Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Religion in the News

There's lots of religion in the news today.

The first thing I noticed was former president Jimmy Carter's comments regarding his visit with the Palestinians and Israelis. I applaud Mr. Carter for his efforts, as there are times (like now) that he has been more active in the Middle East than the whole of America. I also respect him for listening to both sides. Then again, he's not taking huge campaign contributions from Israeli interest groups (AIPAC, CoP, WINEP, IPF, etc.), so he's not as tainted as active politicians.

Mr. Carter pointed out the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are "treated more like animals than human beings." He notes that items like paper, crayons, and children's toys are included among items being denied through a trade blockade. In Carter's words, "I sought an explanation of this when I met with Israeli officials and I received none, because there is no explanation."

He also remarked at the complete lack of reconstruction in the war-torn region. "Never before in history has a large community [1.5 million Palestinians] like this been savaged by bombs and missiles and then been deprived of the means to repair itself," Carter said. Another story here outlines more about his visit.

Our ally is also breaching the freedom of speech of non-Israeli reporters and making threats towards Iran. But is it really this bad?

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel (who did not receive the most votes and weaseled his way into power by technicality), has backed down from his hardline stance against a Palestinian state. While he appears to be asking the impossible, he has accepted (in theory) the formation of a completely demilitarized Palestinian state.

My final sigh of relief comes from a poll which finds that only 1 in 5 Israelis believe Iran would attack Israel with nuclear weapons. I am positive those numbers would be higher if the poll had been done in the US, so it says to me that Israeli citizens have a level head, and hopefully their government will take notice and chill out.

On a lighter note, Scientology could take a huge blow from the French. A fraud trial in Paris has escalated to the point where Scientology may be dissolved as a religion within the country. It currently is not registered as a religion, and therefore receives no tax-exemption (unlike in the US, where we fell for it). The implications are that Scientology auditing and "tech" (see also: overpriced books) will not be allowed to be sold in France. If your religion can't even stand up to the French, you should just give up.


  1. Recently rereading the 19th Century birth of Zionism reminded me: Theodore Herzl's original goal had nothing to do with Israel. He was shopping the globe and provided a few options for the "where" ...and tried to convince his cohorts that Uganda was the perfect choice for unhappy Jews around the world to settle.

    It's recorded that he approached a few nations, England, Russia, et al to be granted area for sanctuary to no avail.

    The final exodus to Israel was, we all know, the result.

    It's rather dunning to now witness the demands that Israel and only Israel is the motherland/motherlode when the father of Zionism and the "Jewish State" wasn't in the least interested nor focused on "Israel" as the one and only Jewish state.

  2. I heard he even considered Madagascar.


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