KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 09, 2008
Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]
Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/
Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com
Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com
Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.
ATHEIST: ANOTHER THINKING HUMAN ENGAGED IN SEEKING TRUTH
To Unidentified Recipients:
The following articles should bring peace and comfort to those who are glad we do not live under fundamentalist Islam. Shouldn’t they?
The last story, on the lad who stole the Body of Christ out of the church is of special interest.
Dare we call the ceremony of the Holy Eucharist “Swallow the Leader?”
Posted on Sat, Jul. 05, 2008
Religion important to Kentuckians
Report finds beliefs strong, church a
By Jim Niemi
Charlie O’Hara attends Mass at Lexington’s Cathedral of “Christ the King” every day, seven days a week.
”It keeps God in front of me, “said O’Hara, 43, who drives to church each day from Nicholasville.
And while some may find daily church attendance a bit extreme, such religious devotion is not rare among Kentuckians, a recent report shows.
A survey released last week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life of more than 35,000 people shows that, compared to the entire nation, Kentuckians pray and attend church more often and believe religion is ”very important“ in their lives.
Other Bible Belt states, including the Carolinas, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, also recorded higher percentages in the survey than the U.S. average.
In the report, Kentuckians appeared more religious than Americans as a whole in most categories. Some examples:
■ 93 percent of Kentuckians believed in God or a universal spirit, compared to 88 percent nationwide.
■ 67 percent of Kentuckians believe religion is ”very important“ in their lives, compared to 56 percent nationwide.
■ 70 percent of Kentuckians pray at least once a day, compared to 58 percent nationwide.
As for church attendance, 47 percent of Kentuckians attended a religious service at least once a week, compared to 39 percent of Americans as a whole.
Clergy like the Rev. Frank Brawner, a priest at Christ the King, have seen steady attendance increases. Brawner said the three weekday Masses, at 8 a.m., noon — except for Wednesdays — and 5:30 p.m., draw 160 to 170 worshipers a day.
”During Lent and Advent, or times of tragedy, attendance will be higher, but overall it’s pretty stable,“ he said.
Brawner said Catholic churches, and those of other faiths, suffered a drop-off in attendance in the post-1960s, but he’s seen a recent ”spiritual revival.“
”We’re more filled now than we were three years ago,“ he said. ”Masses that were full are now standing room only. And Masses that were sparsely attended are now nearly full.“
The attendance growth in Kentucky has spurred a boom in church construction in the region, said the Rev. Greg Horn, executive minister of NorthEast Christian Church in Lexington. The church opened on July 1, 2007 and was formed by combining Northern Heights Christian, with a congregation of 180, with Eastside Christian, which had 200 worshipers.
”Now we have about 1,400,“ Horn said.
Lon Oliver, executive director of the Kentucky Appalachian Ministry in Berea, attributes Kentuckians’ religious attitudes to the close tie between communities and their churches in rural areas.
”The church still takes its place in the community,“ he said. ”It’s still that place where there are autumn festivals.
”I think that keeps the community very vital and gives people a common language and meaning in their lives.“
Pastors also are given higher status in rural areas, he said.
”In Eastern Kentucky particularly, pastors are given a significant role in the life of the community. This might have been typical in other places years ago, but people in Eastern Kentucky still recognize the gifts of local pastors. They play a significant role in schools and community organizations. This helps keep the community and the faithful in a creative tension that strengthens them both.“
Following different paths
Another key finding in the Pew survey is that 60 percent of Kentuckians, compared to 68 percent of Americans, believe there is more than one way to interpret their religion’s teachings.
Whitney Praska, of Lexington, was raised a Southern Baptist and is grateful for what she learned because ”everything has brought me to where I am, but I’ve changed.“
Praska, 25, prefers the word ”spirituality“ to ”religion,“ and said she practices spirituality each day through meditation, prayer, yoga and Asian belief systems.
”They give me an understanding o
f how we are connected with the earth,“ she said. ”We’re all connected.“
Praska sees great value in diverse belief systems for herself and others.
”There are several paths to the same end,“ she said. ”You wouldn’t expect everybody to do the same thing, or where would the difference and beauty be?“
Reach Jim Niemi at (859) 231-3216 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3216.
From reader Jan:
Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives’ Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands
One reason that men abuse their wives is because women rebel against their husband’s God-given authority, a Southern Baptist scholar said Sunday in a Texas church.
Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said women desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husbands because of sin.
“And husbands on their parts, because they’re sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged–or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches,” Ware said from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas.
In North Texas for a series of sermons at the church on “Biblical Manhood & Womanhood,” Ware described his “complementarian” view as what “Southern Seminary as a whole represents.”
Commenting on selected passages from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ware said Eve’s curse in the Garden of Eden meant “her desire will be to have her way” instead of her obeying her husband, “because she’s a sinner.”
What that means to the man, Ware said, is: “He will have to rule, and because he’s a sinner, this can happen in one of two ways. It can happen either through ruling that is abusive and oppressive–and of course we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that–but here’s the other way in which he can respond when his authority is threatened. He can acquiesce. He can become passive. He can give up any responsibility that he thought he had to the leader in the relationship and just say ‘OK dear,’ ‘Whatever you say dear,’ ‘Fine dear’ and become a passive husband, because of sin.”
Ware said God created men and women equally in God’s image but for different roles.
“He has primary responsibility for the work and the labor and the toil that will provide for the family, that will sustain their family,” he said. “He’s the one in charge of leadership in the family, and that will become difficult, because of sin.”
Ware also touched on a verse from First Timothy saying that women “shall be saved in childbearing,” by noting that the word translated as “saved” always refers to eternal salvation.
“It means that a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God’s ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as–for the most part, generally this is true–as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man’s position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men,” Ware said. “Rather than wanting that, she accepts and embraces who she is as woman, because she
knows God and she knows his ways are right and good, so she is marked as a Christian by her submission to God and in that her acceptance of God’s design for her as a woman.”
Ware cited gender roles as one example of churches compromising and reforming doctrines to accommodate to culture.
“It really has been happening for about the past 30 years, ever since the force of the feminist movement was felt in our churches,” Ware said.
He said one place the “egalitarian” view–the notion that males and females were created equal not only in essence but also in function–crops up is in churches that allow women to be ordained and become pastors.
Ware said gender is not theologically the most important issue facing the church, but it is one where Christians are most likely to compromise, because of pressure from the culture.
“The calling to be biblically faithful will mean upholding some truths in our culture that they despise,” he said. “How are we going to respond to that? We are faced with a huge question at that point. Will we fear men and compromise our faith to be men-pleasers, or will we fear God and be faithful to his word–whatever other people think or do?”
Ware offered 10 reasons “for affirming male headship in the created order.” They include that man was created first and that woman was created “out of” Adam in order to be his “helper.” Even though the woman sinned first, Ware said, God came to Adam and held him primarily responsible for failure to exercise his God-given authority.
Ware also said male/female relationships are modeled in the Trinity, where in the Godhead the Son “eternally submits” to the Father.
“If it’s true that in the Trinity itself–in the eternal relationships of Father, Son and Spirit, there is authority and submission, and the Son eternally submits to the will of the Father–if that’s true, then this follows: It is as Godlike to submit to rightful authority with joy and gladness as it is Godlike to exert wise and beneficial rightful authority.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.
Atheism on the buses
Do you ever get annoyed by those religious ads you see plastered all over town? TV comedy writer Ariane Sherine does, so she wrote an amusing article for The Guardian suggesting that atheists club together and pay for their own.
She calculated that if she could get 4,680 atheists to contribute £5 each, that would pay for an ad on a London bendy bus for a two weeks. The slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.”
There’s still a long way to go before the target is reached, but surely it is worth a go. Just imagine the outraged squeals of offended religionists! How dare atheists express their opinion in public?
You can also sign up via Facebook. Go on. Spread a little godlessness.
From reader Ashley:
There are days when it is agony to read the news, because people are so goddamned stupid. Petty and stupid. Hateful and stupid. Just plain stupid. And nothing makes them stupider than religion.
Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.
This isn’t the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!
Catholics worldwide became furious.
Would you believe this isn’t hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker. Those are just kooks, you might say, but here is the considered, measured response of the local diocese:
“We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”
We just expect the University to take this seriously,” she added “To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated.”
Wait, what? Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a goddamned cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further?
Well, you could have a priest compare this event to a kidnapping.
“It is hurtful,” said Father Migeul Gonzalez with the Diocese. “Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family.”
Gonzalez said the Diocese is willing to meet with Cook and help him understand the importance of the Eucharist in hopes of him returning it. The Diocese is dispatching a nun to UCF’s campus to oversee the next mass, protect the Eucharist and in hopes Cook will return it.
I like the idea of sending a scary nun to guard the ceremony at the next mass. But even better…let’s send Webster Cook to hell!
Gonzalez said intentionally abusing the Eucharist is classified as a mortal sin in the Catholic church, the most severe possible. If it’s not returned, the community of faith will have to ask for forgiveness.
“We have to make acts of reparation,” Gonzalez said. “The whole community is going to turn to prayer. We’ll ask the Lord for pardon, forgiveness, peace, not only for the whole community affected by it, but also for [Cook], we offer prayers for him as well.”
Get some perspective, man. IT’S A CRACKER.
And of course, Bill Donohue is outraged (I know, Donohue is going to die of apoplexy someday when a gnat violates his oatmeal, so this isn’t saying much).
For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage–regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance–is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.
Oh, beyond hate speech. Where does this fit on the Shoah scale, Bill? It shouldn’t even register, but here is Wild-Eyed Bill the Offended calling for the expulsion of a student…for not swallowing a cracker.
Would you believe that the mealy-mouthed president of the university, John Hitt, is avoiding defending his student is instead playing up the importance of the Catholic church to the university? Of course you would. That’s what university presidents do. Bugger the students, keep the donors and the state reps happy.
Unfortunately, Webster Cook has now returned the cracker. Why?
Webster just wants all of this to go away. Especially now that he feels his life is in danger.
That’s right. Crazy Christian fanatics right here in our own
country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker. This is insane. These people are demented fuckwits. And Cook is not out of the fire yet — that Fox News story ends with an open incitement to cause him further misery.
University officials said, that as for right now, Webster Cook is not in trouble. If anyone or any group wants to file a formal complaint with the University through the student judicial system, they can. If that happens, Webster will go through a hearing either in front of an administrative panel or a panel of his peers.
Got that? If you don’t like what Webster Cook did, all you have to do is complain to the university, and they will do the dirty work for you of making his college experience miserable. And don’t assume the university would support Cook; the college is now having armed university police officers standing guard during mass.
I find this all utterly unbelievable. It’s like Dark Age superstition and malice, all thriving with the endorsement of secular institutions here in 21st century America. It is a culture of deluded lunatics calling the shots and making human beings dance to their mythical bunkum.
So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.
Just wait. Now there’ll be a team of Jesuits assigned to rifle through my mail every day.