had to do was lob a charge of homophobia and the argument was won. Or they tweeted at the companies that employed the “homophobes” until they were fired. Conservatives were bullied on social media and mocked for being ass-backward (and indeed, some of them were and are). But they were never taken seriously.

Bullying is not the same as winning an argument. It is only bullying. And eventually it will stop working. Maybe it already has.

Trump stood up to the bullying. I hope HGTV and the Gaines can stand up to it as well.

Because it isn’t over. They are going to have to make a statement. And if it doesn’t meet the exact requirements of the liberal bullies, HGTV will be pressured to drop the show.

BuzzFeed is probably at the forefront of discussions surrounding diversity in entertainment. Do their reporters think diversity refers only to skin color? Does ideological diversity count for nothing, especially when it is representative of, again, a sizable chunk of the American public?

That chunk is at least 40% of the American public.

But the LEFT has never been into diversity of ideas, and it has gotten worse lately. Look at the way conservatives are shouted down on college campuses. Only Right Think will be allowed.

‘Indonesian jihad’ as Christian churches burned

What a shock. Christians facing ‘Indonesian jihad’ as churches burned on imams’ orders: report | Fox News

The Southeast Asian nation, where about 90 percent of its 250 million people are Muslim, has long been seen as seen as an example that a large Muslim majority can live in relative peace alongside minority religions, like Christianity and Hinduism. But in October, there was a troubling outburst in violence in the Sharia-law governed region of Aceh. At the urging from Islamic leaders, hundreds of Muslims took to the streets with machetes and torched area churches.

As for the religion of peace propaganda…

“We will not stop hunting Christians and burning churches. Christians are Allah’s enemies,” one Islamic leader said

A quick search of the news indicates that none of the Left’s big media outlets are covering this. Christian Science Monitor is the first relatively mainstream outlet to be listed on the first page of a Google news search. I guess this doesn’t fit the narrative, and is easier to ignore than say attacks on Paris.

The First Amendment Wasn’t Supposed to Apply to EVERYBODY!

And especially not where the Air Force is involved. Maryland Air Force Contractor Fired for “Bringing Demons Into the Office”

The Air Force has a history of “mandating” that cadets and others attend “seminars” that are little more than Christian revival meetings.

In this case a practicing Hindu was called a witch, and told yoga was cost her, her soul. When she filed complaint, she was fired.

Within hours of Schoenfeld filing a formal complaint about the harassment, she was fired in a total coincidence that absolutely was not retaliation for her complaint.

Because that would never happen.

Christians are the persecuted minority in this country. Just ask one. (Has Bill O’Reilly started his diatribe about his “War on Christmas™” yet?)

But then this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last that a member of a minority religion in the US faces this kind of thing.

“Ritualistic” Blue Moon Killing That Didn’t Happen on the Blue Moon

Religious prejudice is an ugly thing. Homeland Security worker's triple homicide was blue moon ritual killing, says Florida Sheriff – Boing Boing.

The sheriff “claims” that this was a Wiccan killing done on the blue moon. But there is a problem with that statement…

That’s a little confusing. The recent blue moon (a second full moon within one calendar month) was on Friday, July 31, not the Tuesday date the sheriff referenced. “The sheriff did not explain the discrepancy and his office did not return a telephone call seeking clarification,” AP reports.

So it didn’t happen on the blue moon, but it was timed to happen on the blue moon. Really? Maybe the Sheriff (Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan) is a bigot as well as an idiot. Maybe he should revisit the West Memphis Three – 3 teenagers sent to prison for murder because they were outside the mainstream, not because they were really guilty. Maybe he just hates Wiccans.

Even if the killer was Wiccan, does not mean it is a ‘ritualistic murder.’ A hammer – the weapon used – is not a Wiccan ceremonial object. And are all killings by Christians ‘ritualistic Christian murders?’ Of course not. But it is still tough to be a religious minority in this country.

Treaty of Tripoli, November 4, 1796

Time to publicize this again. It keeps coming up because Christians don’t like to to believe it. Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796.

Surely this is a country founded on Christian principles. Well, the founders didn’t think so.

ARTICLE 11.

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

This treaty was negotiated during the end of George Washington’s administration and ratified by the Senate in 1797 – shortly after Washington retired from office.

There was disagreement then (and later) about the translation, but this was the language the Senate voted on.

It has been upsetting to Christians for 200 years, but there it is.

This country is founded on Enlightenment Principles. That and Democracy, which hails from ancient Greece. Oh, and the Representative form of government – where the smaller jurisdictions send representatives to the larger jurisdictions’ assemblies was mostly borrowed from one of the Native American nations. (Cherokee, I believe, but my memory isn’t what it used to be.)

If you doubt the Enlightenment connection, well all I can do is point you at the important documents. There is Locke, who wrote several treatises that outlined a just government. And I like to include De Tocqueville, who chronicled American Democracy in action in the 19th Century. (This obviously wasn’t the “basis” of anything, but it showed the results.) Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations should be included on the free market front. (“Capitalism” is a term coined by Karl Marx, in an effort to say that free markets are bad. He advocated dictatorship of the proletariat. “Capitalism” = Bad, “Communism” = Good. That is a term also coined by Marx and/or Engels.) You could also read Hobbes’ Leviathan, as that had some impact on the thinking of the time. He started the West thinking about individual rights, the “social contract” being the reason that we cooperate with one another, and the idea that people should be free to do what the law does not forbid.

If you are looking for a general introduction to Western thought, I like Six Great Ideas by Mortimer Adler. The six ideas are Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Liberty Equality and Justice. Seems like 6 things worth thinking about – the 3 ideas we judge by, and the 3 ideas we govern by.

Christianity, on the other hand, is bound up with stuff like “the divine right of kings,” and the like. The best thing the Founders did for us was to keep religion out of government. The zealots have been trying to put it back in ever since.