Do Rules Apply for Religion?

Higher Rules?
Higher Rules?

This seems to be appearing more in the news.  People of Faith claiming they don’t need to follow the rules, any rules, since they follow “higher laws.”

In schools, courtrooms, public squares, sporting events. . .

Is this trivial?

NFL Muslim Player penalized for praying after touchdown

Double standard!  Religious Freedom!  People get SO upset.

The NFL takes back the penalty.

But hear what The Player himself said afterward (I give him lots of credit for admitting this):

“Abdullah, who left football for a year to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, told the Kansas City Star afterward that he thought the referees flagged him over unsportsmanlike conduct for the slide, not prostrating. It was a sentiment echoed by his coach, Andy Reid.”

League rules say:

ESPN noted that according to Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d), “Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.”

But the NFL quickly changed the decision.  Why?

Abdullah should not have been penalized. Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.

So there you go.

In a small way, isn’t this another example of Religion claiming Special Treatment?  Isn’t this like the “outrage” we often hear from many in faith groups who say Their Religious Freedom is More Important than Anyone Else’s Religious Freedom or anyone else’s rules or laws or common sense?

The Rules, any rules, really don’t apply to them.

Their Rules come directly from God.

Who are WE to question or make them obey puny Human Rules!

The rest of us need to accommodate, get out of the way, give them Their Freedom.  Our freedoms (to not be subjected to their faith) don’t count.

What do you think?

(btw:  I often wonder if people Really Believe their God cares about sports or helps them Get Touchdowns!)

Doubt as a Sign of Faith

doubt

or is it:  Faith as a Sign of Doubt?

(see Julia Baird’s NYT article)

This article, and some of the comments, leave me. . .with less doubt about faith.

Faith seems to often lead to Doubt, quite naturally.

Doubting the world as we see it, know it, experience it.

Doubting education, science and investigation into challenging and often uncomfortable things.

Doubting human reason and the goodness of this world as the only one we have.

Ultimately, perhaps, doubting that the Face in the Heavens is not our own small, childlike face looking back.

Of course, we all have doubts, at times.

Curiosity, uncertainty of the unknown, wonder.

But we don’t all have faith.

Maybe Faith is Doubt with a fresh coat of paint.

Or, maybe, as with the picture above, faith looks in the mirror and sees doubt.

Doubt looks in the mirror and sees. . .an uncertain human being looking at themselves.

Those with Faith who Doubt. . .let’s hope they DO ask themselves hard questions and embrace their doubting.

When the Faithful Doubters do this, they seem more like the rest of us. . .wondering human beings with so many more questions than answers.

Banned from the Body of Christ

montana couple

Whenever Pious Preachers claim their “authority” to stand between their God and the Rest of Us. . .things get ugly:

Priest keeps the Body and Blood from Gay Members of the Church

In Montana, a gay couple who have been together for more than three decades have been told that they’re no longer really welcome in the Catholic parish where they’ve been worshiping together for 11 years.

This happened last month, in the town of Lewistown. By all accounts, these two men, one of them 73, the other 66, had done no one any harm. They hadn’t picked a fight. Hadn’t caused any particular stir. Simply went to Mass, same as always. Prayed. Sang in the church choir, where they were beloved mainstays.

Then, this from one of the men:

He said that seven generations of his family had worshiped in the parish, where he himself was baptized. In recent years he’d been on the parish council, and until last month, he was the organist. “This is my home,” he said.

This got me:

Wojtowick told me that the choir had essentially disbanded, in solidarity with him and Huff, and that some congregants had stopped attending services, Huff among them.

Wojtowick still goes, but only for the first half of the Mass, before communion approaches. “Then I get up,” he said. “I make a profound bow to the altar. And I walk out.”

As one blogger put it:

There is only so much inhumanity that a church can be seen to represent before its own members lose faith in it.

And some wonder why a person like me, who sang in many church choirs, studied the bible for years, served in ministry for nearly three decades, chose to leave the Church, Faith, Religion and God.

No one drives people from God as much as His Followers.

Think long and hard about that.

Praying to Be Seen

cheerleaders for god

Cheerleaders for God are all over our world.

So that means. . .We all get to hear their Prayers!

These Cheerleaders at a High School in Tennessee have rallied their town of Christians (there are apparently No Other Faiths and No Unbelievers around).  Now the Pre-Game Show is the Prayer Circle, brought to YOU by: Taxpayers of a Public School in Secular Christian America.

Notice, btw, their team is the INDIANS (so we KNOW there are NO Native Americans in the area. . .they’ve all been Prayed Away).

I ask again, as I keep asking:  Why do people have the need to pray so Everyone Can See and Hear Them?

(didn’t the First Coach of the Christian Team once say “Don’t pray so people can see you”?)

This is like all the Cellphone conversations that we have to hear now.

Whether we like it or not, we HAVE to listen to the chatter.

Even the Godly Chatter.

Why?

Go Team God. . .Go Team God!!

Across all Borders

URI

An old friend and colleague, Charles Gibbs, has published a new website with the intent to

“promote peace, compassion, justice and healing in our world”

Until his recent retirement, Charles was the founding director of the United Religions Initiative.  URI is a NGO with consulting status at the United Nations with emphasis on peacemaking (URI’s mission is, in part, “to end religiously-motivated violence. . . as a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world”).  While URI doesn’t seem to have any specifically Secular representation, their efforts seem to include many Humanist principles (and the Interfaith Youth Core that actively includes Agnostics and Atheists).

I wish Charles all the best in his active retirement (!) and admire his connections around the world.  I’m sure we wouldn’t agree on some faith issues, but we could certainly work together when it comes to compassion, justice, peace and building relationships across all borders.

Visit Charles’ new website and see what you think.

Fragile Floating like a Feather

Tahoe Feather1

This summer I waded out into chilly Lake Tahoe, with curious ducks paddling by, and my camera lens caught this feather floating gently on the calm, clean, clear surface of the water with the sandy bottom below.

There’s something very peaceful about this image.

Sometimes I’d like to be that feather. . .

Doing Good to Be Seen?

helping climb

This is not surprising, but still disturbing.

A survey of how religious and non-religious people handle morality in daily life.

This one line caught my attention:

The only differences between the religious and non-religious people included how they felt about and described moral acts. Religious people were more likely to express pride over performing moral acts, gratefulness over benefitting from moral acts, and guilt and disgust over immoral ones.

Here’s my theory, actually my Experience, based on many years as a believer.

Though few will admit it, I would say Most Believers are “moral” (do good deeds) To Be Seen.

Now, not necessarily to be seen by other people.

To be seen By God.

To please their god, to make their god happy, to have their god’s approval and reward, to prove their faith (mostly to god).

“God’s Will” is all-important to many believers.

But it does make you wonder:  How is that moral, or ethical, or even “good,” to do good things to be seen and rewarded?

What do YOU think?