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Diane Vera

Everything the religious right wing is against, I am for!

NY State same-sex marriage bill passes Assembly; now it's up to the State Senate
Yay! It passed the Assembly. Now it's the State Senate's turn. And that is still quite iffy, even though Democrats are now a majority.

Links to news storiesCollapse )

New York State same-sex marriage bill -- how to support it
The New York State same-sex marriage bill is A07732 in the State Assembly and S4401 in the State Senate. You can look up your State Assembly member here and your State Senator here. Please call your Assembly member TODAY if you have not done so already -- the bill is getting voted on today.

Links to more information about the billCollapse )

As for rallies here in New York City, I'll post info on the message board of NYARBB's Meetup site, as I come across it. The next rally I know of is on May 17. (Alas, I won't be able to attend.)

Who opposes same-sex marriage here in New York?
Last month, New Governor David Paterson announced he would introduce a bill in the state legislature to legalize same-sex marriage here in New York State. Some relevant news stories:

The latter article mentions two of the main opponents of same-sex marriage: (1) State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr., who is also pastor of the (Pentecostal) Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the Bronx, and (2) the new Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

More about Rubén Díaz and other opponents of same-sex marriage in New YorkCollapse )

Díaz's forthcoming protest, and a pro-gay counterdemonstrationCollapse )

More about same-sex marriage in generalCollapse )

Hasidic groups vs. other Jews
Recently. I've gotten to know someone who is a former Lubavitcher Hasidic Jew, who managed to leave that way of life (rather cult-like, according to her) and build a new life for herself.

On the difficulties of leaving a Hasidic group.Collapse )

Websites by other Jews (including Orthodox) critical of the Chabad Lubavitch movement.Collapse )

Hindu exorcism site echoes Christian prejudice against Wiccans (and mentions Satan too)
I recently came across a really weird website advertising Hindu exorcisms. The site features "Indian Vedic Rituals," "Yagya & Homam," and Hindu "Holy Talismans."

But it's not clear to me who the target audience for this site is. Is it aimed at actual Hindus, or is it aimed at Western New Agers? Offnand, I would guess the former, judging by the site's not-so-great English. It does not appear to be aimed at well-educated, well-to-do Westerners. But the site also draws ideas from Christianity in terms of the kinds of evils it claims to be able to remove, such as 'EVIL SATAN' and 'WICCAN SPIRITS'. WTF?Collapse )

I'm back again, at least for now
I've been away for a long time -- very busy with a new job, among other things.

Some good news: As of this past month, I've found a very passionate co-administrator for the budding NYC proto-congregation of the Church of Azazel, and also for New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry. Hopefully both can now, finally, begin to get off the ground. I cannot launch them all by myself.

How to reach me in the future, next time I'm away from this blog for a long time.Collapse )

Pope setting up "exorcism squads," according to Gabriele Amorth
Here's a news story I missed during the time I took a break from monitoring online developments having to do with Satanism:

London Daily Mail story about Pope setting up exorcist squadsCollapse )

See also the following posts on my Theistic Satanism blog (listed below in forward chronological order):

Noach Dear, anti-gay judge in New York City
In most parts ot the U.S.A., the religious right wing seems to be dominated by evangelical Christians. But here in New York City, it seems to be dominated by ultra-conservative Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

And one of its leaders is now a judge.

Read more about Noach Dear, former city council member, now a judge.Collapse )

Frank L. Cocozzelli on "The Catholic Right"
Talk To Action has a weekly series by Frank L. Cocozzelli on "The Catholic Right," about the Catholic religious right wing. The most recent post in the series is Jindal, Rising, about Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Frank Cocozzelli apparently lives in Brooklyn, judging by his post My Son's School, in which he identifies his parish as St. Finbar's in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York.

Links to all posts in the seriesCollapse )

P.S.: My list of Frank Cocozzelli's posts includes quite a few posts about Opus Dei, but none about the Legion of Christ. On Talk to Action, I just now posted Catholic religious right wing: Legion of Christ, to inform him about the latter order.

Christian and Jewish/Noahide theocratic movements
In The End of American Jewry's Golden Era, Daniel Pipes is quoted as saying:

"Militant Islam cannot be compared to any segment of Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism. These religions do not embody groups with totalitarian utopian ideologies that seek world hegemony.

Yes they do.

Admittedly, the Christian and Jewish equivalents of Islamism (the totalitarian ideology) are a much more marginal fringe, among adherents of their religions, than Islamists now are among Muslims. Hence they are currently far less dangerous on a worldwide scale. But they do exist. And, from my point of view, the Christian counterparts of Islamism do pose a real threat - although not nearly as big a threat, on a worldwide scale, as Islamism.

The Christian counterparts of Islamism are Reconstructionism and Dominionism, whose longterm goal is the restoration of "Biblical civil law." For Christian Reconstructionists and other hardcore Dominionists, this would include a death penalty, by stoning, for "idolators," "blasphemers," and homosexuals. Although they are a fringe, Reconstructionists and other Dominionists are disporportionately active in the Christian religious right wing, still a very powerful political movement.

Links to info about Christian Reconstructionism and Dominion TheologyCollapse )

There are also ultra-Orthodox movements within Judaism with a similarly theocratic agenda - and which have enlisted the support of some like-minded non-Jews.

Traditionally, Jews don't try to convert non-Jews to Judaism. However, Jews traditionally do believe that all humans, including non-Jews, are obliged to obey the seven "Noahide laws," one of which is the establishment of courts of justice to enforce the other Noahide laws. At least "theoretically," this would include a death penalty for "idolators," "blasphemers," and homosexuals - albeit by beheading, rather than by stoning. There is now a new and growing "Noahide" religious movement of non-Jews who have not fully converted to Judaism, but who follow the teachings of Jewish rabbis (usually Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox rabbis) regarding the Noahide laws, and whose ultimate aim to establish a worldwide theocracy. Noahide groups differ on whether and to what extent the "death penalty" is to be taken literally, but, as far as I can tell so far, it seems that most Noahide groups, or at least the more visible ones, do call for a literal death penalty for purely religious transgressions.

Links about theocratic Judaism and Noahidism, with my commentsCollapse )

Some info about theocratic movements in IsraelCollapse )

Still, despite the growing strength of the Israeli religious right wing, it seems that GLBT rights are better in Israel than anywhere else in the Middle East.

Links to more info on GLBT rights in IsraelCollapse )

Online economics resources, useful in debates with LaVeyans and others
These past several days, in conjunction with writing my responses to Julian Karswell, I've been reviewing and updating my knowledge of economics. To that end, I've managed to find some online textbooks and other online resources.

I may again have occasion to refer to them when debating with LaVeyans and others, so I've put together a list.

List of online economics resourcesCollapse )

Brad Hicks, calling attention to Hillary Clinton's involvement with Doug Coe's "Family"/"Fellowship"
One of my heroes is Brad Hicks, who was one of the earliest activists against the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare back in the 1980's. (He discusses this briefly in the following posts of his here on LiveJournal: Wicca Lies (part 3): Hierarchy and Wow, I Haven't Been Threatened for My Writing in More than a Decade.) He was president of the Alliance of Magical and Earth Religions (AMER), in which Michael Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set, was also active.

Anyhow, a recent post of his calls attention to something very scary about Hillary Clinton. Her pastor, Doug Coe, runs a secretive, cultish group called "The Family" or "The Fellowship," to which a lot of religious right wing politicians also belong.

More here about Doug CoeCollapse )

On another topic, another excellent post on Brad Hicks's blog: Republicans and the War on Justice.

P.S., 5/19/2008: Regarding Brad Hicks's fight against the SRA scare, I just now came across another relevant post of his: Personal History: Me versus a Religious Bigot Cop.

Vatican vs. Harry Potter
Something I missed when it happened, but I just came across it recently: As of January 2008, it seems that the Vatican has revived the hullabaloo about Harry Potter. However, I find two very different accounts of this:
My observations hereCollapse )

The Washington Post article ends by asking: "... one has to wonder why the Vatican would want to revive this debate. Could the recent revelations of Dumbledore's sexual orientation have something to do with it?"

South Carolina: "hot zone" for church/state separation issues
On the blog A Heathen's Day, I just now learned about a news story in the Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), SC lawmakers have religion on minds, in bills by Jim Davenport, Associated Press, Tue, May. 13, 2008, in which Democratic Senator Yancey McGill (of South Carolina) says that Wicca is not a religion, and he's not sure about Buddhism.

More hereCollapse )

"A Heathen's Day" cited the Wild Hunt blog, which referred to an earlier post, The ACLU, South Carolina, and Religious Minorities, about how South Carolina has generally become one of the "hot zones" for church/state separation and religious freedom issues.

Laurie Cabot - willfully ignorant about Satanist views on animal sacrifice?
According to the news story What washed up on the Keansburg beach? by Alyssa Passeggio, Bayshore Courier (New Jersey, U.S.A.), May 9, 2008:

Keansburg Police Deputy Chief James Pigott said Patrolman Michael Deaney responded to a finding of four garbage bags and two shopping bags containing headless chickens and the innards on April 17. There are no suspects, Pigott said.

The April incident brought back memories of findings of animal parts on the Keansburg beach last year, which non-traditional faith expert Laurie Cabot characterized as a ritual performed by individuals practicing Santeria, San Paulo, Voodon or Satanism.

"Satanism"??? In a statement by Laurie Cabot??? That's Laurie Cabot, the well-known modern Pagan Witch from Salem, Massachusetts, I presume? Now presenting herself as an "expert," not just on Pagan Witchcraft but on "non-traditional faiths" in general?

Did she really say that "Satanists" might be responsible for a pile of chicken remains??? Or the hoof of a "deer, goat or sheep" mentioned later in the article?

If so, shame on her. Surely she ought to know better by now. She has no excuse for such an ignorant claim.

The best-known form of Satanism, LaVeyan Satanism, specifically prohibits animal sacrifice, as do most other forms of Satanism too, including most forms of theistic Satanism. (LaVeyan Satanists are mostly atheistic and regard Satan as just a symbol.)

More here about Satanism and animal sacrifice, including my own personal view.Collapse )

More here, including the types of animal sacrifice most likely to be practiced by the few theistic Satanists who do practice it.Collapse )

More here, about Aborishas (Santeros) tooCollapse )

Iraq - review of history of pre-war U.N. weapons inspections in 2002-2003
Thanks to in-person conversations with some people who question or disagree with my antiwar position, I realize I need to bone up on the history of events that led up to the Iraq war, especially the issues of alleged "weapons of mass destructions" and Iraq's compliance or noncompliance with U.N. weapons inspections.

Personally, I knew, on the first day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, that Iraq did not have WMD's. Moreover, on that day, it was obvious to me that the U.S. government knew that Iraq didn't have WMD's.

How did I know? On the first day of the war, I listened to a radio interview with one of the generals. (Alas I didn't take notes and I don't remember the general's name.) When a reporter asked about the "weapons of mass destruction," the general said something to the effect of "Oh, we'll worry about them later." I thought, wait a minute, if you've just invaded a country that really has weapons of mass destruction, you don't worry about them later, you worry about them immediately.

Read the rest of this entry - long, with lots of links to news items from 2002-2003Collapse )

NYC Event, May 12: Self-Criticism in the American Muslim and Jewish Communities
Given my interest in building an activist organization against religion-based bigotry (see the blog of New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry), I should attend the following event, here in New York City: Self-Criticism in the American Muslim and Jewish Communities with Reza Aslan, Moushumi Khan, Rabbi Stern, and others.

"Leading American Muslims and Jews look in the mirror and critique their own communities. They point out where leadership falls short in its efforts to create dialogue bewteen the two communities and explore factors that contribute to hostility and suspicion between the two groups."

Details hereCollapse )

P.S., 5/8/2008: Apparently this event has been cancelled.

More info hereCollapse )

Blaming "Satanists" for Catholic clergy sex scandals???
A while back I noticed a trend, among conservative and traditionalist Catholics, to blame the clergy pedophilia scandals on an alleged conspiracy by Satanists to infiltrate the Catholic hierarchy. For more about this, see my article The "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare -- it's BAACK! The alleged conspiracy of "Satanic pedophiles" in the Catholic clergy.

Now it seems that this same alleged Satanist conspiracy is being blamed for clargy sex scandals involving adults too. Not only that, but one priest has even used this claim in an attempt to get himself off the hook.

Read moreCollapse )

Church-state separation in Florida
In Florida, there's a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would allow state funding of all manner of religious stuff. Here's an opinion piece against it: Your Tax Money For Madrassas? by Buzz Kelly, The Tampa Tribune, April 10, 2008.

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Pagan Quakers
I just now came across the following: Are the Quakers Going Pagan? by Matthew Streib, Religion News Service, Christianity Today, 4/28/2008. Among other things, this article says:
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