Voting is the best magic

Today is Election Day: Vote!

Voting is where the magical meets the mundane, where we take our intentions and put them into action. Make it happen.

Among the many vital issues in this election, freedom of religion should not be forgotten. Obama stands for a vision of freedom of religion that guarantees rights to everyone – including minority religions. Romney is happy to let his supporters twist “freedom of religion” into a justification for the powerful to make theocratic choices about health care for others, and a …

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Further thoughts on being recognized as clergy

Last week my efforts to get the Arlington County Court to recognize me as a member of the clergy finally succeeded. Now that it’s over, I’m going to reflect a little bit on some of the details and share some possible advice for others who find themselves fighting an uphill battle for rights and recognition.

First of all, I’m glad we didn’t have to make a court case out of it. (I was dealing with the bureaucracy of the clerk of court’s office, and we never …

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Link roundup: conservative Christian prayer efforts ramp up

As Election Day approaches, conservative Christian groups are mounting a wide array of prayer initiatives. Several of them started last week and intend to pray for 40 days (depending on how they count the days) until the election.

Most of these initiatives are presenting their message primarily in religious terms, not partisan ones. There’s also a lot less direct language of spiritual warfare than we saw in the DC 40 campaign. The favorite language here is about “solemn assemblies” and “crying out to God.”

While there’s some …

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9/11: A Pagan Reflection

Elsewhere on the web, you’ll find a variety of thoughts and reflections today on the events of 9/11/2001.  I remember that I was walking home from class and passed a housemate of mine who told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center towers.  I imagined a small plane, perhaps a Cesna, and was momentarily struck by the thought of such a horrible accident before I continued home.

The idea that it was a plan executed by religious extremists never entered my mind.

Now, …

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Responding to Violence

Tomorrow is the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr celebrated by Muslims to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.  On this day, Muslims throughout the world will pray and celebrate as they, collectively, break the fast that is the most recognized practice of Ramadan.  This year, though, the holiday has been marred by fear of potential violence.

Lost in the national coverage of November’s election, the Olympics, and the mass shootings that took place in Colorado, Wisconsin, and most recently in Texas, is a series …

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Paul Ryan is worried about “religious freedom”

Mitt Romney announced on Saturday that Paul Ryan will join him on the Republican ticket as vice-presidential nominee for the 2012 election. Ryan has an extensive record on several important issues, and although the issue of freedom of religion comes up less often, his speeches and position statements show that he subscribes to the twisted misappropriation of “religious freedom” by Catholic bishops:

While I am a pro-life Catholic, I believe [the contraception] mandate transcends the issue of personal religious beliefs about contraception, sterilization and abortion. The …

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Followup on Catholic Fortnight for Freedom

The USCCB’s Fortnight for Freedom has passed with remarkably little public reaction or engagement on the part of the country’s 70 million plus Catholics. Here’s three responses to the campaign:

Fred Clark: Flaccid ‘Fortnight for Freedom’ fizzles for fathers

Part of what we learned here, I think, is that if you’ve got a top-down, hierarchical mentality that regards listening to anyone else as beneath you, as an affront to your righteous authority, then you’re probably not well-suited to rallying grassroots support. When that arrogant mentality shapes your …

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Catholic bishops’ complaints ignore legal history

Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches has written an excellent piece about just how thoroughly the Catholic bishops’ claims ignore a long history of court rulings that have defined the ways religious institutions interact with the state in various circumstances.

Now, I’m not saying that court rulings are always perfect – members of minority religions are well aware of how entrenched assumptions can affect even jurists’ ideas of what is reasonable or unreasonable. But each and every point that the bishops present as an example of infringement …

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Chicago 50 update

After the first week of this new prayer initiative, James Nesbit sent out an email to supporters saying that the effort was going very well. A full third of the email, however, was addressed directly to us:

The pagans

Reading the pagan report on the Declaration of Dependence prayer guide was very
revealing. We know that satan rules his subjects through fear and it was very evident
just how totally dominated they are by fear. Father, Your word says that perfect
love casts out fear. We pray that everyone held …

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NAR tries to build a big tent

The Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network released an email newsletter yesterday with a piece by C. Peter Wagner on the doctrinal beliefs – or lack thereof – of the New Apostolic Reformation. Wagner wrote:

A couple of weeks ago I released a paper on NAR beliefs. My main point was that the movement as a whole has no official doctrinal statement, but many of the groups affiliated with NAR have developed their own. … One positive advance of the NAR is that we no longer call church …

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